Mr. Olusola was the oldest and eldest Head of Department (HOD) in the revered ancient establishment, which I graciously joined four years back being 2010. I recently assumed office as the HOD of the Engineering and Technical Services Department, two weeks ago precisely.
On assumption to duty, I was briefed that the said HOD who was heading the firm’s Finance Unit, knew the nitty-gritty of the company, thus was a staff to reckon with; without being told, I was not unaware. Few seconds ago, I received his Secretary in my humble office.
The lady had come to notify me that I was urgently needed by the boss in his office. Since she left, my mind had been troubled, though never felt guilty. The jittery mood was not unconnected with the fact that Mr. Shina Olusola was reckoned to be a no-nonsense administrator who apparently could not tolerate professionalism adulterated with prangs; he was ostensibly a hard nut to crack, to assert the least.
Karlos Enterprises Ltd., a manufacturing consortium that majored in production of plastics, was a well-known firm that did not joke with well-experienced staff; hence, the 46-yearold Mr. Olusola was conspicuously one of the first in the list of the company. In view of this, we the junior ones accorded him the deserved respect as the custom of the company required.
In spite of the indisputable fact that we were both HODs, or of the same cadre, I knew fully well that he was quite and reasonably far ahead of me; there was no how one who joined an organization barely four years back would be competing with a fellow that had spent over fifteen years in it.
After all, it was just hard work and sheer luck that catapulted my promotion to that level. It was no doubt a geometric promotion, so I wasn’t meant to forget in haste that the aforementioned man was simply like a father to me as far as the firm’s modus operandi was concerned.
It would interest you to note that Mr. Olusola was already a HOD prior to my employment by Karlos, although of a different department. He was formerly manning the Marketing unit before he was redeployed about three years back to super head the ‘almighty’ Finance and Accounts department. I learnt that his wealth of knowledge cum experience necessitated the transition, which seemingly received everyone’s nod.
Records had it that he had Master’s degree in Business Management to his credit having bagged a bachelor degree in Banking and Finance, all from the reputable University of Ibadan (U.I) in Oyo State, Nigeria. There, in my office, I was deeply preoccupied with series of thoughts.
I then asked myself what could warrant the urgent and unforeseen invitation. The riot act of the organization had been read to my hearing for the umpteenth time, so I saw no reason I was needed in his office at that time of the day; it was a few minutes past nine O’clock in the morning, the time when most senior officers were yet to report to their respective duty posts.
Besides, even if there was need for reminder as regards the said Act, he was not the apt personnel to do so; rather, the Human Resources Manager (HRM) as the tradition demanded. “Good morning, sir.” I greeted as I walked into his office which was about ten metres away from mine, and closed the door behind me.
“Hey Comrade,” exclaimed Mr. Olusola. “Good morning, dear.” He added cheerily. Aside being a tech expert, I was widely recognized as a core unionist and activist even in Karlos, thus everyone often addressed me as a ‘Comrade’. I stepped closer to where he was seated. “You sent for me, sir?” I said in a jiffy, standing about fifty centimetres apart. “Yes I did.” He responded, disclosing his seeming white teeth. “Please, sit down.” he offered, gesticulating with his left arm.
“Thank you.” I said as I sat on one of the three backseats sited at the opposite side of the executive chair in which he was seated. “First,” he began. “I want to join others to congratulate you.” He dished out. I was quiet, couldn’t wait to grab the real message. “I know, management has already done that.” He recalled.
“But, there’s need for me to present a personal felicitation…” I smiled, but remained speechless. “So,” he added. “Congratulations once more for emerging as the HOD of one of the most challenging departments in this establishment.” “Thank you, sir.” I eventually said cheerfully.
“Thank you; I appreciate.” I supplemented immediately. “You are welcome.” He said, placing his fisted right hand under his lower jaw and kept the left one on the table. I seemed very attentive at this point as I placed my both arms respectively on my thighs.
“I actually called you on a friendly ground.” he continued. “I, Mr. Shina Olusola would like you to excel in this organization.” He claimed, placing his left hand on his chest and then returned it to its initial position.
I became more attentive as I sat firmly on the seat, appeared like an ancient professor in the grey suit I wore.“So, I have called you to tell you that,” he rode on. “You are required to take this position very seriously.”
He supplemented hesitantly, paused. “So that, you wouldn’t be found wanting in any way.” I nodded continuously in a frank mood as I was engulfed by his enticing counsel. “I am the oldest HOD in this firm.” He affirmed.
“So, I am in a good position to remind you that this company does not tolerate any form of nonchalant or dubious attitude.” I adjusted myself in the seat, though remained calm. “So be very careful, dear Comrade.” He landed. “I have heard you, sir.” I replied. “I promise, I won’t disappoint you or the management as a whole.”
“It’s alright.” quoth Mr. Olusola. “You can take your leave.” he enjoined, paused. “Because, I am aware many may be wanting to see you in the office right now.” He imagined, loosened his fisted right hand and finally placed it on the executive table. “Thank you once more, sir.” I said as I stood up. “You are welcome.”
I graciously walked to the door and took my leave. When I got to my office, I felt so relieved because little did I imagine that the invitation was on a lighter mood.Therein, I vowed that I would invariably remain loyal to Mr. Olusola, and would not cease to confide in him. In other words, I decided to see him as a mentor and role model.
The honour I bestowed on his person proceeded unabated not until one fateful day when news broke out that the man in question was found guilty of financial misappropriation and gross misconduct. Everyone could not believe that a man recognized as a saint by all and sundry could make attempt of indulging in such corrupt act let alone being found guilty by a reputable panel set up by the firm’s management.
Thereafter, Mr. Shina Olusola was fired by the company having undergone a certain period of suspension. I outrightly tendered my resignation afterwards towards avoiding honouring another monster as a mentor, not to mention a role model. Hence, I waved goodbye to Karlos Enterprises and thought it wise to establish my own consortium, so that, I wouldn’t fall victim of being answerable to a fake officer.
- Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri
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