Goddy Anabor’s life unfolds as a fascinating narrative of rise and fall.
Once a revered figure in Nigeria’s elite circles, Anabor, former publisher of Hearts Magazine, enjoyed the adoration of musicians and Lagos’ high society for his generosity and affluent lifestyle.
His fortunes, however, took a dramatic turn when allegations of fraudulent activities, particularly involvement in the notorious Yahoo scam (419), surfaced.
Anabor, when confronted about his actions, defended himself with a philosophical stance, asserting that Yahoo was a means of reclaiming what had been stolen from his ancestors. This explanation, though provocative, ignited discussions and debates.
Despite the shadow cast by his controversial wealth accumulation, Anabor invested in diverse ventures. He founded Heart Magazine, a successful romance publication that rivaled Hints Magazine, providing a gateway to sex education for many.
His foray into the color printing business, serving media giants like This Day and Punch newspapers, showcased his versatility. Additionally, he ventured into the then-nascent security industry, leaving a mark as one of its pioneers. His influence extended to the real estate sector, accumulating an impressive portfolio of over 100 buildings in Lagos.
Beyond material riches, Anabor exuded charisma and charm, evidenced by his ability to captivate those around him.
He once disclosed a staggering 3 billion naira deposit in Equity Bank in 1990, equivalent to 70 billion in today’s currency. Foreign ambassadors attended his extravagant parties, highlighting his unmatched status as a Nigerian socialite.
Anabor’s legacy extends beyond his opulent lifestyle; he was recognized for his care and empowerment of women. His support and empowerment endeared him to Nigerian women, especially the influential figures in Lagos society, who now stand as mothers and grandmothers.
Goddy Anabor’s journey from luxury to taxi driving (alledgedly) is a poignant reminder of the intricate nature of human existence and the unpredictable twists in life.
His story reflects the complexities of wealth, societal standing, and each individual’s unexpected journey.
The tale of Goddy Anabor is a remarkable one, showcasing a journey from a Nigerian billionaire businessman to a humble taxi driver now trends on online.
You were big then; didn’t you invest your money wisely then?
I invested a lot of my money, but I ran them down because of corruption and mismanagement of the people handling the businesses. When you have a business, employing reliable people and giving them some percentage of the investment or profits to get their commitments is very good. I learned that lesson immensely. I was putting my wife and my family they ran the business down. My wife, Anthonia, even shared money with people on purchases and supplies. My workers were building houses without letting me know about the money they were making from the companies.
How did you meet Anthonia?
I met her at a Police Station when I had a problem. She was a Sergeant then, a wonderful woman. She was working with Dan Baba then and trying to assist me.
Was she your first wife?
No, my first wife is an Ijebu woman called Toyin, and she is still alive. I used to call her Toyin Tomato; she was always with Kolington, Tayelolu, and the like.
Why did you part with her?
I parted with her because she likes parties a lot.
But you were also going to parties then?
I went to parties, but I could not leave my family and go to parties. She used to leave our little son and go to parties. She had three children for me. My first daughter, Bose, is a Ph.D. holder in London. I have another one who is a doctor, and Tunde, who is in America.
Are they aware of your situation?
Yes. They’ve tried.
I knew you had properties on Isaac John and Alabi Crescent in Ikeja; what happened to them?
They took advantage of me because they knew I needed money. I was offered N80m by a man called Basorun A.K for a house of about N300m. He has been in jail for nearly ten years now because he was a drug dealer.
What about your Guest House on Joel Ogunnaike, GRA, Ikeja?
I rented it and gave it to Shina Eddo, who also rented it from the family that owns it. Shina is a very good person to me.
What happened to your fleet of cars because you had a penchant for them?
I had over 50 cars like Bentley, Rolls Royce, and others. I usually bought cars that were newly manufactured. Household enemies are the problems of my life. God has made me see that those I trusted don’t care about me.
Why do you think everyone neglected you?
It’s corruption and distrust. I gave at least 60 percent of all I had to people. I’m so happy on the street because people like Ade Balogun take care of me.
What about Dare Babs; who was he to you?
He was my driver. I brought him from Abeokuta to Lagos while working at the Breweries. We had a problem because of some little money of $5m, which Kenny stole, though we’ve settled it. He’s a very good person, but I last heard from him a few years ago.
What’s your relationship with Oghadiome?
He is my village brother, my compound brother from Fuga in Edo State. The late Admiral Akhigbe was the governor of Lagos State then; he was the one who made Oghadiome become a deputy to Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State. When he became Jonathan’s chief of staff, I went to Abuja to look for him.
I was thinking he would call me for something important because when his mother died, I was there. Even when they were building the secretariat in Fugar, I was the one who contributed the most, and they named a hall there after me: Godwin Anabor Hall. Today, none of them recognizes me, and it’s hilarious.
Do you think what is happening to you is Karma because you used to ‘obtain’ people then?
In the Bible, God says,” If you believe him, he will give you joy. And for those who don’t believe him, he will give them the power to acquire, but those who believe in Him will take it from you.” God gave me money; I did not obtain it; it just came. If I got it, they would have arrested me. I’ve never been on trial or jailed for any offense. I don’t have such a record.
For your information, I know I will come back again; that’s why I’m speaking like this. I will return because you’re bound to go up and down seven times and still have the grace. I believe in God.
What is your greatest joy in life?
My joy is that I did not die and give people the opportunity to say good things about me when I’m gone. I’m alive to see how people are treating me when I don’t have. People I taught how to make money then and who are now rich don’t want to touch me.
Ambassadors of foreign countries used to attend your parties; what was your connection with them?
It’s because I’m honest. If you’re real, people will come to you.
Tell me about your background; where are you from?
I’m from Fugar, Auchi, in Edo state, but I was born in Kano and grew up in Osogbo.
What about Ade Bendel? I learned he is your friend.
He is like my brother because he is from Owan in Edo State; I met him in Lagos. I heard that he had some problems and he’s in prison; that’s all I know about him so far.
If you come back again, what lessons have you learned in life?
I want people to know that the friend you have now is not your best friend; in fact, your household enemy is your family. It’s just you and God. Always watch your back.
Who is left with you now?
It’s God, and He is working because I’m living and enjoying. I still believe in Philippians 4:13. ‘I can do everything through Him who strengthens me.’
There was a report that you are now driving a cab; is that true?
People are just writing whatever they like. A lot of people want to give me cars and other things. When God has blessed you, he has blessed you. Did you not see my driver? Yes, he drives me in a Toyota called Pencil Light, but I’m not the one driving or doing kabukabu with it. I’ve learned to live with my condition after all; I’m alive to see it all.
What is your greatest prayer to God now?
My prayer can be found in Psalm 1, which says, ‘Blessed is the man who does not walk in the midst of the wicked.’ He says he will bless them and make them like trees planted by the riverside. That’s why I prayed that I would become a rich man. Forget about gossip.
How old are you, chief?
I’m 55, and I was born on February 19.
Where is Anthonia and your children now?
They’re in London.
Tell me your last word.
My last word is that everybody should watch their back because there are household enemies.