Fela Durotoye: When your boss is your friend

by ‘Seun SALAMI

It was your birthday, that day.

But you had to catch up with your boss very early in the morning at Victoria Garden City, from Ajah where you live, so you could attend a television interview with him, somewhere on the mainland.

As you jumped into the car, your boss began to sing aloud “Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you…”

Just as he was done, and before you finished saying “Thank you sir,” your phone rings. It’s your girlfriend. Sorry, your fiancee.

You were initially sceptical about receiving the call because of your boss, but you decided to anyways. After all, it’s your birthday. But then, you’re not really yourself and you can’t wait to end the call and push it to a more convenient time.

Just as you drop the call, your boss shoots. “Haa, wasn’t that she?”

“Ye…yes sir,” you stuttered.

“And you couldn’t even tell her you love her or anything like that?”

“Eh sir…” you try to speak.

Ah! Bobo yi o wa romantic o!” This dude is not romantic at all, he says and then instructs you to call her back and tell her how much you appreciate the fact that she called and all those other things people who are in love say…

It’s not over yet. Later that day, after the interview, he drops you off at the office, only to return few minutes later, birthday cake in hand, to personally deliver your birthday cake to you.

C’mon Seun, this has to be fiction.

Well, enter Fela Durotoye. My boss.

My boss, who is more interested in finding out why you came late to work and help you solve the problem, rather than punish you and do that famous thing bosses do – “deduct your salary?”

My boss, who says “the fact that you’ve not done what I asked you to do shouldn’t stop you from calling me. Don’t let work come between us,” with that reminiscent sincerity bereft of any iota of charade.

I think by now you know that if you ever have an idea and you just happen to mention it to him, be sure he’ll give you a thousand and one ways through which you can execute that idea.

Make that a thousand and two.

And then, to our writing cum editing sessions. Oh! How I miss those!

Your depth of wisdom and understanding is intimidating. Me sef I try, if not, I no go fit dey follow you write. (Pardon me; it’s just that some things are better expressed in pidgin). The irresistable way you say that ”please,” before making me go through a whole chapter all over again, reminds me of the enviable wisdom and tact with which you handle and resolve difficult issues.

I can go on and on, but to wrap this up quickly, so I can let you get on with the celebrations; you deserve more than a wonderful birthday. Not after the unquantifiable impact you chose to make in the lives of the less privileged over the last forty days. A rare occurrence in these parts, but something you do on a daily.

You know me sir; I’m not one to flatter people. But our people usually say, ta’ba ri erin,ka so pe ari erin. Ajanaku ko’ja a mori nkan firi. It means if you’ve seen an elephant, please say you’ve seen an elephant, don’t say “something just passed” because an elephant is more than a mere ‘something.’

I have seen an elephant. I work with one, and I hope that one day I too will celebrate the big four, knowing my life has been incredibly useful to hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

And oh, I almost forgot…

The man loves results.

Oh yes. “Seun, I know you are making efforts, I can see it, but we need to see results,” he says often.

Your results are clear. Everywhere. On facebook, twitter and even on land. The thousands of messages pouring in from the giants you are raising all around the world is testament to the impactful mould of your personality.

But there’s still more to come, because as you always say, we have just begun.

Today, your birthday, I troway salute sir. Forty times.


‘Seun Salami is a Communication Strategist/Media Relations Officer as well as Head of Publishing unit at Visible Impact Limited. You can follow him on twitter @seunsalami

Comments (2)

  1. waow it is a privilege that you have a boss who is also a friend i think thats the greatest strategy to boost productivity….am sure he desires result and you give them because the management paradigm called "Your boss, your friend"
    seems to bring great results

  2. @ Seun: Interesting! Simply put, FD is a man with a large heart!

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