During a visit to southeastern Nigeria in early 2014, Andy hires laborers to begin construction on a tract of land he owns north of Onitsha's city center, the most promising of three properties he purchased with profits from his two nightclubs in Tokyo's Kabuki-cho entertainment district. Word spreads that an entrepreneur living abroad is developing the site, and Andy's workers are soon attacked by a group of machete-wielding locals who say the government never compensated them when the land was originally expropriated.
Andy blames himself for leaving the plot empty too long; vacant land attracts extortionists. But it's good luck he's home when it happens, and better luck the land has turned out to be worth fighting over — a renowned businessman has begun developing the adjacent plot, promising to turn it into one of the nation's premier dining and entertainment complexes.
For the first time since he traveled to Japan to help his brother ship auto repair equipment back to Nigeria in 1997, Andy, whose parents lost their life savings decades earlier at the end of the Nigerian Civil War, believes he is an important step closer to securing a middle-class life for his family. He is 46 years old. In Tokyo, he is married to a woman who has never wanted children. Nor has he — not in Japan. He is also married in Nigeria, to Joy, 29, who is three months pregnant with their first child. They live behind another of his investment properties, an apartment complex. Their house is big for two, small for a family. He can manage, at best, three months a year in Nigeria.