The Office (1)

I was watching the US smash TV series “The Office” some weeks ago, when I had a eureka moment. How about an article about the diverse characters and nutters that make up a typical Nigerian office’s workforce. And why not? I have been blessed (depending on how you look at it – maybe I am bad at committing to one place or I have gotten the sack everywhere I have worked) to work in a multiplicity of corporate (and not so corporate) environments.

My folks pushed me towards the door, as soon as I had turned in my final dissertation in for my first degree. No food for lazy man. I scored my first intern job in an alcoholic beverage corporation whose main product rhymes with Aguda (figure that one out). I was the archetypical intern. On my first day, I was pointed to an old dusty steel cabinet to sort out files and records which looked like they had been scattered by a 5 year old. You should try arranging folders with Nigerian names alphabetically. Folder 53456 is UWABUNKEONYE, Folder 53457 is UWAILOMWAN Folder 53458 is UWEMEDIEMOH……..Not to come across racist but the Urhobo names were the hardest..

I mean I have worked in companies where everything was rationed, even the stapler clips. I have been employed at an outfit where one chap was a perpetual latecomer. Considering where he lived, there was no way he could make it on time to work. He knew this, his manager knew this, the director knew this, HR knew this. But the guy’s matter tired everyone. This company was located in Apapa, and this dude lived all the way before Alaba. Due to the incessant traffic on that Maza Maza/ Mile 12 axis, and the terrible roads, he usually got to work around past 9.

So he asked (no instructed me) to do him a favor. Since I usually got to work around a few minutes to 8, I was to switch on his computer, and take out a black suit jacket which he kept in his desk drawers and hang it on his chair. This would give the impression to whoever inquired that he had arrived work on time but “was not on seat” because he had momentarily stepped out for “inspections” or “breakfast.”

He was soon found out when a director came looking for him one morning. Someone in the office mentioned that he had come in but not briefly stepped out. The director did not become a director from being fooled easily so he decided to wait this one out. When the late-comer had not come in at 9am, he (the director) tried his mobile number and the following conversation ensued:

Director: Latecomer (not his real name), this is the Director of Marketing. I have been in you office for the past 20 minutes looking for you. Where are you?

Late-comer: I am around sir. I just briefly stepped out.

Director: Is that so? Briefly stepped out to where, pray tell?

Latecomer: I am in the Logistics Department where I went for inspections.

Director: Oh, I see…I spoke to Mr. Lucky, the logistics manager like 30 minutes ago. Please put him on the line for me. I want to ask him something.

Latecomer: Err…actually sir…

The next thing in the background, the director heard a hawker panting as he said “Oga, I no fit find 5 naira change for the Gala o. My sister wey dey sell orange talk say she got get change. Abi you wan buy pure water join?”

Busted!

The director said “Oh you are still on the road to work, buying Gala on company time abi? I will take this up with Human Resources. Please see me when you get in. I am recommending you for summary dismissal.”

Story. You won’t believe that Latecomer did not get fired eventually. He actually remained in that office for an additional 5 years until he moved because the banking sector had taken off.

Rumor was that maybe he had naked pictures of the Human Resources director smashing a Youth Corper in his office or something. He was just unsackable..

Watch out for Part 2.

The Pounded Yam And Pure Water Awards (7)

Na you biko

  • My first Pounded Yam Award goes out to you. Yes, you. My awesome readers. Nope, it is not because it was blog election time recently. These thanks have been a long time coming. You guys keep me going on days when my pen feels heavier than my sword. I would have said that you guys are the wind behind my back and the earth beneath my feet but some people may misunderstand and think I am swearing for them.

Nah seriously, you guys are gems. I should really start a competition and give away gifts on this blog. Should I give gifts or presents? They are actually different things you know. I would explain one day – that’s another topic for another day. What would be an ideal prize? An I-Pad or sanitary pad? A new Blackberry minus the battery and charger? A plastic fan for days when NEPA takes light? An Airtel sim card? A branded 7Up umbrella? Or a boiling ring to help you with preparing Indomie and getting ready for work? Or maybe I should give out La Pearla Lingerie (which I must inspect on you myself – girls only oh) or a Shan George CD? I think I will give this one some thought. Or you decide.

  • The current season of Love in the Wild showing on Wednesdays at 9pm Central Time on NBC (Yankee only sorry). I am sure Don Movies would carry it after the season finishes, so it would be available in Nigeria via our neighbourhood 50-in-1 DVD hawkers. It’s a reality show where a group of guys and chicks spend time in a jungle, completing tasks and getting eliminated couple by couple. Think Rock of Love meets Gulders Ultimate Search meets I am a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here. Now mix that with Fuji House of Commotion, and you may come close to this hybrid of a show. Watching episode 3 of the show, I have finally concluded that some girls’  head dey touch, and that’s why they can’t have a normal relationship with a fella. There are girls who show epic forms of emotional instability ranging from unrealistic expectations, delusions of grandeur to over-clinginess. Believe me, shakara beats desperation any day. If a guy says hello to you, it doesn’t mean ‘hi’.

Unfortunately in this cold world, there are sad, sad men who beat their wives up and mutilate them. Akolade “Jack the Ripper” Arolowo murdered his beautiful wife in cold blood some weeks back, and now it seems that Nigerians have our first own psychopath. Or this may be the first domestic fatality that has really caught national consciousness due to the fact that they are middle class professionals so it hits close to home. Rest in peace Titilayo ….My heart also goes out to their daughter.

Provided that they were not party to a cover-up in anyway, I can’t help but feel a bit sorry for his folks. This is a real hot mess of a situation to be in; I mean how will be able to live down this shame? They are lucky that they are Yoruba sha. They could relocate to Oyo or Ogun state, start a new life and change their surnames to Smith or Tokunboh.  If they were Igbos, they would have been socially finished in every manner possible. First of all, the killer’s sisters would remain unmarriageable; any chap who is interested in marrying them would start preliminary investigations, and be told the full story by player-hating amebos. These town-criers would also tell the suitor that madness and murder runs in killer’s family blood. Their village would probably ostracize the parents as well.

In some quarters, it would be a different story however, if the parents suddenly become billionaires or came into a huge fortune. Then, they would be treated as royalty by some village elders; the whole matter may be hushed and they may even be given chieftaincy titles to boot. Standards differ, huh?

  • PES 2012 – I am a massive Pro Evolution Soccer fan, and I have owned almost very installment since it came out in the 90s. Girlfriends/wives would hate this game – it is almost better than sex (with some girls o), and it is smoother than French silk on the ass (so I heard o). It even feels better than cold pure water, after hours in a hot Lagos molue bus.

Jon Champion the English correspondent for Konami (the makers of this game) recently released this video-blog via twitter regarding the developments/improvements on the game coming out this October. I am glad that you can play as some of your favourite European teams, but I think it is time for Jigawa United, Kano Pillars, Owerri Heartland FC and Enyimba FC to feature in a Pro Evolution Soccer game, no? They could code the game so that the referee would make sure no Nigerian team can win an away match against another Nigerian team, just like in real life. Also, they should fix Osaze in the game. He is so charcoal skinned in the game – can’t they see that he is ‘a half-caste.’  I selected him once, and thought it was Obafemi Martins I was seeing.

 If you are also a fan, you can view the  PES 2012 video blog  here

Till then I am still rocking PES 2011 with respect.

  • Asaba Airport has just commenced commercial flights. My own state (Imo) has an airport (a national airport at that), which I am very proud of. Yes it looks like a set of boys-quarter bungalows with a Yipee tank looking control tower, but it is still the only airport built by the people in Nigeria. Yes, even the nappy airport in that Jimbo cartoon from the 80s looks better than my state’s own, but na una sabi.

Asaba having its own airport is massive. Now people can leave my state airport alone, and have an alternate route. It would encourage economic development in the Delta region and make Asaba a true commercial hub. How times have changed. When I was a youngster, travelling for Christmas with my family in our trusty 504 station wagon, Asaba was a shanty town bordering bigger cousins in the then Bendel state. It was the last stop until you crossed over the Niger bridge to the core Eastern lands. I remember Asaba for the fact that they sold a “donut-type” akara. Have you ever seen or had one? It is an akara with all sorts of filling in it – chopped eggs, onions, tomato, sardines, corned beef, the seller’s nappy hair strand etc. On its own, it was a’ight, but combined with a healthy slice of Chukwuemeka Special Bread Loaf, it was a delightful treat. Asaba also had a well-known food market.

Years later, Asaba would become a state capital and have hotels, joints and government buildings. This is special. I am still waiting for my village to get an upgrade to a town, and then become a capital, so I can become its first Mayor.

You no try at all...

  • Presido Goodluck appointed his ministers and special advisers, and now I feel as mad as Chris Tucker did in Rush Hour Part 2, when the comedian accused the owners of a casino of being racist because no black singers were featured. Our president does not send youngsters at all. Barak Obama’s Director of Speechwriting, a chap called Jon Favreau is actually a 30 year old who graduated in 2003. Yes, those  famous “Hope” speeches of 2008 were actually drafted by a Caucasian youngster. Why won’t GEJ appoint young professionals to government positions? Why can’t President Goodluck appoint someone like Esco to write his speeches or addresses to the nation? I would have the whole country in stitches. Some parts of the speech would be written in pidgin English and I would throw in a few expletives and Igbo idiomatic expressions. Besides how come NYSC still hasn’t been scrapped despite unrests in certain parts of the country? Is the Nigerian youngster on a path to career and physical extinction? I know NYSC allowee (annoying term for ‘allowance’) has been recently increased. Where else in the world, but mighty Nigeria would your government pay you twice as much to risk dying?
  • Its 2011 and there are Nigerian artists and ‘civilians’ still rocking a mohawk hair-cut. I normally do not comment on people’s style choices, unless they are standing next to me for a photograph or standing in for me in a representative capacity, or if there is business involved and I could lose a fortune if they dressed like Bjork or that guy in Tyler Perry’s Meet The Browns TV series. Please, please, if you are fortunate not to be a baldy or a slap-head, do not try to look like The Last of the Mohicans. In Yankee, rocking a mohawk makes you look rebellious and fashion forward; here in Nigeria, it makes you look like people in your village have sworn for you, or that you are on the first notch to catching craze. Some people may even feel sorry for you when they see you in a mohawk, by shaking their heads and cursing your misfortune, and thinking that NEPA must have taken light while the barber was still cutting your hair. Yep, mohawks make you look irresponsible, and apart from that they do not flatter the ogo. In fact unless, you are Mr. Tee from the A-Team, leave it for the red Indians. As Mr. Tee would say “Be cool, fool!”