As I was returning from work when I had a quick look at my Facebook Lite+ app to check for messages and one message stood out registering shock.
One year out of school after being given what became the opportunity of a lifetime to work in a computer firm (IT Systems) by Felix Ogun, I decided to go into a sort of consultancy, the first job involved performing an extensive mailmerge activity and teaching an aging Professor Aluko who had just recovered from a stroke how to use computers.
The first meetings
Whilst I worked at 203 Ikorodu Road, Obanikoro, IT Systems occupied the ground floor and upstairs on the first-floor offices of Deji Sasegbon & Co. and his legal publishing outfit, DSc Publications Ltd.
During my tenure at IT Systems, there were occasions when they had some computer problem upstairs and anyone of us engineers was called up to help resolve the problem. I would go up, fix the problem and leave, but Deji Sasegbon would never let me step out of the office without offering a very generous tip.
My big break
When I left IT Systems, there was a meeting where Deji Sasegbon, known as D-Shash to all, invited me to do some work for him. He plainly recognised that I had a useful skill and did not push for offering full employment because he felt there will be others needing my expertise. He gave me a confidence that has become the hallmark of over 20 years of being a self-employed IT Consultant in both the UK and the Netherlands.
The deal was to spend a few days a week at the office supporting the staff, teaching some selected personnel, fixing IT problems and running a number of desktop publishing projects. In the process, I handed the concept for the first publication of the Company and Allied Matters Decree compendium in 4 volumes and the Legal Desk Book 1991, which was a desk diary for 1991, an opportunity to exhibit some artistic flair.
The remuneration was a monthly retainer and my fare for a one-way ticket to the UK, whenever I was ready to leave Nigeria for the UK. This consultancy was a big break, it exposed me to new clientele, with my gaining the reputation for being the desktop publishing whizz-kid that could change cumbersome traditional printing processes with the point and click of a mouse.
My tool was Xerox Ventura Publisher and the Professional edition, I ultimately had 5 different consultancy jobs and part ownership of a printing press which opened the first opportunity in years to visit the UK again.
Deji Sasegbon was like a big brother, a mentor, a friend, a man of great privilege with no airs about him. His office was open, he was accessible, we were on first name terms and there were no hierarchies in that working environment. He just exuded charm.
I last met up with Deji, in 1991 when he came on a visit to the UK, for my first job, he generously offered a reference with effusive praise for my skills and expertise. He was more than a kind-hearted man.
I guess I last spoke to him some 10 years ago, I called the number to his office and he picked up the phone, soft-spoken and affable as ever, despite his great successes and achievements, he was effortlessly simple and whilst bearing amazing gravitas.
I did not know he had been ill for a couple of years and he passed on, just 5 days ago. There is much I owe to D-Shash, opportunity, mentoring, simplicity, confidence and a drive that does not have to appear as if you were driven.
Thank you, D-Shash for everything, may your gentle soul rest in peace. Adieu!