Ode to a spirited Administrator

Monday Michaels Ashibogwu
Monday Michaels Ashibogwu Publisher/Editor-in-Chief Quick News Africa

“Hello,sir. Good day.”
“Abeg, na who be this?”
“Na Kanayo….”
“Ahn, ahn! I was told you’d call me. Shebi, na that Kanayo wey get plenty pimples for our office that year na…How you dey?

I must confess that, even though it was not the first time I was meeting the man I’d come to know as ‘Editor’, I was both struck by his directness and reference to my ‘pimple’ days.

“So, here is what we are going to do…,” he ploughed on, unabashed by his faux pas.

I smiled. Some days he could be your go-to man but, other days, he could be the last person you want to see, call or work for. Well, what true administrator has one side to him? Unbroken and wiser from the many encounters foisted on him by life, it is always a joy to hear him recount his experiences as a consultant for International NGOs in the backwaters of northern Nigeria and, suddenly, he veers off to “come, as you dey Maiduguri so, you dey ever stay start to dey miss ‘banga soup’ and correct swallow?” or “wait o: why e be say, of all the towns to go find job, you end up for Ogoja? Wetin dey that old town wey no wan grow?”

He was my boss and after discussing about the story ideas for the week, he’d banter a bit and be gone. You’d always be sorry if you turn in the story late or fail to get on with your primary duties while getting that done.

Ashibogwu is brash and, sometimes, intimidatingly fast. Beneath this is a witty, quick mind; one ready to reel out facts and figures and help you ink the last paragraph of your story.

“That story about that ‘iyaloja’, wait let me give you a brief background about the tussle for the soul of Lagos’ markets…”

“No,do not say the rise in gas is a Nigerian thing. See, we re refine our own gas but it is meagre and, still, we import to meet our needs.The issue is a global one. Crude and gas are global products and the prices everywhere are affected by the global economic ups and downs…”

He could also sell you hype you,too…if you are as gullible as I am. You can’t hold it against him; It is what a good salesman does. He mastered the art long before he worked for a national daily as it Adverts Manager.

“You know say that story, na only you fit write am. My other guys na ‘gbef’.Wait, make I forward wetin dem dey write to you…”

“See, your man Charly Boy don knack 70; this your guy, Odia Ofeimun go soon reach 80; Bongos Ikwue go knack 75 next week and Lagbaja’s 65th na tomorrow. How e go be? I fit give you headlines O!” He got you hooked like that, especially if you love the art the subjects represent.

And one day, he came close to telling me so. “No, no be say you dey gullible.You just nice.You na well-bred person. Na so you dey.” Again, I almost believed it.

Ashibogwu has got his flaws, as any natural man but he has worn them ‘with his full chest’ as we say and they look so good on him in the penthouse of the 5th floor.

He has got a lot to be thankful for; family, love, friends, experience and the other ‘little’ joys if life. He may be an imperfect, joyful, go-to man but who said imperfect men cannot be celebrated? As imperfect as he is, he is a wonderful administrator, a frugal financier, an entrepreneur with a good nose and gritty resolve.

Happy 50th birthday to Monday Michaels Ashibogwu, a man who has come through the ranks of life and poised to go through it like hot knife through cheese. May your days be long, full and cheery.


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