The Chronicles of Okiemute in Lagos.
The rules of the company was conspicuously pasted on the door to the boardroom that served as office for Okiemute, and two other interns. The red letters on a white background made it very eligible, even for someone with eye defect. The office was on the fourth floor of the building, a floor lower to Sandra’s office. So except they meet during tea breaks or launch time, they won’t be seeing each other that often. He had to device a means no doubt, but that was not the primary issue on ground. Sandra turned back and left as soon as she saw Okiemute to the door of his new office. He opened the door and saw two guys with contrasting physical characteristics. One was from southeastern part of the country, while the other was from southwestern part. One was very tall and chubby, almost same height with Mr Whyte, while the other was short and thin, in fact ‘smallish’ would be a better description. One was light in complexion with a glowing countenance, while the other was extremely dark and would be lost in the dark were it not for his very bright eyes and shining white teeth. He was to find out later that one was a lousy talker, while the other was a shy and extremely conservative workaholic.
“You were the guy at the gate earlier today with ‘No ID and No gatepass, right?”, the smallish guy spoke first. Still looking at the little stature and the over glaring physical differences between the two of them, he replied, “I wouldn’t know if I was the only person that fits that description, but I had difficulties at the gate earlier this morning”. “I am Onifade Adebayo, but you can call me Bayo”, the little man introduced himself, as he stretched out his hand for a handshake. “Oghenekokwo Okiemute is my name, and I prefer you call my name in full always, ‘Okiemute’!” He said, feigning a smile. The other guy stood up and walked up to them to introduce himself. “Nnamani Kenneth is the name, and it’s a pleasure to meet you” he said. His bulky stature gave him such an intimidating presence. “The pleasure is mutual bro”, he replied. They shook hands and the little man pointed a seat for Okiemute. “Where are your belongings?” Little man asked. “We have been told that you will be joining us for over two weeks now, infact we were beginning to suspect if it was just to spur us to put in more effort”, he continued. “My box is at Sandra’s office, and I can always get it when we are ready to go”, he replied. “Sandra allowed you keep all your things in her office?” He asked, with a surprised look. “It’s just a box and why wouldn’t she allow it? I am not planning to leave it there forever”, he replied. Adjusting his tie, and fondling with his wristwatch like a child trying to conceal something, he said, “well, that’s true. After all you planned taking the box today. Just that she used to be touchy when we (pointing to himself and Kenneth) are in her office. She won’t even allow us sit there”.
“Bayo! I thought we were working on something before this guy entered”, Kenneth said, as he tried to shut little man’s lousy mouth and get him back to his seat. “Okiemute is the name and not ‘this guy’, please.” Okiemute replied Kenneth. “Whichever suits you bro, I was not actually talking to you ‘Oki-emu-te’, or whatever you call yourself”, Kenneth fired back without taking his gaze off the computer he was working with. “Hey guys, It’s too early for all this. This is not the right way to get acquainted with ourselves”, Bayo spoke up, trying to break a truce. Just then, Mr Agbaje walked in. “Good morning everyone”, he greeted. “Finally, the long awaited Okiemute has joined us. And as we have always done, we will formally induct him to our team and help him settle real fast. You know the rules of the game, “more hands, means more work”. With an additional hand, our deadline has been reduced for the Lagos state government automated tutor code we are working on. But before we go into the details, let us welcome our new team member”, he added.
Mr Agbaje opened the door and one of the canteen staff came in with a bottle of wine and a small cake. The wine was neatly wrapped with red and white ribbon, same colour was used in icing the cake. ‘Code Team’ was spelt on the cake with a very fine font. Okiemute was gobsmacked, he never knew men got involved in things like this. All his life he had never gotten a cake for his birthday, let alone to mark a new day in office. They sang a song that seems to be special for such purpose. He tried to memorise the lyrics of the song as they sang it, but they were to fast for him. Then they all held hands together to cut the cake. The staff that brought the cake and the wine helped to snap them with Agbaje’s camera. Like Jesus and his disciples would do, they took the wine, cut the cake and ate happily. Just that this time it was not their ‘last supper’, but one out of many to come!
After the welcome celebration, he was officially presented a MacBook for his programming and coding works. That would be the first company’s property under his care. And he had a desktop on his desk to be used for other allied matters in the office that is not related to programming and coding. “You can use today to set up your corner, personalised your computer by installing what is needed for optimal performance, and use the rest of the day to catch up with what we are doing here from your new colleagues. On Monday, I will engage you on the task on ground”, Agbaje said to him as he took his leave. “Welcome once again to Furlong Technologies”, he said, giving him a thumbs up. He shuts the door behind him and left.
As he opened the Macbook and puts it on, he recalled that he did not even pray after entering his new office. He thought of how disappointed his mum would be if she finds out that he forgot to pray before sitting down in his new office. “But everything happened so fast”, he said within himself, trying to justify his negligence. His mum had continuously warned him to be prayerful, especially in his new place of work. “You might be going there to replace someone who still have loyal friends in the company, or your coming might be because someone there is underperforming, and they will want to see you fail to justify their own failure or the sack of their friend”, she would always say. The way she makes it so vivid when she paints the scenario would make you wonder if she had seen the vision. As the system was boothing, he closed his eyes and uttered some words of prayers. “Lord Jesus, I thank you for keeping me alive, and for helping me find favour in the eyes of Furlong Technologies. Let your light continue to shine on me and let my presence here bring breakthrough and success to this company. Amen”. By the time he was done with his prayers, the system was ready for use.
He took out his handkerchief from his pocket, and started cleaning the screen of the laptop. In fact, it soon graduated from mere cleaning to caressing. MacBook is the dream laptop of every young developer. When he was still applying for grants everwhere, showcasing his software, his dream back then was to get a Macbook from the first grant he would win, even if he has to spend all the grant in other to afford it. Here he is today with one of his own. Life indeed is in phases. Just a little patience, all that we earnestly seek we will find. “Who knows, he might eventually get Sandra if only he will be patient about it”, he smiled slyly as the thought crossed his mind.
Time is always very short when one is busy. Okiemute was still surfing his new laptop when one of the security guards brought his box to him. It was already 4:30 pm, and Sandra was getting set to close for the day. It was then he realised that the other two guys were ready to leave but were waiting for him to shut down. Though the official working time for them was 9 am -5 pm, they were allowed to close by 4 pm on Fridays for those that might want to attend social functions during the weekend to have time to travel. “If you are ready, I am ready”, he said to the other two guys. “We are ready”, they chorused. They helped him pack up and left the office together. The first day at furlong technologies had finally come to an end. As they drove to their official apartment, he kept wondering how the place would look like. So he would have to live with these strangers as roommates or flatmates he thought? He was tempted to ask Bayo about the place, but he held himself back. Let him not send a wrong signal as if he was not comfortable around them. He was alone at the back, behind Bayo, as Kenneth drove them to the house. He was looking outside through the window, but wasn’t seeing anything. He was lost in thoughts as he kept asking himself different questions. Questions about his life. Was this new turn the breakthrough he needed? What does the future holds for him? Was he at the place of his dreams? Can the smooth and perfect life he has always dreamnt of be achievable? Questions! Questions, lots of questions!
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.