Every week, Zikoko seeks to understand how people move the Naira in and out of their lives. Some stories will be struggle-ish, others will be bougie. All the time, it’ll be revealing.
When today’s subject on #NairaLife was 8 years old, he wanted to be a fraudster. Now, he’s managing projects for financial institutions and growing his career. But he’s not satisfied yet — not until he has four full-time jobs.
Tell me about your earliest memory of money.
I’m the last of four children. When I was about 8 or 9, my eldest brother had friends who had much more money than they should have had. Here’s how I reached that conclusion — my dad was a banker, and he couldn’t afford all the things they were affording so easily. They lived flashy lives, had cars and bought pizza often, and they didn’t have jobs. As I got older, I started going to cybercafes that doubled as game centres to play FIFA. Whenever I went there, my brother and his friends were there. I also knew that they used to pay ₦250 to stay there for overnight bowsing.
With time, I realised they were fraudsters who made a living by doing love scams. I wanted to be like them so bad. I started asking them to teach me and the answer I got was always, “When you get older.”
Did you ever learn?
Nope. I started hanging out with my immediate older brother who had converted from Islam to Christianity and was now playing the guitar in the choir. I only wanted to learn the guitar, but I ended up converting to Christianity as well. This was in 2007 and I was 14 and in SS 1. Because I was hanging out with a different group of people and going to church where they preached against things like fraud, I lost interest.
What did your family think about your conversion at such a young age?
For a brief period, my dad was against it. But because he was concerned about my eldest brother’s lifestyle and friend choices, and he saw that my other brother and I were well behaved, he left us alone. If changing religions meant we would turn out better, then he wasn’t against it. His family members slated him for it. They said he wasn’t man enough to take care of his children.
And your mum?
She left Nigeria for the UK to find greener pastures for us when I was a kid — sometime in the 1990s. At some point, her papers expired and she couldn’t come …….