Working Lives

Working Lives: The Woman Who Had to Become a Baba Ijebu Agent After Marriage

Working Lives: The Ubiquitous Agents of Baba Ijebu

You could also call them The Red Brigade – the men and women you see at bus stops or near the gates of mostly commercial buildings all over Lagos hurdled over small red machines the size of a POS terminal and surrounded by working class (i.e. people engaged in non-professional jobs like artisans) types. Probably everyone knows they are engaged in gambling but only a few of us have anything beyond this basic knowledge. We decided to find out more about the Working Lives of these people. They are agents of Premier Lotto, owned by Sir Kesington Adebukunola Adebutu. Sir Adebutu is from Iperu Remo, an Ijebu town, hence the alias, Baba Ijebu, which his business is known by. To win, punters have to correctly predict winning numbers. Many players believe there is a science to predicting the patterns of winning numbers while others think it’s down to luck. Some claim the numbers are revealed in dreams. And even by mad men! Whatever they believe, the agents of Baba Ijebu are everywhere in Lagos to help them play.

Working Lives: The Woman Who Had to Become a Baba Ijebu Agent After Marriage


I get paid based on 15% commission. So if I make N100, 000:00 in a day, N15,000:00 is my money for that day. That’s cool cash for me. I know of some people that supposedly work in offices as cleaners and get paid N15, 000:00 a month which is so sad. I am sure if I even calculate my money very well, I would be making more than what some of you that work in offices earn monthly. No be by mouth.

Mrs. Damilola Akintilebo, Ijaiye Ojokoro. Thirty Four Years Old


Where are you from?

I am from Ijebu Ode in Ogun State. I lived with my parents up until secondary school before I decided to come down to Lagos.

 When did you get to Lagos?

I came to Lagos in 2005. That’s 15 years ago. I came to hustle like everyone else and I am glad today that my coming to Lagos was not in vain.

 Tell me about your family?

I come from a family of three. My dad sells building materials back home in Ijebu Ode and my mom is a trader. She delivers garri ijebu across the country. I attended Our Lady of Apostle School in Ijebu Ode. I finished in 2004. I decided to leave for Lagos in 2005. My older brother came to Lagos before me. He is into construction or to put it a more direct way, he is a bricklayer. He left Ijebu Ode so he could make more money. When I got to Lagos, I was living with my brother and his wife in Mushin. But I have since then left to start a life on my own. I left my brother’s place in 2010 when I was about to get married.

 Where do you live and how much is the rent?

 I live with my husband and kids in a room and parlour self-contain in Ijaiye Ojokoro. We pay N5,000:00 monthly as rent.

How did you start working for Baba ijebu lotto?

So during the time when I was living with my brother, I was selling food just right beside the house we were living in. When I got married and I got to my new home, the food business was no longer an option for me because there was a lot of people selling food around me. I then started looking for an alternative. One of my husband’s friends suggested I started working for Baba Ijebu lotto since it didn’t require so much capital to start. All I needed was to construct a small pako (wooden) shop. That’s was how I started. All it cost me was about N35,000:00 to start up.

 How does it work – what are you expected to do when you get to the shop every day?

So after I did the registration and other basic things, I started immediately. All the registration took just a week. My husband was supportive. So when one gets to the shop every day, all you are expected to do is load the terminal machine and start attending to customers. There are different games that drop at different times of the day. It is as simple as that. When I say “load the machine” it simply means inputting a customer’s number selection in the on-line terminal, which produces your game ticket. The word “game” is just the street slang for “selected numbers” and these numbers are picked in a raffle draw at the headquarters. So, if a customer gets lucky, the number he played might be what actually comes out at the live draws.


Also Read: Working Lives: The NURTW Agent Who Got in Through His Pastor Dad’s Connect

A “terminal machine” used in processing the game

 How much do you make from sales in a day?

Well, averagely I make more than N50,000:00 in sales for the day. Then on days when things are very good and customers troop in to play games, I make above N100,000:00. This is not even a joke, I am telling you facts. In this same small shop you are seeing money comes in daily.

 How many hours do you work in a day?

I open at 7 a.m. daily and close at 11 p.m. Time is really not a problem for me because I live just right here so I can always open early or close late and make more money. Plus it’s really not a stressful job. Sometimes I even take a nap when customers are not around. It’s as easy as that.

 For how long have you been doing this job?

 It was after I got married  in 2010, so that is technically 10 years ago.

 How are you paid? 

I get paid based on 15% commission. So if I make N100,000:00 in a day, N15, 000:00 is my money for that day. That’s cool cash for me. I know of some people that supposedly work in offices as cleaners and get paid N15,000:00 a month which is so sad. I am sure if I even calculate my money very well, I would be making more than what some of you that work in offices earn monthly. No be my mouth.

 How do you remit the money? 

I remit the money daily. Whatever I make from sales today, I remit the next day at the head office in Ojuelegba.

 How much do you spend in a day? 

I don’t really spend much. I spend about N1,000:00 daily mostly on my kids. I don’t spend any money on transport to work daily since I am just beside my house. But I spend on transport when I have to remit money in Ojuelegba. So let’s just say I spend N2,000:00 daily at most.

 Have you ever opened a bank account?

Yes, when I started working for Baba Ijebu in 2010 I had to open a bank account. It was risky going about with such bogus cash. This is what I always do: I send the money to my account first with the local PAGA agent in my area. Then when I get to the head office, it’s either I withdraw from an ATM machine and remit with cash or just use my ATM card. There’s a POS machine at the head office.

 Do you have savings and how much do you save in a month? 

 Yes, I save. But not with the bank. I save with all these local alajos. Banks don’t know more than stealing our money all in the name of charges. It’s so annoying. I woke up one morning and discovered that about N500:00 was deducted for a charge I know nothing about. They said it was sms charge or something. It was so ridiculous. Since then I stopped saving in the bank. Apart from just putting money that I know I will spend within a day or two.

 Who are your customers?

Everyone plays here o. I don’t really have a particular set of people that come in to play apart from the regular people that live around here. Outsiders and passers-by also play. You know, one can play anywhere and claim the winning anywhere.


Also Read: Working Lives: The NURTW Agent Saving to Open a Carpentry Workshop

 How frequently do they win?

Ah! People win a lot o. As you can see someone just came to claim N50,000:00. He played the game last night before I closed. So that’s how it is, at least 5 people win big in a day. Agents pay in cash to customers who win. It is only on occasions where a customer win millions of naira that the money will be paid to a bank account.

 Do you play yourself?

No, I don’t. Anytime I tell people this they always think I am bluffing. I am a married woman and I have to support my husband with the bills at home. It won’t make sense that I spend my earnings on gambling. Even with the fact that I always see how people win and I always get the urge to play, I still don’t.

 Who are the smartest customers?

 Those that know how to forecast the game. There is one old man that has a book he uses in tracing numbers. I don’t know how he does it. But the man is clearly smart and knows what he is doing. He wins regularly. At least once in a week.

Very happy stories about customers?

There was this particular guy that won all through the week. He played from Monday to Sunday and he won all through. He won about N950,000:00 in total. I was so happy for him, he even gave me N20,000:00 to keep and he also gave my kids N5,000:00 for goodies.

Sad story about customers?

Well, I have really not had any experience with a sad customer. Apart from this one time when this customer wanted to play a particular number but by the time he got here I had already closed. The funniest thing was that the game he wanted to play came through. He was so pained and annoyed. If he had played the game, he would have won N150,000:00.

Most shocking thing that happened?

Hahaha. It was a very shocking experience and at the same time funny. I almost got robbed one morning like that. I was trying to get started for the day when these set of guys just came and pointed a gun at me. Thank God that I wasn’t with the money for sales from the previous day. That was clearly what they came for. Thank God, nothing sad happened and they just left hurriedly when they saw that I had no cash on me.

Average amount a customer stakes

 In a day, roughly N500:00. I am really not sure about weekly, I don’t really keep track of customers that come to play.


Do you have plans to venture into something else and leave this business?

Honestly, I have no idea right now. I told my husband about opening a shop to sell soft drinks and the likes, but he didn’t buy that idea. I am still trying to wrap my head around the kind of business I can venture into.

Related Articles

Back to top button

Subscribe to our newsletter!


Stay up to date with our latest news and articles.
We promise not to spam you!

You have successfully subscribed to the newsletter

There was an error while trying to send your request. Please try again.

Arbiterz will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.