Is this a trap of some sort? Ade pondered, as he waited indefinitely in the small, poorly lit hut. Apart from the sound of the flies which buzzed over his head, the room was as quiet as a graveyard. Could it be that Emeka and Bulus had tricked him into walking into the lion’s den? His anxiety soared. And just as he anticipated his next line of action, an old man, clad in white and red emerged from the inner room.
Ade heaved a sigh of relief and anxiety at the same time.
“Young man,” the old man began solemnly, “I saw a great door of opportunity opening before you…a big one…”
“Ssh!” he hushed him, “I have a feeling the spirits still have something more to say,” he shut his eyes and made some invocations.
Ade’s eyes ran through the small, smelly room. How is it that the man had not been able to use his psychic powers to conjure greatness for himself? Quit bothering yourself! He cautioned himself, if his predictions came true for Okechukwu and Bulus, then mine should not be an exception.
“This great door of opportunity is in the future,” the old man announced, opening his eyes.
“In the future?” Ade’s voice flattened, “Oh, please, Baba, I want it now!”
The old man furrowed his brow and brought the lantern closer to the young man as though he was just seeing him for the first time.
“Oh you want it now? That’s no problem, that means robbing Peter to pay Paul,” he laughed wryly.
“I don’t mind, Baba, just help me.”
“Then consider it done,” he announced, “before the end of this week, your step mum is going to hand over your late father’s company to you.”
“Just like that? Baba, that lady is a very shrewd business woman; nothing in this world would make Madam Eniola Arowolo to surrender the company to anybody.”
“You’re right,” he laughed huskily, “she is a tough lady. You just leave everything to me; the spiritual controls the physical. Eniola, would of her own accord hand over the business to you.’
“For real?”” he leapt and hugged the old man vehemently.
“Young man, that’s okay, ” the old man winced, “I say it’s okay. Are you a gay?”
“Oh, no sir. I’m very sorry baba,” he knelt before him, “I was just too excited. Thank you very much. And like I promised you earlier, I have a good package for you.”
He produced an envelope from his pocket and stretched it before the old man.
“Drop it in that calabash first for cleansing,” he ordered.
“Okay baba. Once again, I’m very grateful.”
“That’s okay. Ade, the baton of ownership is now yours; go and rule your world!”
“Thank you, baba, I’m grateful sir,” he bowed and hurriedly took his leave.
Eniola Arowolo faced her workers with a solemn look as though she was a judge about to pass a death sentence on them. It’s been over a year she had had a meeting with her entire member of staff. Sitting beside him was her step-son, Ade Arowolo, gleaning from ear to ear like an excited groom.
“Good morning, ladies and gentlemen,” she began in a fallen tone.
“Good morning, madam,” they chorused.
“Without mincing words, I called this impromptu meeting just to inform you of the transition that is about to take place in this organization. With effect from today, Ade Arowolo, my step son, would be taking over the leadership of this great organization”
A wave of commotion swept around the office auditorium. But somehow, she maintained her composure, allowing the information to sink well.
“It’s natural for you to react that way,” she continued, “but I believe it’s for the interest of every one of us…”
“Noooooo!” the tumult erupted once more, “It’s you or no one else!”
“Quiet please! Quiet everyone! This is not subject for debate. The official handing over commences by next month. But I’m just informing you now, so that you can get used to seeing Ade around here often, and secondly, so that I can do a proper handing over before he takes up the mantle of ownership.”
An unusual silence hung in the air; as the workers appeared too shocked to make further utterances.
“Please, don’t ask me why; it’s personal,” she sniffed as though suffering from cold, “I want you all to give him your maximum support.”
She sniffed again and hurriedly strode out of the auditorium, but was followed by two of her key personnel.
“Madam, please tell us what’s the matter?” the Chief Operating Officer accosted her at the lobby.
“Williams, please leave me alone.”
“Madam, I think there is something fishy which you’re hiding from us,” the young man persisted, “please, tell us, who knows, we could be of help to you.”
“Yes, ma’am, tell us,” the Accountant concurred, “with all due respect, ma’am, “you’re just acting weird. Knowing who you are and the sacrifices you’ve made for this organization, you’ve never behaved irrationally before.”
“I’m…” she broke down in tears…”I’m sorry, I’m equally more shocked than any of you. I can’t explain the reason for my actions…just take it that way…please excuse me…” she left them more confused than ever.
“What do you say to this?” the Accountant turned to his counterpart.
“There is no smoke without fire,” he replied. “I’m suspecting some sort of African remote control, at work.”
One month later, Ade Arowolo assumed his new position as the MD/CEO of Bakers’ Delight Nigeria Ltd.
As he was settling down in his office one morning, his phone rang.
“Hello, Otunba Abayomi…” he began, his phone tucked in between his ear and shoulder, as he poured himself a bottle of wine, “the party was out of this world…you won’t believe who I met in Paris…of course…I’m going back there next week for my girlfriend’s birthday party…. can’t miss a thing, my friend…okay…bye.”
Few minutes later, the Accountant walked in with a file.
“Good morning sir,” he began.
“What’s good about the morning?
“Hope you’ve not come to discuss money matters with me?”
“Well, sir, no one can take away money from the vocabulary of an Accountant.”
“Okay, go on, but make it very snappy.”
“Sir, I was shocked at the proposal you turned down for the purchase of the new chemicals.”
“Has the procurement officer made you his spokesman?”
“No sir; we work as a team here.”
“Okay, Team Manager, what is shocking in my decision?”
“Sir, we’re in a competitive line of trade, and our competitors have already upgraded to the latest trend. If we fail to comply, we’d lose our share of the market. The customer is the king, remember?”
“And I am the king of my business,” Ade stood in fury, “My father built this business empire without consulting anyone of you here.”
“Your right sir, that’s why you need to uphold the integrity of the…”
“Mr Accountant cum Team Manager, please, leave my office!”
“I”m sorry sir…very sorry sir. Please sir, I’ve one more thing to say.”
“Don”t say a word if it’s not related to your department.”
“Okay sir. This is strictly financial matter. I’ve just received your travel bill…”
“Do you need a pair of glasses to read the figures?”
“Sir…it’s barely a week you came back from Paris…and you still want to travel again?”
“Get out of my office!”
The frustrated Accountant left disappointedly.
“Bastard!” Ade fumed, “I can do whatever I like in my company.”
He inclined on his chair with an air of supremacy as he gulped down the glass of wine before him. His Secretary announced through the intercom afterwards the arrival of a guest.
The door opened and a tall, lanky young man with goatee beards walked in.
“Ade international!” the visitor hailed.
“Alexy!” he responded, motioning him to a seat.
The visitor sat cheerfully with a sense of belonging, while on the other hand, looking around the office.
“Ade, I still can’t believe you own this organization…”
“Well, you had better wake up from your daydream. By the way, what brings you here?”
“Ade, to be honest with you, I’m fed up with my current work place and desperately looking for another job…”
“Does this place look like Jobberman?”
“Oh, come on, Ade, you should understand what I’m talking about. I want to work here; I hope you remember the good old days.”
“Old things have passed away, Alex, and besides, there is no vacancy here.”
“No problem, but can I get a personal loan…from you?”
“You sound so desperate, Alex, why can’t you just be contented with what you have…”
“Why are you speaking as though you don’t know the harsh condition in the country? My monthly salary is never enough…and my boss keeps adding more responsibilities to my tasks; both official and personal alike, without commensurate reward and…”
The sound of his phone halted him.
“Please excuse me,” Alex picked the call.
“Hello…” he began, “oh bonjour sir…je vais bien merci…les marchandises ne sont pas bon…merci monsieur…au revoir…” he ended the conversation.
“When did you learn French?” the curious Ade probed.
“You won’t believe it,” Alex laughed, “those were part of the things I learnt by working for a boss who had turned me to a Jack of all trade…”
“Please, spare me the rest of the details, Mr Workaholic; if you”d excuse me, I need some privacy.”
As Alex ruminated over his encounter with Ade later that day, he sighed, if someone had told him that he would still be struggling with the bare necessities of life ten years after graduation with a good grade, he would have doubted it.
Although trained as an Economist, yet he had his hands in Sales, Logistics, Administrative, Protocol and a bit of IT skills.
“Jack of all trade!” his colleagues usually teased him; he would smile as though it was a compliment, but deep in his heart, he felt exploited.
He was returning from a field job one day, when he stopped over to pick a document for his boss at the French Embassy. And just as he was leaving the office, he overheard two ladies discussing in French, a job opening with the headquarters situated in France. Curiosity drew him closer to the duo. And from fraternising with them, he finally succeeded in getting first-hand information about the job opening.
He later took advantage of the opportunity and applied. A month later, he was invited for an interview and afterwards, he secured the job of the Country Manager of an international IT firm. Interestingly, apart from the numerous job experiences he possessed, the knowledge he acquired in the French language, was what gave him the leading edge.
He was filled with gratitude for his former boss who prepared him ahead of time to secure a plum job with a multinational company.
A huge crowd stood at the entrance of the gigantic edifice of Bakers’ Delight Nigeria Ltd, to catch a wind of the touching actions going on within the business premises.
A handful of Policemen were ordering the employees out of the building, while at the same time, preventing the entry of more people. A troubled Ade Arowolo, engaged two gentlemen, dressed in corporate outfit in some serious talks.
“Please…Bank Manager,” Ade pleaded, “please I need more time…”
“I’m afraid, Mr Ade Arowolo, our bank is not a charitable organization,” the Bank Manger responded, “at least we’ve tried by extending the grace period by two months…”
“I’m finished!” the young man sat on the floor crying, with both hands on his head… “Is this how I’m going to lose this business empire my late father took time to build?”
Outside the premises, the tumult began to build as more spectators stopped by.
“Some witches must have followed that man from his village!” a motorcycle rider observed.
“There is no witch anywhere,” another person countered, “that man is the architect of his own downfall. His laziness ruined the business.”
“Laziness, is an understatement,” a more aggressive spectator taunted, “I heard he is in the habit of globetrotting at the expense of the growth of the business, he always shies away from responsibilities; and punishes any of his workers that dared challenged him.”
At the security post, two security personnel discuss, one said “Our Oga has just wasted a golden opportunity before him,” the first gateman said and shook his head in dismay. The other responded, “In less than a year of taking over the company, Ade ruined the business empire his late father, Sodipo Arowolo, took several years to build. Really, those that are not prepared for opportunity cannot handle its benefits.”
Final Remarks: Hard work pays off in the future, while laziness may pay off now! Opportunities abound almost every day; don’t just look for them, get prepared for them first.
Until I come your way again next week, KEEP MOVING…