Prince Arthur Eze, a Nigerian oil tycoon who was considered the eighth richest person in Africa with a net worth of more than $5.8 billion. His immense wealth and influence in the oil industry are the result of canny business practices, and he has also become known for his deep connections to Nigerian politics.
He is the Chairman of both Atlas Petroleum International and Oranto Petroleum and the major shareholder of both companies.
In 1970, Eze attended St. Augustin Secondary School in Nkwere, where he began to discover his passion and talent for mechanical engineering. Thereafter, Eze went on to study mechanical and chemical engineering at California State University, Long Beach from 1974 to 1978.
In 1991, Eze founded Atlas Oranto Petroleum for oil exploration activities in West Africa and was able to incorporate it two years later. Today, the company is the largest holder of oil exploration blocks in Africa. The company’s acreage continues to grow, and with just two oil blocks it can produce more than 100,000 barrels of crude oil each day.
The strength of the company is not just in its acreage, Atlas Oranto Petroleum today owns several producing and non-producing oil and gas assets across Nigeria, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and the Gambia, and has 21 oil and gas licenses across Africa.
Prince Arthur Eze has overall control of the group’s ventures throughout Africa. His regional perspective and significance as a leading African executive put Atlas and Oranto at an advantage in understanding the perspectives and priorities of host nations and timeframe constraints to delivering success.
Atlas and Oranto benefit from Prince Eze’s impressive business network. As a Nigerian with the benefit of Europe and American engineering education, Prince Eze provides corporate strategy and direction to meet unique challenges of operating in so many diverse African jurisdictions. At the same time, under his guidance, Atlas and Oranto strive to ensure that the highest global standards of corporate compliance and health and safety are maintained at all times.
Amongst top political figures in his State (Anambra State), Eze is often referred to as “the godfather.” They recognize the enormous power he wields with his donations to the political cause. Some argue that “godfatherism” in Anambra State originated from Eze’s sponsorship of Senator Joy Emordi in 2005, after the election of Emmanuel Anosike was annulled.
Eze was also a long-time major donor to the People’s Democratic Party, led by former President Goodluck Jonathan. He is known for chairing fundraisers for candidates and gave away nearly $100 million of his own money during the last election cycle.
Given his unique position as a close confidant and treasured donor of politicians in Nigeria, it may be no surprise that Eze has received major government contracts, especially during Chief Jim Nwobodo time as governor of the old Anambra State (now Enugu and Anambra States).
Eze is also a big philanthropist and apart from being Africa’s 8th-richest men, it can be said that he is the most generous too. Eze made the headlines in 2013 when he donated $12 million USD at a fundraising event to help fund the construction of an Anglican Church Youth Development Center in Otuoke, Bayelsa State. Eze also made a $6.3-million USD donation to flood relief efforts in Nigeria the year before and regularly makes large donation to educational causes and universities.
Prince Eze is also known for his flamboyance, he was rumored to have five different models of Rolls Royce in his garage, as well as a private jet.