Collins checked the time for the upteenth time as he was already dressed in a sky blue long sleeves shirt, a black pant trouser over a pair of well polished black
shoes. He had a Rolex wristwatch on his left wrist and his black tie stood straight down to the half of his stomach. With his shirt properly tucked in, a black belt held it in place with his trouser. The time was 6:20AM and today is his first day at work. Punctuality they say is the soul of business and as promised the previous day when they met, his girlfriend who is in charge of the company where he is to resume promised to pick him up on her way to work, but Collins was out to impress her by getting to the office before her. Once the 6:30AM news broadcast started, he walked out of his one room apartment, locked the door and stepped out of the popular face me face you building he lives in.
“Uncle, you dey go out? This one wey you dress like this.” Mama Chidi, one of his neighbours asked.
When it comes to gossip, Mama Chidi is regarded as a legend, but her legendary is nothing without her bestfriend and partner in crime, Iya Ruka, another neighbour of his. The two women are the types who would sit down, think and fabricate stories and in minutes, everyone in the neighbourhood is aware of the latest story which is always believed, hook, line and sinker. No matter how hard people tried not to believe, the two women have an unparralleled talent at making fiction into realities. Even if Collins hasn’t spent two years in the neighbourhood, he had heard the story of how Iya Ruka destroyed Mama Chidi’s home and few months later, the later served her friend her own which destoryed the former’s marriage. How they managed to remain as friends is a mystery to many, including Collins.
“Good morning Mama Chidi.” Collins greeted.
“e be like sey Uncle Collins don find job o.” That was Iya Ruka as she approached the duo.
Collins wanted to ask what the two women were doing outside by this time of the day, but he decided to keep quiet.
“That your beautiful and rich girlfriend don do am for you. Thank God o.” Mama Chidi said happily. “Connect me too Uncle. Even if na cleaner job, I no mind.” She added.
“I am running late. I’ll see you when I return.” Collins said as he hurriedly left the two women to their lamentation of how poverty has taken over their lives.
“You go wash it for us o.” Mama Chidi screamed.
With a smile on his face, Collins boarded a taxi which took him to his place of work. He alighted and walked into the premises of SAN JOSE CONGLOMERATE.
“Good morning sir.” He greeted the gateman as he walked towards the ground floor.
“Good morning.” The gateman replied.
Without stopping he made his way to the top floor where Bunmi’s office was situated and being a regular caller at the office, her secretary allowed him into the office with a cute smile.
One hour later, Bunmi walked into the office dressed in a simple white shirt and black trouser. Her hair was packed to a bun and her open toes heels shoe adorned
her beautiful feet.
“Hello darling.” She said as she approached Collins who immediately stood up and she hugged him tightly.
“When did you arrive?” She asked.
“One hour ago.” He replied.
“I’m sorry, I couldn’t pick you up as promised. Dad had to visit the hospital this morning for his checkup and his driver was unavailable, so I opted to drive him.” She explained while still holding on tight to him.
“It’s nothing.” He assured.
“Good. Let’s get to work. First, I have to introduce you to the board and your colleagues in your department. Come with me.” Her tone changed to being serious and ready for business.
“Yes ma’am.” Collins bowed as he followed her.
“I won’t take that. Call me Bunmi.” She laughed.
“You are my boss.” He protested.
“And you are my man.” She added as they walked out of her office into her secretary’s office.
Collins finally settled down in his office as the head of the production department which puts him in the position to monitor the input and output of the company, as well as the welfare of the production staffs. Bunmi had shown him around the buildings and floors and ge was quite impressed with what he has seen, even though the reception he had was not what he expected, but he was ready to prove his worth.
According to Bunmi, the production department has been without a head for five months, even though an interim head was in place, but his arrival means the interim head has been displaced.
Just then, the intercom rang. “Hello.” He said on picking up.
“Your first presentation is at ten. Get the production report from your secretary and let’s meet at the conference room.” Bunmi instructed and hung up
Barely less than one hour since he was shown his office, his work started in earnest.
Inside the conference room, “Mr Collins, let’s have your presentation please.” The head of Accounts requested. Collins rose up with the presentation in hand. He cleared his throat and began.
“No, before that, I think we should all get acquainted
with our new new production manager.” Bunmi suggested and everyone agreed.
“Introduce yourself once again Mr Collins.”
“My name is Mike Collins. And I am the new production manager.” He replied almost stammering.
For the next few minutes, everyone in the room introduced themselves, but he wasn’t listening. How could he?
When he just got a job with a lot of pressure. But a particular name caught his attention, RUKAYAT. The Human Resource manager.
“You can go on with your presentation.” Bunmi said with a wink once everyone was done introducing themselves to Collins.
“Yeah. According to the reports I got…” Collins, unsure of how and where to start began.
“No, on the other hand Mr Collins. This is not the report you got. You are the production boss, and whatever report is coming out of your department must have
been consented to by your office. Own up to the responsibility as the department’s boss.” Bunmi cuts in.
“Okay ma’am.” He bowed slightly. He cleared his throat once again, this time rearing to go. “The production unit is the most important part of any
industry and I understand the fact that the company has been without a Manager in that departnent prior to my appointment which is exactly why I have decided to work with my own blue print.” He began.
“Excuse me Mr Collins. You are expected to work with what you met.” The head of accounts corrected.
“It’s his decision.” Bunmi whispered.
“Thank you. Even though I haven’t sat to rub mind with the staffs in my department, mere going through the reports submitted to me, I can see that production in the last five months has dropped by 3% unlike what was obtained before the production unit lost the former manager. Without asking around, worker’s well being, salary package, welfare package, health bonus, incentives and job security are one of the things responsible for efficiency in workers.” He finally began.
“By the report in my hand, I can see that, the lack of a production manager is responsible for the drop in production as the factory workers felt unsafe,
especially when an interim manager from Sales department was brought in. The production rate three months ago dropped to 5% but the crew moved to the rescue almost immediately by increasing the production materials in all factories, but what was
obtained at the end was 86.5% production. Only two things can be responsible for this; the first being the incidence of wastage while the second comes from
stealing of raw materials by the factory workers.” He continued.
“I am the head of the factory workers Mr Collins, but I don’t know what you are talking about.” A short man sitting beside Collins spoke.
“Mr Roland, you can’t know everything going on, but if you insist, I will want you to go through the production reports of 2012, 2013 and the half of 2014 when a
production manager was in place. Even though production then was a little above 80% according to the reports here, I can categorically tell you that, there was no drop in prodcution for two and a half years which is exactly what we need. If production can be constant, then we can budget our spendings around what we earn from prodcution in the long run.” Collins explained.
“So, what’s the way out?” Bunmi asked.
“Mr Roland, as a one time factory worker. I checked your profile and realised you worked in the furniture factory in 2005, the first time the company recorded 90% production input and output. Your experience then, how you and your colleagues were treated, what gave you the confidence to put your all in the job is exactly the way out here. But above all, the factory workers salary must be reviewed. Thank you.” He sat down and applause followed from everybody in the conference room.
“Mr Collins, provide a hard copy of the report and the way out and send it to my office after lunch break. You have three hours to do that.” Bunmi instructed. “That
will be all for today.” She rose up immediately as she shook hands with the departmental heads closer to her, and with one final wink at Collins, she strolled out
of the hall.
“I love your confidence.” A familiar voice said as Collins was shutting down his computer. He raised his head up to find a near empty room which has two deparmental heads whose names he had forgotten deep in conversation and the Human resource
manager, Rukayat standing beside him.
“Thank you.” He smiled as he stood up.
“You are new here, how about if I treat you to lunch?” She asked.
Remembering that he promised Bunmi to have lunch with her. “Am sorry, but my lunch break is occupied.
Maybe next time.” He replied.
“Maybe tomorrow.” She added.
Tony Brown sat under a relaxation shed located on the roof of his company’s building drinking from his wine bottle.
“Sir, can I come in?” A young man who couldn’t be more than twenty eight years asked.
“Oh! Malik come in of course.” Tony replied.
The young man walked in and stood, head bowed before his boss.
“I came to give reports for the assignments you gave me.” Malik informed.
“Oh! Lets hear them.” Tony urged.
“Martin Blaise called to say he will be in Nigeria tomorrow for the deal, but I have men watching his steps. He earlier this morning met with the French President and when he called, he was with Nigeria’s ambassador to to France.” Malik explained.
“Can you now see why I didn’t want to go into dealings with Blaise?” Tony asked, to which Malik nodded in the affirmative. “Is he now playing politics with our
supposed deal?” He asked as he went into deep thought.
“He obviously wants to eat his cake and have it.” Malik replied.
“You know what? Ensure that he arrives Nigeria tomorrow. Once you are sure of his arrival, call him and postpone the deal for twelve hours. He can’t return
to France, then get men to monitor his movements for those twelve hours. If nothing is found, meet with him and present a deal different from what we had. He is going to be furious, then tell him to cut ties with the French president or loose the chances of Tony Brown buying his almost dying company.” Tony instructed, his eyes fixed on the bottle he held.
“Yes sir, but don’t you think he is suspicous of the fact that you killed his company?” Malik asked.
“Do as I say.” Tony replied. “And one more thing, put a call through to the President at SJC, organise a lunch meeting at the Oceanic Galleria. The president must be
there in person.” Tony instructed.
“Okay sir.” Malik replied before walking away to make the call. Tony dropped the wine bottle and cast his mind back to how he met Martin Blaise, a French billionaire and how things went sour between them. They both started out as friends after they met at a summit in Abuja, where Blaise was part of the French president’s entourage, while Tony was one of Nigeria’s president’s closest business allies. The two men hit off instantly and a series of business deal took place between them. Then, Blaise started getting greedy, much to Tony’s annoyance which forced him to invest in Blaise’s rival company which resulted in a fall in market for Blaise’s company and skyrocketted the rival company(where Tony invested) a situation which forced Blaise into the decision to sell his company. Unknown to him, Tony who was responsible for his fall is also the highest bidder to buy the company’s largest shares.
It was lunch break and Collins was on his way to the company’s canteen when his phone rang, it was Bunmi.
“Hello dear.” He said as soon as he picked the call.
“Darling, where are you?” She asked.
“The canteen, any problem?” He replied.
“Nothing much, but I have to be somewhere now, it is work related.” She explained.
“No problem, you go ahead. I’ll just grab lunch and be good.” Collins replied.
“Are you sure? I mean, its your first day, I should be by your side, taking you around.” She laughed.
“That’s true, but work is important than that, and moreso, I’ve made a couple of friends.” Collins replied.
“Friends? I hope they are guys. The girls here are thieves and won’t hesitate to steal you from me. But I won’t take that.”
Collins bursted into laughter. “See you later love.” He said.
“I love you.” Bunmi replied and the line went dead.
By now, Collins was standing at the counter where a young lady was ready to take his orders and serve. Taking a quick look at the menu. “Two pies and malt
will do.” He instructed.
“Do take a seat, you’ll be served in a moment.” The lady smiled seductively.
Collins returned the smile as he left the counter to see someone waving from a near empty table. It was Rukayat.
“I thought your lunch break is occupied huh?” She asked as soon as he came to a stop near her table.
“My date won’t be able to make it.” He replied as he sat down, just when his meal was served.
“Put his bill on mine.” She instructed the waiter.
“Why?” Collins asked.
“You are new here and this is the least I can do to make you feel welcomed.” She explained. “I am Rukayat, HR manager.” She added extending her hand
for a handshake.
“Collins.” He replied as he took her hand in his.
For the first time, Collins walked into the factory common room where all the factory workers are camped, before and after production. And five minutes to the end of the lunch break, majority of them are getting ready to return to their respective factories. He
stood at a vantage position which has been designated for him in case he wants to address them, and with Roland, the head of the factory workers beside him, he cleared his throat as he switched on the microphone. One thing he noticed about the men was their distinct uniforms. A faction of them were dressed in orange overalls and orange pyjamas, while another faction was dressed in sky blue overall, others were dressed in
green, white to mention a few. According to the lecture he recieved from Roland, those dressed in Orange are the furniture factory workers, those in green are in the textile factory, those in sky blue are in the plastic factories.
“Can I have you attention please?” He asked and the noise and chatterings died down as they all faced him.
“Good afternoon my brothers. My name is Collins and I am the new Production manager.”
He paused for their reaction as he saw a majority of them smile while clapping.
“I am new here and my mission here is to know you guys better. See me as your brother and do not hesitate to lodge your complaints to me and I will meet with the ogas and we will adjust.” Before he could finish, they were all clapping.
“I understand that you are all being underpaid, and my first assignment is to get a salary review committee for you and increase each and everybody’s salary.” He continued. “The company is more than ready to meet whatever wage the committee agreed on, but you must first show the zeal to work and the first thing is, production must improve. Quantity-wise and quality- wise.”
“We are ready for the challenge.” They chorused.
“I am not the production manager from office. I am a production manager in the factory, and just like Roland who is supervising all the factories, I will be supervising with him and calling shots, making decisions with the ogas from my office. I also will wear my uniform.” just then, Roland approached him and gave him a white overall and he put it on amidst loud cheers from the workers.
“Let us all work together to achieve something big. Thank you for your time.” With this, he stepped down from the podium just in time for Roland to address them.
“Let us welcome the big boss officially.” He said as they all started clapping. “Get back to work all of you.” He instructed and there comes the end of the first
meeting with the workers.
“They seem ready to work with you.” Roland said as
he caught up with Collins on their way back to the
“Yeah. The acceptance is overwhelming.” Collins replied.
“So, the salary review. I hope the ogas will accept.” Roland said. “But, I think Miss Bunmi is feeling you one kind.” He added.
“Really?” Collins asked.
“Yeah, and she is single, this could be your chance. Try her out.” He advised.
“Roland, I hear you.” Collins replied as he bursted into laughter. “See you later.” He added as stopped outside his office.