“Money makes the world go round!” Chief Melvin stressed as he handed a brown envelope to the gardener, “I need you to do a thorough job for me.”

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“That’s no problem, Chief,” the anxious young man grabbed the package like a prized possession, “this is a done deal.”

Chief Melvin heaved a sigh of relief the moment the gardener left his office. Living the life of a go-getter, irrespective of whatever means, had always been his lifestyle and also, the fulcrum of his organization.

“I’m a winner, any time, any day!”  he soliloquized.

His joy knew no bounds later that day, as he listened to the newscaster during the midday news:

“…Against the backdrop of the belief that Monica Benson, the student from Owen high School, who was reported to had died recently, from  injuries sustained from falling into the ditch along REFINED OIL & GAS, fresh reports have emerged that she actually died from a different cause.

“Please stay stunned to this eyewitness report by the school gardener…”

“The ugly incident happened right before my eyes,” the gardener began in a sober note, “I saw Monica fall on that fateful day from a motorcycle…”

“That is just what I want to hear; no more, no less,” Chief Melvin clapped from the comfort of his sitting room.

******

Alade beamed with smiles as the dark liquid in the tall glass cup before him fizzled with an unusual intensity.

“That’s a good omen coming your way,” Emeka observed with a tinge of superstition.

“You never told me that you have joined the league of the ‘Babalawos’ in Lagos,” his companion said as he gulped down almost half the content of the glass cup.

The duo laughed heartily like jolly good friends. Although their acquaintance was borne out of their chance meeting on few occasions at the bar, yet the two men related so well as though they had known each other for long.

“Anyway,” Alade continued, “your prediction is not far from the truth; my boss has just opened another branch at Onikan, within a space of three months!”

“Wow!” Emeka exclaimed, “your boss must be a trail blazer…” his gaze roamed casually in the direction of a handful of young boys watching them.

“I don’t feel comfortable with those guys over there,” he said and nudged his friend, “their roving eyes are suspicious.”

“Please ignore them,” Alade said. He shrugged his shoulders, and ordered for more drinks. “Anybody has the right to commit ‘lookery’; it’s a free world,” he added.

The day wore on and more and more customers thronged into the bar which by then had begun its Friday night show. Unlike other bars within the neighbourhood, the management of Sayo bar has a steady twenty four-hour security plan backed up with compensation for their customers should there be any eventualities. That singular feat alone had given them an edge over their other competitors.

As Alade and his ally stood to leave, the gang of boys who had been watching them from afar accosted them at the door.

“Una no try at all,” a member of the gang addressed Alade in pidgin English.

Emeka tried to shield his friend away but the disrespectful boy shoved him out of the way.

“Bobo, comot for road make I talk to my main man,” the disrespectful boy said with a frown on his face.

“Alright,” Alade resigned to their request, “how may I help you?”

The gang leader beckoned to his ally to stay quiet while he took the centre stage.

“You may not know us,” the gang leader Kokumo began eloquently, “but we see you almost everyday as you both resume and close from work. We are your neighbours and I must confess that your establishment has not been friendly to us at all. Please advice your management that it is not all about profit making, the safety of the residents within the neighborhood matters a lot; the boys are angry. Tell them to act fast or else…”

He signaled to his group and they stormed out of Sayo bar.

*******

“I don’t know where we are headed in this country,” Chief Melvin, the MD of REFINED OIL & GAS sighed the moment he ended his call.

“But who could have done this to us?” he turned to his subordinates with a furrowed brow deep enough to hold a litre of water.

“Our detractors are at work again,” his Personal Assistant remarked.

“I am really at my wits end…” he stopped midway to receive another phone call.

“Hello? Oh my God!” he banged his clenched fist on the table.

‘Otunba, please tell your boys to follow the alternative route…’

“Blocked?” he swung his arm in the air as though to gain some strength of some sort.

“I will tackle it sir,” he continued, “I would make sure I get those evil perpetrators arrested. Please, just be patient with us. I am so sorry.”

He ended the call with a note of fury. In no short time, the mobile Policemen were at work and the offenders who once obstructed the free flow of business operations were apprehended.

Despite the ensuing calmness, all was never the same that very day at REFINED OIL & GAS. The  loss that day was unimaginable.

Business, however, rebounded few days later and the erstwhile unpleasant episode became a thing of the past.

Few weeks later, the renowned oil and gas company was offered to bid for a very lucrative project with the NNPC. All the groundwork had been completed. The Finance department suspended all other lesser projects in anticipation of the big fish about to jump into the financial net of the organization.

From every indication, it was evident that the company would be favoured in the end. This was because the Permanent Secretary of the Government Corporation, Otunba Bakare, was a bosom friend of the MD and had also promised to facilitate the success of the bid.

The selection process was tough as all ten contractors were not just renowned but up to the task. Aside that, there were slim variations in each of their respective quotes.

However, at the peak of the process, when it appears that the lot was about to fall on REFINED OIL & GAS, the MD, Chief Melvin, got the shocker of his life.

The Director General of NNPC addressed him frankly, “I’m afraid, Chief Melvin, your organization is not socially responsible.”

“How do you mean?” the Caucasian middle aged man shot him a puzzled look.

“Let me take you down to memory lane,” he explained. “I want you to recall the celebrated case of the young school girl who died as a result of injuries sustained from falling into the ditch close to your business premises.

“As heart-breaking as the issue was seemed then, the matter was swept under the carpet by your company. You escaped from the arm of the law then. We are sorry…’, the NNPC GMD broke off as Chief Melvin bowed his head in disappointment.

The Oil Company’s boss was anything but remorseful. The bitter pill notwithstanding, he left with an air of indifference. The news, however, had a different impact on Alade, the Group Accountant; the encounter he had with the gang at the bar flooded his mind like the running waters:

He recollected vividly his encounter with Kokumo and his gang that fateful evening at Sayo bar. Kokumo’s last statement kept ringing in his head: “I must confess that your establishment has not been friendly to us all. Please advise your management that it is not all about profit making; the boys are angry. Tell them to act fast or else…”

He got up and went straight to the MD’s office.

“Sir,” Alade pleaded with his boss, “our loss to the bid is just an eye opener. Our corporate existence should go beyond profit making.

“It’s high time we become more sensitive and responsible.”

“But I’ve been satisfying our numerous  customers,” his boss shot back.

“I know that sir,” Alade concurred, “but in order for our corporate existence to continue, we need to start considering other members of the public like the government, the press, the residents within our business premises, and a host of other people who are not our direct customers but have direct or indirect impact on our organization.”

“Seems like I have goofed,” Chief Melvin lamented.

“It’s not too late to salvage our losses, sir,” said Alade. “Let’s go back to the drawing board and make amends before our competitors overtake us.”

Final Remarks: Your rise to stardom may be truncated if you fail  to recognize who your stakeholders are.

Until I come your way again next week, KEEP MOVING; in the right direction.