10. Leadership

A ki i fini j’oye awodi, ka ma le gbe adiye

We can’t robe you with the chieftancy of a vulture and you can’t pick up a chicken for a meal 

One of my trusted colleagues (I don’t like the word “staff”) is Segun Adeniyi. We have gone around the world with me providing the concept and data while Segun finishes brilliantly with  graphics. We end it in a beautiful storyboard – infographics.

From Lagos, Ibadan, London, Warri, Abuja, Kaduna, Akure, we have done this happily. Yes, I mean London, as that it is the way to reward a loyal colleague. A First Class graduate of Economics of  Obafemi Awolowo University (yes Economics NOT Design), Segun has done award winning infographics. 

Last year, Yemi Adamolekun of EiENigeria beckoned on us to help her team design a #BringBackOurGirls banner. This design would be used at the World Economic Forum  that held in Abuja. We were given the brief to make a hack design. This was to mimic the World Economic Forum logo and highlight the #BringBackOurGirls campaign as a more important issue.

I passed this to Segun. Yemi is a perfectionist and she will ensure that every dot is added before we ship out. She kept making changes, we kept adapting.

Segun did the last design based the correction and emailed this to me. I forwarded this to Yemi. Yemi did not also check the design and also sent this to the printer.  The printer did his job and delivered in the morning.

Next morning, planning to hit the road, to continue the wheel of work, I heard a call from Yemi.

“You people need to be more professional and get your acts right”

“What is all this?”

I tried to calm her down.

“Why will you write #BringOurGirlsBack instead of #BringBackOurGirls”?

I paused. I rushed to see the design. Iro ni!

“Segun won’t have made that mistake.”  I said to myself.

I rushed to my email. I wanted to validate  that quickly.

Damn. Según made the mistake. Two errors that we made in two days. I had to apologize to Yemi. The banner was useless and I doubt if the campaign held. 

Now I turned back to Segun and lashed at  him seriously.

“What was all that? Why will you make that mistake? So all these days that we have been campaigning, you don’t know it is #BringBackOurGirls?”

I kept screaming. I kept fuming and no one talked back. I was so pissed.

Segun lived  with me in those days. When we woke up the next morning, I was still scolding him till a friend – JDon – interrupted.

“When it was good, who took the glory?”

“When it has gone bad, why don’t you just take the blame”?

I was unsettled. This is the truth. Nothing unsettles me so fast than being silently confronted with the truth.

Segun actually forwarded the document to me. I was meant to open it and correct it. I failed to do that. Now, I am passing the buck.

If Leadership is the “word”, what exactly is the opposite? Passing the buck.

Leadership had a new meaning to me. The same responsibility Adam did not accept when he said that “woman that you gave me after meeting the serpent, handed the fruit to me” He failed to lead, he passed the buck. 

It is a call to be responsible. The times – good or bad – lie in your court.

I will go back to focusing on people as themes for the stories for the next five days. Thank you for reading. 

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