My office was in search of a video editor years ago. We advertized in the media and many people showed up for interview. It was a scarce venture at that time.
Unfortunately none of the people who came for interview knew about ‘After Effect’ which was one of the major packages listed on the requirement tablet.
We needed someone who was very competent and very conversant with all the packages.
A week later, a teenager showed up. I thought he had come to make an enquiry but was shocked to hear that he came for the interview.
“What interview?” I echoed with heightened curiosity.
“Video editing,” he responded without much emphasis. I thought he was joking.
I asked how old he was and he said he was eighteen with a school cert as his qualification. I just felt he was a joker.
In no time, he sat on the chair facing mine and exhumed his laptop from his bag. Minutes later, he was showing me what he knew on my desk in his computer.
Soon, all the members of the management team stood listening to the boy as he lectured everyone of us on all the things he knew; and he knew more than we could imagine – more than everyone we had interviewed for the job.
My boss asked how much he would take if we employed him and he said he would rather we negotiated with him on a contract basis. He dictated all the terms. He would come only three times a week. And he wanted to be paid two hundred and fifty thousand naira! My salary at that time was not up to half the amount he requested. It was an outrageous sum.
We pleaded with him to come down a little but he was not willing to go down lower than that. He said he was already making over three hundred thousand naira monthly from the jobs he did for churches and pockets of other organizations. We needed him badly. We didn’t want to let go.
My boss called for a meeting immediately the boy left us.
“How are we going to pay him?” he asked.
I came up with an idea to salvage the situation. I suggested we advertize in the media that we would hold lectures for candidates who were interested in video editing and we could then raise money from the students to pay the young man. Again, our in-house computer gurus could also learn from the young man and take over from him in the event that he decided to go.
My boss bought the idea and we immediately swung into action. We called the young man and told him of our plans. He didn’t mind so long he would get his pay. He demanded we get a projector. He didn’t mind that most of his students were going to be more educated and older than him because he trusted his abilities.
We did radio jingles and our phones began to buzz incessantly. People were calling from every nook and cranny. The first set of students we admitted for the first week fetched us 1.8 million naira. The course was for three months.
In six months, we had made over ten million naira from video editing students.
Why am I telling this story? Because most of us have not yet realized that crude oil can’t put food on our table as much as human capital development would. When we train one person, it has a ripple effect because many more people will gain from him or her. But when we ship a barrel of crude oil abroad, it does not come back again to us.
This boy who turned things around for us at the office then did not come from Jupiter. He came from Anambra state. When we asked how he came to know all the things he knew, he revealed that the state governor had brought in computer specialists to the state from Asia to teach them for free. As a beneficiary of this initiative, he was able to learn all the things he knew. And we too learned and gained a lot from him.
The governor of Anambra state at that time was Peter Obi!
Peter Obi might not know this but he gave a boy life and by extension indirectly trained more people and put food on their tables.
This is one of the many reasons why I will continue to respect that fellow. We must all learn to add values to our lives at all times because we are valued by the level of information we possess.
Written by Japheth Prosper