Wale has always been very passionate about ‘all things’ Command and that for me, is the problem. The undiluted and undulating love for his alma mata now throws a kind of know-all and controlling mien on his disposition especially in his dealings with colleagues when it comes to our beloved alma mata
This was in full display that beautiful morning when I put a call through to him to inform him of my intentions.
Although my junior, I respect what he has done with himself in his career and the exalted position he was holding in the alumni as a member of the BOT. The BOT was fractured with rumours of resignations including his, and a divided house that didn’t seem to sing in the same voice.
Nonetheless it was made up of same of the most accomplished Alumni with a Military General and a high flying super successful architect and businessman, Jimmy Onyemenam, who is credited with building the super deluxe shopping mall at the Ikeja Cantonment.
As his voice came on the line, my mind wondered back to Command, could not really bring up his image in the outlier bushes which make up our school. I had seen him once or twice in school but no real relationship since we didn’t really belong to any mutual grouping. I knew him as a very intelligent and brilliant young lad with no keen interest in the physical sporting community nor was he a lady’s man. But he began creeping into my circle when we met up once again at the prestigious University of Ibadan.
Wale, the great Segun Alison and myself had attempted a Comlag UI branch which fizzled out at infancy. We still saw and hugged anytime waka brought us together on campus.
So, to wale I ran to this morning, for endorsement. As his voice came on the line, I drove into the Total Filling station in Onipanu Shomolu to service my car and buy enough time to have this conversation. ‘’Edgar jjjjjjjjjjj” he screamed on the line as he is want to do.
His beautifully lisped voice hitting my eardrums with a soft melody that did not really convey the muted disdain he had for my ambition. As he began to speak, his position became clearer.
The arrogance of his logic, hitting some very sour notes in my being. He was verbally trying to wrestle me down, play with my ego and tell me in the nicest and sweetest of voices that I was not good enough. I struggled to contain my anger for Wale did not come at me with a bayonet but came in a rose covered armoured tank careful not to let me see the armoured tank for he could guess what my reaction would be but showed me enough rose-covered flattery that If I was not strong enough I would have been carried away by the faux compliments only a genius in multiple deception could forge. “Edgar J”….. he sang, ‘’the alumni is not ready for you. You are too strong for the alumni just yet. Let us build it and strengthen it and then we will be ready for you.’’
The fact that he had been in the BOT for five years and had superintended an association without real structures and platforms for corporate governance while still operating on a much maligned and faulty constitution was lost on him. He was god, he was Nero it had to be his decision, and Edgar sorry you don’t make the cut.
‘’You do not need to be in Exco to contribute to the Alumni… he continued with his slight accented twang, ‘’you can serve in committees that would harness your potentials and then when we are ready we will seek you’’ I had not heard such crap in a long time. Was Wale speaking to his junior staff or to his domestic staff with such intense warped logic?
What for heaven’s sake did he mean by that statement, that the association was not ready for me? The phrase was so ambiguous and blatantly empty that it made my skin crawl. Funny enough he maintained that position throughout our engagements from that day till the day I withdrew from the contest.
I felt I was being derided, I felt I was being belittled but could not get upset because he was smart enough to carefully chose his words, mixing it up with well placed words of compliments that were meant to confuse me and not see the evil intent.
I tried to fight back, this was psychological warfare. He could see my obvious strengths but ignored them. He had made up his mind and that was it. That was the arrogance of power staring at me in the face. That was arrogance of the genius attempting a look down on a lesser being but not willing to engage in a full blown war. This was it. This was Wale Oyedeji in is ‘god element’ deciding on behalf of 11,000 people who should lead and who should not.
Joseph Edgar memoirs
As I dropped the phone two things happened, I became more than ever before determined to upturn whatever status quo that had emerged in our association and secondly, I wanted to believe that he himself was more than ever before determined to stop me.
I am a dogged fighter with an aggressive ‘take no prisoner’ approach. This grates a lot of people and wins for me no admirers. If Wale had sat me down and given me logical reasons like for example, the association needs to grow its welfare base, or work with keen legal minds for the next two years to draw up and implement a powerful legal structure with which you can now put up some of this your ideas and that they needed time to do this just maybe I would have knelt down and kissed his royal toes. But he rushed on the altar of piety and with his bejewelled hands on his chest and a gold cup filled with exotic wine with a green garland on his forehead, proclaimed like the legendary Emperor Nero, while Rome was being gutted by the fire of maladministration, dearth of ideas and tomfoolery ‘’Edgar, you are not fit’’. He had spoken and that was law. I chuckled and smiled at his naivety.
Joseph Edgar memoirs
As I drove away from the filling station, narrowly missing the pot-bellied policeman who was about to ask for my particulars, my mind went back to the two times I approached the BOT with some of these ideas. I remember very clearly that I did not feel like I was discussing with colleagues but like I was facing an inquest. The look of disdain, the look of distrust was written all over the faces of key members of the BOT.
As I spoke, I could see Wale look at me like he would when on a disciplinary committee of his Bank about to end the career of a tiny staff who unknowingly trashed a sensitive document under the pressure of workload that could kill even a camel. I saw those maniacal look as I spoke and I began to ask myself if I was a thief, “Edgar, did you just steal something’’ I shrugged and walked away.
Joseph Edgar memoirs
So I was not surprised when I found out years later that my idea was not bought because of ‘’integrity’’ issues and then the look at the ‘’tribunal’’ hit home. These people were looking at a thief. Kai, the folly of the entitled.
The battle line had been drawn and the soldiers had gone into their trenches and make no mistake about it, this contest would test long-standing friendships, test loyalties, ideologies, divide a whole association and make a mockery of democracy all because Wale felt that the ‘’association was not ready for Edgar J’’
He dropped the phone, went into his private room in his luxurious offices staring out of the window and at the traffic that make up Victoria Island, he squints his eyes and in a slow and deliberate drawl, he mutters, ‘’Edgar we shall see”…….
Joseph Edgar memoirs is a thought flow of the writer based on his adventure & personal experience during the electoral process of his school alumni.
Joseph Edgar is a writer and investment banker.