Sipping Moet & Chandon champagne or Hennessy brandy amidst the ruins in Nigeria

April 6, 2012

Society/Living

Above title by Blogger

 

REAL TITLE:  Porsche opens car dealership in Lagos

Reuters, Monday, 19 March 2012 15:11 R

Nigeria’s super rich are no strangers to conspicuous consumption, and there’s no better way to flaunt your wealth than by buying a brand new European sports car.

German carmaker Porsche officially opened a new car dealership on Friday in the heart of Lagos’ wealthiest district, Victoria Island, a place with one of the world’s highest concentrations of millionaires.
There are already dealerships specialising in Aston Martin and Lamborghini, but Porsche hopes to capitalise on a promise of providing sturdier vehicles that can cope with Nigeria’s rough roads. Its presence is being seen as a vote of confidence in the West African nation’s fast-growing economy.

Porsche also plans to set up an operation in the capital Abuja, where roads are newly built – a better market for the 911 sports model – and where politicians are amongst the world’s most highly paid. “The African continent, and in particular Nigeria, is of growing importance to us at Porsche,” the company’s Middle East and Africa head George Wills said, unveiling the new 911 model.

High-end goods producers are increasingly targeting sub-Saharan Africa, as its economic growth starts to dwarf other continents and rich Western countries face a slowdown. Nigeria, Africa’s second biggest economy, grew 7.68 percent in the last quarter of 2011, one of the fastest in the world. Two of Africa’s top five richest men are Nigerian. “We’re quite confident the numbers will be strong,” Wills told Reuters in front of the new 911 sports car, after a Porsche official revved its engine for flashing cameras. “It’s difficult to put a finite number on it, but certainly enough to give a return on this investment,” he added.
Porsche Nigeria general manager Julian Hardy estimates 200 Nigerians own Porsches – the dealership had been running prior to the official launch since July and sold an undisclosed number, and rich Nigerians have been importing them for decades.

The richer rich

At a party to celebrate Porsche’s launch, Nigerians in sharp suits and cocktail dresses drank martinis and danced around the 911 display model to live music. “You can drive around Lagos … then take your car to the race track and become a beast and go wild,” said Emmanuel Ngala, an IT consultant who owns a Cayenne 4×4 and is buying a 911.

The firm’s sales target for 2012 is 100 cars, and it hopes to hit a stable sales rate of around 300 a year, compared with 800 in South Africa. Average prices currently range between 21 million naira ($133,000) to 30 million naira ($190,000). The oil wealth of Africa’s biggest producer has made multi-millionaires of its elite in the past few decades, even while absolute poverty has increased to 60 percent of the population. Lagos embraces some of Africa’s most expensive real estate alongside some of its most crowded slums.
On one street, a Hummer drives past a tramp sifting through a dustbin. The car park at the Porsche show rooms has several models. “It’s a nice car,” said employee Mohammed Ibrahim, as he hosed down a chrome coloured Cayenne and shined it to a sparkle with a cloth. On his 20,000 naira a month salary it would take him 125 years to afford one if he didn’t buy anything else. “God might give me a car like this one day. He can do that, if he wants to. He can do anything,” he said, grinning.

Big men and motors

Sandwiched between the lagoon that led Porteguese sailors to name this city ‘Lagos’ and the Atlantic, Victoria Island is a place of fund managers in fine woollen suits and oil oligarchs.
The faces of glamorous women smile from billboards advertising mobile phones. Luxury 4x4s is everywhere. But it has scant electricity, most roads are sandy, potholed and patrolled by beggars in rags. Poor drainage means they flood – in the rainy season, fishermen sometimes traverse them by canoe, raising doubts about the practicality of sports cars like a 911.

Other luxury brands have however made it big in Nigeria. It is a significant African market for LVMH. Most bars can get you Moet & Chandon champagne or Hennessy brandy, which women sip next to their Louis Vuitton handbags. The “Auto Lounge” in Victoria Island lets you enjoy an expensive drink overlooking a garage of Aston Martins.

Paris-based magazine Jeune Afrique last year placed Nigeria at the top of Africa’s champagne consumers, guzzling 593,000 bottles in 2010, 50 percent more than richer rival South Africa.

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6 Comments on “Sipping Moet & Chandon champagne or Hennessy brandy amidst the ruins in Nigeria”

  1. emotan77 Says:

    From my tolaadenle@emotanafricana.com Mail Box

    Like in the commercial for lottery ticket Mohammed the cleaner has ‘a dollar and a dream’ on his N20k salary saying God can give him a porsche one day. Stupid man.

    Baderin

    Like

    Reply

    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Mr. Baderin.

      It’s nice all postings on this blog remain open to readers and for comments or else we’d have missed your interesting comments.

      Many people in Nigeria, unfortunately, have Mohammed’s mindset: that if they hang around long enough, and pray hard enough, their turn at good things and fortune would come.

      It’s exactly the reason why the thieves in government get away with the looting that’s reached unprecedented level in Nigeria. Why get mad when your turn will soon come!

      Regards,
      TOLA.

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      Reply

  2. Falade A.G. Says:

    This will be the third time I came across this ignoble show of wealth. But, can we really question how a group of super rich Nigerians spend their money? I don’t mind if the wealth is not ill-gotten. However, the probability is that they are avaricious thieves. I doubt if anyone of them is a ‘small fraction of a philantropist’ like Bill Gates.
    Let’s leave them alone; for in the not too distant future they shall pay for their evil.

    Like

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Thanks, Prof.

      I agree that nobody can or should begrudge wealthy people enjoying their material acquisitions but the Nigerian variety are, for the most part, parasitic leeches whose life-blood is the impoverishment of the masses through inflated contracts at best or outright looting.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

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      Reply

  3. Fatai Bakare Says:

    Nigeria is such an unfortunate country. There is nothing bad if a businessman buys himself a luxury car to exhibit his class. But how many of our rich businessmen can swear that their money is through legitimate means without the patronage of contracts from the various federal government? How on earth can somebody buy a car as costly as $133,000 or about N21m?
    How many young students has he given scholarships for secondary and university education? Has he ever thought of the maternity or local clinic in his village with drugs and equipment? How many people young and old did he create jobs for? How many kilometers of roads did he tar in his village? There are so many dilapidated buildings in our primary and secondary schools begging for renovations. Research centres at our Universities are crying for funds and so on.

    Honestly, in a sane environment, anybody driving around in such porsche cars should be questioned to know the source of his money in a country where it is difficult for a number of families to have a single meal per day. The irony of the whole thing is that at the demise of such people, their children will be unable to maintain such lavish cars and houses and will all rot away. This life is vanity.

    Revolution, where is thy face?

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    • emotan77 Says:

      Thanks, Fatai. Even the condescending tone of the Reuters report is enough to make one cringe. It probably says a lot about the lack of self-worth these people must feel about themselves that they’ll ride these – pardon me, but the writer did infer stolen wealth – vehicles among the ruins that Nigeria has become. They drive to parties attended by people who ride to same parties on Nigeria’s “taxis” – the two-wheeled okada and their wives go to the same stinking markets that are not developed to modern standards because of their looting – like other poor women.

      It is inconceivable to find these mostly looters think as you’ve suggested here.

      Regards,
      TOLA.

      Like

      Reply

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