Many Igbo people fled to the East during the Nigeria-Biafra civil war because they were being butchered and massacred arbitrarily and the government was doing nothing to stop it.
For the sake of safety, many people have left their homes, companies, and properties. In Apapa, Lagos, one of them was a young Igbo architect who shared a house with a young Yoruba banker. He, too, abandoned his house and went to the East with his family.
During the war, however, the young Yoruba banker rented out his neighbor’s house and kept every kobo for himself while in the East. After the war, the Igbo architect returned to Lagos, and the Yoruba banker gave the Igbo architect the entire rent profits as well as the property.
A few years later, the Igbo architect was elected Vice President of Nigeria, and the Yoruba banker built the first commercial bank in the country’s history.
He was unable to obtain a license to launch banking operations, though. Many people were against him at the time because it was unheard of.
The banker recalled his former neighbor, who was now Vice President, and tracked him down to the Christ Church Cathedral in Marina, Lagos, on a specific Sunday. He had tried unsuccessfully to make an appointment to visit him in his office.
He and his wife then planned to ambush him in Church, but the security guards refused to let them. They then chose to sit in the aisle to avoid the security, hoping that the Vice President would see them when he proceeded to the front row. Despite this, he failed to notice them.
They positioned themselves so that he would see them on his way out after the church program. The people following him out and security, on the other hand, obscured his vision. That’s when the banker’s wife decided to take a chance and, like the woman with the blood issue, she grabbed the Vice President’s cloth to draw his attention, who subsequently turned to see his old acquaintance.
The young banker then explained his predicament to the Vice President, detailing how he had attempted to see him and why he needed to see him. He informed him about his bank license application.
“Don’t worry yourself. Come to the Federal Executive Council meeting tomorrow, which I will preside over because President Shehu Shagari will be absent,” the Vice President promised him.
The Finance Minister called the banker the next day at 3 p.m. to inform him that his license was ready. They say the rest is history.
That young banker was Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun, and the story’s architect was Dr. Alex Ekwueme, a former Vice President of the Republic of Nigeria and one of Africa’s Elder Statesmen. What is currently known as First City Monument Bank was the bank.
One good deed is genuinely rewarded by another.
It’s crucial to love our neighbors as we love ourselves, and – most importantly, honesty pays.