Akuma, an indigene of Okposi Local Government Area of Ebonyi state, described the day as the happiest in his lifetime, saying his years of toil and hustling were over following the jackpot win, and urged all Nigerians to embrace Plentymillions Lottery as it is "real".
"Actually I am very, very happy and I want to say thank you to EG&H, operators of Plentymillions National Lottery. In fact, if I want to tell you how I feel, we will not leave this place today because today is one of the happiest days of my life, I have never seen something like this before, but it is because of God, and perhaps fate that I am a millionaire today", Akuma declared, adding:
"Now I know it is real, plenty millions in your hand today is real, and I want everyone to play it, just small money and you can become the next jackpot winner", Akuma said, stressing that everyone from bankers, students, market women, the unemployed all have an opportunity to change their lives and destiny with a token of"N50.00" like he did in the Plentymillions lottery."So I am happy,I am happy, today is my day", he emphasized, tears of joys dotting his cheeks, just as he said he was going to invest and use the money judiciously in order to ensure that he never returns to the streets again to hustle.
Speaking at the Presentation Ceremony, MD/CEO of EG&H Integrated Concepts Ltd, Mr Thompson Eja said the event was to celebrate the biggest Jackpot Lottery winner in the history of Nigeria by the name Anthony Akuma, adding that in 2005 the Federal Government passed the National Lottery Act with a goal "to create an environment where we can have a lottery in Nigeria that rivals what you have in the UK, what you have in America, what you have in the Philippines, what you have in South Africa, and our goal as a licensed operator in Nigeria is to create exciting lotteries that can enable things like this happen, so that when somebody wins your lottery, it changes their lives".
He expressed the hope that "Mr Akuma's life, being the first huge winner of a jackpot lottery in Nigeria, will be positively and significantly impacted", even as he lamented that Nigeria with a population of over 180 million people is the only country in the world without an exciting Lottery scheme.
He recalled that in the US, the U.K. and even South Africa, people win millions and billions of dollars in lottery schemes, while in Nigeria the first huge jackpot winner is taking home N5.6million only, stressing: "Our goal, and the goal of the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) is to see routine jackpots wins in the excess of N100 million in Nigeria. I think it can happen, I know it can happen, and I hope we will lead and be pioneers in making that happen.
"For that to happen though, I believe we have to create partnerships. Given the nascent technology infrastructure in Nigeria we are going to be working closely with Tech companies and also with the banks to make it easy for people to play, and to make it easy for people to play, and we will continue to improve our infrastructure to ensure that the next time we gather here we will be celebrating an even bigger winner", he concluded.
In his remarks, the Representative of the Director General of the Commission, Mr Sabi Agba congratulated operators of Plentymillions for being able to break through with the successful jackpot wining. He also saluted the winner, Mr Akuma "who is the first jackpot winner in Nigeria" as well as First and Diamond Banks who are partners in the scheme.
He said government, through the 2005 Act established the Commission to regulate the practice of Lottery business in Nigeria to among other things, ensure that "when people play Lottery, the rules are set before them, and they know what they are doing, they know what they are going into, and people don't change the rules in the middle of the game. This was happening before the Act came into being
"It is also to ensure that the whole process is transparent, and also to ensure, as we are doing today that when people win they get their winnings," adding that the practice in the past where operators change the wining price after the draws is a thing of the past as the Commission is effectively monitoring and supervising the process.
He further added that the main reason for his presence at the ceremony was to give an endorsement to what EG&H has done, and to ensure that "after the presentation of the Big Cheque, the winner gets his money as soon as possible".
Also in her remarks, a representative of the Partner financial institution, Diamond bank, Mrs Nneka Umeh while congratulating the jackpot winner said at this time of the year when the country is experiencing a recession this will certainly send positive vibes across the country, adding that lottery is definitely going to make a difference in Nigeria, especially in the retail segment of the banking industry where you have the mass market and the high under-banked.
She expressed optimism that "after today, Plentymillions will be more known everywhere, people will know that phone is not only for calls, and that you do not need one hundred thousand Naira to play lottery and change your life. N50 has changed his (Akuma) life today, and am sure if he had gone to church and someone told him he will be a millionaire today, he would not have believed".
In her brief remarks, the representative of First bank PLC, Mrs Binta Hassan said the bank provides financial services solutions to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of government as well as the private sector, pledging that the bank will continue this partnership to provide the service to all who need it. She expressed the hope that more jackpot winners will emerge in the Plentymillions lottery, and that the scheme helps the government and the operators in ways that will bring about more development like more schools, hospitals, etc in our neighborhoods.