Waila Reads: “I Do Not Come To You By Chance”

Every other day (that’s no exaggeration) my English colleagues, SugarDaddy and Teddy, receive emails from Nigerians desperately needing their help. Last week SugarDaddy received an email from a man called Nuhu Ribadu from the EFCC asking him to invest in a billion dollar project to fight corruption in Nigeria. On a $300,000 investment, he was guaranteed a return of $1,000,000. Yesterday Teddy received an email from an elderly Nigerian woman battling breast cancer. She had $35,000,000 tied up in an American bank account which she needed to offset her medical bills. Problem was the bank wouldn’t release it to her unless she paid a $3,000 admin fee.  She promised Teddy that should he be compassionate enough to hand over the admin fee, he would be rewarded with 10% of her tied up cash.  Do the maths.

Each time a 419 (fraudulent) email find its way into SugarDaddy’s inbox, I hear a chortle followed by a shout of ‘MEE, your mates are at it again!’ SugarDaddy is notoriously politically incorrect. Plus, we have the sort of relationship that gives him the right to take the piss out of me, no holds barred.  When the story of Tobechi Onwuhara went viral, I had to show it to SugarDaddy. I needed him to know that some of my ‘mates’ were professionals at what they did. They weren’t all ‘bloody amateurs’ as he likes to call them. We had a good laugh reading the article and it wasn’t till I got home that night that it occurred to me to feel bad for further tarnishing the image of ‘my mates’ in SugarDaddy’s eyes.

Luke O’Brien who wrote the article for CNN (http://bit.ly/dLOUsW) did a fantastic job.  The article reads like a Nollywood script directed and produced by Martin Scorsese. My friends cast Don Cheadle in the lead role but I reckon he’s a wee bit puny.  Chiwetel Ejiofor on the other hand, has the kind of swagger needed to make it thunderstorm. It is the best-written article I’ve read in ages.

A few years ago, I met a guy who had 419 inscribed on his forehead.  I go to know him quite well and was surprised to find he wasn’t a monster. He was actually a good friend…kind, thoughtful, considerate, warm and generous. Very generous. His generosity was what ended our friendship.  Every time I let him buy me a pizza or a cinema ticket, my conscience wouldn’t let me forget where the money came from. My refusals to let him pay for anything became an issue. He wanted to know why and I didn’t have the guts to tell him it was because he was a thief. I avoided him and eventually, he stopped calling.  A mutual friend of ours thought I was crazy. Why on earth would I let what he did get in the way of our friendship? According to her, as long as he didn’t involve us in his activities, we had nothing to worry about. I wasn’t convinced.

On that note, my book recommendation for this week is “I Do Not Come To You By Chance” by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani. The central character is a young man who finds himself drawn into a life of fraud.

As before, read and tell me what you think!


Waila Caan


  1. Atleast you knew your guy friend was 419.

    My first boyfriend in this country was the daddys of 419 I never knew till after 6months of dating.

    well sha i must have been playin naive cos in those days my friends were carrying old phones I was with the latest phone BT phone (yes BT phone followed by Nokia, lol).

    Well i am still shocked that i neva guessed he was yahooze… thanks to my aunty who kindly explained to me.. Obviously i dumped him b4 i even found out!


  2. “Every time I let him buy me a pizza or a cinema ticket, my conscience wouldn’t let me forget where the money came from.”



  3. I can’t believe I just stumbled on your blog..read all your posts to the very end and this babe…ur version of homour no de market…

    I have read the book and it is so hilarious, somehoe even though ehat cash daddy was doing was very wrong, I could not help but still see him as a hero somewhat in the light of him providing schlarships and all that. This is not to justify or rationalise his way of making money, but then the mugus that fall for his schemes are also on another level of greedy so serves them right!

    And to think that the protege did not leave the business at the end of the day, he only legitimised it.

    Looking forward to more posts…:-)


  4. So I just finished reading the Secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives & I do not come to you by chance.
    Funny thing’s that I’d already ordered them along with others before reading your post and I must say I enjoyed I do not come to you by chance better…

    I don’t know if it was the fact that there were certain Igbo nuances I could relate to or perhaps she was a better story teller….I was soo mad at Ola for ditching Kingsley and was convinced she was his soul-mate even until I flipped the last page….I felt at times like slapping Aunty Dinma for fancying herself outspoken….let’s not even start with Cash daddy or was it that silly dude that went to Iran to dupe his Mugu! Iran!!! Of all places???, who turned out to be the Mugu in the end lol…sad. It was as if I was watching one of those back in the day nigerian home videos ….I loved the book!

    I found Secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives a tad vulgar at times….the details took me aback as I was expecting some modesty….but it wasn’t bad altogether…it reminded me of “Chief” & his many wives and children in Checkmate and the subsequent spin off series “Fuji House of Commotion” on AIT….


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s