Institutions And Men—The Access Bank Experience. Lessons Of COVID-19 [12]

Most institutions are built like trees, while the men/women are like leaves and branches.

I have always been intrigued by the relationship between institutions and their personnel. The relationship between organisations and people in a capitalist society is not based on emotions, but on survival. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue has played out over and over again. 

In one of the previous lessons, National Values and The Coronavirus Pandemic,  I stated how my bank sent me charges during this period, but donated money to the Federal Government, and I was wondering why they could not send some money to their customers. 

Why in the name of God will Access Bank donate 1 Billion Naira and, within weeks, close several branches down, and retrench close to 10,000 workers? 

From the video leaked online, it is the poor who serve tea or coffee, cleaners, security men, and other junior low paid workers that will feel the pain of the boot in their asses most. 

The boss said he is cutting his salary down by 40%. Who does he think he is deceiving? With 45% off, he will still have millions left as his salary, not to talk of dividends from his shares. They recently acquired the former Diamond Bank, and most of the branches closed are branches of the former Diamond Bank.

In one of the banks that sacked people recently, they recruited younger workers that will earn lower salaries. They made the older and experienced staff to train them, and then they laid off those who trained them. The game strategy is that they have reduced their wage bills and the health bills by reducing the older workers.

As far as they are concerned, employees are like leaves; once you turn yellow, fresh leaves must replace you; no hard feelings.


As an itinerant preacher, I learnt it the hard way very early. Sometimes, when you finish preaching in a church, they don’t even call to check if you have arrived home safely. They have used you, and they don’t care. They are thinking of the next program and the next guest preacher. They have no relationship with you. You are like toilet paper.

No matter how you serve in a denomination, if you go against one of their doctrinal issues, they sack you without emotions. Even without an offence, if your stay in a particular place is deemed a threat to the institution, you are sent away to another branch without consideration if your children are in the middle of a school term or not; and nobody cares.

Read previous Lessons From COVID-19 here.

Chris Argyris argued that, for a normal psychological mature adult, a time comes when his/her interests come in conflict with organisational goals.

Even on TV. If they call you for an interview or show, usually free of charge, once their time is up, they stop you, and turn to another program. 

That’s the way the world is.

Most successful people don’t do things emotionally. Even when some of them do philanthropic work, don’t ever think you are their focus; it is their popularity, donors, and reputation they have in mind.

Put in your best wherever you work. Don’t be fraudulent, and don’t endanger any institution you belong to or work with; however, don’t derive your relevance from institutions. Create and develop a life outside the institution.

These institutions are controlled by powerful families and people. Most times, they see human beings as disposable tools. 

Try as much as possible to develop yourself such that you are like a cactus plant or a mangrove fruit. Any unit of a cactus plant can grow on its own. The mangrove fruit grows in the parent tree, extends its roots towards the mangrove swamp while it is still on the parent tree, and with time becomes its own tree.

I don’t let people own me or cage me. I will give account of my life to God. 

I’m more prepared to walk away from institutions before they drop me. I always make sure when they need me again, they pay more because I will be much better than when they thought they were through with me. In fact, I create space for them. 

Lots of fellows are going to lose their jobs in the oil industry in Nigeria. Several of them were not prepared. This pandemic must teach us very hard lessons that a rat that has one hole has a short life span.

Nothing is ever going to be the same again. 

Tragically, there is going to be more volatility in the years to come; only those with deep and multiple roots can stand the volatility. Be a stem with deep and multiple roots that can stand the great storms of this decade.

Don’t be deceived by religious slogans. Very few religious men or organizations know what is ahead. I’m a preacher too. 

Prepare for the unexpected.

God Bless You.

Read next lesson: The Metamorphosis Of COVID-19 To A Catastrophe For The Poor.



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