A Nigerian banker is, inspite of all the fine suits and ties, a glorified “maiguard”.
The great pity is that the banker is guarding not even human beings but ordinary paper called money! That’s one of the first lessons I learnt upon setting foot in Lagos.
Trust the banker to raise his nose at this my assertion by expanding the ambit of banking beyond my meager knowledge, but the point remains that the bank is at the mercy of money which happens to be “the root of all evils”, as has been written in the holy book.
I can afford to laugh at the banking industry because I have no use for banks. I belong to the Barkin Zuwo School of “government money in government house”. Who will ever forget in a hurry the late governor of Kano State, the inimitable Barkin Zuwo, who could not understand all the fuss when so much money was discovered in his house after the 1983 General Muhammadu Buhari coup?
Zuwo had rhetorically asked to know what was wrong in finding Kano government money in Kano government house!
Yes, like Barkin Zuwo I keep my own money in my own house and nothing is absolutely wrong in finding Borojah’s money in Borojah’s house.
But the bankers will not let me be, because they have been given targets to meet. Some of the young lady bankers imagine I have a cache of funds somewhere, and everywhere I turn I am told that I must perforce come to open this account or that fixed deposit in Sopona Bank or Okelekwu Micro-Finance House.
All the rage these days is letting loose nubile girls to nab potential depositors in the dire war to meet multi-billion-naira targets set by banks. Not a few commentators have the sob song that this reality only serves to further the cause of the oldest profession – prostitution.
Me, I am neither here nor there in the matter, not being averse to temptation like the Irish wag, Oscar Wilde.
When Professor Charles, sorry, Chukwuma Soludo came up with his bank recapitalization exercise it ought to have been recognized that everything comes at a cost for, as they say, you cannot make heaven without dying.
It is as though any fellow who promises to bring so-and-so funds into the treasury of a bank is given instant employment and promotion when he does.
In a sense, meeting target has taken the place of experience in the banking workplace.
One could, therefore, understand when I was recently told of a lady known to me who rose so fast in the banking profession. The lady was known to my group of friends simply as KDG, an abbreviation for Keziah Donatus Givenchi.
The Keziah part of her name was formed from the Igbo word “ke”, that is “distribute”, for she was an ever willing distributor of her services, if you understand my drift.
The Donatus part of her name stands for “donate” because she was always donating to the men in the manner of “ask and you shall be given”.
The Givenchi aspect of her name is all about “give, give, give,” for she was a cheerful giver.
This brings me to the current reality that some of the finest girls are to be found, like KDG, in the newfangled churches. In short, the churches are somewhat the extension of the banking halls with micro-mini-clad young ladies hugging the limelight.
A friend of mine has just told me that the prayer is always to meet the target set by the banks. When the ladies are screaming “target” in the 450 or so dialects of Nigeria there could hardly ever be a better explanation of “speaking in tongues”.
There was even the celebrated case of a particular service where the shouting of “target” reached the ears of a hawker who had been storing Target cigarette since he came to Lagos after the Biafra war.
Believing that his prayers had at last been answered, and ready to make the kill of a lifetime, he rushed into the church shouting: “Here is Target!”
All the ladies descended on him, believing that their own prayers on meeting their bank target had been answered. They could not have enough of the man, each struggling to have the man until they discovered, much to their chagrin, that the man had only come to sell the expired cigarette named Target!
The Target man has since been certified as a demon in eternal need of deliverance, and the church, in the manner of Rev. King, is in the daily regime of flogging and burning the demon of Target out of him!
Oh Jesu, deliver us from target!