The Rise and Fall of Obinwanne

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There is a place for charm, smarts, and boundless ambition. As in jungles’ laws and economics, cannibalism is taboo, often regardless of the threat to life and property.

Either be diligent, honest and smart about work, or become like of Obinwanne Okeke: get crafty, live lavishly, be featured on Forbes, and ultimately be imprisoned for 10 years or more for fraud.

A court in the US has finally placed a lid on Nigerian Okeke, the so-called entrepreneur. After spending 18 months shuffling between courtrooms and questioning, Okeke has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The verdict was delivered on February 16, 2021, even as friends and relatives of the 33-year-old accused had their fingers crossed for a lighter sentence. Okeke was convicted for defrauding some Americans of $11 million (about 4 billion). According to the prosecutor, Okeke had used subterfuge and impersonation—and global business emails and hacking—to pinch his victims and make their wealth his own.

Obinwanne Okeke used to be a business success model to young Nigerians (especially fanatics of motivational speakers). Okeke’s fame almost rose into godly ranks when he was featured on Forbes as one of the youngest and boundlessly successful African businesspeople to watch out for.

With his conglomerate, the Invictus Group, seemingly churning out bundle after bundle of cash in Nigeria and other African countries, Okeke’s prestige and momentum could not have been stopped by anything else until he was arrested for computer and wire fraud in August 2019.

The arrest of Obinwanne Okeke took Africa by storm. How quickly can one fall from the peak—Okeke’s life after that day in August is a case in point. And that is how financial cannibalism helped the brilliant Obinwanne Okeke secure a ticket to prison, to rest and reason with his actions, for the next 10 years.