They were not here. “Why will they not honour my invitation?”. ‘The Engineer’ brought out his phone to confirm that the message he sent to his childhood friends was actually delivered. It was. He had been too busy to call them. So, he had sent them text messages instead. Why then will they not be present when they knew how much this occasion meant to him.
Engr Emeka joined the staff of Cosmin Nigeria Limited soon after his graduation, at the age of 26. He had his Industrial Training with them during his undergraduate days and was now a full member of their staff. He had risen fast through the ranks to the position he occupies today – the production manager. His company is one of the leading indigenous cosmetic producing firms in the country. It has seen tremendous growth due to the ingenuity of ‘The Engineer’. He was dedicated to work, never arrived late and voluntarily stayed back even after closing hours to make sure that ‘the job got done’. There was a time the company wanted to introduce a new soap into the market, ‘The Engineer’ pushed his team to the limit, urging them on to beat the deadline.
Several formulations were discarded during the pilot production stage, till ‘The Engineer’ accepted one that was just the right quality. Finishing touches were put on the product, a sample was sent to NAFDAC for approval and in just two weeks, the product was approved. It was the first time such ever happened in the company. Usually, their new products were rejected at first presentation due to one reason or the other. When they were accepted, it took up to three months or even more. But, with ‘The Engineer’ in charge for the very first time, a record was set. This and several other accomplishments were the catalyst for his recent promotion, the one he was celebrating today. However, with his success came a price.
The Senior Software Research Analyst of Sunshine Software Inc, Mr Idowu Oni is a bosom friend of Mr Emeka. Together with Ken Akaeze and Iwunze Ebuka, they grew up in Mushin area of Lagos State. They attended the same school, up till the university. But when it was time for service, they were scattered all over the country. Idowu was posted to Nassarawa, Ebuka went to Delta while Akaeze was sent to Abuja. ‘The Engineer’ was posted to Kogi State to serve his fatherland. Despite this, they kept in contact with themselves always. Sometimes, after the conference midnight calls, they would be too weak to participate in the morning parade in camp and each would feign sickness to escape the drill of that day. The charade always worked. After their service year, they all met at Lagos, in the home of Idowu.
His mother hosted them that day, to celebrate their passing out and to welcome them into the labour market. They did not have to wait long. In about two weeks’ time, Ken got a call from YGDI to be a facilitator for one of their professional training programmes, HSE. Ken had undergone the HSE training during his service year with Youth Growth and Development International and had the best grade in the test that was conducted. So, it was not a really big surprise when the call came. After about three years of work with YGDI, Ken’s oratory prowess was noticed by all. Several other companies, religious bodies and schools came knocking on Akaeze’s door whenever a motivational speaker was needed. And, they dropped good money for his services. Sunshine Software Inc saw the light in Idowu when the software he designed to communicate with Nigcom Sat 1 to spy on the insurgents in the Southern part of the country was bought by the Nigerian Army. ‘Scout’ was used effectively by the Joint Task Force to curb the menace of the militants. This was even before the carrot of amnesty was dangled in their faces, a carrot they readily accepted. The ‘stick’ was becoming too heavy for them. Thanks to Idowu’s ‘Scout’. The letter requesting his services with Sunshine Inc. came on that day of the celebration at his home. Indeed, it added more joy to the already joyous occasion. Iwunze and Emeka both had to wait for six months after service year before fortune smiled their way.
Emeka had woken up that day with a premonition that it will be a happy day. but, he did not know why. He had a dream that night, a good one. However, he forgot what it was about as soon as he woke up. All he knew was that it was a good dream. So, he got off the bed, said his morning prayer, something he did religiously since his search for job began. He did his morning chores and set out to Iwunze’s place. They chatted, played some games together and for want of something else to do, Emeka convinced Iwunze to go with him to visit his former boss. They got to Cosmin Nigeria Limited that evening and asked to see the Quality Assurance Manager, Emeka’s boss during his Industrial Training. After waiting for a while at the receptionist office, they were permitted to see the Manager. Emeka introduced his friend and they exchanged pleasantries. It was closing hours, so, the Manager asked Emeka to join him to an eatery just down the road.
While they were eating, Mr Edafe, the Manager discovered that Emeka was without job and though there was no vacancy at the time, he created one for him at the Quality Assurance Department. He linked Emeka’s friend, Iwunze to the Marketing Manager who gave Iwunze the only opening there was then. The rest they say is history. Today, Iwunze is the Area Sales Manger in charge of the South East while ‘The Engineer’ is celebrating his elevation to the position of Production Manager this very day.