Orji, Ngozi (MSc PhD Dr MBBS Consultant))

Good morning beautiful people…

Last week, my uncle called me. We’re not related by blood, but we’ve been family friends for a long time. I hadn’t heard from him in almost a year so when I saw his name pop up on my phone, I had to wipe my screen to make sure I was seeing clearly.

“Ngor! Hawayoo?”

“I’m fine thank you sir.” He’s at a weird age where he’s not so much older than us kids that we should be calling him uncle, but he’s also not our mate so we can’t call him by his first name. However, because he’s richer than God, we call him “sir”. In fact, if not for self control, we would’ve been adding “oga” in front of the “sir”.

“Your mother told me that they sacked you.” 

I hate that word ‘sack’, but uncle is not patient at all… there was no point going into a lengthy explanation about budget cuts and redundancy so I simply answered, “Yes sir”.

He said, “Sorry my dear. Don’t worry… do you know what you will do?”

At the sound of those words, my heart skipped several beats. I thought, Holy shit! I’m going to get a job in his billion Naira oil company!  He might create one useless position with plenty salary and insane benefits…

I would probably be the Head Crude Online Tester, like a sub-division of Quality Control. My job would be to look at online pictures of crude oil to make sure that whatever we drilled was the same colour. I would put in two or three years of hard work and retire before 40…

But then uncle killed my dreams of early retirement when he said, “You can start your own consulting firm. You have very good communication skills. Just print out business cards and schools can pay you to come and talk to their students about their college education. Then you can charge people 200,000 Naira for your services. I have a friend who is doing it and he’s making mad money.”

I was confused. “Sir, erm… please which services?”

“Consulting na! You don’t even need office. My friend doesn’t have office. He meets his clients in restaurants. He will look at their documents there and advice them on what they should do. And before he takes you on as a client, you will sign a document that says you cannot hold him responsible if you don’t get a visa. You see how he gets his cool money?”

That’s when it dawned on me what he was talking about. “Yes sir… very cool.”

In truth, I was heartbroken.

                                       Oil tester picture 2

With great fear and trembling, I told him that I don’t have knowledge of immigration laws and shit like that, and it’s something I’ll have to take time to learn. As I suspected he would, he went off on me. He said I’m lazy, and I don’t want to hustle, then he reminded me again how much money his friend is making.

My country people, how the hell am I supposed to answer ‘Consultant’ and start charging people 200,000 Naira to let me use them to learn work? I was horrified. Only Jehova knows how many holes this man must have drilled in his neighbour’s backyard in search of oil at the time he was learning work.

I remained quiet while he screamed. When he was tired, he said, “Ngozi? Are you hearing me? Design somtin… let them print cards for you. Do your research and let me know. I will support you fully.” I agreed to get back to him in a week’s time and the conversation ended.

Is it just me or do you guys agree that in Nigeria we’re obsessed with packaging? That’s why someone will buy/rent a building next to an existing supermarket, spend millions in aesthetics – tiles, paint, marble counter tops, big ACs – only to open shop & sell over priced pampers and Vaseline. And I suspect it will only get worse in this era of buy-Nigeria-to-grow-the-Naira.

Anyway, I’ve told you guys before that I don’t have a single business bone in my body… so maybe there are some trade tricks and secrets that I’m not getting. I won’t lie though, I briefly considered my uncle’s offer because, like he said, I can speak good English and I can fill forms… but I know my luck; one day one angry Benin man who paid me his life’s savings for a visa to Italy to visit his daughter will hold me responsible when he is denied visa. He will use the contract we both signed to tear me heavy slap.

Thanks, but no thanks.

Enjoy your weekend people…

A peaceful world without DSTv

There was a time, some years ago, when news headlines always had one story or the other about Asian executives committing suicide. I did some research and discovered that it’s actually a thing with Japanese people, especially the men.  It’s called an honourable suicide. How it works is, a large organization starts to fail… maybe it experiences a colossal loss or there’s fraud exposed at top management level. The CEO or MD or high-ranking official directly responsible for the problems/fraud, will open a window in his large, sprawling, 20th floor office and jump out.

No suicide note, no nothing… just his brains splattered all over the sidewalk.

Ok, I’m exaggerating a bit. Most of them just shot themselves, but the principle behind the suicides was the same; I have fucked up big time. I am a failure. Rather than bring shame and disgrace to my family name, let me do this honourable sidewalk dive.

To a very large extent, I understand where they are coming from. It’s from a place of accountability to oneself… you start to experience it at a very young age, especially when you are raised in one of those “What will people say?” households like I was.

I believe everyone has similar early childhood memories… like going back home on the last day of school with a report card that had: Overall Position 37/40 written boldly at the top in red ink.

On your way home, you ponder over your young life and tears start to fall uncontrollably. You feel terrible, but most of all, you feel ashamed. To make matters worse, tomorrow is the end of year PTA meeting. Your parents are going to talk to your teacher and they will find out that the students who carried 38th, 39th and 40th positions are triplets who had transferred to a new school at the start of second term.

That’s when you first consider an honourable suicide. You imagine jumping in front of the school bus as its going downhill, or hugging the hair dryer in your bathtub during your night bath. Why? Because you don’t want to bring shame to your family.

It’s called PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY.

We don’t have that here in Nigeria. If we did, the brains of the top brass at DSTv, MTN, PHCN, Arik and many more organisations would be scattered beautifully around the sidewalks of Lagos and Abuja… or wherever the hell their head office is.

Today’s rant was inspired by DSTv… so let’s focus on them.

I honestly cannot remember the last time I renewed my DSTv subscription, made payment and my decoder came on immediately. It used to happen… in 2014. I would get home from work, sit in front of the Tv, do the transfer and voila! it’s back on. That doesn’t happen anymore. And because I have a thing against call centres/customer care lines, I usually go through the pain of exploring every single DIY option that there is. NONE of these options work. None.

And it’s not just me… I was on several blogs tonight, looking for one last option. I read through the comments sections and I was appalled! Even on their Twitter page, it’s the same thing; people pay and are not connected immediately. People pay days ahead of subscription expiry and they are still disconnected!!

So every gaddem month, as if my destiny has been tied to theirs, I have to call in and speak to one idiot agent who will tell me a million times that “We siseerly aplorgize for any ikorveenience”.

The most painful part for me is towards the end of the call, after attending to you and the agent asks, “Ma, do you know about the self-service option?  You can just text blah blah blah to tree-zero-tripletree.”

                                  dstv phone call

That’s what their saying, but what I am really hearing is, “You sef, upon all this English you are speaking, are you not hip or cool enough to join the tech trends? Just text blah blah blah to tri-zehrow-tripletri and it will come on like magic, instead of calling us, wasting our time and yours”.

I was reading about Nokia yesterday and how they have crashed. I understand that their ogas were actually crying and I felt sorry for them. Nokia is an excellent brand, but my guess is that they probably got too comfortable. While their competition was growing, they relaxed.

That is my forecast for DSTv. Very soon, there will be competition… the kind of competition that will shut them down. Is this an informed guess based on profit margins and detailed business analysis? No. I’m just swearing for them… plain old, lying on the floor naked, calling to gods of the moon and the stars to bring judgment upon them.

I don’t blame them. It’s my fault for being such a Tv junkie… because when I really think about it, what is that thing that DSTv gives me that the Lord God my savior cannot give me? Is it Comedy Central? There’s plenty of comedy in the bible! Have you ever pictured a camel trying to fit into the eye of a needle? That shit is funny as hell!

Is it Crime and Investigation? There’s lots of crimes in the bible… CSI, Law and Order type of crimes. The entire bible is one big reality series.

Just imagine how peaceful my life would be. I wouldn’t have to go through this hell every month and hairdressers will no longer shampoo my left eye just because they are watching one of those silly ass Indian soaps… you know those ones where everyone has a nose ring and everything happens in slow motion.

This post is already too long and I have to go to bed. I’m not even as angry as I was when I started.

In conclusion, this is a personal heartfelt appeal to the ogas at DSTv, MTN, PHCN and Arik…

                                  begging cat

You probably had a plan in the beginning- a plan to excel and take your organization to incredible heights. Maybe you got carried away in the lawlessness that is Nigeria. Our society taught you that you can get by on poor or mediocre services. You shouldn’t even count that single water pump that you installed in one backwater village somewhere up North… the truth is, you have failed.

I urge you today to do the honourable thing. Walk up to your window, open it wide, and please do the world a favour: fly out.

Thank you.