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Editorial News of Tuesday, 18 May 2021


The untold story of Nigeria's 'King of Money' Victor Okafor, the Eze Ego 1 of Ihiala

Chief Victor Nnamdi Okafor Chief Victor Nnamdi Okafor

 • Chief Victor Nnamdi Okafor, the Eze Ego (King of Money) I of Ihiala a.k.a Udu Bunch a.k.a The Young Millionaire

 • The Igbo tycoon who died tragically at a time when he was to be celebrating his birthday, is the subject of this story

 • Make a mention No one would twitch a muscle if Victor Okafor is involved

When you mention Ezego, King of Money, however, many Nigerians' eyes light up with delight.

He would have been a billionaire in Africa. Hot smiles danced on his chubby cheeks, accentuated by a not-too-bushy moustache. He was fair-skinned, spoke softly, and his chubby cheeks were accentuated by a not-too-bushy mustache.

He was still very young at the time, but he was well-known and well-respected in Nigerian business circles.

Chief Victor Nnamdi Okafor, the Eze Ego (King of Money) I of Ihiala aka Udu Bunch aka The Young Millionaire, the Igbo tycoon who died tragically at a time when he was to be celebrating his birthday, is the subject of this story.


The late Ezego, a first son and native of Uzoakwa, Ihiala in Anambra State, was born on December 25, 1964.

Ezego's story is often cited as one of Nigeria's most popular rags-to-riches tales.

He attended Uzoakwa Primary School for primary school but was forced to drop out of Abbot Boys' High School in Ihiala for secondary school and eventually went into industry.

His childhood was traumatic, and when he was arrested for being a member of a robbery gang that showed Onitsha traders hell on earth, his own father reportedly disowned him.

Although some of his gangmates were apprehended and sentenced, Ezego fled to Umumeni Village, where his enraged father allegedly drove him out. He then traveled to his mother's village, Umuduru. However, things did not go well for him at Umuduru, so he moved to Lagos in 1989 to join a mentor.

What happened after that remains a mystery, but by the time the world heard of Ezego again, he was already a multimillionaire and one of Lagos's crème de la crème.

He built the Ezego Shopping Complex on Allen Avenue in Lagos (with a branch in Abuja) and the Ezego Plaza on the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road in Abuja. He operated and managed one of Nigeria's largest electronics stores from these locations.

Vic-Winners International Limited, Ezego Nigeria Limited, Ezego Holdings Limited, Vitex Zinc Co. Limited, and Ezego Properties Limited were among his other businesses.

Ezego constructed homes, villas, and mansions all over the world, including one made entirely of glass. All of his real estate outside of Ihiala was valued at around half a billion naira in 1999.

With the marble used for the walls imported from Italy, the sprawling mansion that served as his country home in Ihiala was worth another N500 million.

Ezego had one of the biggest private car garages in Africa at the time he was alive. He was a car enthusiast who was constantly stocking his garages in Ihiala and Lagos with the new models.

He once spent N14 million on two posh cars from Moontrends, owned by Tayo Ayeni: a Lincoln Continental Mark 8 sedan and a Mercedes Benz R230 convertible. In reality, when he died, he left behind a plethora of high-end automobiles, 70 homes across Nigeria and abroad, and over N10 billion in his bank account.

He married Laurita Nkechi, a princess from Akata in Imo State, who was fair-complexioned and pretty, and the couple had eight children. Princess Nkechi moved from Ajao Estate, where she had been living with her husband, to Lekki after his death.

According to Nigeria Business Guide, she was bringing her husband's business empire to new heights with her children studying at top universities around the world as of December 2013.

Ezego's first son, by the way, was born to a Japanese mother. Apart from his wife, Nkechi, he fathered children with other women.

Ezego left Lagos on the 23rd of December, as scheduled, for the southeastern region of Nigeria. He sped away in a convoy of six of his most ostentatious cars. A Lincoln Navigator (1999 model), limousine, blue Porsche, Lexus Jeep, Cherokee Jeep, and a new Honda were among them.

The curious thing about that fateful trip was that Ezego would usually travel to Enugu or Port Harcourt, then be driven to Ihiala in a convoy. However, the high number of people killed in plane crashes during that time span led him to change his mind. For the mogul, the result was catastrophic.

Ezego wanted to get behind the wheel of his Lexus jeep in the convoy and drive himself all the way from Lagos to Ihiala for unknown reasons. However, somewhere along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the first problem surfaced.

The trouble began when the Cherokee's jeep's engine failed. But Ezego was in a rush and couldn't bear the thought of missing his flight and being late. As a result, he wanted to continue ‘managing' the jeep for as long as he could.

However, by the time the jeep arrived in Asaba, Delta State, the car had completely broken down in the oil-rich state. Things had stopped being amusing at this stage. Ezego was visibly distressed.

However, you are aware of the dangers that Nigerian roads pose. Ezego did not want to leave his prized car vulnerable to robbers in the middle of nowhere in Asaba.

However, Ezego was said to have insisted on towing the broken-down vehicle alone, with him driving the Lexus pulling the Cherokee.

As a result, he was in front, while another of his boys was driving the Cherokee. No one could disagree with the boss, so they continued on their journey until they came to a fork in the road between Ozabulu and Okija on the Onitsha/Owerri Road.

They were only two kilometers from Ezego's hometown, Ihiala in Anambra State, and their final destination at the time, when death decided to reveal his dreadful figure.

While driving down a steep hill, Ezego allegedly collided with a weakened section of the road and abruptly stepped on the brakes.

The driver of the Cherokee behind him was caught off guard, and because he was unprepared for the sudden stop, he slammed his vehicle into Ezego's flashy Lexus, sending the millionaire tumbling into a deep ditch alongside the lane.

According to other sources, the towing chain between the two jeeps broke, causing the Cherokee in the back to ram into Ezego's Lexus, causing him to lose control and crash into that terrible ditch.

His convoy was thrown into chaos as soon as this occurred. Those in his convoy made frantic and futile attempts to pull him out of the ditch and get him medical help as soon as possible.

When they eventually got Ezego out of the ditch, he had a deep gash in his face and his face was heavily puffed up, disfiguring his otherwise attractive face.

He was rushed to the nearest Hospital of Our Lady of Lourdes (where Ezego incidentally made a donation of N15 million naira a few years before the accident).

Things quickly deteriorated, and to make matters worse, there was no doctor on duty. Ezego was already bleeding from his mouth, experiencing internal bleeding, and was in shock by the time a medical doctor arrived. All efforts to resuscitate him were futile.

His family members recommended that he be transferred to a better-equipped hospital in Port Harcourt right away.

His story becomes hazy at this stage because it's unclear whether he died on his way to Port Harcourt or while being prepared for a flight to Lagos from Port Harcourt.

Ezego died on Boxing Day, December 26th. He was just 34 years old at the time.

Even after Ezego's death, the scandals surrounding his life continued. Barnabas Igwe, his lawyer and the person in charge of carrying out his will, was assassinated along with his wife, Abigail, on September 2, 2002, just three years after Ezego's death. As a result, Ezego's will was never read, and the beneficiaries are unknown (at least as at January 2006).

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