The Congruence… Episode 24

The Congruence XXIV

Folahan told me right there and then that we would honor God with our relationship and not sleep together. 

“If I ever come on too strong, remind me of this declaration that I made today. If I don’t answer you please slap me back to reality”

What he said made me laugh so hard but he insisted that he wasn’t joking.

He’s a Christian alright, but the fact that he already sorted such things out in his mind, at the beginning of the relationship, impressed me. True to his words, it was such a beautiful and godly relationship. 

He made sure we prayed together once every week…even if it was over the phone.  He re-introduced me to the Pastor, this time, as his girlfriend. He said it was for oversight and accountability. Obviously, the pastor was in the know all along.

Folahan wanted to know everything about me…my plans for the future, where I intended to live; he even wanted to know how many children I planned to have. I wasn’t used to that…I had lived my life, up until then, one day at a time. “Whatever comes, whatever life throws at me” but He taught me that when people don’t have a plan, they leave their life decisions in the hands of chance and chance is the most unpredictable thing in the world. 

“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails…that is not a call to stop planning but to be willing and ready to submit even our best plans to the sovereignty of God”

 “Success in any area of life is never by accident. It is birthed when opportunity meets preparation”

“Live deliberately” 

Those were some of the things Folahan taught me.

This was a guy that had a 5-year plan, a 10-year plan, a 20-year plan, a career-plan, a marriage-plan…he even had names picked out for his unborn children. He had everything written in a journal and prayed on it daily.

 When it was about a month to the end of the service year, I got a call from Auntie Felicia (our landlord’s daughter). She confirmed the rumors we had been hearing that there were plans to retain Corp members at some branches of the bank and convert them to full-time employees. 

 The bank was filling some Executive Trainee positions and since the incumbent “corpers” were already in the system, it was considered an easier recruitment process to employ them. However, she said the branch I was at was going to retain ONLY one of us and there were talks among the higher ups about a star-performer at the branch called Folahan. The MD was willing to offer him an Assistant Banking Officer position (a step higher than entry level). 

Aunty Felicia promised to ‘look into’ getting me a spot at another branch…she also wanted me to send her my CV so she could give to some of her friend’s within the Banking Industry. As she was about to hang up, she told me to also talk to my friends at other banks or companies that were recruiting and send my CV out.

Her last statement shattered any hope I had in getting a job through her connection. I was so used to the “I’ll help you but don’t stop seeking help” approach that I knew exactly what it meant and how it normally played out. 

I was good at my job and a fast learner…I was hardworking, respectful and resourceful but Folahan was outstanding. He even helped the Public Sector Marketing Team close a deal of over half a billion Naira. He was temporarily moved from Operations to Marketing for just two weeks (Someone took time off to get married and they needed an extra hand). 

Folahan went with them for the presentation and somehow wowed the person (at the Federal Ministry) in charge of releasing the funds to the bank. That was the fourth time they were meeting the man to no avail…but this time, Folahan made all the difference with the way he answered questions. 

It was rumored that Folahan’s approach was preferred to the supposedly experienced team lead of the unit and thus, they got the cheque/check. The check was personally handed to Folahan by the man at the Ministry with a promise of more as long as Folahan was the account officer.  It was a big deal and the news found its way to the Head Office. That must be how the MD got to know about him.

 How do you compete with that kind of person or record?

Even if I wanted to compete…he’s my boyfriend.

Would I just go back home and join the already saturated employment market?

I couldn’t stay at Abuja without a job, if I wanted to, where would I stay? NCCF only gave ACTIVE Corp members accommodation.

I knew I stood a better chance of getting a banking job in Lagos and my grade was good enough but what would that mean for me and Folahan?

He already told me he had decided to decline the job offer from Schlumberger…

His reason? He felt God leading him in a Banking Career. He had gone a step further by taking classes and preparing for the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria examination (ICAN) as a career move. He encouraged me to do the same but I wasn’t ready…I needed to secure a job before venturing into thatI didn’t know anyone that could get me a job at the snap of a finger…and even if I did, that was a closed door in my life that I never wanted to open again…ever.

Maybe Folahan could help me get a job? He had talked about many influential people in his family; maybe one of them could help?

 I had all these thoughts…I wish I could talk to my manager about it but I couldn’t, because Aunty Felicia said it was confidential. I’m still not sure how I was able to hide this from Folahan but I managed to. He knew something was wrong with me but I just couldn’t tell him. When he got tired of asking, he held my hands and prayed that God should give me peace and sort out whatever was bothering me.

 Two weeks after that, it was confirmed. Folahan would be retained and I would have to leave in another two weeks. I could see the look on his face. He was not happy. He tried to talk to our manager for a while but it was beyond him. Folahan stepped out for a while

Our manager came to me and said if it was left to him, he would keep both of us but such a decision was above his pay grade. He wrote very good reports about us both but that was the most he could do. By the time Folahan returned, we had closed to the customers and we were balancing our books for the day. He went straight to manager and asked

“If I declined this offer, would she get the job instead?” pointing in my direction

Continues in episode 25
-Lanre Olagbaju

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