Edgar, my mum has a kidney problem, and I have to rush her to India to save her life. This was what was confronting me that rainy Tuesday morning.
As she spoke, I could see the tears welling up. Her beautiful face contorted in pain and eyes that used to love me now in pain.
She was young. Not up to 26 but with burden that could bury the strongest of men. Her beautiful mum needed a kidney transplant urgently, and the cost was out of her tiny reach.
She had just gotten a new job. I had spoken to my friend to give her a job in her Asset Management firm and hadn’t even earned her first salary.
Prior to these, I didn’t have a job, but she kept me alive with bouts of Indomie and a shoulder to cry on.
Immediately, I got a job at Otunba’s FCMB, I bought her a car to say thank you for her loyalty.
But she didn’t tell me her mum was facing a life-threatening illness, I wouldn’t have bought the car, and now we were faced with her imminent death
I looked at the bill and shook my head. This was huge and she said, ‘ Edgar every where I have been to, they want to sleep with me bf they give me money and even if I want to do that, how many will I sleep with to raise this kind of money?
In tears, she hugged me and said,’ Edgar, let’s allow her to die. Let’s bury her in Ijebu, God who allowed this happen will understand.
I pulled her close to me and said no we owe her a fight.”” I will raise this money even if it’s the last thing I do.
I said, “Where are you from and she said Ijebu. I said there is one big Ijebu man who owns my bank, his name is Otunba Subomi Balogun, let’s go and see him
Shey that Baba that used to wear white? She asked with her beautiful lips. I said yes let’s go don’t worry, he won’t want to sleep with you, he is a very famous strict man and kind and friendly.
That night, I cdnt sleep. I was but a lowly servant in FCMB, working with Gboyega, Otunba’s son at the stockbrokong arm.
What if they sacked me? What if they even kicked me out of the building? Why would I just 2 months on the job now have the effontery to make such an audacious move
By morning, I had told myself that last they would sack me. Shebi I was out of the job for three months. I didn’t die. So whatelse is new
Then I saw the BMW. I had asked for it and gotten it and said Kai will I lose this BMw, fear catch me and I decided to call the young lady and say – Otunba has traveled.””
Then I saw the mother. She had gone for dialysis, and she was weak. Her once beautiful eyes dull, and her resolve to fight diminished. Edgar, please take care of my daughter she said.
Shame catch me. This was me trying to put a BMW on the same pedestal of a life. Not just any life but a life that has produced the most beautiful woman that I had kissed by that time.
I said, ‘ Oya, let’s go see Otunba. Today is Tuesday, and he comes to work on Tuesdays.
I entered the building. It was facing the Marina and emerged on his floor. His very kind hearted Secretary listened to me as I spoke, and she said, ‘ Don’t worry, you will see Otunba.
I was in his favorite pinstriped suit. Otunba was a snazzy dresser. It was his suits and pocket squares that pulled me into investment banking.
I told him as much during the final interview for the job. I used to come from UI to just stand and watch him alight from his luxurious cars and walk like the King of England into the Primrose Towers.
I would follow him and go and read the plaque by the wall… this is a testament of a young man’s… and then I will swear that in this my life, I will be an investment banker and stockbroker.
It was he and Albert that remian my abiding mentors in the profession. He inspired me not only with his suits but with the way he built the franchise from one man to 55,000 shareholders
Otunba will see you now. I looked at the girl and said, “You will look very sad, clean your lipstick, and don’t look at me like you know me o.
We entered, and he was sat at the end of the office. Otunba was a very handsome man with open teeth. His pinstripe suit, although more expensive than my own, sat beautifully on him
Age had done well for him. He still looked regal and charismatic. He looked up and said,’ Are u not the stockbroker who will be doing our local business and I said yes, and he said, ‘How can I help u.
You guys know im a salesman. But this was the pitch of a lifetime to a legendary salesman.
I said, ‘ Sir, this lady is an Ijebu person like u. I am from Akwa Ibom and can not love her more than you. The other day when I was going to see her, I passed your house in Ijebu and their house is three streets away.
He looked at her as I spoke, and I knew I had gotten him, so I continued..
Sir, her mother will die in two months if I don’t get her to India. She has kidney problems and when I met her she was doing dialysis once a week, now she is doing three times a week and this is why I have risked my new job to come straight to you in a last minute ditch to save the Ijebu woman’s life.
He looked at me with pride. I swear he wanted to hug me, but na Otunba o and that time I was not yet Duke.
He said,’ Edgar, I don’t have a problem with helping, but I get a lot of this, and most turn out to be fake.
He turned towards her and asked her a lot of questions in Ijeabu. I was worried. Dont let this go and tell this Baba that I am toasting her, if she do dt one na to go buy coffin and me go end for labor market again
As they spoke, I looked around Otunbas office. This was royalty. Baba knew how to be regal. He was blue blood, and everything in that office screamed it.
Finally, he said Edgar how much is everything and I told him and he said, I will pay. The girl rushed to hug me, I pushed her away before Baba, who is a disciplinarian, would come and see that it’s girlfriend.
Send the details to my PA and leave the rest. He thanked me so much for what I was doing for the Ijebu girl and sent his greetings to the afflicted mother.
Outside, I cdnt believe I had just raised about N15m, and this was like 8 years ago. I screamed and ran towards the Marina to jump into the water. Adrenaline rushing into my head.
The next day, we got receipts. Otunba, true to his words, had paid for everything. I sent him a mail thanking him and praying for a long life.
I met Otunba one more time after that. 15 months later. I had resigned and felt that I owed him to go tell him I was leaving.
I walked into his office again in the same pinstrip suit, and he was wearing his own and said, “My son, is there anything I can say to you to make you change your mind
I looked at him and said NO. I am doing exactly what you did, leaving Icon Merchant Bank and chasing the then Minister of Finance Victor Mazi to Opobo in the midnight to get your banking license.
I am going to build a bigger bank than FCMB, and I have come to you for your blessings.
He started crying. Small tears came out of his eyes as he saw himself in me, and I said Baba don’t cry the next time you see me.” It’s for you to come and open my bank.
I saluted him and turned and walked away staright into EFCC cell o.
Adieu Baba who used to wear white. God is in a very joyous mood cos he would be receiving his anointed son.
I am happy.
God bless you, sir
Duke of Shomolu