Samankwe’s ‘I Don Tire’ – An Average Nigerian’s Quest For Affordable Housing

“So you hear things like, “I don reach foundation level” or “DPC (Damp Proof Course) / Lintel level”. If the target home is a storey building or more then the home owner’s savings may run out at ‘Decking’ Level after which he will cover the staircase access with a roofed small hut that has come to be known as an ‘I don tire’, an euphemism for exhausted savings. The ‘I don tire’ protects the staircase opening (and by extension, the completed lower floor) from the elements, particularly the rains, pending when the home owner saves up enough money for the second phase of the project.”

Jekwu Ozoemene

2002: The Dream – The Scraping, Saving and Purchase

Oga Samankwe was one of the lucky ones. He had a decent job in the banking sector, finally managed to get married, bought a brand-new-Tokunbo Toyota Camry and lived in a rented apartment in a middle-income neighbourhood of Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Oga Samankwe had finally ‘made it’, now officially a member of the elite 11% of emergent middle class Nigerians out of a 168 million population. This exclusive coterie had only just began to grow after the middle class mass extinction economic event of the mid 1980’s that left Nigeria with just the rich and the very poor.

But there was a problem.

‘Making it’ into the exclusive Nigerian middle class. As an Igbo man, especially an Igbo man from Oraukwu in Anambra state, Samankwe could not consider himself a real man, until he built a house of his own. One…

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