In 2001, I was in my office at Durbar Hotel, when my Secretary, a young and hardworking Urhobo girl, entered my office and handed me a Visitor’s form that a lady would like to see me. I glanced through the form and noticed that the Lady, a graduate from University of Nigeria, Nsuka wanted a job.
I didn’t waste time in dismissing my Secretary, because we were mostly involved in Project Cargoes and not an All-comers Freight Agent. But within seconds, I told my Secretary to quickly run after her, that I would like to interview her after all. The Lady an Igbo, was 35 years old. She was well dressed, beautiful and presentable. She was a Level 13 Civil Servant in the Enugu State Civil service when she resigned.
At the end of the interview, I offered her a job as Assistant Marketing Manager. Her job was to get us Companies that import Cargoes in Containers from any part of the World so that we could process the journeys of such containers from whichever port to the premises of the Companies. She accepted the offer with a lot of enthusiasm because the package also included a bonus to be earned any month she brings up to 12 containers. I gave her a 2 week training before she started marketing for my company. The Lady said she would get a minimum of 30 units a month and she opened her handbag and showed me the complimentary cards of Managing Directors of big Importing companies at Alaba market. I smiled and wished her well.
Her terms of employment was to give a weekly report but she instead decided to be giving me a report on daily basis. All the big Importers she knew were still in business and after about 6 weeks of visiting Alaba market, one of the Importers asked her about the identity of her boss and she obliged him. The man immediately told her she has been wasting her time. Why? Because six months prior to that, all the Importers had a meeting and decided that No-one should patronise a Non Igbo Freight forwarder/ Clearing Agent etc. She said she explained that her boss is very experienced and a true professional but he disclosef that he is the Chairman of Importers at Alaba market and he was speaking on behalf of others. She said she thereafter went to meet another Importer who has been adding some tomapep to their discussions and that one also confirmed what their Chairman just told her.
That was of course, very disappointing.
There was also this Lady, a retired Matron at LUTH who was very friendly with my wife. She promised to introduce me to a Big Importer and I should tell her when I would be ready to make the journey to his office. She booked an appointment and we went there. The moment it became clear that we were heading to Alaba market, though a different section of it, I told her that her optimism could be in vain. The lady said, “oh, please be positive” that she has never asked him for anything before, and had told her that whatever she asked for, she would give her. We got to his office, and when the Lady introduced me and told him what she wanted him to do for me, the man put his on his table and remained speechless for about 10 mins, when he lifted up his head, he said ” Unfortunately, all Importers held a meeting over a year ago, that they should not give their Cargoes to YORUBA Agents or any non Igbo. I told him that most of their Customers are Yoruba people. He said yes, but that was the outcome of that meeting.
My Staffs were of course very offended by the decision of the Igbo merchants and resolved not to buy our office requirements from them ever again.🤓🤓🤓
I also discovered some years ago, that if you have a property to sell, Igbos will meet and determine the maximum price that anyone should offer for it.
They can be very annoying, peculiar and extremely selfish people.