I want to tell you a story. It’s kind of a sad story but we should be able to pick up some important life lessons from it.
In 1979, Alhaji Safiriyu Tiamiyu started what is known today as S.T Soaps Limited with the sum of Five Thousand Naira (N5,000) only, expanding from the corridors of his home to erecting a state-of-the-art factory in Ijebu-Mushin, Ogun State.
Despite his level of education, S.T understood the importance of advertising and effective marketing.
He invested a huge sum in radio advertising. The brand’s Jingle on the then Radio Nigeria and across media houses still evokes nostalgic thoughts.
By the early ’90s, the company expanded from soap making to making polythene products having over a thousand workforce most of whom were inhabitants of Ijebu-Mushin.
S.T’s sporadic downfall began in 2004 when his factory workers began to clamour for a staff union. S.T was reportedly dissatisfied with the idea of a staff union within the premises of his business; he argued that the idea is not appropriate in a sole proprietorship enterprise.
The staff who alleged that they are being maltreated by the company’s management started a protest by abandoning their tasks.
During the protest, one member of the staff allegedly damaged a mixing machine. This infuriated S.T. who invited the police to arrest the vandal.
On getting to the scene, however, the police fired intermittently in the air and arrested everybody they found including non-staffs and strangers. One of the villagers (a deaf boy) was said to have been hit by a stray bullet.
The police involvement created complete pandemonium. The villagers got enraged; they vowed to raze the factory if their children were not released from police custody.
The old women threatened to protest naked with a left foot sandal and a left earring.
Realizing the consequences of his actions, S.T quickly called for the release of the protesters and everyone arrested at the scene.
It took the intervention of the police D.P.O to quell the growing disturbance; both parties (S.T and his staff) were called to a roundtable and a compromise was reached.
However, on Friday, May 13th, 2005, five police officers from the Elewe-Eran police command, Abeokuta, stormed the factory and S.T was arrested.
One of the villagers, called Baba Oníkèké, had implicated him in a kidnapping and ritual case. Baba Onikeke alleged that S.T regularly bought human parts from him.
S.T’s home was ransacked but nothing was found. The court case spanned for several months but the case was finally dismissed by His Lordship, O.S Moronfolu 1 of the Magisterial district, Chief Magistrate court, Ijebu-Ode.
Following these incidents, S.T was unable to regain his feet; he went into depression. His life never remained the same.
He, however, died on October 5, 2020, after years of battling an undisclosed illness.
That is the end of the story.
Quick Disclaimer: I am NOT the author of this article; it was forwarded to me on WhatsApp without the name of the original author so there is no way I can give credit.