Yushau Abdulhamid Shuaib is a household name in Nigerian media and public relations industry. And if kindness was an industry, Shuaib could be one of the famous players.
Sometime in November last year, I went to see Shuaib in his office with a business proposal. “Sir, I wonder if you can give me an office space for a share in DAILY NIGERIAN,” I proposed nervously, clearing my throat.
Shuaib’s office (PRNigeria/Economic Confidential office) is big, with spacious offices, conference room, workstations, etc.
Unexpectedly, he cut in, saying: “Haba Jaafar! Stop this! Just because of a space here, you are proposing that I take a stake in your business? The best way to support you grow your business is to give you space free of charge.”
I sat there speechless, staring at him as he continued: “Come on Monday, the space will be created for you and your staff.”
At that time I was almost working alone – reporting, writing, proof-reading, copy-editing and editing – from a studio apartment in Maitama.
By the time I reported back, Shuaib had divided his editor’s office into two with glass cubicle, bought a new desk and chairs for me! “You can use here,” he said as he ushered me into the new office, “your staff can take seats at the workstation.”
I was again speechless, battling tears. “There is also free Wi-Fi, so don’t bother to waste your money on data. I will deploy a corps member to assist you. And don’t worry I will take care of his allowances,” he added.
Shuaib did not stop there. He asked if DAILY NIGERIAN had International Standard Serial Number (ISSN number), and I replied in the negative. He called Kenneth Ahonsi at the National Library and asked me to meet him. “And don’t pay. I will settle it,” Shuaib declared with refined finality.
At that time I couldn’t hold back tears. I then wondered inwardly who, if not exceptional human beings, could give you this exceptional support? I wondered again: Although this man is not a high net worth individual, but he did what the billionaires could not do to support someone grow.
Sometimes he would come to my cubicle to sound me out on some issues or “reprimand” me for allowing DAILY NIGERIAN ranking to slump or why I was absent for a few days.
With a business address, clients began to patronise our services and the business soon picked up.
Less than a year after Shuaib incubated us, he came up with an idea of hatching DAILY NIGERIAN in a new environment “over-befitting” our status.
“There is a vacant space nearby,” he said, “Let’s go and see it.” Off we went, chatting and throwing banters.
The new office space is as big as his, with even larger courtyard. To cut the story short, Shuaib encouraged and supported me to get the new office DAILY NIGERIAN is proudly situated at today.
In Nigerian setting, Shuaib is truly a rare breed. Shouldn’t a ‘Nobel Prize in Applied Kindness’ be instituted by the Swedish Academy to honour this man?
As you add a year today, I wish you long life, good health and prosperity. Happy Birthday, Sir!