The MTN Ultimate Wonder “Win An Aeroplane” Promo was perhaps one of the most controversial promotions ever run by a telecommunication company in Nigeria. When news went viral that MTN was going to offer one of its subscribers a Cessna 182T aircraft or its cash equivalent, many people doubted the authenticity of the promo.
However, after a draw held in Lagos on November 13, 2012, a 27-year-old student of the Rivers State College of Health Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Gladys Ebube Essien-Garricks was announced winner of the promo.
Ebube, who is a 300-level student of Radiography disclosed that she had never dreamt of owning so much money in her lifetime. She comes from a modest family background of eight children, where she is the seventh.
She told Punch in a recent interview that she could not remember taking part in the lottery. At the time of the draw, her number was blocked and so she was contacted through her family friend’s number which was the last contact she made before her line was disconnected.
“I was surprised when I was called by a family friend that I had won because I thought it was not real. Before then, I had never played any game concerning MTN. Ironically my SIM card was blocked at the time. I had a code on my phone which I forgot and in the process of trying to decode it, my line was blocked.
“When he told me, I just told him to forget about it that it was the handiwork of 419 people. But later a lady called me from MTN to confirm it. I then asked her to unblock my line to convince me. She did so and it was at that point that I realised my fortune.
“I have never fainted in my life before, so when they called the amount I did not faint. I just became thirsty, I kept asking for water and I kept smiling, again and again. I thought I was dreaming but with the kind of people I have been shaking hands with, people hugging me, asking to take photographs with me, I think it’s an act of God. I can imagine how many numbers they played and mine was singled out, just like that,” she said.
Speaking on why she opted for cash equivalent instead of the airplane, she asked, ” If I took the plane, where would I park it? I just told them it was the cash I really wanted and nothing else. I was not persuaded to take cash. If it is something I worked for, I would argue but I never laboured for it. They said either the plane or the cash equivalent and I chose the cash.”
Ebube is not in a hurry to spend the money. She will let it ‘breathe some fresh air in the bank’ while she completes her education, she says. She now wants to be an “employer of labour” and would use the money to give her aging parents and siblings a ‘new life’. “God just wants to use me to bless the family so everybody has a share in it,” she said.
She says she is single and when she is ready for marriage, she would not go for anyone who is interested in her money.
“I know what love is,” she notes. “People are calling to ask my parents if I am married, some others are giving them promises. Even on the internet, I don’t have a Facebook account but someone has opened one in my name. If anyone is coming because of my money, I promise the person that he will not get a dime because I will make sure he doesn’t.”