On Friday, at about 6:45pm, most guests and three representatives from each organisation had arrived. Most were seated following the seating chart and place cards while others were exchanging pleasantries.
Everything was in order in one of finest and most expensive hall in the centre for excellence.
Kelvin walked back to his seat looking extraordinarily handsome in his tailored fit black herringbone designers suit with a single breasted notch lapel, a blueray shirt and matching motif tie and black shoes. His black hair was all curly and shiny, it was even with great difficult Katherine torn her eyes away from him. Most ladies gazed at him in open admiration.
On his way back to their table, he met Olaide, all suited up in ash colored three piece suit and a brown bow tie matching his shoes.
‘That guy I spoke to, he was amongst my first friends when I started out in SIC eight years ago.’ Kelvin told him just as they got to their table
‘It is obvious, I saw the grip in your handshake.’ Olaide smiled.
Katherine picked the program booklet and looked through. It was first attendance at the BBAA, unlike the guys flanking her, so she decided to limit herself to her table and take in her environment.
‘Good evening ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor to welcome you all to the sixth biennial business administration awards! ‘ The secretary general began at exactly 6pm.
Her statement was backed up with resounding applause and smiles on lips of almost everyone as they looked up at her glowing face at the podium.
‘It was two years ago when we gathered, when we celebrated the generality of what was worth celebrating in production and business respectively. This is a day we all looked forward and here we are! So many things have happened both negative and positive, some of our dearly beloved have departed to yonder. It is therefore important to give glory to the Almighty for the privilege to see another award night. ‘She beamed. ‘With great joy, I will like to invite our father in the Lord, a man who has never fail to give us spiritual support from the maiden edition of the BBAA, with clap of hands, join me to welcome Reverend C. T. Wilson for the opening prayer.’
After the opening prayer, special guests were honored. A comprehensive summary on the last BBAA was read by the vice president, after which a couple of live performance from a top Nigerian musician and comedian thrilled the audience while they helped themselves to refreshments of appetizers, soup, salad, entrees, dessert and cocktail selections. Also, selection of wines was paired with the meal.
Fortyfive minutes later, the award kicked off with the first award given to the newest industry.
Various guests of honor were called to present the awards. The order went thus:
*Award to the oldest industry.
*Five awards for five prolific pioneers in the business sector and Kelvin was called to pick an award for Franklin Sigismund.
*Company with the best customer care. Comment was that there were companies in close range and it was actually a difficult choice to make but another company picked the award.
*Company with best medical and safety facilities.
*Company with a standard insurance policy. Kelvin picked the award and gave his gratitude.
*Company with best employee care. Comment was that it was an aspect in organisation that most companies neglect. Investigations were carried out that shows Sigismund International Company was the highest paying. Amidst applause and cheers, Olaide went to pick the award.
While he was on the stage, the vice president continued. ‘ We also discovered a loaded restaurant or is it cafeteria with irresistible dishes. Them de enjoy no be small, I de talk from experience.’
They all bubbled into laughter.
*Company with the most distinct dressing code. ‘In this company from afar, you know who is who, this code is inclusive of their exceptional IDs. Most company think that is out of Vogue but it shows a level of organisation. Can we have Miss Katherine Sylvester on the podium for the award.’
*Company with efficient communication networking.
*Company with efficient transportation networking.
*Company with the best personel management. The bond is simply amazing in Sigismund International Company, they do more what I would call a family business. The executive director please come up.’
*Company with best of research department. ‘Of course, the company with best research department should be one that has given us something unique. We request the present of Sigismund International director general.’
*Company with the best advertisement department.
*Company with the best marketing department. Olaide picked the award.
*Company with the most conducive environment. For five minutes, clips from three companies based on their building structures, interior and exterior. ‘If you thought that your company was the best, now you know better because Sigismund International is! A round applause please, e no easy abeg. ‘ Kelvin picked the award.
It went on and on until the thirty third.
*Most Secured company. ‘Some company don’t even have control room, all we keep hearing is theft, vandalism and more theft.’ The president continued almost whispering. ‘There is a company that no matter what level that group might be in the under world, they will be caught. Put your hands together as we call on the DG of SIC. ‘
*Company with highest exportation. Katherine picked the award.
*Business administration personality.
*Best selling product. ‘Of course we know that the best product should be from the best production company. Ladies and Gentlemen, the business administration personality is now none other than the beautiful Katherine Sylvester, Sigismund International Assistant Director General! ‘
Katherine gasped in shock.
‘Go get it girl.’ Kelvin told her.
‘Come on Katherine. ‘ Olaide seconded and stood.
She stood, embraced Kelvin while whispering her gratitude, and then she embraced Olaide before heading to the podium.
The drums rolled and the light effect changed as she made her way to the podium looking exquisite in the long, full length, flowy, dusty rose
dress that was accented with bead detailing on the upper
sheer bell chiffon flyaway sleeves and sequins
decorated shoulder straps. Her long, curly natural hair fell across her shoulders and her silver heeled sandals completed her dressing making her look the beauty queen.
Kelvin had been too stunned to speak on sighting her at the car park earlier.
‘Here comes the gorgeous Katherine Sylvester, our personality!’
The applause became thunderous and when she stood on the podium, she smiled and when the flashes began, she bless Kelvin in her heart and then she bless God as she successfully fought back her tears.
The president embraced and kissed on both cheeked and pinned the golden lapel to her gown, handed over the key to a car with a customized plate that would be delivered to her company on Monday.
‘Congratulations madam. ‘ Her gatekeeper told her when she came out of the car.
‘Thank you.’ She returned with a smile as she shut door. She pressed a button on the keypad and head inside. She wasn’t surprised Lanre knew, there was a live broadcast on TV.
She pulled off and slumped on a chair. She let loose of all the emotions she had relegated to the background when she shut her eyes, tears streamed down her face.
Three minutes later, she felt vibrations on the sofa and fetch her phone and made no attempt to wipe her tears instead she took deep breaths to remove any form of shallowness from her voice.
‘Oh… am I actually on to the business administration personality. Please ma, can you…? ‘ He laughed. ‘Congratulations Therine.’
‘Thank you Ken, how are you? ‘
‘Oh please! Nobody should be asking if some Kenneth is fine, everyone should be interested in the comfort of your powerful personality.’
‘Oh Ken! ‘ She managed a smile.
‘I need to call my bestie and deprive him of sleep. Congratulations once dearie. ‘
‘Thank you Ken.’
She change the vibration to the ringtone mode, no sooner had she dropped the phone than it began to sing.
‘Good evening Sir.’
‘Good evening Katherine. I am really grateful for my son decision and I appreciate your hardwork and wisdom. ‘ Franklin told her. ‘I am immensely proud of you.’
‘Thank you sir.’
‘You will be receiving a congratulatory gift from me soonest. I’ll leave to rest.’
‘Congratulations sir and thank you in anticipation.’
She staggered to her bedroom and coiled up in bed still dressed. She burst into tears.
Don’t think am an ingrate dear Lord, I just feel so empty and alone.
‘I decided that before these awards go to their various resting places, it should be set before the conference table and we should all see it. ‘ Kelvin eyes swept their faces. ‘Seventeen awards on this conference table, proudly ours.’
All administrative and non administrative staff were all standing and the meeting was transmitted live to all West Africa branches since its Nigeria branch was the headquarters.
‘Imagine getting an award because one of the criterias was that our cafeteria serving great meal was considered.’ He directed his gaze to guy in charge of the cafeteria and beamed at him.
‘Two years it was seven, hello all! Is someone getting me? Is somebody feeling what I am feeling? Seven is never seventeen, there is distinct distinction between those figures. That can only mean that we’ve changed many things about us especially our mind set. I want to really take time out to appreciate Miss Sylvester for all the talks she gave us, for her selflessness and never giving up attitude.’
Olaide winked at her and she smiled shyly. Many others nodded.
‘I’m not surprise she is the new face of business in Nigeria. Please keep it for Miss Sylvester.’
They applaud her.
‘How can you applaud like that, she is the reason we have the privilege to see the latest bulletproof range rover… ‘
Katherine rolled her eyes and most chuckled.
The applause became resounding.
‘She is the reason we have a press crew waiting at the reception.’
Precious whistled excitedly.
The applause became thunderous.
‘I appreciate Mr Machi, Mr King Philips, each and everyone for you for doing SIC proud. Now we going to stretch forth our hands towards this awards and appreciate the King of glory for honoring us.’
Katherine was still in her office having an exclusive interview with channels television and other representatives from various newsprint.
After the prayers earlier in the day, they had taken photographs in the conference room. Afterwards they had troop out at Kelvin instruction for photographs outside.
A professional photographer had been contracted.
In one of the photographs, Olaide had assisted Katherine up to the bonnet of the Jeep, luckily she had flats on. The rest had stood at the sides and the front while she swayed to a side and her hands were stretched out like she was going to fly with her best of smiles on her lips.
She was happy, they were her family.