How MKO became Controller of ITT in Nigeria

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MKO Abiola,The Man who made ITT Popular in Africa


“Your name is on the list. I can see it. But we can’t let you wait in the conference room. Return to the ground floor and come back five minutes before your appointment”. The security personnel individual was firm. Moshood, who had arrived at the ITT headquarters, a massive skyscraper in Manhattan, by 8 a.m. the following day, had no choice but to comply with his directives. He returned to the ground floor from the tenth floor. He was so nervous that he arrived an hour early to his appointment.
He sat in the lobby. But after a while he decided to go for a walk. He moved aimlessly around the streets of Manhattan for almost thirty minutes. He had never seen a place as beautiful as the scene in front of him—the jovial people, the tall buildings, the carriages with tourists, and the elegant boutiques. He almost got carried away so he decided to return to the ITT headquarters at once to avoid missing the appointment.

 At the company entrance, he was surprised to see the same man who had given him the appointment. The man looked at his watch and smiled. “Good morning, Mr. Abiola. I hope you don’t mind my calling you by your last name. It is just that your other name, the Arabic one, is heavy on my tongue”
Moshood laughed. He was impressed that the man had remembered his name without reading it from a file. “I am glad to see you again sir. Calling me Abiola is fine”

The Author of The Book & The GDA in a rare pose with the book, The President Who Never Ruled

The man sounded relieved. “Well I guess we are settled on that. Come with me. Let’s go to the tenth floor!” Moshood was reluctant. “I already went up. But I was told by security personnel to return five minutes before my appointment”

“ITT offers performance bonuses to staff that are hard-working and result-oriented. This is a company policy that ensures that all employees are not only aware of their performance entitlements by the end of the year, but that they received them as well. We want our workers to earn as much as, if not more than, they deserve”

The man, who had already started walking ahead of him, laughed. “They were just doing their job. Now it is time for me to do mine. Come on; let’s go up, Mr. Abiola”.
Moshood followed him, struggling to catch up. He admired his confident disposition. They went up the elevator to the tenth floor. The same security individual was there but this time he behaved differently. He was warm and polite. He even led them to the conference room and opened the door for them.


The Book which cleaned MKO's Political blemishes

The man urged Moshood to have a seat. Looking at his watch again, he declared cheerfully. “We are twenty-seven minutes early. I must commend you for your punctuality” He paused for a few seconds. “I am amazed because based on my dealings with people from your part of the world; I have realized that they are simply never willing to give time the respect that it deserves”
Moshood laughed then responded defensively. “Maybe you have a point. But guess what? These same people always make up for that shortcoming with things that are more valuable than time”
The man seemed doubtful. He asked suspiciously. “I don’t think that anything can be more valuable than time. To be honest with you, nothing is”
Moshood paused deliberately. He enjoyed the puzzled look on the man’s face. “Things like generosity and hospitality are. If we give you time and neither of them, will you be satisfied?”
The man burst out laughing. “No comment, in view of the fact that I have to get to work”

He left Moshood to inform management of his arrival. In his absence, Moshood was more at ease. He stood up at once and went near the window to observe the magnificent view of 
Manhattan. He realized that looking at it from a high building offered a more beautiful view than when he was on the streets. He was enjoying the view when three stem-looking Caucasian men walked in. The tallest among them was the first to introduce himself. The other two followed suit. They all sat down, including Moshood, at a round table. One of them, a man with a bald head, began the session. “I am the accounting head of the African region” He told Moshood his name and carried on. “I look forward to working directly with you once we move past all the gray areas”

MKO Abiola & Dad, Chief Salaudeen Adenekan

Moshood remembered something important. “But I was told yesterday that I would be reporting to the London office. If that’s the case, how will we be working directly together if you are based here in New York?”
The man replied. “That’s easy to explain. I’m actually from the London office”. There was general laughter. “I just happen to be in New York for some reconciliation. That was how I was drafted to head the negotiation team on your employment package” He removed some documents from a brown and leather briefcase.” Since we are both accountants, I don’t think you will mind my conducting these negotiations” His tone was sarcastic. Moshood nodded approvingly. The man quickly added, “OK, let’s cut to the chase. How much do you want your salary to be?”
Moshood announced the figure boldly. The man did not blink. Neither did either of his two colleagues. One of them even smiled pleasantly, which gave Moshood the impression that he had asked for too little. The man responded, “I think that figure can be accommodated. It is actually close to what we have in mind” He handed over to Moshood a bunch of documents stapled together with the heading, ‘Employee Reward Package’, and stated slowly. “ITT offers performance bonuses to staff that are hard-working and result-oriented. This is a company policy that ensures that all employees are not only aware of their performance entitlements by the end of the year, but that they received them as well. We want our workers to earn as much as, if not more than, they deserve”

Jamiu Abiola with the GDA

Moshood, who had already begun reading the file, interrupted him. “That is very generous of ITT. It is not all corporations that are humane. But in my own case, I like to give more than I receive, which is why I always earn less than I deserve”
The men laughed, as if he had cracked a joke, and then looked at each other. The other two men took over the session for the next two hours. One was a human resources manager and the other a senior sales executive. They all spoke in turn about the company’s global operations. Moshood was told that although he was to be appointed as the company’s controller in Nigeria, he would have to also be involved in sales and marketing. This would require some training. Moshood accepted all their conditions.
Half an hour before the meeting ended, the man who had given Moshood the appointment, suddenly reappeared. He seemed pleased that Moshood was getting along well with the team and that things were going smoothly. After the negotiations had ended in his presence, he gave Moshood an agreement, which he read through and signed immediately. His title was the Controller of ITT in Nigeria.

MKO Abiola; The Star Child

A tour around the company was next. Moshood went from office to office, meeting everyone and making inquiries enthusiastically. By 2:30 p.m., after the tour was over, he shocked his hosts by declaring that he did not want to return to his hotel but preferred to get himself busy within the premises till the end of work that day. And when he was reminded that his employment was scheduled to begin two weeks later, he quickly stated. “I know. Let’s consider my work here before then as a sort of internship”
(Excerpts from the book, The President Who Never Ruled by Jamiu Abiola; get copies in any book shop across the world or write Jamiu Abiola through jamiulinguist@yahoo.com. Read Day MKO & Murthala Mohammed exchanged blows in our next post on this blog)

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