Nigerian fraudulent email scams are revitalized with an air of humor and lightness in Ishaya Bako’s fresh dramatic comedy I Do Not Come to You By Chance. Unemployed graduate Kingsley has always doted on his Uncle Boniface, a sleazy bum-turned-billionaire who orchestrates fraudulent scams to swindle money from naïve victims. The family possesses a strong moral disdain towards the ethics of these schemes, but all is changed when Kingsley’s father suffers a life-threatening stroke. In the aftermath, Kingsley scrambles to find a financial source for his father’s hospital fees. His solution comes in the re-arrival of the ever-generous God-like Uncle Boniface, who has amassed a cult-like following under the affectionate moniker “Cash Daddy.”
Down on his job prospects, Kingsley chooses to follow in his uncle’s footsteps by joining his massive fraud empire and immediately gains wealth, women and social status almost overnight. Scenes from Cash Daddy’s office play out in a comical, almost unbelievable sense. The execution of schemes, particularly one targeting wealthy British investor Mr. Winterbottom, play out in a larger-than-life comical heist fashion. Still, despite his newfound riches, the undercurrent of moral righteousness and culpability hangs heavily in the air as Kingsley’s mother pleads for him to stop working for his uncle. Yet, Kingsley is humanized as the stagnant economic conditions in which he exists helps to explain his questionable choices. He simultaneously grapples with the immense responsibility of being a firstborn son. These pressures build like a boiling kettle until his newfound life of opulence built upon dishonesty alleviates that pressure and his choices become easier for viewers to accept.
Against a backdrop of economic stagnation and the vapidness of Western philanthropy, the moral dilemma of maintaining one’s principles and integrity once experiencing financial freedom and socio-economic mobility weighs deeply on Kingsley.
Everything comes at a cost, and the film teaches us that it’s an arduous fight to break free from generational poverty.