There was excitement as residents, business owners, and traders in Ikeja community in Lagos State, on Friday, trooped out in their thousands to receive former Manchester United defender, Rio Ferdinand, who visited the Computer Village.
Ferdinand, who played 81 times for the England national team between 1997 and 2011, had earlier visited Nigeria in December 2018.
But his surprise visit to Computer Village on Friday surprised lot of his fans despite knowing that the English would be visiting Nigeria for the Pan-African Finale of the Guinness Night Football.
The fans said they never anticipated Ferdinand’s visit to the Computer Village, a market where Information and Communications Technology accessories are sold in Lagos State, Nigeria.
During his visit to the popular tech market, people rushed out to take a glance of the Old Trafford legend, struggling to take a selfie with him.
Many of the traders also abandoned their wares and put business activities on hold over the Champions League winner’s visit.
Commenting on his visit via his verified Twitter handle, Ferdinand said, “Love This City.
The vibes and everything about it!”
Some of the traders at the Computer Village, who spoke to our correspondent, expressed their delight at meeting the football legend.
“I am so proud of myself right now. Thank you, Ferdinand, for identifying with the hustlers in Nigeria,” one of them, who identified himself simply as Adewale said.
Another trader, Emmanuel Eke, said he was amazed at the hero’s reception given to Ferdinard during the visit.
He said, “Imagine what the visit of this hero had done to our vicinity; Computer Village is a very popular place but I have no doubt that with this, it has become even more known to people outside Nigeria.
“For the first time, I saw people of Ikeja rushed out of the shops, offices and some even leaving their goods unattended, without minding the implications that some people could take advantage of the pandemonium to carry out evil acts.”
“Trust me, the people of Ikeja computer village will never forget today (Friday),” a female trader, Chidinma added.
A phone seller, Stanley Ossai, said, “This is like the best day of my life and I will tell my children of the day I saw a Manchester hero (Ferdinand).
“Not even in my wildest dream would I have imagined what happened today. I want to thank the organisers for making today such a wonderful day for me.”
A petty trader, Ahmed Sanni, added, “I sold all my snacks today because of the large crowd that came to see Ferdinand. His presence here was really good for our business and we hope there will be more of this because he made the market livelier.”
The 41-year-old Guinness ambassador was visiting Nigeria for the third time to attend the Pan-African Finale of the Guinness Night Football Campaign held on Friday.
The event saw a performance from African musicians including Sauti Sol of Kenya, Bebe Cool of Uganda, Salatiel of Cameroon as well as Ajara Njoya of the Cameroun Lioness, join Davido perform on stage.