In the last 10 years, it has become fashionable for Nigerian big boys – rich in themselves or children of highly moneyed men or just plain upwardly mobile gentlemen- to use superbikes, popularly called powerbikes, as symbols of class. With loud noises to draw attention anytime they pass by, it is common to see these young men on the streets of Lagos, Abuja and other cities. While some get customised number-plates for their machines, some get general numbers. The bikes move at top speed, as much as 350 km/h, to the fascination or shock of onlookers.
Not that the bikes are more usually more expensive than an average car, but it appears the men enjoy the attention – or it is just plain hobby. The prices range to N400,000 to as much as N5million, depending on the capacity of the machine. Some of them have formed bike clubs and ride bikes across cities in Nigeria, some to neighbouring countries like Niger Republic and Ghana, for fun, for adventure. Unfortunately, bike accidents have claimed the lives of some of these bikers.
Some of the Nigerian “big boys” who have died as a result of bike accidents include:-
1. Tonye Boma Claude-Wilcox
Tonye was an oil and gas magnate and CEO of Petroleum Brokers Limited, an oil and gas company. He was a bike lover and had fun with the machine while it lasted. He was rich enough to hire private jet to Calabar to attend the event he wanted to attend but chose to bike it. He crashed his bike at Ihiala, Anambra state, on his way to Calabar from Lagos to attend the burial of the father of another biker friend. He was riding in a group of 5 when he crashed the bike against a vehicle. He died instantly. He was in his mid-40s. No less personality than CEO of Oando did obituary for him in the newspapers. He was that big.