Gbenga was undoubtedly an industrious and serious-minded staff. Though barely new in the job, he worked like one whom had gained enormous experience in it.
He could strive from entry to closure time, which was usually 6:00am – 2:00pm, 2:00pm – 8:00pm, and 8:00pm – 6:00am for morning, afternoon and night duties respectively, without even bothered to go for a break as the tradition of the work demanded.
The most intriguing part of his dogged approach towards his duty post that triggered the attention of the company’s Management Board was that he worked passionately and vigorously without tendering an iota of complaint even when there was an obvious reason to do so.
Among all, he considered punctuality as a priority in his day-to-day activity; he invariably arrived at least thirty minutes before the scheduled time. More interestingly, no day would pass without seeing the 34-year-old Gbenga Adeniyi dressed in decent and gorgeous wears that he often won the attention of not just the management but virtually every staff that worked in the ancient and revered establishment.
He was indeed a man of the moment and a gentleman to the core that you would in most cases observe his fellow workers gathered in different quarters in their numbers discussing his unique lifestyle.
He was, to say the least, a staff everyone wished to behold. FranCok Brewerey Plc, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria where he worked, was a firm that did not take workers’ welfare for granted let alone that of a fellow that took his duty-post very seriously as if he was the Managing Director of the company, thus co-workers cum onlookers were strongly of the view that Gbenga could attain to any level if he continued with such attitude and vigour.
He was just about eight months old in the job, so they believed he would eventually derail in the long run or when the journey became tougher.
Notwithstanding, his well-wishers watched him with keen interest, hoping his working style would surely attract tremendous favour to his person in due course.
“You sent for me, sir?” said Gbenga as he walked into the office of the Human Resources Manager (HRM) Mr. Sule Ibrahim. “Yes I did.” responded Mr. Ibrahim. “Please, sit down.”
“Thank you, sir.” quoth the workaholic Gbenga as he sat in one of the backseats sited opposite the manager. “Mr. Adeniyi,” the boss called as he leaned on his executive chair. “Yes sir.”
“Please, can you remember when you came into this company?” “You mean, as a staff?” “Yes.” He said, nodding. “That was August last year.” “Which means, this month being April would mark your eight months stay here?’
“Yes sir,” Gbenga concurred. “By 21st of this month.” He supplemented.“Alright.” “Hope no problem, sir?” he inquired, perplexed as he sat in his corporate attire. He had learnt that staff could be dismissed from the firm owing to a mere slight mistake, thus his question wasn’t mistaken.
But the fact remained that he could not recall any misbehaviour displayed by his person since he joined the multinational firm. “Not at all.” replied Mr. Ibrahim. “Just that…” he added, paused.
Gbenga listened attentively, couldn’t wait to receive the next message as the boss employed the suspense. “Since you came into the Marketing Department,” he continued.
“A lot has changed.” Mr. Adeniyi, a graduate of Economics, was yet to fathom if the said change was for good or on the contrary, thus he remained bemused. “You appear to be something else.” The boss asserted, folded his arms. “I was yet to see someone like you.” “Sir,” Gbenga called, became jitterier. “I still don’t understand.”
Even though he knew himself as a workaholic, he was still absorbing the boss’ statements as sarcasm since there was no how he could be the only hardworking staff in a company that could boast of over five hundred (500) workers.
“Mr. Adeniyi..” He tenderly called, paused. “Yes sir.” Gbenga answered, couldn’t wait to digest the entire gist.Mr. Ibrahim was silent. “Sir, I am listening.” Gbenga reawakened his consciousness which seemed asleep.
“I know you would be wondering what this man is up to?” Mr. Ibrahim observed, supporting his lower jaw with his fisted hands. “But I assure you,” he proceeded, paused.
“By the time I am through with you, your life would never be the same again.” He landed cheerily. This time, the young man who appeared not unlike one who came for a job interview was intensely stranded, though was consoled by the fact that since he assumed duty in the firm he had never been found wanting. Mr. Ibrahim glanced at his wrist watch, smiling; it was about 11:26am.
“I tell you,” he said. “In a few minutes time, your identity will surely change.” Gbenga looked at him in utter awe, couldn’t comprehend nor foresee the kind of change the huge, chocolate and pleasantlylooking man was referring to; but had thought it wise to remain patient as long as the suspense lasts. “Mr. Gbenga Adeniyi,” the boss called, maintaining his calm voice.
“Yes sir.” “Do you really love this company?” He teased, leaned on the seat again while folding his arms. The question struck the junior colleague just like a dagger would. “Sir, how do you mean?” He enquired, calmly placing his arms on the table, head bent.
“The question is self-explanatory,” the boss responded. “Or, isn’t it?’ “Sir, since I came into this reputable company,” Gbenga said, ignoring the last rhetorical question. “I have always told myself that I would continue to do my best,” he informed, paused.
“Towards ensuring that it doesn’t only attain to enviable heights but becomes the best among its contemporaries.” “Really..?” Mr. Ibrahim exclaimed, stood up in his corporate white native attire. “Please, let’s take a walk.” He urged as he stepped toward the exit point of his office.
Gbenga looked up to him, managed to be on his feet as requested, and eventually joined him in the unforeseen walk in a lukewarm manner. In few seconds time, they found themselves on the premises of the firm.
Before they could get to the company’s garage, which was the destination of the ‘endurance trek’, Mr. Ibrahim’s driver had already started his car’s ignition as if he was expecting the boss.
“Please, have a ride with me?” Mr. Ibrahim asked Gbenga as they stood very closely to the grey Honda SUV Jeep. “Sorry to ask sir,” quoth Gbenga. “Please, where are we up to?” “When we get there, you will know.”
“Okay, if you say so.” He assented sceptically, gesticulating. On hearing the last words, Mr. Ibrahim majestically hopped into the owner’s side of the car that had already been kept open by the driver as his duty requested.
Gbenga followed suit, attempted to sit at the front-side but was enjoined by the boss to join him at the back. Therein, the humbly-seeming and well-dressed driver drove off without bothered to ascertain their destination. From the look of things, the journey was scheduled, hence, it was needless for him to be reminded on the proposed destination. To be continued, please!
- Nwaozor – novelist, playwright and poet, is Chief Executive Director, Centre for Counselling, Research & Career Development – Owerri