A 46-year-old lotto vendor and barber, Mr John Manu Israel (alias Diago) from Essianimpong near Ejisu in the Ashanti Region met his untimely death at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital on February 26, 2017 after he was knocked down by a hit and run taxi driver as he attempted crossing the road to the Kumasi Children’s Park bus stop at Amakom.
The deceased had gone to render accounts of the day’s lotto sales to his master at Old Amakom and was returning to his shop which was about 30 metres away from the Justice Hotel at the Afful-Nkwanta area of New Amakom.
While returning, it started raining heavily and upon reaching a section of the road around the Kumasi Children’s Park, he managed to cross the first two lanes from the Adum direction of the road and stood on the median pavement of the road.
As he attempted crossing the second double lane to the Children’s Park area, he was knocked down by the taxi which was coming from the Anloga junction direction of the dual carriage road.
Since it was raining, he was left to his fate as he bled profusely with several cuts on his body.
About two hours later after the rains had subsided, someone spotted him lying in a pool of blood by the road and raised an alarm for an ambulance from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Hospital; he was subsequently rushed to the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital Accident and Emergency Unit for treatment.
He was, however, pronounced dead the next morning when the relatives rushed to KATH to see him.
He was married to Yaa Boatemaa; a petty trader at Afful-Nkwanta and had four children with her.
Dreams lotto numbers
Three-weeks after his untimely death, on a Monday morning, one Akosua Adutwumwaa, the wife of one of Diago’s friends from Ejisu, came to Afful-Nkwanta to inform her husband that she saw Diago in her dream the previous night and he gave her GH¢ 6,000 to be given to his wife to stake lotto so she could get enough money to organise a befitting funeral ceremony for him.
The friend, who knew of Diago’s “stand-by” numbers (it is a set of numbers he stakes every time and hopes it would drop sometime), staked 70-24-38-7-79, of which 70-7 dropped, leading to a massive win by the friends. However, the wife of the deceased had refused to stake.
Second golden chance
On the early morning of Tuesday, Akosua Adutwumwaa informed her husband once again that she had seen the deceased in a dream and this time he (Diago) was angry that his wife refused to stake the lotto as he had instructed the previous day; so he appealed to his friends to tell his wife to stake so she could get money for his funeral rites.
Diago’s friend, having won the stake the previous day, gave Yaa Boatemaa GH¢50 so she could stake with it, but she only staked GH¢5 out of the money and won after they staked 6-60-36-67-86 out of which 6-60 dropped.
Some residents of Afful-Nkwanta, Amakom, Asafo and Ejisu also staked the numbers and won.
Early Wednesday morning, news about the “ghost lotto numbers” went viral in Amakom and Asafo, two adjoining suburbs in Kumasi, leading to hundreds of people rushing to nearby lotto kiosks when it emerged that another person had dreamt and was given 2-13-16 by Diago to stake.
This led to the formation of long queues at Afful-Nkwanta, Amakom, Asafo and Ejisu to stake the ‘ghost numbers’ till the closing of the day’s lotto sales at 5 p.m. when the winning numbers were announced.
Unfortunately, none of the numbers for the third day dropped, leading to huge losses by the anxious gamblers.
Some of the lotto agents told The Mirror that their sales for Wednesday were among the highest in years as they took advantage of the ‘ghost numbers’ and the panic staking to make some money for themselves and for their masters.
When The Mirror visited Afful-Nkwanta and Amakom on Thursday, many were those who were angry for investing heavily without winning.
People of all ages – old men and women – as well as schoolchildren who had to borrow money from their friends and relations to stake the ghost numbers lost their money.
A 54-year-old petty trader, Madam Afia Nyamesem, was on Thursday morning spotted weeping uncontrollably near the Amakom market after she invested her capital of GH¢150, implying that she had lost her business outright.
Mr Yaw Owusu Ansah, a lotto agent, told The Mirror that if the third number had dropped, the agents and lotto operators in the area would have found it very difficult to pay for the winnings since the sales were so huge.
Information gathered by this paper indicated that within the two days, more than GH¢ 600,000 cash was won by various people who took part in the “ghost number” business with the single highest winning being GH¢ 60,000.
It was also gathered that some private lotto agents in the Amakom area were now out of business due to the high winning from the ‘ghost numbers’.
The burial and final funeral rites of Diago have, however, been slated for April 6 at Essianimpong in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality of the Ashanti Region.