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The Computer Village Squeeze

One of the reasons that the average Igbo man would sell just about anything, anywhere, came to light at the Computer Village when our correspondent talked with some innovative young men in the software/hardware hub in the heart of Ikeja, Lagos.

To start with, 48-year old Joe Nwabueze, a relation of a feared native doctor from Ihunoma village, Mission, Enugu, gave Daily Timesone reason.

“If you go inside Enugu town, you will find some very rich families with big houses and exotic vehicles. The people around them know that one of their sons had given his life to become the source of that wealth, which, eventually, won’tlast for a long time. When they are making the medicine, the dibia(native doctors) don’t tell them how long they have to live and enjoy spending the money.

“After the person dies, the family, usually, becomes poor again, but, the big houses would still be there, with nobody to rent or buy them, because everyone knows the history. And when the cars cannot move again, they park them in the yard as memory.”

So why did you come to Lagos?

“I had two friends from the same family who wanted to be very rich; they wanted to become big men and there is nothing wrong with that. In Enugu, there is an adage that says, ‘If a rich man tells you what he did to become rich, you will prefer to remain poor for life. So they went to a native doctor to ‘cook’ them so that they could become millionaires”.

That native doctor was Joe’s uncle. He told the boys, Oke and Ike (not their real names), that he would, initially, turn them into vultures, then after performing his magic, he would turn them to human beings again and the boys agreed.

“We were told that the money ritual works like a vulture. You know that wherever there is a corpse, vulture is drawn to it. Money will become like a corpse; wherever there is money to be

made, things will happen: the person doesn’t have to work for it. Everybody will work, but they will be there at the right moment and reap the benefits”.

But the ritual went awry after the witchdoctor turned Ike and Oke into vultures; left them in his shrine and went to the market to buy the essential materials, but he didn’t make it to the market because he was killed by a reckless driver in a speeding vehicle as he tried to cross the road to the market.

When news of his death reached the neighbourhood; the two vultures flew out in the evening and perched on top of athatched roof, while the people, engrossed with the varied reports of the incident, were oblivious of what had happened in the witchdoctor’s shrine.

“By the second day, the vultures flew to their parents’ home and perched on the roof. When it was noticed that the two boys were missing, it was thought odd for vultures to be seen on top of a living family home, but the concern was the whereabouts of their sons.

“When someone shouted their names, ‘Oke and Ike, where are you?’ the two vultures were said to have responded through body movement while on the roof. Later, the truth became known. The boys died as vultures after the family could not find a way to reverse their condition.

“After that incident, many young people changed our minds to live by our sweat and labour, we decided to work hard with honesty and fear of God for our wealth and that is the main reason behind the unstoppable drive of most of usto make it anywhere, anyplace, but, not anyhow”.

The Igbo race is diversified through ethnicity; can that reason be generalised as the push behind the Igbo man?

“Maybe not generally, but the motive to make it clean is general. If our people go to Kaduna, Maiduguri or Kafanchan, without the necessary capital to trade, he or she can build up capital over time, by selling handkerchiefs, snacks, etc. until he gets enough money to start his trade line”.

Back to the Computer Village, Joe said the space squeeze was what brought the idea to turn your car into a showroom/shop.

“We call it ‘shop-car’ because it serves both purposes. Every trader with a shop or a whole house here is part of the success story or they inherited the shop or got it through a special arrangement. There is no new shop or space to rent in the village”, he said.

Daily Times investigation revealed that some traders who were displaced from Ebute-Ero were actually the group that said ‘look, every spot is a shop. If I park my car here, I will turn it to my shop and sell my goods.

They pay land rent to the market administration, which, in turn, honours its commitment to the Ikeja Local Government and its officials.

ChuksIgwebuike, one of the shop-car owners, showed our correspondent the contents of his car. Inside were goods he was advertising to customers while the goods on the car roof, bonnet and booth are for everyone to see and buy.”

The zeal and tenacity to ‘make it’ lawfully at the Computer Village underline the adage that says, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’.

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