My brother Isidore arrived Lagos from Onitsha one day and detook me out to a restaurant for a special treat. The restaurant in the Ikate area of Surulere, Lagos had the reputation of selling the best bush meat for miles around. After we demolished the delicacies my brother reached for his purse to pay but was instantly told that the bill had been settled! Shocked, my brother asked: “How? When?”
It was then the proprietor of the restaurant stepped out of his office and promptly told my brother: “No payment when you are with Borojah!”
The owner of the restaurant happened to be my buddy, and the story of his life amply illustrates that everything is possible in Lagos.
Ifeanyi Gabriel Adione, popularly known as Ikeotuonye or Bushman, is actually proud of the “Bushman” tag because he makes his money from selling bush meat. Born in 1957 in Oraukwu town of Anambra State, Ikeotuonye had his primary education in his hometown before setting off to learn the textile trade in Nnewi. He left Nnewi for Lagos towards the end of 1979 to engage in motor spare parts trading at Idumota market. He got married to Azuka in 1984 and was quickly blessed with three children – Tochukwu, Ikenna, Obinna, all boys.
He left the children in the care of their mother in 1988 and journeyed to Asia in search of greener pastures. He took jobs as a factory hand, working in a construction company as a carpenter and iron bender.
While the man was away, his beloved wife ran a small scale business of selling pap and akara in a mechanic workshop in Oduduwa Street, Ikate, Surulere. When the man later returned from abroad they set up shop in the nearby Onibuore Street, before moving to Olusesan Adetula Street, near the famous Kilo Hotel. No more selling of spare parts for the man; it was now isi-ewu, nkwobi, and bushmeat. It took no time at all for the family to make a killing.
“For now, we depend on local farmers in Ogun State to supply the bushmeat,” he informs. “I bought a bus for the farmers and built a house for them where they can relax watching satellite television, football, DVD. It is now time for investors to invest in botanical gardens for the growing of grass cutters, otherwise known as bushmeat.”
Ikeotuonye stresses that his achievements would not have been possible without the support of his beloved wife, Azuka. Said he, “From the day I married her, my mother-in-law told me that she’s full of talent, that she inherited her cooking prowess. She started the selling of akara and akamu such that she is still affectionately called ‘Iya Akamu’ by neighbours. She also sold Jollof rice, akpu, ofe-onugbu and so on.”
The company became incorporated as New Deal Foods Ltd and grew in leaps and bounds until it gave birth to a sister company known as Fadaland in FESTAC village, Lagos. The Lekki establishment, along the Lekki-Epe Expressway beside Aja Police Area Command, is a cynosure.” It has spread farther afield to the Ikotun-Ejigbo axis.
The Bushman of Lagos is a multi-millionaire and my bosom friend!