I once read that with the right relationship, a man can obtain the gold in South Africa without having to travel there. A recent happening validates the above statement. One of my siblings who just graduated from an institution had been on my neck to help follow up on a form that was submitted to his Alma mater, where he obtained diploma before furthering for his Higher National Diploma. The institution was expected to validate by writing back to Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) in order for JAMB to give him a PIN number that will make him eligible to participate in National Youth Service Corps (NYSC).

However, since the form was submitted six months back, every effort to get feedback from the institution proved abortive. My brother became nervous, as he had only two months left to submit the PIN to NYSC board. After all his effort hit the brick wall, he turned to me as the last resort, given that he actually attended that institution courtesy my stint in the Northeast. When the calls became a neck hold, I had to act. After some calls, I figured that Mr. Mark, an account Clerk with the institution will fix it. He told me that he had since left the school hence referred me to another Clerk, Buba so I left my brother to follow up with him.

Days later, my brother called to inform me how frustrating it had been following up through that fellow. The fellow wouldn’t pick his calls unless he feigned his identity by using someone else’s phone to call. I made effort to relay the misery to Buba but his line was no longer connecting. With this, it was obvious that the right person was yet in sight. The next option was a woman, mama Kura who was a neighbour at that time. She also works there as a Clark. Before I landed, she cut in to say that the people are mean and notorious for bigotry; only members of their group get their attention; and my brother was not. She concluded by suggesting that he travels down, a 400km trip. I felt that would be tantamount to a high jump to that young boy. I had to brainstorm. It suddenly dawned on me that one of my staffer, Abel is a fresher with an International NGO there. Before settling with Abel, I thought of Engr. Mallo, the Director of Works in the institution, a family friend at that time but his number seemed barred.

Abel agreed to visit the school but first, he must find Engr. Mallo to greet and see the possibility of assisting with the issue. On Wednesday, I got a call by 10am; “Engr. Mallo calling” the voice thundered. After pot-pourri of pleasantries and jokes, I hinted him about the challenge. He said his wife just sorted out similar issue with the institution and is on her way to NYSC.  It was not up to ten minutes after sending my brother’s document to him through Whatsapp that he called back to say he found my brother’s form in the student affairs office lying on a table, worse still it was crossed with red ink. On inquiry he was told that the copy was not clear enough that was why it was discarded.  In fact, my brother’s name was on the list of issues to attend to. Engr. simply told Abel to print a clean coloured copy.

Incredible! I just could not believe that such a matter that had lingered for more than a month to the extent that someone suggested my brother embarks on a 400kn trip could be addressed within hours. The magic here was meeting the right person.

I am tempted to ask these questions; are you reliable? Can someone count on you?

The person who first submitted the form may have sworn heaven and earth that he will assist my brother but obviously did not give a damn whether it was a clean copy. As far as he was concerned, job done! But that mindset almost cost my brother 800km trip on such a dangerous terrain or risked his NYSC dreams. Mr. Mark may have blocked me; Buba did not cooperate, and madam’s pessimism only exacerbated the issue but thank God for the right persons.

As you read this, remember that life is a seed; as you sow, it comes back to you exactly. Abel was my ex staffer; a good one at that. Engr. Mallo was a family friend. The summary is my network performed the miracle. Therefore I urge you today not to merely build a good network but nurture it with good deeds; calls, gifts, errands, and many of such gestures.