Olumide was the first image maker of the then NSE. He was a professional and handled his job with particular care.
We often met up somewhere in surulere where we discussed the markets and the ongoings in the system. This was the period of the rebranding when the exchange was moving to the holdco structure and embarking on a change of name
So when this present eruption started, i shook my head and said to myself, ‘ how I wish Olumide was still in the place’
The job of an image maker or a reuptational handler like they call them now is a thankless job especially in a place like the NGX where very spiritual things are happening.
Clifford introduced himself to me one cosy evening via a phone call. Edgar, i am taking over from Olumide and would like to meet up.
I liked his voice and liked his demanour. I dont think we eventually met up but somehow he apperaed for one of my plays and we finally met.
We became friends and exchanged phone calls where we discussed the markets and he gave me some updates.
Now im not a traditional finance media person. I am just a rabble rouser who says his mind and moves on. But another thing is that, as a stockbroker who qualified in 1986 and with Reg No 456, I make it a point of duty to follow happenings on the Exchange and in the markets.
First as a trader who traded on the floors of the Exchange for a period, i cane put of that experience with a dour and grey mien.
I saw the place as a very funny institution ran by clay feeted mini despots who would rather cling to power even without having any clue as to how to move it forward rather than opening it up to ideas and visionary thinking.
It was at a time ran by a despot who paraded dodgy certifications but wielded powers of life and death and whose words were law.
So we looked forward to the demutulaization of the place hoping that the democratisation of the place, the opening up of its ownership structure and the expansion of its base and offerings would bring a new lease of life to the place.
I shdnt have wasted my prayers. What we have seen is a devolution of ineptitude and a concave sighting in leadership that has brought it into a disgraceful loss position.
So i fired and immediately Clifford calls. I smiled at my phone as it rang out.
Clifford NGX was how i saved his numbers. I had called for a culling of the leadership of the Exgange so i was wondering from what angle he would be coming from.
I had once gotten a call from the Image maker of Cadbury who was miffed at my comparison of their result with that of Emeka who ran the local brothel in Shomolu.
His approach was condescending and arrogant. He asked me if that was not the Edgar who didn’t take his bath in University of Ibadan and that he has been following my career in theatre and that I should allow them a breather na
I said ok and the next week fired a worse misile.
Clifford was different. He was nice and warm. He said, this is bad but Edgar you are a broker and should work with me in seeking solutions.
This was the pull in strategy. This was brilliant. This clifford no be small pikin for this matter o. I smiled.
He continued. You know this thing more than me. You are a broker, oya what is the way forward.
This was a briliant strategist trying to defang me. He had dug an emotional hole and threw me inside and i was struggling to come out of it.
I could see him with the fire extinguisher trying to blow out my flames.
Clifford this is beyond you. This is the market. Trillions of Naira is at risk and the general economy will be affected.
He said , this is why we all need to put heads together. This boy want to kill me o. This boy has sense o.
One very big Corporate Communications man had called me and said, How dare you?. We feed you, How dare you’
This was after i had caled his MD Emperor Nero. I dropped the phone on him and have never taken his calls since then.
But this was different. This was classic. This boy clifford was influencing me. Muting me and defanging me.
In annoyance, i fired – Oscar and the 40 thieves. He called. Edgar you are not listening o. I need to work with you. How do we resolve this matter.
I smiled. I say Clifford you are working on me and you are succeeding but this is beyond me and you. The Exchange just recorded a loss position and they are asking for millions as whatever for Non Executive Directors
Clifford smiled and said, what are you giving me?. Will you hold fire till talk to my people and come back. You need to give me that at the least.
I am liking this boy. He has suceded in pulling me into this wahala. I was now a stakeholder, I was no longer braying for blood but was looking for a solution with Clifford.
I have engaged with many Reputation Managers and apart from may be Abdul Imoyo of Access Bank and Diran Olojo of FCMB and yes Abim and Folake at First Bank, most that i have dealt with where just airbags
Clifford was begining to look like one of the best. He will call late at night and will say, ‘ Edgar we need to talk. He remains calm, unruffled and deeply professional
He doesnt argue but calmly pushes me towards his position and leaves me thinking if this fight against Oscar is worth it.
My brother Jude who is a Director at NGX jumps in and rushes information and justifications. Laying the balme at the CBN, Federal Government and every other thing incuding Portable the musician except the managemnt of the NGX.
This worsens the case but Clifford jumps in again and smoothens it.
Clifford i can tell you has not slept since i started this war. His success shows in my releasing a 10 point agenda with which he calls and says, ‘ Edgar we will implement some. We are engaging the media and other critial shareholders. So calm down and lets do this together.
This boy is mad o. This boy is standing infront of a mad man with a gun and like Denzel Washington in that mad scene in the movie – Ricochet he was talking me into dropping the gun and engaging
Clifford is young but a master. He is making me proud as he contains this fire.
This morming, as i write, Oscar is meeting with the media – one of our agreements and i am sure that we just may have begun to see the end of this very dark alley.
Clifford is the reputaion manager from hell. He just weakens me.
Duke of Shomolu