Babachir Lawal: It Happened to Me Too


Loud Whispers

My lord, I feel I should reach out to you today to give you a shoulder to lean on during this trying times that your sack has been announced. Look, I know how it feels to be sacked just like that, hence this my hand of fellowship. Let me first tell you my experience so that you can easily connect with me. I used to work for one yellow bobo like that, I will not mention his name, tall, bespectacled with a potbelly.

Our office was in Victoria Island on that street where Aliko Dangote is said to reside. Our firm was an Asset Management Firm and used to be a subsidiary of a large Bank with orange as its official colours. The man was a nice man, a strong Christian who attends the Redeemed church. I am not calling names today o as I am not in a mood to explain anything to anybody. It is even because of my deep patriotic intentions that I even want to tell this story, if not, I will just keep quiet and not let my teeming readers know that I was once sacked by this fellow who prides himself as the know all in our industry. Well, one early morning I was summoned to his office and seated beside him was the company secretary, a nice matronly woman who had on her face the impression you have when you have just been told that your father was now dating your youth corper girlfriend.

Well, I was asked to sit down and immediately, I was told a long story about Tayo Aderinokun the late sweet Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank. I was told of  how I did not embody the culture of the firm and how although I was a very strong especially in sales but  my attitude and outlook was not in line with the direction of the company especially as it concerns culture. Well, long and short, I was asked to resign. The details of the events leading to this episode will be perfectly detailed in my upcoming autobiography (please you can book a copy in advance). The essence of my reach out to you is to show you how to handle the shame, fear and loss of self-esteem that comes with a sack. Immediately I got this message, sweat poured out of my head and a lump immediately swelled in my throat and did not leave for the three months it took for me to get another job. I walked out of the office like a zombie and entered my car with tears in my eyes and a strong sense of failure. If it is now that jumping off the third mainland bridge is a trend, I would have just jumped and the Nation would have lost a strong person. There would have been no Duke of Shomolu today talk less of you getting this extended hand of fellowship.

Well, my brother, the first thing I did immediately I regained my composure was to get a young 24-year-old girlfriend. I am sure everybody will scream now o, but what could be more therapeutic than a young girl who did not understand the issues of this world. Her innocence and refreshing youth will just be rebuilding your confidence, because you will be seeing in her eyes admiration and adoration and a strong belief in your true worth. Baba, it is not about the sex o, you know I don’t trust you for that kind thing. Just listen to her youthful talk about hair, fashion, cosmetics and travel to Dubai for shopping. It will  de-stress you and calm you down giving you the ability to reassess your situation. The next step is to just take one month out. Do not think of anything or anybody. I am sure you have enough savings that should keep you na. So just free your mind, don’t worry about anything, just open your mind trying to achieve eternal bliss and peace of mind. After this, start to reach out again, very gently and strategically.

This would happen after rethinking your skill set and your network. Start sending the signals that you are ready to come back. So after studying your pedigree, please look for something surrounding grass cutting as I am sure you will do very well in that area. For me, I went into writing that is why you are reading this column today. Do not let anybody and anything feel that you have failed o as a man. A man must fall but it takes a great man to stand each time he falls. I believe it was Awolowo that said it o or was it Charly Boy but nevertheless someone said it sha. You will survive, do not worry, it is not the end of the world, be strong and keep your head up. Do not cry o, do not hide your head in shame. There is nothing to be ashamed of, these things happen. I will reach out to my friend, the handsome Lanre Olusola who is a coach to provide some psychological support for you. My brother if I survived mine, you will survive yours and as our friend Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, you will be back’’. That should be your mantra. You will be back. Just avoid grass cutting when you eventually come back. It is well my brother, God bless you.

Olisa Metuh: President Jonathan, But Why?
I have been looking for this Ishmael who is my lawyer to advise me as I attempt this piece; as I do not want to be pulled in for contempt of court. From my little knowledge, they say you do not comment on a case that is in court. I have been calling Ishmael all night and the guy no pick my call, I am sure he is running around again looking for charge and bail case; instead of him to come and advise me so that I do not carry my head enter the trouble that will pass me. But let me take the risk. You see, asking Metuh to drop N1b to cover travel expenses from Otueke to Abuja and other associated costs as we have read is to say the least mischievous. You see Olisa that could not even buy my last book, yes he had called to apologise stating that his accounts have been frozen, is now expected to bring N1b for transport fare when Jonathan can simply just take God is Good Motors’ air-conditioned bus for N6,000 to this Abuja, na wa o. This whole thing reminds me of another oga I once had. This one was a knight in the Catholic Church and a very gracious and nice oga. He was and is still my mentor and he is in the leasing business. He is my chairman when everything is going well but will suddenly remember that he is not executive chairman when there is a problem.

This thing can be annoying as it makes the junior person who is looking up to the oga to lose trust and confidence in his leadership. The other time we had issues with the authority and my oga who stood to gain all if the transaction went well and who had even asked us to hand over to his new protégé as we were leaving the system, making sure that we handed over the files to our successor, suddenly remembered, that we were on our own and that he was not the executive oga. This is sad as this is especially what I think Jonathan is trying to do here with this N1b demand before appearance. Our leaders must learn to stand with their people through thick and thin. This is not to say they should support illegality or even condone it, but where the case is clear that this thing if it had gone well, would have benefitted everybody, then all should stand and be counted. If I were Jonathan I would have jumped into this matter and watch how the colouration of the whole case will change. Today, my friend and brother is being left alone to hang, but no problem as our madam once said, ‘’there is God o’’.

Biafran War Compensation: Let it Be All Encompassing
I have just heard that the Federal Government has reached an agreement to pay compensation to some victims of the Nigerian  Civil War. This compensation as I have heard will go to victims of the land mines that were planted in some states during the war. Well, much as I  applaud this move which I must put on record came as a result of arbitration, no be say, Federal Government on their own suddenly decided to pay, I must state  very clearly that the scope of the victims must be expanded to include other victims of the war. That said, let me state here that I, Joseph Edgar, and by God’s grace the only Duke of Shomolu, I am also a victim. I swear to you that as a result of my mother’s military service, she was a military nurse, I was deprived of breast milk and this has affected me psychologically all these years, making me not see dark-skinned women as beautiful. It makes me to only focus on only light-skinned women.

This condition has limited my scope of activities and severally impaired my ability to be objective in my dealings with women. You may ask, how I suffered. I was born months into the war and my mother fighting on the Nigerian side, did not wait to breastfeed me. I was brought up by my father and our housemaid, koko, who I was told was lactose-challenged. I have suffered in silence all these years but this N88b has made me come out with my story. I must be put on that list as I need to travel to Ghana to seek a cure for my condition. Please who do I send my BVN-enabled bank account to as I do not want to be marginalised on this issue? Let me state it very clearly here that I do not want to be pushed to take up arms on this matter. I am a peace-loving Nigerian who has suffered for this country and made the ultimate sacrifice of never tasting breast milk in my life. Which sacrifice is higher than this one? Mbok, na beg, make una no let me waka naked from Lagos to Abuja on this matter, please send my own share now o. I no fit shout.

Pastor Adefarasin and Tithes
This issue has been there but has recently become vexatious. My mother used to tell me that if you do not pay tithes to God, you will pay it to the devil and that is the message most of our pastors preach, making people to contribute multi-billion Naira into church coffers. Today, however due to the singular campaign launched by the radio personality, Freeze, – do not know his real name – people have started having a rethink on the matter. People have started questioning the need to pay tithe and to even demand for accountability and transparency in its utilisation. I am not sure yet as I do not want to be labelled a rumour monger, I hear that some people walked out on this powerful pastor on this matter even though others have said it was due to closing-time traffic that people were rushing out. I think I would want to align with Freeze on this matter simply because I no even get the money to pay.

We should all reform this process of tithe paying and democratise it. Change must also come to the church. Transparency must also be in church not only in government. We cannot continue having rock-star pastors when the congregation remains impoverished. The government should look into this quickly before this Freeze guy start mob action against our pastors. My advice for Pastor Adefarasin and his ilk is to immediately erect posters on their premises delineating very clearly that thing that Tinubu used to do in Lagos with that sign that says, ‘’taxpayers’ money working’’. He should put a bold sign of “your tithe working’’ on his wonderful church auditorium, his customised designer suits and all,  then and only then do I think that we can stop this Freeze guy in his tracks. I don’t know why he cannot go and set up his own church after all, it is a free entry business.

Introducing Bobrisky, Hushpuppi, Wizkid, Davido, Et al
It has come to my notice that my avid readers do not really know what is happening online. This message came to me during a chat with my wonderfully made mummy, Senator Ita-Giwa. In one conversation with her, she lamented about how one PR job she had commissioned was online and not on real newspapers and TV stations. She screamed that when she met the President, he mentioned just how popular she was and that he reads a lot about her in the papers; that her generation does not know online. This has made me decide to take my readers who mostly are of the 40 – 70 yr old demographics on a crash course of the Internet and its major players. Ekanmi, as I call her, you will see that over 70 million Nigerians go online daily and on it, billions of naira are made and lost daily. We also have things like Instagram, Snap chat, Whats App, Facebook and the likes for interaction.

All you need do is first buy a smartphone, charge it and give your PA to snap your picture and then you use it as what they call DP – Display Picture. After that, when next you  see Buhari, you ask him to take a selfie with you. Selfie is when you turn the phone to face you, you bend down and do your lips one kind and snap. You also tell Buhari to stand close to you, that is if he will not shout haram and he too will do his lips one kind and you snap a picture, that is selfie. I cannot tell you all about the Internet here but let one mention a few online superstars with a lot of influence and power. So, there is Bobrisky, this one I don’t know if he is a man or woman but has millions of followers on his/her every move online. Wizkid is a powerful musician who can defeat Ambode in an election if he contests. Another one is Davido who is followed by millions and has been screaming about N30b in his account and then the jobless but always powerfully dressed hushpuppi. So, for more education, give me a ring guys and I take you through it. Our generation is losing out by not being online.