Remember when Facebook was the ultimate Social Media platform? Some time in 2009… ehn? Yes, that was when I first saw the name Editi Effiong. He was my cousin Kelechi’s good friend; Facebook suggested him and I added. We became Facebook friends, but never had any form of communication after that.
Fastforward 5 years, I was a Corper in Dekina LGA, Kogi state, seriously connecting with the movers and shakers of the community and handing them my CV – make work fit show after NYSC. I didn’t want to be one of those who didn’t have a job; those who stayed at home 24/7, watched football, watched all the latest series’, chased all the small small girls in the neighborhood, became fat and useless, and finally committed suicide. I was mortally scared of being jobless. Yes, I was already making enough money to survive, but is that why God created me? To just survive? These people living the baby boy life, do they have two heads?
Anyways, one Evening like that, while I was in my room making plans for a community development program, my cousin Chika (Kelechi’s younger brother) called and said one ‘Editi’, Kelechi’s friend wants me to call him. I was like, “I know one Editi Effiong. Him?” Chika affirmed. “Why does he want me to call him? What have I done?”
Chika just said, “I think he wants you to do something for him.”
I said, “Okay o, send his number.”
He did. So I sent Editi an SMS introducing myself and asking if it was convenient to call him then. He called immediately and we did the normal small chit-chat. He said he saw something I wrote, saw that my name looked familiar, and then called my cousin to get my number. He asked if I knew anything about Anakle. I said I ‘knew’ Anakle was a Tech company and he was the founder. He summarized what the company did, and asked the sweetest question of all time; “Would you rather blog for 50k per month or fly private jets?” (Yes, I’ve repeated this line several times. It’s like music to my ears; it never gets old. No, I am not sorry).
Anyways, I laughed and said, of course I want to fly private jets. He asked that we meet in two weeks – Abuja or Lagos, he would take care of the expenses. Guys, I felt like I was dreaming when the call finally ended. One minute I had no idea when/where I’ll get a job after NYSC, the next moment, a prospective employer (and baby boy – I’d been seeing his Facebook pictures, where he used to shuttle from Naija to USA the way I shuttle Dekina to Anyigba to look for KSU babes) was inviting me for an all-expense paid trip to meet and discuss possible employment.
Who said there is no God?
I called Ugochi, who was like the most important person in my life then and told her everything. Normally I don’t tell people things like that ‘cos of the fear it’ll be jinxed. But I did and she was so happy for me. We celebrated and prayed via the phone then started waiting. After one week I called to confirm if we’re doing Lagos or Abuja, Editi’s number didn’t connect. Two weeks passed, and we did not meet. Three weeks, four … I gave up. I just felt it was one of those ‘longthroat’ things we will all experience in life. I started distributing CVs and browsing Jobberman and NaijaHotJobs again. Then about two weeks before NYSC ended, Editi sent me a message asking when I’d be through with service.
You know that feeling when you’ve given up on something, then there’s a chance that you might still get it, but you’re not sure anymore? That feeling you get when the Super Eagles need to win by 3 goals to qualify, but they’re playing against Brazil? Yes, that’s how I felt. I wanted to say, “bros, no use me play o.” Instead I said, “NYSC ends in two weeks”. He said, okay, he’d been super-busy and that’s why we couldn’t meet as planned. He then asked me to call him after NYSC.
A few days later, the Bride Price App went viral. It was all over my TL and I was trying to understand what it was when he sent me a message saying Anakle created it. Bruh, there and then, I knew I was not going to work anywhere else. It was Anakle or nothing.
To cut the long story short, NYSC ended June 5th, 2014 and I returned to PH. After the World Cup, I came to Lagos with my Polythene Bag. We met on the 16th of July, and had a semi-formal interview. I don’t think I was convincing. No, I know I wasn’t convincing. I had a smart tongue but knew next to nothing about core Digital Media. Muna, the number 2 man came in and we talked too. He schooled me men, he did. I knew how to tweet and write. And that was all. The company needed more.
I left and I was planning my trip back to PH when I decided to write Lagos And My Polythene bag. It incorporated elements of the conversation I had with Editi and when I published, it was very well received. So well received that Editi called me and said, “you win. Come to the office next week Wednesday.” I went to the office and I officially became a member of #TeamAnakle. Just like that. Nobody asked for my UNIPORT Degree or my NYSC discharge certificate.
One year after, I have no single cause to regret working in Anakle. As a matter of fact, I am eternally grateful that despite my lack of experience, I was given a job based on the fact that I was creative and promised to be a fast learner.
Today is Editi’s birthday and #EditiInspires has been trending, because, Editi truly inspires – no single atom of wash intended. From him I have learnt to be super-confident in myself – pretend you’re a genius, act like one.
From him I have learnt to respect women/and the union called marriage even more – I have gone on a few trips with him and I have seen how he rebuffs advances from fawning women.
From him I have learnt to give second, third and fourth chances – I have seen how he refused to fire a member of the team who deserved to be fired, because he believes every member of the team is family, and family deserves our support even when they’re failing.
From him I have learnt that the greatest form of leadership is one where your followers do not get things done because they fear you, but get things done because they genuinely love and respect you.
From him I have learnt that being ‘crazy’ is a good thing.
From him I have learnt that my relationship with people matters more than anything else.
From him I have learnt that when I eventually own my own establishment, I must never owe my staff for even one day. Due to bank issues, we got paid on the 2nd of a new month ONCE and he called a meeting to apologize.
From him I have learnt to dare, think out of the box, break boundaries, and do what nobody expected.
From him I have learnt that one does not need to be as rich as Dangote to positively touch as many lives as possible.
From him I have learnt that I am awesome, but I can be better. And by God I will be.
If every employer in Nigeria was like Editi, our country will be a much better place.
Editi does not like politics in Nigeria and has refused to be in any government – in an official capacity. He’d rather help from the outside. But I hope he’ll one day be in Government, or run for something. I will campaign for him with everything I have, because Nigeria needs people like him to try change the system from within.
Happy Birthday Editi Effiong; boss, friend, role model. God bless you as you keep inspiring us all.