Today, history remembers the story of Victor Okafor “Ezego”, the man who wields cash like no man’s business. A man whose bank account made tongues wag.
The controversial Lagos-based businessman was born on 25th, December 1964. He was reputed for a lifestyle of flamboyance, showiness and philanthropy.
He was a secondary school dropout but decided to move to Lagos to venture into business.
Within a short time in Lagos, the name Ezego was on the lips of people in the social and business circle.
Right in Lagos, he built the Ezego Shopping Complex on Allen Avenue which also had a branch in Abuja. Then, he had founded the Ezego Plaza on the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road.
From these spots, he managed and controlled one of the biggest electronics stores in Nigeria. In fact, Victor Okafor had other companies all over. Some of them were Vic-Winners International Limited, Ezego Nigeria Limited, Ezego Holdings Limited, Vitex Zinc Co. Limited and Ezego Properties Limited.
Ezego was able to build several houses, villas and mansions all over the country. One of the houses was made of glass.
That was not all, Ezego 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. In fact, his garage alone was valued at almost ₦1 billion. He once paid ₦14 million just to acquire just two posh cars: a Sedan Lincoln Continental Mark 8 and a Mercedes Benz R230 convertible from Moontrends. By the time he died, there were plenty of state-of-the-art cars, 70 houses all over Nigeria and overseas just as there was over ₦10 billion in his bank account.
Many believed that he garnered his wealth through diabolical means especially after his death and the activities that surrounded it.
Ezego’s birthday was on the 25th of December and it was his usual tradition to storm Ihiala, his hometown every Christmas for the double celebration (actually, it was a triple celebration: his birthday, Christmas and the New Year).
His kinsmen and women in Ihiala eagerly awaited his annual homecoming which meant a lot of goodies for everyone. And so it was that fateful December of 1999.
Ezego and everyone in his family were in high spirits and plans were fully made for the trip back home.
Ezego was in the habit of storming the sleepy, rustic hometown of Ihiala, impressing his people with his legendary wealth and affluence. Thus, the 1999 edition was no different. The whole of Nigeria would know that Ezego was in town.
On the 23rd of December, Ezego left Lagos as planned, heading towards the southeastern region of Nigeria. He took off in a most flashy style, in a convoy of six of his finest automobiles. These included a Lincoln Navigator (1999 model), limousine, blue Porsche, Lexus jeep, a Cherokee jeep and the latest Honda.
The interesting thing about that fateful trip was that Ezego would normally fly to either Enugu or Port Harcourt where he would then be driven in a convoy 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.
For some unknown reasons, Ezego decided to get behind his Lexus jeep in the convoy and drive himself all the way from Lagos to Ihiala.
Behind the wheels, Ezego was involved in an accident 2 kilometres away from Ihiala. There were attempts to rescue him but it didn’t work.
Ezego died on the 26th, December 1999. He was just 34.
Ezego’s death raised different opinions, one of the news that rented the air at the time was his affiliation to Okija shrine. This made everyone avoid his properties like a plague.
One would think that families and friends would be eager to take over his properties but this case was an exception.
The ₦500 million mansion belonging to the late billionaire is said to be abandoned and the aesthetics washed off and replaced with grass and weed.
Daily Times gathered that the mansion which houses lots of golden chairs and tables, expensive fabrics, rugs, electronics, electrical appliances, abandoned vehicles and others worth millions of naira is said to have remained untouched since the billionaire’s death.
Even with the high rate of robbery in the area where the mansion is situated, no robber seems to be interested in touching the building or the amenities it houses, even without security men. All for the fear of being dealt with by the deity which is assumed to have killed the billionaire.
The controversies in Ezego’s life and even after his death is palpable. 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).
Reports are that since Ezego, the king of money died years ago, members of the immediate family including his wife and children have not returned to the mansion.