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Nigerian politician behind 1969 resignation of Gen. Ankrah dies

Nigerian politician behind 1969 resignation of Gen. Ankrah dies

General Joseph Arthur Ankrah rose to the position of Chairman of the National Liberation Council, NLC, after the 24 February 1966 coup that saw the overthrow of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

According to historical records, he was forced to resign as Chairman of the NLC and Head of State over a bribery scandal involving a Nigerian businessman.

That businessman happens to be Arthur Nzeribe, a man of many parts who later went on to join politics back home in Nigeria.

Over the weekend, local media in the country reported the death of Nzeribe, who hobnobbed with the high and mighty in his country politically before running for office when the country returned to constitutional rule in 1999.

He died at the age of 83.

Nzeribe’s purported links to Ghana’s political class

A Nigerian online portal that deals with history, History Ville wrote of Nzeribe’s involvement in Ghana politics: “In the 1960s, Nzeribe worked for Kwame Nkrumah as a speechwriter but after the coup that sent Nkrumah and his aides to Conakry, Nzeribe sneaked back to Ghana to work for the new government that had overthrown his principal.

“In April 1969, Nzeribe was involved in a bribery scandal with Ghana’s Head-of-State, Joseph Arthur Ankrah which forced the latter to resign. In 1979, J.J Rawlings deported the Nigerian businessman from Ghana where he found his way to the UK to continue his arms-dealing business,” the tweet of July 2020 read.

Some of Nzeribe’s political feats back home

He ran on the ticket of the Nigerian Peoples Party and won the Senatorial seat of the Orlu Zone in native Imo State in 1983 with the slogan, ‘Change ’83.’

In June 1993, Nzeribe according to reports tried to stop the June 12 election of MKO Abiola as president of Nigeria. A group he founded the Association for Better Nigeria, ABN, had ostensibly gotten a strange ruling from an Abuja High Court to that effect. ABN was known to be pro-Babangida.

In 1999, with the return to democratic rule, he won the Senatorial seat for the Orlu Senatorial district on the platform of then ruling Peoples Democratic Party. He was re-elected in 2003 and was in the Senate till 2007.

His exit from the legislature was equally chaotic after Nzeribe was suspended indefinitely by the then Senate President, Anyim Pius Anyim, in November 2002 over an allegation of N22 million fraud.

As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, the PUNCH newspaper reports that he was the brain behind Nigeria’s National Health Insurance Scheme.

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