Dasuki, Why Hath Thou Forsaken Me?

Before my MTN Nigeria final stage employment interview at the famous Philip consulting centre in the UBA house at Marina, Lagos, I never had a face to face conversation with a Caucasian. So, when I walked into the interview hall and was greeted by a team of MTN panel of interviewers that had one I was not only caught unaware but also unprepared, perhaps I could have rehearsed how to ‘form’ like an ‘ajebo’ or even perfect my Yoruba man American accent, even if that meant I was going to sound like someone who caught cold or probably like someone who had hot piece of yam in his mouth.

I was astonished when Philip consulting gave me a feed back two days later that because I did outstandingly well in the interview my offer letter would be despatched in three days. I was going to ask ‘you mean my heavy Yoruba accent did not betray me’ when it dawned on me that finally after almost three years of sordid job hunting experience I now have DAF trailer light and not a green light beaming directly onto my face. The thought of owning and posing with a personal GSM phone for the very first time just engaged my hitherto inactive mind; the thought alone amplified my adrenaline precipitation. Not anymore would I flip through the pages of the popular Tuesday guardian newspaper for job adverts.

This news also meant no more gate crashing at banks graduate GMAT centres instead I will now be occupied productively Monday to Friday working for the Nigeria telecom giant. I thought of how I was going to miss my friends that we engaged in discussion every Tuesday on interview tactics and the latest vacancies in town. Before the news from MTN one after the other this group of eight jobless graduates got jobs and I remember wondering aloud each time they broke their news of job offer to me when my turn will come.

As a young man I would not mind a ‘Tokunbo’ Golf GTi for a start. I want a first grade ‘Belgium’ car so that I could still relish the fresh European smell from across the Atlantic. I love to hang my jacket in the air conditioned car and cruise to work while I watch the helpless Nigerian people chase the popular ‘Molue’ buses for a ride to work. I told myself, ‘for once it will be nice to be on the other side after plenty ‘Ewa agoin and Agege bread’, boli and ekpa’, ‘Gari and kuli-kuli’.

Agege, Iyana-Ipaja, and Ajegunle, or Mushin, and Oshodi, are all areas I wouldn’t even think of leaving. I would rent a nice two bedroom flat in a choice area. I know Victoria Island, Ikoyi, and Ikeja GRA will be a bit too much for my income, but I wouldn’t mind Surulere, Ilu Peju or Anthony village. My first salary will at least be more than enough to take care of 12 pieces of nice packed shirts, and 4 designer trousers. I’ll pick up two brown and black shoes from Mandilas in Marina.

The news was now impacting on my appearance as I got complement of fresh and improved look from friends. The first week after the good news I couldn’t afford to be out, hence I decided to stay indoor so I could treasure the breathtaking memory of the DHL man knocks on the door, his handling over the parcel, and the excitement of reading through the offer letter that will state the six digits salary. I waited in vain as the expected DHL delivery man knocks on my door remained a mirage. I made excuses for the delay, perhaps there could have been some administrative hiccups. I was overly persuaded that the letter would have been handed to the DHL office on Friday and should definitely arrive at my door on Monday morning.

Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of the second week were traumatic as they were the longest days of my life yet I waited full of hope. Very early on Friday morning I dashed to the Philip consulting office to know what was holding my supposedly appointment letter. Philip consulting told me to contact MTN who already paid them for recruiting me and that they’ll have nothing to do with me again as my file was already closed.

On Broad Street, I waved down an ‘okada’ rider and in less that 25 minutes I was in the MTN head office at Victoria Island. While on the ‘Okada’ I told myself not this time, not again. I remember passing the United Bank for Africa (UBA) GMAT examinations. I was successful in the entire three stage interview; the final stage was a formal meeting with the assistant general manager at the ‘Oyingbo’ regional office. The AGM said he’ll be happy to have me come onboard as soon as possible. The HR team at the UBA house in Marina also confirmed to me that the feed back from the AGM was impressive the HRM manager then promised my appointment letter would be despatched in few days, two years after the letter is still been expected, so this time with MTN I will not fold my arms, I will not wait for the letter to come but go after it, and I will not take no for an answer.

I also got to the final stage of the Okoya’s Eleganza industries Ltd interview, I was at home waiting patiently for my posting letter to the Sokoto office only to be told that the MD sent in a name to replace me before the letter was despatched. Things happen so fast and disorderly in Nigeria that waiting for your turn could be termed as either been sluggish or foolish, in other words waiting for your turn is abnormal. Most teenage UME/JAMB applicants follow up their applications with the universities otherwise they’ll have to wait forever. We have heard of cases where successful candidates’ names in the UME/JAMB master lists were swapped shortly before departmental registration by Universities faculty clerks for money. I know a friend whose name managed to appear on the UME/JAMB admission’s master list after six attempts (six years) only for the name to be swapped by a faculty clerk before departmental registration, it took the intervention of his contact in the registrar’s office to reverse the disgraceful act. This fellow is now a senior bank manager in Lagos.

Sorry jare for digressing, at the MTN head office, I immediately possessed the land in faith even before paying off the ‘okada’ man with a 20 naira note; after all the holy book says ‘The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’, so confidently I told the receptionist on the ground floor that I was going to collect my employment letter from the HR on the sixth floor when she asked for the name of the person I wanted to see. Chatting away in the lift were those that would potentially become my colleagues in few days I thought.

My joy had no bound until a lady came out from the HR office to attend to me, she took my name, and came back to inform me that my name was not in the list of the newly employed. I told her to please check again perhaps she didn’t look well enough. She went in again, this time with my date of birth and postal address. The five minutes wait was horrible as I was not only pressed to use the gents but was also soaked with sweat, I also felt like sitting on the floor as my limbs were failing when she came out to break the unpleasant news.

I told myself, ‘I need this job desperately, my younger ones, and myself can only survive the economic adversity if I can manage to secure a job very soon’; I therefore have to put in everything this time to ensure my name is not swapped. I approached the Dad of a friend who is a Turaki in Niger state if he could help. He didn’t have a friend or relative in MTN so he advised that I should go and investigate if there is a northerner among the board members. I was delighted and began to flip through old newspapers for any clue on northerners holding any senior post. My eyes were crammed with tears of joy when I saw Mallam A. Dasuki as one of the directors.

Immediately the Turaki using his official letter headed paper gave me a note written with his prestigious green pen for Mallam A. Dasuki. The letter boosted my already bruised ego, carrying my ‘trophy’ I walked out of the Turaki’s office in a macho man style; even though I had the letter in a file that had seen better days I still secured it firmly under my armpit. On my way home I remembered telling myself while in the popular ‘Danfo’ bus that whoever will snatch the file must take me out of the way first.

The next day after a painstaking research I headed for Dasuki’s Victoria Island residence where I was told that he lives in Kaduna with his family and only comes to Lagos for board meetings. Before going back home I seized the golden opportunity to win the hearts of his domestic workers so that I could have easy ushering on subsequent visits only then did an MTN dispatch rider bringt a letter, I was then told to come back on Wednesday as the letter could be a board meeting invitation.

At 7:00am Wednesday morning I was at Dasuki’s gate with the letter from the Turaki. I was actually standing at the gate when he was chauffeur driven into the house at about 5:00pm but could not see him immidiately because his cook who is from Calabar wouldn’t allow me. The gatekeeper and the generator operator sympathized with my situation, and after weighting the various likely outcome of a brave move to knock on the main door urged me to go ahead as soon as the light in the lobby comes on as that would mean ‘Oga’ was listening to the 9pm NTA news, the move will mean the overzealous cook will therefore have no choice but to open the door for me. Unfortunately, the cook fenced me off the view of his boss and collected the letter.

The gate keeper and the generator operator seeing that I was discouraged assured me that the letter will be delivered and advised that I come back on Friday.

On Friday I waited to see Dasuki from 7:00am till 9:30pm. At about 10pm he walked a lady friend to her car. Standing by the car they chatted for about five minutes, I took caution as I waited patiently for him to dismiss the lady who I later discovered was one of MTNs’ general managers. As the lady drove off I took carefully calculated steps then approached him, introduced myself and reminded him of the letter. Looking at me scornfully he walked towards the door and advised me to go home and wait for MTN.

This response to me meant I would have to wait till eternity, obeying the dogged instinct even though I was formerly dressed I immediately went on my knees as I begged him to help investigate why my offer letter was not dispatched. Looking back at the responsibilities I must shoulder even as a job seeker I summoned more courage from wherever it was coming from to further request that a note on his business card for the HR manager will go a long way. He stopped to turn around, looked at me on the ground, hissed and finally went for the front door without looking back again. I stood up, dusted my shirt, and with my head bowed in shame headed for home.

I am not sure yet if he’s the new Minister of State recently appointed by the Nigerian President Umaru Musa Yaradua, if he is what input then can we expect from such a minister?

Written by
Dele Oluwole
Join the discussion

  • this is a sad story.the man should have listened to him atleast and sympathise with him even if he wasnt going to help.this are the situations that lead our youth to nefarious behaviours.futher more you dont know tmr,dele could be in dasuki"s position.may God help us…@tokunboh,what you wrote is totally uncalled for.

  • i feel this is what every nigerian faces and not only dele oluwole as he called himself. i will only tell him to keep hoping and praying that some how some where God will stand for him.

  • I do not think that your review of the 'young' man's narrative should be grammatical editorial rather a sympathetic one. However let me submit very quickly that the attempt to secure employment through 'who you know' sucks! Shouldnt candidates be chosen on merit? But then again, the 'young' man was trying out a culture that is synonymous with Nigeria. I pray that job seekers get lcucky on the basis of their knowledge, skills and abilities and not on the basis of who you know.

  • This story is damn scary and I hope a top shot in the Nigeria govt gets to read this.

    It high time we youths think towards entrepreneurship.

  • Tokunbo, just listen to yourself “Opinions on the site you gave are not all complimentary”. Mr. Tokunbo ITooknow-Gramarian I can see that you are perfect in everything. God help you.

  • Kemi, Your point exactly is what? Opinions on the site you gave are not all complimentary. I was only exercising my first Amendment rights of freedom of speech. You do not have to agree with me but I have a right to think contrary to everybody else.

  • Tokunbo,

    you saw what you wanted to see in the essay, but go to nigeriavillagesquare.com/articles/guest-articles/dasuki-why-hath-thou-forsaken-me-2.html for fair comments on the same article

  • Touching… Scary that thousands of our youths/graduates go through such. Personally, I think the present Cabinet is more or less foistered on the President so we may not get performers till he reconstitute/reshuffle with technocrats or accomplished individuals/politicians that he believes in.

  • Tokunbo,

    You missed it completely; aside the two negligible typo error Dele’s essay is fantastic. It would have been better not commenting instead of ridiculing yourself. Please read the essay over and over again to know you’ve been unfair with your comment

  • Ego, Make you stand up now make I sit down for your seat 😉

    Some writers on this site have raised the bar so high that I was disappointed when I read this article. I am not being a pessimist and I apologize if I came across as such. I indirectly commended Dele for the good idea of the essay.

  • Tokunbo,

    abah! How can you say the essay is badly written because the writer didn’t spell just two words properly? You can not be too sure it’s not a typo error.

    Pessimists will always see the cup as half empty even when it’s half full. Instead of commending a good work na grammar you dey scrutinise, I beg go an sit down jare.

  • This is a badly written essay full of grammatical errors. Please try and do a better job of editing your work prior to publishing it. An example is ” The news was now impacting on my appearance as I got complement of fresh and improved look from friends. ” To give praises is spelt with an “i” as in compliments. Another example is ” This response to me meant I would have to wait till eternity, obeying the dogged instinct even though I was formerly dressed I immediately went on my knees as I begged him to help investigate why my offer letter was not dispatched. ” Formerly should be spelt formally. And just because he did not help you in your job search that does not mean that he could not be an excellent minister. The main idea of challenges facing recent graduates in Nigeria in their job pursuit was good but by the end of the essay you lost the main focus.