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The thing about loyalty.

“Look out for the people who look out for you. Loyalty is everything.” – Found Online

I came across a YouTube video in which documentary maker Louis Theroux set out hoping to meet ‘MC Olu Omo.’ MC Olu Omo is the Treasurer of NURTW in Lagos and also the Chairman of the Oshodi chapter. According to popular opinion, he is also the Capofamiglia of ‘Oshland’ (Oshodi). The He-Whom-All-Fears. Goon Potentate-Over-Oshodi.

Brave soul, that Louis. There are some deaths that can’t kill a black man. Like those arising from bravery. Per the late Chinua Achebe: “It is from the compound of a coward that we point to where a brave man used to live.”

‘Koko Zaria,’ MC Olu Omo’s Capo bastone (second-in-command) joined Louis in the bus. The indiscreet Louis asked Koko Zaria what his duties were as a second-in-command. The more articulate ‘Mamok,’ the driver, aide to ‘MC Olu Omo’, but now dead at the hands of rival bullets, tried to explain. The word loyalty featured. See video below.

So, I went looking for videos of ‘MC.’ I found one in which he celebrated his 42nd birthday. Everyone around Olu Omo had only praises for him. Loyalty was inferred (see video below. You might want to start watching from the 18-minute mark. Video is in Yoruba).

Then, there was Donald Trump and James Comey. That word again.

So, I’ve been thinking about loyalty lately.

Granted, the type of loyalty demanded in Gang Land is of the deathly nature. But it is loyalty, nonetheless. The framework of consequence and benefits, reward and punishment applies.

Some demand loyalty as an inalienable right. Others demand it as a result of breaking bread together.

But I don’t believe there can/should be loyalty ‘as of right.’ There is a basis for ‘loyalty as of right’ in marriage situations and in patriotism. Instances of putting another in an office in which the latter was incompetent to occupy, or achieve on his/her own merit, may be another basis. Politics will be a poster representation of this type of expected loyalty.

The existence of loyalty (or lack of it) must be on three principles: investment, benefits and time. The three are woven.

Investment.

Employee-Employer relationship is one in which loyalty must be bidirectional. It must flow both ways, although it hasn’t always had. Employers expect employees to be loyal without believing they need to be loyal to them.

A company should not expect loyalty from a new hire. It can expect loyalty when a certain level of investment has been made into the career and life of the hire. You shouldn’t expect to receive when you haven’t given. When you have invested in the life of an employee, then a moral and business argument for loyalty can be made.

In Nigeria, due to high unemployment rates, employers tend to expect loyalty from employees for having a job. Such loyalty will be superficial. The employee jumps ship at the first opportunity. Workers owe loyalty to employers to the extent that they perceive relevant investment.

Appreciation for investment is innate in us. We tend to like, value and stick by those who have helped us. Who have stood by us, shown us care, given us attention or who share similar values with us. That is why we have friends.

Benefits.

Brands institute loyalty programs because they want to capture future purchases of buyers. They value the custom of the buyer. For this guaranteed business, brand managers are willing to give the buyer something in return. Usually in the form of redeemable points, recognition or access to exclusive spots.

It is the same with people. When we see the benefits to be enjoyed, it’s easy for us to be loyal. We tend not to respond to loyalty calls when no promises are on the table. The benefits may be safety, preservation of a job, money, power, fame or a great need met. In this sense, always asking ‘what is in it for me’ isn’t always a selfish question. I have something you value, what are you giving in exchange?

Time.

Loyalty grows with time. There is a reason investments mature and increase with time. Perhaps it was too early for Donald Trump to have demanded loyalty from Comey. Over time, appreciation for investment and benefits develop. With each passing year, investments and benefits may increase and loyalty further entrenched.

Time also helps us understand the person, cause or company more. Without being conscious of it, time allow values to morph. The Yoruba have a saying: “when a leaf wraps soap for a long period, it may find itself also lathering.”

Time is also a double-edge sword because loyalty may also begin to weaken over time. The longer you stay with someone or a company, the more the allure begins to wane. We slip into taking each other for granted.

What about you? What is loyalty to you? Love to hear what you think.

 

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Look like a million bucks and you might just earn it.

 

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One thought on “The thing about loyalty.

  1. Demola says:

    …and the driver is an Arsenal fan, the most loyal of fans who against all odds, awaits the day the EPL will ‘stray’ into North London. I guess he’s in loyalists ‘heaven’ currently. May God rest his soul.

    Loyalty is good and expected by almost everyone, even God demands it of men and as you inferred, it’s a two way Street. The reward for loyalty is loyalty.

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