By Golu Timothy
The dogged spirit the late chairman instilled in us helped us to break hard grounds even outside the LEADERSHIP stable.
Many people did not realise the training we were forced to receive under his tutelage until he transited. But for me who had no godfather or any guide aside from my parents in the village, I had no choice than to grab this opportunity of free tutelage and mentorship to help build and sustain life.
Unlike his younger brother, Abraham, Oga Sam was not too much of a spiritual or religious person, but his firm grip on strategic principles tallied with biblical injunctions of self-growth and development, love and brotherliness. He respected superior ideas and frowned at lazy or careless thoughts that diminished competence and potentials.
Whenever he called for meetings he dominated discussions and did not believe anyone had something to say except you are smart to insist on saying something. As a core capitalist that he was, it was better to miss a story than an advert which brings money to the company. He can surcharge you for missing a story but can dismiss you for missing an advert.
He sacked me about seven times and reinstated me seven times. My last and funny experience with him was when he called me in faraway South Africa and told me he had sacked me for travelling without permission. I told him I had a copy of my permission with me but he insisted on believing the Editor (names withheld) who wanted to put me in trouble.
As soon as he sacked me, I immediately called the advert manager to withdraw the 25 page advert I had earlier sent for publication. When at the close of production he discovered that I had moved over to a long waiting Peoples Daily newspaper as their State House Editor with the advert, he immediately directed that I be reinstated along with the 25-page advert. At this stage I started doing what in the local parlance the call ‘yanga’. Of course it was an opportunity for me to negotiate which was quite rare in the company.
In the end, I got 20 per cent as commission from the 5 per cent that I used to get. As God would do it, I succeeded in getting the advert published in both LEADERSHIP with 20 per cent profit and the Peoples Daily with 40 per cent. It was an excellent deal for me.
When together with my wife I approached the chairman to tell him of my political ambition to contest for the Plateau State House of Assembly in October 2010, he insisted I should go for the House of Representatives instead of the state assembly. His argument was that having worked in LEADERSHIP as Politics Editor, Group Politics Editor, Group News Editor and Associate Editor, State House, my knowledge about political developments in the country was beyond the local and state levels and therefore I needed to be at the National Assembly. But after convincing him that we operate a zoning system for all elective positions and I needed to start with the State Assembly which was zoned to my ward, he agreed and together with his wife, blessed my ambition and wished us well. I got elected into the State House of Assembly in 2011-2015. When I was elected into the Federal House of Representatives in 2015-2019, he was so happy that his wish and prayers for me had been achieved.
Now that the curtains have fallen on our mentor, it behooves us to reflect on his strong points in life that added value to our lives. I am missing this man sincerely. I don’t concentrate on his weak points at all. After all he was also human and whoever was looking for perfection from him was not fair to him. He made his points bold and clear, both in error and on point. He has built so many of us to where we are today, not by giving us money but the social life capital needed to grow in strategy and survival.
Those of us who worked under this man at different times are very rich in content of what life expects of us and what we can give to life and society. As I said during the day of tributes, those of us who have occupied an editorial or management position in LEADERSHIP can successfully administer this country and our state of origin. We have been taught the basic principles of governance that can be applied anywhere. We can comfortably lead and manage our individual enterprises as a result of what we have received as content development in lEADERSHIP.
Though many know him as the tough chairman of LEADERSHIP, but Oga Sam was more than that. In his closet he was a caring husband, good father, instructor, politician, analyst/columnist, mentor, keen observer and a patriotic citizen. I urge us all to keep praying for the family of our late leader, his wife, children and the LEADERSHIP family and make ourselves available for any role that we can play to sustain this great company.
Where are the Oga Aniebos, Akwayas, Shemes, Barkindos, Emma Bellos, Ndayebos, Iyobosas, Laras, Simon Reefs, Ohuegbes, Yerimas, Ibrahims, Lawal Sabos? Let us come together to ensure that LEADERSHIP stands strong, viable and move from its present state to a higher ground.