Musa Usman is a gateman who served his Indian boss for 25 years in Lagos and was celebrated for declining an offer of a house for a borehole in his community. In this interview with Daily Trust, he denied the report, and clasrified other issues.
Daily Trust: When did you head out to Lagos, considering the fact that you are from a rural community in Jigawa State?
Musa Usman: I started going to Lagos when I was young, probably at the age of 35. I was introduced to Lagos by some of my brothers who go there for seasonal menial jobs. I first went with them to take part and later became involved in gardening, where we farmed a variety of vegetables.
DT: How did you meet the Indian national for whom you’ve worked for 25 years?
Usman: At the area where we were living in Lagos, there used to be an Indian national whom I have asked to help me secure a job. He agreed to assist and gave me the address of one of his fellow Indians in Victoria Island. When we met, I told him of the person who asked me to see him and the purpose. It did not take long, and I started working for them. There were two Indians in the house. At a point, my two bosses had some misunderstanding and parted ways. My present boss therefore asked me to stop working for the other man. Hitherto, they jointly paid my salary, but since then he took sole responsibility.
DT: Why do you think you are so dear to your boss?
Usman: I have been working for my boss for the past 25 years. For the period under which I served him, honesty has been my watchword. My boss trusts me immensely. As a security man in his house, I ensured that I worked diligently. There was never a time where an item went missing under my watch for that 25-year period. So, dedication to duty and honesty earned me a lot of respect from my boss.
DT: A hand pump borehole was donated to your community by your boss. Can that gesture be attributed to your honesty and dedication to duty?
Usman: Yes. But my boss has a way of doing things. When he has a plan for you, he hardly tells you. In my own case, he only told me that we would be visiting my community, and for the fact that he has been visiting the state, I did not care to ask the purpose until my boss’s driver revealed that my boss wanted to do something there. I think my emphasis on the importance of a borehole in our community due to the water shortage in the area may have inspired him.
When we arrived, I was asked to show the location where I wanted the borehole to be constructed. I volunteered a part of my farmland located at the centre of our community.
DT: During the commissioning of the borehole, encomiums were showered on you because of the information that you rejected a house offer for a borehole in your community. How did this happen?
Usman: Nobody talked to me about a house. It is only the issue of a borehole that is at hand for now. If there is any other thing that may be due for consideration, it could be for some other time.
DT: But people were made to believe you sacrificed an offer of a house for the welfare of your community…
Usman: This is because of my hard work and honesty. I am a source of pride to my people. What I have come to realize with my boss is, when he wants to render assistance to anyone, he does not make noise over it.
DT: Have you been prevailed upon not to talk about the house offer?
Usman: There is no such thing. The offer was for the borehole and it has been constructed.
DT: Now that your son has taken over from you as gateman for same boss, do you think he will be as committed as you have been?
Usman: My duty as a gateman is not only to man the gate, but to put on generators, and also some other duties. So, I will actually be going back to continue with my job.