He was very diligent and would come to our offices in Ikoyi with a big bag.
Always jovial and happily infectious. His visits were usually the highest in fun we would have in the office.
We were young stockbrokers learning the trade under a very disciplined and sometimes harsh Dr Chukwujama
Dr. didn’t suffer fools as he expected the very best at all times. He would lose his temper if we cdnt close a deal.
And he would shout, ‘ Edgar, I don’t understand why handsome boys like you cannot sell 10,000 units of Cadbury Shares’
We would stand looking like defeated soldiers as he railled. Guys, this market is not a joke. It needs courage, men who will not take no for an answer, he would scream.
Then he would look at me and shout, ‘ Edgar, I have faith in u. U got what it takes so why are u messing up, you mother fucker’
Dr gave me the first very strong training in sales. He thought me never say die spirit and verbally beat the hell out of me when I messed up
It was in this situation that Kwairanga would work in with his bag filled with shares. Dr. would scream,’ Kwairanga, you are a man after my heart’.
He was very intelligent and very friendly. He would laugh with us while handling some of the most delicate and beautiful transactions at the time.
We were age mates and colleagues, but he was already handling powerful transactions, while we were still there annoying Dr without the inability to sell 5,000 units of Unilever.
So yesterday, as I walked into the hallowed halls of the NGX, nostalgia hit me.
I hadn’t entered the building since I left stockbroking. It was a warm feeling of coming back home, and Clifford, the very brilliant and hardworking head of Corporate comms, had made all of my entry seamless
As I walked in, I saw Kwairanga at the head. He was superintending one of the most important meetings in Africa.
The NGx is one of the biggest on the continent and top bourse in the world. It has listed over 200 companies with valuation running into trillions, and today Umaru that used to carry big shares under his armpit as a young man from Gombe, was now the Chairman
He was sitted in seats that legends had sat on and he was holding his own
The usual irritant tiny shareholders were there heckling. Making enough noise that would ensure they get a very good share of the Farwell packs that usually come at such places
But for Kwairanga, he was hosting a meeting that would renew the capital markets resolve to better partner the government in economic regeneration.
After all the questions, most irrelevant and opaque, Umaru took the mic and showed what true leadership was.
In a very clear voice, he addressed all issues raised with the clarity of a visionary leader that he was.
I praised His patience cos I would have been so irritated by some of the questions that I would have either walked away or slapped someone
Not Kwairanga, as he took his time to explain, cajole, negotiate but must of all engage and ensure inclusion.
I was so proud of him. I smiled as I stood up and walked away, knowing fully well that our Exchange was now in good hands
Today, the exchange is besset with macroeconomic headwinds coupled with discriminatory regulatory policies, it would need the dexterity of a wholesale leader to navigate these hostile waters and berth the Exchange safely
This is why I remain quite optimistic at the value Kwairanga is bringing to the table
His clarity of purpose shinning thru in our discussion later last night as he explains his vision and need for all hands to be on deck as he throttles with his new Board which incidentally includes Mohammed Garuba the intellectual powerhouse at Cardinal Stone and Nonso Okpala the emerging economic powerbroker as main intellectual chasis.
As I drop the phone to embark on much needed sleep, I smile as I remember Umaru’s first car- the tiny Toyota Tercel which he drove with pride to Biaduo street Ikoyi, smiling and shouting – Edgar, come and see my car.
Today, he is also smiling and saying – Edgar join me and let’s rebuild this thing and I replied him with sleepy eyes…
Umaru, you have my support and that of millions of Nigerians. Simple.
Duke of Shomolu
Alh Umaru Kwairanga yhe Chairman at NGX superintends an excellent AGM . New era for the premier Exhange