Saturday 20 May 2023

The story of Chief Victor Nnamdi Okafor aka “EZE EGO” of Igbo land

Victor Okafor is a name that not many will remember upon an initial hearing. In fact, some may not even think the name special in any way. But once the name Ezego is added, then those of the past generations begin to not just remember, but to reminisce.

Ezego was one of the very few, influential & wealthy people of his time. Even more, he was relatively the youngest one to have so much money, popularity, affluence and reputation in the business scene. During his time, he was often referred to by many names.

Victor Okafor was an indigene of Uzoakwa, Ihiala in Anambra State. He was born on the 25th of December, 1964, and his story was a typical example of a rise from grass to grace. He had his primary school education at the Uzoakwa Primary School but he was forced to drop out during his secondary school education at Abbot Boys’ Secondary School, Ihiala and eventually took to business. His childhood was a very traumatic one and at a point, his own father reportedly disowned him when he was nabbed for being a member of a robbery gang that showed Onitsha traders hell on earth.

To escape being imprisoned for his criminal activities, He fled to Umumeni Village. From this place, he went to Umuduru, his mother’s village. However, things were hard at Umuduru. So, in 1989, he decided to move to Lagos where he joined a mentor. Now, this was the area where things became shady. After staying in Lagos for a long while, nothing seemed to happen. Then all of a sudden, Boom!!! the name Ezego started spreading like wild fire.

As it appears, he was already a multimillionaire and a very prominent person. It was rumored that he did Ọgu ego (money rituals) which made him amass such wealth.

In Lagos, he set up the Ezego Shopping Complex on Allen Avenue (there was also a branch in Abuja) and also the Ezego Plaza on the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road. From these spots, he operated and controlled one of the biggest electronics store in Nigeria. His other companies were Vic-Winners International Limited, Ezego Nigeria Limited, Ezego Holdings Limited, Vitex Zinc Co. Limited and Ezego Properties Limited.

Due to his strangely found wealth, Ezego was able to build several houses, villas & mansions all over the country. In fact, one of the houses was made of glass. In the year 1999, Ezego had a real estate outside Ihiala whose worth was about half a billion naira.

The very big mansion which was used as his country home in Ihiala was worth another N500 million with the marble used for the walls imported from Italy.

That was not all, Victor had one of the largest private car garages in all of Africa. He was a great lover of cars.

Thus, he was always purchasing the latest vehicles and keeping them in his garages at Ihiala and Lagos. At one point,his garage alone was valued at almost one billion naira. He once paid N14 million just to acquire just two posh cars: a Sedan Lincoln Continental Mark 8 and a Mercedes Benz R230 convertible from Moontrends. Actually, as at the time of his death, he left behind countless state-of-the-art cars, 70 houses all over Nigeria and overseas and over N10 billion naira in his bank account.

He was married to the fair-complexioned and beautiful Laurita Nkechi, a princess from Akata in Imo State and the marriage produced eight children. Not only that, he also had kids by other women apart from his wife, Nkechi. When Ezego died, a lot of controversy erupted amidst his family members. Although Ezego's life was very mysterious and controversial, his death was even more so. The staggeringly rich man died on December 25, 1999 at the age of 34.

As was his normal tradition, he prepared to go to his hometown in Ihiala where he would bless many people with bounties & impress people with his wealth. Before going home, Ezego was known to visit Afrikan Shrine where he met with Femi Kuti in order to ensure all went smoothly.

The party was billed to start from the night of Christmas to the Boxing Day (26th) so Ezego decided to start his trip from Lagos on the 23rd of December. But little did he know that all his efforts were in vain. He was unconsciously planning for his own funeral.

But what precisely happened? Ezego would have normally taken a flight from Lagos to Enugu, and then, take a convoy all the way to Ihiala. However, the fatal rates of air crashes during that period claimed to have made him change his mind. The outcome was disastrous for the mogul.

The Cherokee car which Victor took had a hitch along Lagos Ibadan Expressway, and then, totally broke in Asaba. Fearing that the car would be stolen, he refused to leave it behind. Rather he used a Lexus car to tow it all the way.

Two kilometres to Ihiala, Ezego ran into a pothole, and mistakenly, he stepped on his brakes. This caused the Cherokee car that was being towed to hit his own Lexus car, and just like that, Ezego and the car tumbled into a ditch where he was massively injured on his head.

He was rushed to the nearby Lady of Lourdes Hospital (where Ezego incidentally made a donation of N15 million naira a few years before the accident). He was still alive & stable when they brought him to the hospital & all the medical workers went into an overdrive to save the life of a man they know as a giver and mentor. All attempts to stabilize him failed.

His family members suggested that he be taken to an advanced hospital in Port-harcourt. On the way to PH city, Ezego allegedly died a blurry, unconscious sort of death.

Ezego's death did not just come & go like that. It birthed a lot of other strange & mysterious events. All the houses & big cars owned by the multimillionaire have been damaged & left abandoned. It was revealed that Ezego’s empire had collapsed and the majestic house he built at his hometown of Uzoakwa Ihiala was a ghostly shadow of its former self.

The controversies in Ezego’s life did not subside even after his death. His lawyer and the person that was responsible for the execution of his will, Barnabas Igwe was murdered in cold blood, with his wife, Abigail on the 2nd of September, 2002, barely three years after Ezego’s demise. Ezego’s will was thus, never read, and the exact beneficiaries are not known (at least as at January 2006).

Although police agencies have been summoned to investigate these complicated controversies (especially with regards to his wife and a former police commissioner) relating to the murder of the Igwes but their investigations have never yielded any result.

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