‘Oga sir, dem don carry our motor”
“Who ‘carried’ it and where are you”?
“Me, I have arrest. Am police station”
“WHAT DID YOU DO RONALD?”
Hey there, Zibah! here. I am starting a new series- Oga Manager. It records my time as an Operations Manager for a health/lifestyle food and beverage company. I am uncertain of how long this series will run or the frequency of update but its continuity will depend largely on the reception this piece gets from my very thin readership (no thanks to my infamous posting irregularities). Oga Manager is not fiction (heck none of Zibah is). It details an aspect of my life that rarely gets featured here- a saner, matured and ‘professional’ Zibah. Shoot me.
Today is much like yesterday and like yesterday, I itch to commit murder- without social repercussions. I would very much like to kill Ronald for the 10th time this week. Ronald is our new company driver; we hired him just after Idowu- our previous driver abruptly called it quits barely a month after he joined us. Our dispatch messenger had recommended Ronald to us and even though he comes across as hardworking, it is already one disaster after another merely weeks after he joined us.
Idowu was a driver from hell. One of the most unprofessional bitches I have been unfortunate to manage. The day after he was hired, he commenced an unending cycle of monetary requests; transport money, lunch money, electrical bill assistance, money to clear personal debts, assistance to fix personal generator set, money to ‘barb’ hair after I requested he trim it etc. Fed up, I announced to Idowu that I was neither his mother nor his bloody guardian angel, he then resorted to soliciting every other employee from junior staff to the security men, no one was spared from Idowu’s financial afflictions. My boss and co-founder of the company would eventually complain about receiving a text from Idowu asking for salary advance while she was at a conference in New York. By the end of his first month, I was gearing up to fire his ass but the cow refused to give me the pleasure. He upped and ran away after receiving his salary, which was docked as he refused to show up to work several times within his first month. I thought he was the worst till Ronald came along.
“Oga it’s not my fault. The mans that wear uniform said that red light had not remove before I drive comot but its lie. Red light remove but they now said I should come down and comot my license. I comot it and they say its not correct, that who am work for? I say its company and it’s one yellow woman that is madam there and owns it but she no dey Lagos. They say my fire extinguisher too has old finish. They now talk say I should carry car to their office that its company car. Dem seize it and say I should go away that am criminal” Ronald said in a rush, barely pausing to draw breath.
By now, you must have noticed that Ronald’s unique brand of pidgin English has the exceptional ability of bestowing powerful migraines. Absently I note that his accent becomes more pronounced when he is upset making it even more difficult to understand him. I attempt to untangle his statement and come up with the following:
- Lagos State Traffic officials (LASTMA) stopped Ronald under the guise of him running a red light.
- Ronald who is supposed to be a professional driver with over 5years experience has a fake driver’s license. Ronald. Later
- Vehicles fire extinguisher is expired. Shit!
- LASTMA identified the mini van as a company vehicle (thus I can expect an expensive ticket). Double shit
- Vehicle has been impounded.
It’s a Friday so if unresolved immediately, vehicle would spend the weekend in custody and incur demurrage. Triple shitty shit shit. Kill Ronald now now now!!!!
I work at Gen X Company (not real name). It is barely 5 months old, has a staff strength between 5-11 and is owned by 2 partners- Mr A and Ms A. Information regarding Mr A’s half of the partnership is awfully sketchy so Ms A is generally regarded as the owner. Ms A currently has a big shot corporate job and is hardly around leaving Zibah to run this show. Zibah reports directly to Ms A and sometimes (but rarely) to Mr A. Zibah is the only technical hire at Gen X so he controls and oversees; logistics, dispatch, supply chain, accounting, quality control, customer service, inventory, human capacity development, HR- hire (and fire), marketing, business development and any other thing the business requires. Officially though, I am just the Operations Manager.
Shocking!! I know. It may be hard for some of you to reconcile goofy ol’ Zibah with the person above who must seem to have his shit together. Now that you are more familiar with the shit load of responsibilities I have to deal with daily, you will now appreciate why the first image that came to my mind after Ronald rambled, distributing doses of migraine was of him arranged appropriately on a guillotine.
One of the important skills I have learnt in crisis management (and dealing with fucking people like Ronald) is to keep a level head and figure out next steps.
“So Ronald” I say very calmly ‘what are you going to do about it?”
“Sir, I have knee down and pray for the mens that God will bless him and his family and his brothers that are here so he should forgive and forget. I even tell him that am orphan and my papa die for 1996 that he should have mercy as Jesus take and be mercying for all of us but the man did not gree. He even kick me and march me on the back and said I should gerraway from here” came the foolish response.
“oga are you still there?” Ronald asked seeing as I refused to acknowledge his response (he didn’t answer my question after all). He must have been rattled as he proceeded to lament in broken English while waiting for my response ‘hey God, hepp your pikin Ronald. This new work wey you just put for my hand that have not even give me salary and devil don come put me for wahala’.
‘Ronald’ I said
“Fix this’ and then I terminate the call.
Ronald is a 28 years old male from the middle belt region of Nigeria. He is single, 5ft.7’ and identifies as a Christian. He is fluent in his native tongue and can understand English perfectly however he can neither write nor speak English fluently. Ronald has no wish to go to school but desires to become a doctor (lmfao!!)
I did not have the energy to berate him for applying for a job with a fake driver’s license. This was largely the reason the car got impounded, every other infraction were minor at best and he would have gotten off with a warning. I could also not forgive myself for not checking the fire extinguisher in the car; it was my job to ensure safety and seamless functionality within the business. I check my watch, it is about 2:45pm, and I am in Lekki on the Island while Ronald and our captured vehicle are on the mainland. If I am lucky, I may make it to the mainland just before 4pm. Most Government agencies close at 5pm on weekdays but being a Friday, they were likely to leave a tad earlier and then there is the Friday rush-hour island traffic of people exiting the island to go home for the weekend to worry about, I was not going to be able to sort this out personally today. Best (but unlikely) case after much pleading they let him go, the most likely scenario was that he would have to purchase a new extinguisher and begin the process to renew his license which would take multiple days. Just as I came to the conclusion that the minivan would be spending the weekend there my phone chimes, it is Ronald again.
“Sir, I have buy new extinguisher and they say I should come and go and do new license”
“Sir, they write me ticket of N90,000 for our bill” he added
“Our? Ronald, the bill is yours. Take care of it”.
I am quite aware Ronald may be unable to afford it meaning the company would have to sort it and dock his salary later however, 90k is frankly ridiculous.
“Go back to the office and plead with them to reduce the amount. You are (allegedly) a first time offender, N90,000 is much too high”
“Ok sir. God bless you sir. What of the mone….” I had terminated the call before he could finish his sentence.
Since Ronald was determined to ruin my weekend, I was not going to make it easy for him, I know what he wanted to hear was that I would take care of it but I was not going to clean up the mess of a new driver still on probation without letting him stew in it. With my experience, it would only set precedence for more shit drama. I promptly went back to my pile of work and ignored any further calls and texts from Ronald, Around 4:30PM I sent Ms A a short text letting her know of the situation and that I was handling it, being intimately familiar with her schedule, I figured she would be on a different continent and may not get my message till hours later, when I was most likely asleep. I was unlucky;
“WHAT???? GET MY CAR BACK NOW!!!!!’
With Ms A, punctuations are an expression of intense emotions; I translated this to mean extreme anger and irritation, my weekend just got officially ruined.
TO BE CONTINUED........when I've energy.