Let me give one quick gist. I had forgotten my phone charger in Yemi Shodimu’s room at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja where i had gone to deliver a paper at the ongoing Chartered Institute of Bankers Convention.
And if you know me, the early mornings between 5am and 7am are my most creative. My phone had gone off and i felt like a fish without Afang
So i navigated the floors back to Yemi’s room where he was already awake to his morning prayers.
I got my charger and gisted a bit and left. On the corridor, just two doors away was a bulky and very good looking security man.
He looked like those American CIA type that run around American Presidents and i was expectedly impressed.
As i walked past him, he lifted up the lapel and spoke into it. Exactly how they do it in movies.
As i didn’t hear what he was saying, i decided to run away o
But before i coukd move, the door opened and John Kerry former US Secretary of State emerged.
Ohh my God i shouted. I said John Kerry? He looked at me and smiled. I stretched my hands but his people by this time had increased in number to 4 hurried him along.
I hurried along with them as they sheperded a former American Presidential candidate away from me.
Well that was nice. A beautiful experience which made me feel warm.
Well now to the real gist. As i worked into the Buka Restaurant at the same hotel, i stumbled on my brother the very briliant Head of Regulatory or is it legal of MTN Nigeria at breakfast.
Tobe is Chioma’s husband who happens to be a very strategic business partner to me in my Investment banking life.
Tobe is cerebral and a no nonsence professional. We spoke about the system, politics and life generally as we always do when we meet.
MTN has been a very strong supoorter of the Arts thru their MTN Foundation. With this vehicle, they continue to impact on the sector, depening engagements and creating huge opportunities.
So it was natural that we also takked about the Foundation and its involvement in the Arts.
Then I left him for my table to continue his breakfast in peace.
After a bit, i looked towards Tobe and saw Karl. Karl is the MD/Ceo of MTN Nigeria.
We have mutual friends like Akin Akinfemiwa of Geregu but I had never met him up till that point.
During my play – Emir Sanusi, Khalifa had called him and spoke to him about me and he sounded like the name was familiar.
So i walked up to their table and signalled Tobe if i could approach.
In my masterclass in Sales, i always talk about engaging High Profile people strategically.
You do not just badge in. You stay a healthy distance and ask if you could approach. They always never say NO.
This shows that you respect their privacy and have social grace.
So i did this and Tobe said come. I went in and greeted.
Tobe said, this is Edgar Joseph and the name drew blank. Karl hadnt ever heard of Joseph Edgar
Tobe now tried again, ‘ Dont you know Edgar? He is a columnist with Thisday and he is the Duke of Shomolu
At that point, Karl jumped up. Ohhh the Duke of Shomolu- I know him o. SLS had mentioned him and we spoke about him.
At that point, I moved in. Lord, its a pleasure o. I’m priviledged and I dey shake.
He responded, ‘Make i shake you carry my hand go collect money for bank.’
We all laughed and i asked for a picture with them.
These men are in the forefroent of a critical sector of our economy- telecommunications and here was the most powerful of them all asking to take my picture to the Bank.
It was indeed a pleasure for me and a huge priviledge to have met these two obviously very brilliant men.
But as i walked away, a funny feeling came upon me. He didnt recognise the name Joseph Edgar but jumped up at Duke of Shomolu.
I am getting a lot of these recently. People now call me Duke and some are beginning to forget my birth name
Is this a case of over building a brand that it is now eclipsing the personality?
I am not sure of what to think or how to feel. I am still watching to see but i must say that when the MD of MTN recognises the Brand and not the person, it gives a warm and tingly feeling inside.
Duke of Shomolu