How MKO became Controller of ITT in Nigeria

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
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
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 Read Day MKO & Murthala Mohammed exchanged blows in our next post on this blog)