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Nigeria And The Story Tellers – By Olusegun Adeniyi

Save for posting my column and the occasional Tweets, mostly football-related, I am not much on the social media. But because I am on several listserv and get hundreds of mails and WhatsApp messages every day, I don’t believe I am missing much. 

I especially enjoy the WhatsApp stories because many of them convey strong messages like the one I received last week. As I usually do when I get such interesting stories, I needed to find out the original source. 

It is from an online book titled “As I waka for Naija…THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME” with a rider: “The Adventure of SSSt, The book of great comedy stories and motivational excerpts”. It also has what may or may not be the name of the author simply as Tilawan.

This particular story is about a no-nonsense Mr Kumza Kamanza who was posted from the head office of his company in Abuja to take charge in Lagos where he had his first meeting with the Director of Finance. And here goes the story that speaks to a season like this in our country, as being circulated on WhatsApp:

Director, I am sure you must have now finally accepted the true but hard realities that I am your new branch manager here, no more business as usual, understand?

No doubt about that sir!

And, you know, I was posted from Abuja to the Lagos branch because you people are not making good profits here…. right?

Yes sir!

And you must have heard of my reputation of being a straight forward and a no – nonsense man…. right?

Yes sir!

Good! I have wasted no time in going through the records and there are some things I just don’t like…. it looks as if you people have been playing with the company funds! My goodness! I need to make some quick changes if we are to move forward here!

And what is it sir?

I don’t see how three Mercedes Jeeps are kept as standby vehicles and money is spent on them daily when we are lacking equipment at the site!

Sir, one of the jeeps is for your wife’s use, the other is for what your children might love to use and the last, in addition to your official car, is for your evening leisure ride when you leave the office!

Okay director, I see…what about a certain one million naira being paid to a hotel for leisure? Is that not a waste of the company funds when we have dared operational needs?

Sir… that hotel is the best that offers what I call discreet night service….it is exclusively for your personal use sir.

I see, I think am clear about that….But what have we got to do with the NYSC programme that the firm donates 100,000 naira to every month, is that not a loss of focus on your part?

Sir, the donation is to take care of the magnanimity of the NYSC Director in allowing you to make a personal choice at every orientation camp of your…I mean choice of three unofficial female confidential secretaries for the service year sir!

Okay then, no need to waste time on that….Let’s go further please! I saw half a million Naira paid to a catering firm to take care of staff lunch. How can we be spending so much a month feeding a staff of 500 men….aren’t they paid salaries?

I am sorry sir, I did that for record purposes, actually it is meant to take care of your family needs….I just added that under the general sub-head because of the need to hide the huge cost. I can remove it if you….

No, no! Don’t be too hasty young man!… well, I think it is rather too early to start making too many changes here yet; let me go through the records and I will get back to you later, have a nice day, director!

Thank You sir!

ON THE WAY OUT

Director, the new chairman has been looking for you?

Thanks Clement, I just saw him.

He seemed so annoyed this morning, anything wrong sir?

No cause for alarm Clement. They all seem annoyed when they first come to the office. But all gets back well when they settle down and understand how we do things here!

Yeah? What’s that sir?

Well, my dear young man….all I can say is that we have been seeing new chairmen that come and go….and the more things change here, the more they remain the same!

I am sure many readers would have laughed at that story as we usually do but if there was anything that the late literary giant, Professor Chinua Achebe taught us, it is that most of those stories we consider mere entertainment would have their use one day. 

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