Warri Nor Dey Carry Last 23
Friday used to be very interesting at Furlong Technologies, but not this one. The week had been very demanding with the deadline to submit the teaching app that will make secondary schools run on virtual teachers. Though they met the deadline, which was on Thursday same week, the report from the Science and Technology committee from the Lagos state government that vetted the innovation was not yet out before they left the office.
That night had been one of the longest night they have had in that house as they kept checking their phone for at least a text message from Mr Agbaje, their unit head. He had the knack for breaking news, whether good or bad, so they believed that he would send one of them a text or a phone call to inform them of the outcome of the presentation.
That was how they waited until they wore themselves out with anxiety and slept off, though briefly. Each time they wake up at night, they will check each other phones to see if any message had entered. By morning, they were so exhausted due to the little or no sleep they’ve had for the last few days. Tired of waiting, they dressed up earlier than usual and went straight to the office. The worst that would happen was that the project would be completely repealed or tweaked.
“Una get meeting this morning?” The security man at the gate asked, rather surprised at the usual time they came to office. They drove in without answering him. He was the least of their problems. His question was beginning to make sense by the time they got to the parking lot and found Mr Agbaje and Mr Whyte’s cars already there. Their bosses had never gotten to the office before them, and this could only mean one thing; ‘the project did not scale through and they had to come and brainstorm the way forward themselves’. “This is bad news,” they said in unison, as they slowly walked towards the escalator. “I would get choked in that escalator with this state of mind”, Okiemute said, excusing himself from the other two. He climbed the steps slowly thinking of the efforts they all made towards the project and wondered what might have gone wrong?
Ken and Bayo waited for him to join them before entering the office. He was surprised to see them at the lobby waiting for him. “You guys are still here?” He asked. “You think you are smart? You want us to face the heat before you will stroll in? My friend, come here and let us enter together”, Ken replied jokingly. They walked slowly towards the door leading to their office, literally counting their steps and staring at each other with trepidation. They stood at the door, took a deep breath, and waited for who will open the door. Bayo opened the door, stepped in and the two followed from behind.
A big hand made greeting card welcomed them inside, with these words boldly written, CONGRATULATION WE MADE IT! And on the table was a fine cake with the same words written on it, and a bottle of wine. They could not believe their eyes. They felt like screaming their lungs out, where it, not that they were in the office. Whose idea was this? Agbaje or Whyte? They thought.
Carried by anxiety, they had forgotten that the whole building was covered by CCTV. From the time they stepped into the compound, Mr Whyte and Agbaje had been watching them from the CCTV footage at Mr Whyte’s office. As they were still walking around the cake, examining it and the card, the two men walked in.
“Congratulations guys”, Mr Whyte said as he walked in. His charming smile and sonorous voice coupled with the British accent made the word more refreshing to hear. He shook hands with them and hugged them. He then told them that he had instructed Mr Agbaje not to inform them of the outcome of the committee meeting yesterday as he wanted to take them by surprise.
They took pictures with the cake and the four of them in that unit autographed the card which Mr Whyte took back to his office. He told them the App had only been approved as workable, but the approval to deploy it to schools in the state has not been granted by the state government. However, as a patent property of Furlong Technologies, they will be appreciated for that breakthrough. He then handed them an envelope each to the three of them. They were so excited. The weekend was lit already!
Mr Whyte left Agbaje with them, who still wanted to thank his boys for a job well done. After thanking them for their efforts individually and collectively as a group, he added that they should not forget that every new app is like a baby. The day the workability is approved is the birth of that baby. But like children in real life, the joy of being a parent is only for a moment as the job of training that child is more tasking. He encouraged them to please put down any idea that crosses their mind that will be helpful for the upgrade of the app to ensure they have smooth user-friendliness. Thanking them once more, he gave them permission to close early by 2 pm if they want to. “See you next week!” He ended and left.
It was such a relief for the boys. They’ve been on that app for about two months before Okiemute joined them, though they never worked on it tediously the way they did for the last two weeks. They tore the envelopes open to count the cash present given to them by Mr Whyte as soon as Mr Agbaje was out of sight. The clean and neat wads were forty pieces of five hundred Naira denomination. “Twenty thousand Naira, just like that!” Kenneth screamed! “O boy weekend don set, dem go hear am today”, Okiemute added, as he danced to the tune of a local musical sound that he was humming. “I go carry today, e don tay wen man change oil”, said Bayo licking his lips and moving his waist in an oscillating motion.
Okiemute called Bola to break the news to him and to invite him over for the weekend. The invitation was turned down. Bola had finally expressed his love for Beatrice and would want to spend the weekend in his place while he waits patiently for her reply. He feared that he might be running faster than his shadow if he spends the weekend with Okiemute and they end up going to her church. He was trying not to choke her, so as not to spoil his chances. Since Bola was not coming, it seems going to the club with his colleagues would be his next option. ‘This money must be spent on something memorable’, he said to himself.
They shared the cake with other units as the news had already gone round that the innovation interns have gotten bonuses for their work. That afternoon, during lunch break, he tried to ‘shoot his shot’ too. If for nothing else, but to be on the same page with Bola.
As usual, Sandra made it easy for him. She walked to him and congratulated him for the breakthrough, and then sat beside him. Taking advantage of the proximity, he decided to shoot at close range.
“The celebration has not started, you know?” He said. “Oh, is there a party?” She asked with a smirk.
“Don’t you think there should be? My first bonus after I joined the team”.
“Well, it depends on the cost of the party. Will you use the whole bonus to host everybody and then run yourself dry?”
“Who is talking about hosting everybody? Have you not heard the saying that ‘three is a crowd’?”
“Great idea! You and your team members can always have an inhouse party. That would be very economical and fun-filled.”
“Stop acting like you don’t know what I am talking about. I mean a table for two. Just the two of us to mark this victory”.
“And then the next envelope will be your termination letter. It’s like you are tired of this job.”
Haven said that she stood up and left him there. Okiemute was disappointed at first, but after giving it a second thought, he recalled that she did not turn him down because he was not appealing to her, but based on the rules of engagement in the company. That was soothing enough to rekindle his morale that was earlier crushed. He needs to work around the challenge if he actually wants to have her. He was still ruminating over the issue when Ken came to notify him that they were about to go back home!
Three young guys with free cash, on a weekend in Lagos, the party was just getting started.
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.