I DON HAMMER ONE MILLION DOLLARS O!!

My time is prime like Keke / stay jeje making my pepper...

My time is prime like Keke / just jeje making my pepper…

 

A few good years ago in Jand, I and a couple of workmates decided to form a temporary lottery syndicate, pool resources and buy lottery tickets each, to increase our odds of winning a 30million pounds lottery jackpot.

Normally, I do not send the lottery, as I have always felt that I would have better odds fetching water with a basket, or purchasing an electric cooker because I had belief that NEPA would come good rather than let me starve, or buying a Terry G single for the lyrics. Heck, there are better odds misappropriating Nigerian Pension Funds than winning the lottery at 40 billion to one than winning the lottery. Least I could enrich myself at the public’s expense; worst case scenario, even if I got caught by EFCC or an anti corruption body, I could use connections to get off with a 750000 naira slap on the wrist.

However, this case was different, and I had a reason for playing the lottery .  Some months back, a couple in their 50s had won a record 161 million pounds, which was the highest payout in Britain at the time. The newspapers went crazy when the husband, 65, proclaimed that “they were now as rich as the Beckhams.” True, the Beckhams were worth  about 165 million pounds then.

Wow! I remembered, switching off the TV after I heard that boast, and thinking to myself –  well fuck me, if I won 161 million pounds, I would  scream out from 3rd Mainland Bridge “I am richer than my ex-state governor! I can now afford to hire graduate drivers and pay then 500,000 naira per year to move my trucks on Naija death roads; I can have my convoy of German luxury cars pick me from the tarmac of Murtala Mohammed International whenever I arrive, even though it endangers other commercial flights. Chei, I can have noisy owambe parties and block off major roads and bridges, and inconvenience other road users. While I am at it, I can import runs girls from the top private universities for threesome orgies in my VGC villa. Choi! I could even contest for Senate and win the election without stepping a foot into my constituency….”

In the UK or Yankee, lottery winners are usually inundated with attractive offers from credit card companies and financial investors who offer them all manners of services and incentives. In Nigeria, once you hit any form of millions, it is hangers-on, ‘distant’ relatives, and traditional rulers who chase you  for financial favors or to bestow chieftaincy titles on you.

I had other reasons to play the lottery too. Imagine if because of the mere 1 pound fee it takes to play the lotto, I neglected to try my luck, and then my co-workers scooped the top prize in my absence. Fear caught me o. Britico people no sabi share at all.

So we bought the tickets, pledging that if any of us pulled the winning number, we would all share the jackpot equally.  Imagine 30 million splitting 8 ways – that’s some decent mula.

The next 24 hours were a pain, as I had to play the waiting game. You know that feeling of hopeless anticipation, like when you are sweating in the heat, begging NEPA to bring back the power, but you know remember your neighborhood transformer had blown.  It didn’t stop me keeping my phone close to me, hoping one of the lads would call me to announce that we had won big. I don hammer o!

As I sat there, many thoughts passed through my head. I envisaged picking up my winnings, and hitting the next thing smoking to Lagos. I would rather be a millionaire in the Zanga, than a Big Time Charlie in the land of Mama Charlie. As I sat there, I recalled an instance where a Nigerian friend of mine, from back in Scotland looked up at the sky, smiling as he explained what he would do if he ever won lottery millions.

He shook his head as he said “Esco, all I need is just 500,000 pounds; one million or ten million is even too much. I would first of all call and inform my mother in Nigeria; and  then warn her to quit from that her junk civil service job. I would then go shopping in Harrods, and then return to Nigeria like a prodigal son. I would tell my mum like this – mummy I am buying a shop for you in Victoria Island, so get ready to fly to Dubai to go shopping for stock. Then I would relocate my entire family from FESTAC to Banana Island in Ikoyi sharp sharp.

All for 500k pounds? Ok o. Besides why is that most Nigerians in the Diaspora say they would return to Nigeria immediately if they  ever stumbled upon great wealth. Being rich in Nigeria must be the lick.The Hamptons or Old Ikoyi? Hmmm…

I wanted to snap him out of his daydream, but he preferred to stay in Total Recall mode:”I would then travel to Germany to ship down 3 tear-rubber models of Mercedes – a G Wagon, an ML 500 and a small C-Class for my mum. All my rides would be German, no time for Korean brands.” What about Volkswagen?

I reminded him that he had not said anything about cars for his siblings. His answer was followed by an evil sigh “Mcheew…Na them win lottery? Berger for Apapa never close na. I would buy them first class tokunboh in Nigeria. Abi make I carry all my money give them, make them rest? I would then hire 5 domestic servants in French maid outfits to work in my mansion and serve me hand and foot.  I would contest the House of Rep election for my state, and then float a company for winning government contracts.”

I can see it now Lotto Oil & Gas Nigeria Limited. Ok o.

He was clearly enjoying himself too much, and his eyes lit up as he continued to fool himself “All my furniture for my house in Banana Island would be imported straight from England. Every room including the toilets would have an LCD TV. But I would also invest some of the money as well in ventures.”

I looked at him with my eyes open in mock surprise as I quipped sarcastically, you don’t mean it. So now you remember to invest money, 499999 pounds later. What kind of venture would this be, pray tell, O wise one?

He smiled proudly like he had just done something epic like postulating a theory in quantum physics, or deciphering the inner workings of Tonto Dike’s thought process, as he concluded: “I have always really liked alcohol and spirits. So I would open up a distillery in Ughelli, where we would bottle and export local alcohol. Forget Ciroc Vodka or even Vitamin Water, I would export Sapele Water as a premium spirit.” It is a ‘spirit’ alright.

One of my theories about human nature is thus – you can tell the character of a person by the manner and articles they spend money on when they get it. It is easier to take up a goody two-shoes, moralistic posture as a saint with a halo, when you are skint. It is the things you do, the excesses you opt for, or the discipline you show when ‘pepper rests’ that paints your true picture of your persona.

That’s why crooked politicians’ favor objects of expenditure like fast cars, faster women like runs girls or prostitutes,  insane amounts of real estate in high-brow areas and a quest to retain their mandate through selection rather than election. Wealth to them is all about enjoyment, and never about employment.  If corrupt government officials spend their illicit wealth on opening factories which employ graduates, or setting up initiatives to better the lot of the masses, they would make small sense.  But the trend is to purchase unrealistic units of real estate, which lie derelict and unoccupied because they would rather charge ridiculous sums for rent, than accept an affordable fee from tenants. There are thousands of high-end real estate lying fallow, and rooming Agama lizards and weeds in Oniru, Lekki, Maitama and Wuse. These properties are as empty as the owners.

As I sat in my flat, watching old tapes of “A Night of a 1000 Laughs”, I chuckled as I recalled  what my Britico co-workers said they would do with their winnings. Let me just say that their plans were a bit different from my Naija friend:

–          I would move from my tiny council flat in Leyton to a terrace house with a garden in Maida Vale

–          My dream is to open a center for disadvantaged and autistic kids in Brixton.

–          Esco, are you kidding me? I would call in on Monday and tell the boss to stick his job where the sun don’t shine. I would then go on a cruise with a luxury liner around Europe.

–          Men, the first thing I would do is fly out and get smashed on a lad’s holiday with all of you to Aiya Napa. Eh, Aiye wetin?

–          Oh my days! I would use of my winnings to purchase a cottage for my and my partner in Norfolk or Yorkshire

–          Norfolk or Yorkshire? Who wants to live in wet and cold Blighty? I am off to Australia or Marbella in Spain.

–          I have always wanted to do voluntary work in India and Peru, then go hiking and bungie jumping in Brazil.

–          I am happy as I am. I would keep working, and give most of my winnings to charity. I would keep just enough to pay for my funeral when I am gone.

It was a middle-aged unmarried oyibo man who made the last statement.  Everybody else thought it unusual but shrugged their shoulders, as they thought: na your ishoro be that.

In Nigeria, he would have been sent to a church for deliverance from the spirit of poverty.

And I thought to myself, maybe its best I just forget it. The lottery in life is hard work or laziness. You better your odds for success considerably by working hard at something you are passionate about, and never giving up. If I did win the lottery, there are many doors it could open for me. I could set up a foundation to fight against the work of runs girls. I could build WoahNigeria into a Disney-like conglomerate. Yes I do like cars and luxury goods, but I want something I could take with me to the grave. Not to bequeath a legacy that would make my descendants spend more time fighting in the courts for inheritance than co-existing to build something epic for Nigeria.

However I, like all Nigerians, could handle the disappointment of not winning, and still kick on regardless. In a way, we Nigerians play the lottery everyday when we vote in questionable leaders on ethnic or personal grounds; we keep gambling with our future and those of our kids by celebrating mediocrity, corruption and the illicit stockpiling of wealth. We play the most unfair and unwinnable lottery when we expect a different outcome by repeating the same mistakes that got us here in the first place. What we win is not a million pieces of silver or units of legal tender; our takings are a million steps backwards into stagnant under-development or one billion decibels of pain and frustration with our national experiment.

Needless to say, the call that I had won the lottery never did come. I reported for work on the cold, misty Monday morning, and had to contend with a few of the sad and crestfallen faces of my co-workers, especially the one who was really looking for the bachelor retreat in Aiya Napa, Cyprus. I laughed inside like, una never jam.

 

What would you do if you won or came up 1 million dollars right now.  Please be truthful and don’t try to sell a pipe dream. If you already have a million dollars, what would you do with 1 billion dollars? And if Dangote is one of my readers, good afternoon sir!

 

I would be lying if I said I didn’t want millions/

More than money saved, I wanna save children/

Common (The 6th Sense, 2000)

 

24 responses

  1. If I won a million dollars, I’ll first settle my mum + dad, build them a neat estate in our home-town & buy them a sensible car (lol). I’ll give a huge chunk of the rest of the money to the work of missions (real missionaries in the field o, saving those some of us are too ‘tuch’ to approach) and then a portion to the SOS village. The rest will go into an education fund for my kids.
    Elohor Egoh
    BB Pin: 21A118CF
    Skype: elohor.egoh

  2. Escooo,u sick for dis one,mehn,u av had a change of heart,abi,firing all cylinders,lol,if i had 1 million,wel,giv 10% to God,giv my mum a huge chunk of d loot,put 500,000
    in d bank,pay d modelling agency fee,rent an apartment and furnish it to taste,go shopping,invest in Tunde kelani production(he as 2 giv me a role in his upcomin project,sha),set up my coffee,sandwich and pancake store,in short,a small restaurant,buy a hiace bus to ply d road from lag to benin and 2 bikes 2 ply d roads(i dont live in lag so am gud),go on a fun trip to calabar,portharcourt,abuja and d north jst to ‘explore’ and probably see d girls(if most of them are not married yet) i met on Mtn chat dat i had torrid affairs wit bt neva got 2 see due 2 distance,organize a platform for upcoming rappers who do underground hiphop not d rubbish they do nowadays,pay u 2 ghostwrite blogs 4 me and if there is change left,i wil sharply arrange visa and papers 2 travel stateside to hollywood 2 pursue my dream of being a voice talent for animation characters and winning an oscar,then marry a kim kardashian or Munachi abi lookalike.if u tink its all a pipe dream,let me know.

    • Men I dey fear u o. U already have a comprehensive plan to attack that money as well as triple ur worth. I also like d fact that your plan has me in it. I ll only charge a ten percent fee.lol. good idea with the school program btw. Nice one

    • Bia, nwoke, nwere ezigbo aka! (… or I’m assuming you’re a guy, following on from your comment about fun trips to see the laydees…) 10% to God and investing £500,000 (property+dividends+bonds) is precisely where my starting point would be. But I fit give mumsie like £200K too (but without letting Popsie know because he’ll just get £100K. Unfortunately, he comes a distant 2nd on the parental scale). So that leaves £200K for me own & it’s plenty since I don’t plan to quit my job…. I’d run mad without having a career to challenge me… although the additional cash would be great for planning very swanky weekend breaks.

      Esco, you said we should be truthful so I truthfully don’t have any plans to give to any charity. Unless it’s a charity which I can personally verify is helping actual human beings & doing what it says on the tin, definitely none of these charities in the UK (society for the protection of cat/dog? Maka why??). Otherwise, I go just enter my village, find children to send go school. As I keep telling Oxfam and co, I don’t believe in giving XX pounds a month to make a difference. Giving that money to my mother, who is my personal charity manager, brings more comfort to me that she’ll disburse into the lives of the people who really need it.

  3. Omo u tasi Tonto Dikeh roughly😉 With a Billion dollars, I would live the life of an “understated Billionaire.” Welcome to my world …

  4. I av always wanted 2 av something like a community college for adults who cant write,read and speak d English language intelligibly,hopefuly am able to do dat.

  5. lol – i’ll buy a house first and foremost for us, then change our wardrobe, including my first pair of louboutins for me.. and then we can sit down and draw up a plan for the rest of the money.. lol

  6. I’m still young o! Have to flex like davido, one ferrari please. These people for my uni gatts know wazzup. Lol in all seriousness can’t really say until I have it. Amusing post Esco.

  7. I’m laughing out loud in the office. Wiping tears from my eyes..you simply made my day with this hilarious post. If I won a million dollars, I’d resign sharp sharp and invest the money in Treasury bills and FGN Bonds cos the interest accruing from these funds will set me up for life.
    Secondly I’d set up a fabulous online bookstore website (currently running on Facebook right now)
    Thirdly, I’d take a trip to the following countries: India, Singapore, Seychelles, China or Viet-nam due to the cultural vibes.
    Fourthly, I’d buy a house (nothing too big or fancy since I only have plans for 2kids) a 4bedroom bungalow wil do it for me so long there’s a garden & huge trees at the back where I can install a chaise lounge to read up on some Agatha Christie while sipping rum and juice. Oh by the way, one of the wishes has been answered already.

    Won a free air ticket to Mauritius last week..so February is going to be really swell.

    Esco…you’re on turbo charge or throttle?

  8. I have like a million things I want to achieve in my head. With a million dollars, I will take things slow.

    The only person to get an easy ride would be my mother. I’ll get her a chauffered bentley and keep the rest of the money.

    Wait until graduation and start to execute my projects one after the other. Getting them done would give me a lot of joy. I wouldn’t need prada or too much luxury. My projects are people driven.

  9. lol i have forgotten how funny u r…
    if i win 1 million i will drop out of grad skool nw nw lol just joking, i dont know a million is not enough money to just quit everything but its definitely enough to start a solid business. Now if i win 500 million or 250 sef i will manage and finsh grad skool and then just travel for the rest of my life with my family.

  10. If I win a million dollars, I’ll first call my LI to arrange my NYSC monthly clearance and then sharply travel to Myanmar to do some serious thinking about the rest of the money while staying in the best hotel of course.
    There will definitely be a lot of travelling in whatever plan I come up with.

  11. Glad i inspired u,charity business is overrated and has bin exploited a lot of times,i feel u jare,as for my fun trip,its all for d thrill,its on my bucketlist,u should try it too.

  12. Nice write up lol. A million dollars will probably be spent according to the winners innate nature. Regardless of what he’s earning now. Truth is more money brings out your weaknesses. So if he’s naturally swayed by Babes, cars etc. Without really being considerate or bothered about making a mark in life, you can guess how the money will be spent

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