Wednesday, 3 June 2020

NOTHING IS PERMANENT!

Donald Duke
Mr. Donald Duke

When I see Public Office Holders misbehaving, I always have the thought that probably they do not have a good wife/husband or a good marriage. As governor, I was on call 24/7 sometimes. I got very angry and could take my anger on anyone. So, my chief of protocol bore the brunt one day.

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I had a reception for guests and he placed them in rooms, not the way I would have done it, but he didn’t do anything wrong. He used his own judgment. I would have done it the other way, but I over reacted. I spoke very harsh to him. While I was doing this, my wife walked in and didn’t say a word. She came in, did some other things in my office and left. When I got back home in the evening, I’d forgotten about it. It’s just a normal event in the day.

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My wife went on her knees in front of me, looked straight into my eyes like a penitent sinner and said, "The way you spoke to this guy was wrong and we have to go and apologise to him." She said I had no reason to speak to anyone like that. I said, "What! He did this..." and she interrupted me, "Yes, I heard everything. The way you would have done it was different, but he didn’t do a bad thing. He used his discretion. So, what are you going to do? You have destroyed his self-esteem. Tomorrow, he is not going to do anything discretionally. He would wait for orders and then you will get irritated at that. You have made him lose his self-confidence and that is wrong. You need to go and apologise to him. Why should you speak to someone like that because you are governor?"

I ignored her, stood up and went into the bedroom, still fuming. As she will always do if she wants to have her way, my wife followed me into the bedroom and went on her knees again to plead the cause of a man as if he had begged her to plead his case. "You have to do it this night and not tomorrow" because I kept saying I would do it tomorrow. Onarie, still on her knees and almost in tears, insisted and said, "No, tonight. That man is not going to sleep well and so you do not have the right to sleep well when he was not sleeping well."

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Clearly defeated, I got into the car and we drove to his house. His gate man froze when he discovered I was the one. In his confusion, he did not know how to properly open the gate till Onarie told him to take two deep breaths before attempting to open the door again! We were ushered into the living room by an equally confused maid who had to stumble over chairs.

His wife turned in. They were about to go to bed. She was in her night gown. She saw me and was scared with the expression of, ‘Okay, you have come to fire my husband finally’. The guy came downstairs, petrified as my wife and I walked into the private living room. The wife wanted to get up and leave. I told the guy I came to apologise for my rude and harsh behaviour towards him and I told him am sorry.

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They all got emotional but I got relieved. It was like a heavy load had been taken off me. I still get upset with things going up wrong, but I don’t get to a point I feel I am too big to say sorry and am learning to treat people better.

You can be referred to as "Your Excellency" today, but, for the best, it will only last eight years. Senator? Minister? It is not forever! Permanent Sec? It is still not permanent and we all know it's just a title and not a lifelong position. Director? CEO? DG? etc. Life is a stage, a platform for services unto God. So, let everyone take heed. Forgive and have regard for Human beings"

By
Mr. Donald Duke
Erstwhile Governor, of Cross River State

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