With Rev Canon Chinemerem Uche
I went to take delivery of goods sent from Lagos by a company owned by Indians. When I got to their branch in Aba, I met a big complex with a lot of workers. A lot of them were casual workers too. I had arrived angrily because I was not happy over the communication skill of the Indian marketer who linked me to the company. I was further pissed off when I tried communicating with the plant Director at Aba. His accent was worse and awful. On my way to Aba, I kept wondering why the Indians, knowing their terrible accent shouldn’t have employed a Nigerian to answer their call and do their transactions for them. If not for the social media it would have ended up as a fatal business trip, thanks to Whatsapp.
When I arrived, I started a discussion with some of the Nigerian workers over the communication skill of the Indians. Their opinions were that the Indians who managed the company did not trust any Nigerian. One of them even said that if they ever give you their phone to communicate on their behalf and you speak in your native language, they Indians will think you have started making the transaction shoddy.
I sat in their office waiting for the completion of my papers to enable me take delivery of my goods. As some Indian staff worked in and out, I took notice that they were too stern, they did not care to know why a visitor was in the waiting room. I was not happy that they did not shake hands with the staff or exchanged pleasantries. This heightened my dislike for them. I became unhappy with the Indians when I was told to wait longer because the Director was praying before starting his work. I immediately charged at the attendant who is a Nigerian, “he should have prayed at home before coming to work. See how he is polluting the entire area with incense.” As each Indian passed by or walked into the office, I looked at them with disdain. I began to angrily wonder about the amount of capital they must be taking out of Nigeria from their business. I have this prejudice that Indians hardly invest their profit in their host nations. I also have this prejudice that Indians were shylock in nature and did not treat their local staff well. I also angrily queried within my mind why the Nigerian Embassy should give such number of Indians who cannot even make a coherent English sentence visa. “Is it not a way of depriving our teeming unemployed and qualified youths employment opportunities? I just concluded that these Indians are here just to milk us dry and make their country richer. To conclude this, I just did not like the Indians!
When eventually I was settled to lift my goods, a new spirit came into my being. When I looked around the plant and saw the various products churned out by this company and the far reaching positive effect on the small and medium scale enterprises in Nigeria, I regretted of all my anger and prejudice. While waiting for my consignment, one Nigerian who also came to take delivery of his goods became very annoyed and started querying in Igbo why so many Indians were scrutinizing “common” plastic chairs he bought. In fact he said, “Look at this Indian, is his job counting common children’s plastic seats? Why should he count these seats after it has been counted, is his father the owner of this company? He likes carrying everything about this company on his head as if it is his own.” I did not support his opinion. I checked our own attitude to work, even in companies owned by our blood relations; do we treat them as our own? I commended the Indian in my heart for his patriotism and zeal to ensure that the company did not suffer loss or get short changed.