Very unlike me, I didn’t see it coming. It was one company they call “Investment One” . I was having a running battle with the Managing Director, Nicholas and he was always complaining about my not aligning to corporate culture. I thought he was prudish and wasn’t open to the dizzying strategy i had brought to the table.
I thought he was prudish and wasn’t open to the dizzying strategy I had brought to the table.
I was a high–flier. Fresh from BGL, that super expansive investment banking franchise that allowed you to fly if you so wished.
Here was something else, extra conservative and led by a shy introvert who didn’t understand why I felt the need to walk the room preening like an overfed peacock.
I had gone to Bayelsa and, truly, secured the support of Silverbird to open an account for the winner of the Most Beautiful Girl In Nigeria pageant. I had wanted to use her as a role model to break into the retail market.
They flew the Queen and the two runners-up into our Victoria Island office and oga refused to come out. We signed the agreements without him in front of the cameras and opened the account.
Instead of commendation, I got a bollocking.
“Edgar, those people walk around naked. This is not our culture!”
“What will the chairman say?” Beneath his scream and rage, I could sense the terror.
I countered. “Sir, retail is the near future.” I had seen this long ago that everybody was chasing the kobo-kobo of the youths. But, bros of the Redeemed Church fame didn’t see it.
Then one day, during the meeting of excos, I saw my two subordinates seated. Baba had started the move against me. He asked them to present for my department. I sat there. Looking.
They had been prepped and they gave good accounts of themselves. Then he asked if I had anything to add.
“Yes, sir. I have just brought in the Law Union and Rock portfolio.” This was worth billions and also another major account that was also worth billions. My brothers Laide and Obinna who now run the fast–growing Purple Group and had just taken over the insurance company made sure I got the account.
Baba of the bent glasses was still not impressed. After the meeting, he asked me to come to his office.
Bimbo, the head of HR was seated. Bimbo was long–suffering. They were classmates in school but this didn’t stop her from being the butt of many of his wisecracks.
He started. “Fola….” Fola Adeola and Tayo were his mentors and these two juggernauts set up GTB .
They always form the bedrock of all his talk and its rotation could make you die from boredom.
This morning, the Fola and Tayo gist started and I had to listen. By this time, I had started to sense that this was the meeting.
Nicholas had made up his mind and this time he had to be man enough to tell me to my face.
“Edgar, you are the best marketer I have come across. The figures attest to it but you are dragging the company in other directions we do not want.
“Your dress code is off. The culture just doesn’t sit well. I think we may have to reaccess this relationship.”
It was clear what was unfolding. I had to either be a man and take it on the chin or grovel in front of this man who can’t handle power well and get my job back.
If I grovelled, I would lose everything: my pride, my essence and my manhood. I will turn into his many jellies who come to work in monochromes looking like poor effigies of ‘Daddy GO’.
The answer was clear. I will stand up to this bully. He cannot change who I am. I know who I am and, even though I was still combing my hair then, I was still special.
I looked him straight in the eye and said: “Nicholas, let me resign”.
You could see relief. He had expected a fight and I wasn’t going to give him that luxury.
He brought out a sheet and pushed it with a biro towards me. I took it and wrote the immortal words that have redefined me.
“I hereby resign…”
I walked out of his office and drove straight to the waiting arms of Titi and hugged her and cried…
About the Duke of Shomolu
Joseph Edgar is a maverick investment Banker, theatre producer, columnist and essayist.
Over 65,000 people have seen his stage productions with the most recent Awo and Aremu attracting the Vice President, Prof Osibanjo, The Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu and Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
His colunm in Thisday- Loudwhispers is one of the most read in the country.
He has authored four books and two coffee table books including the hot selling Anonymous Nipples
Nb: Read the full story in my memoirs– AAAGHH . oops sorry, sold out