In all my speaking and writing engagements, my charge to the Nigerian youths and leaders is to be mindful of the dash of their lives. From the date of birth to the time of death is a dash representing the measure of one’s race in life. The race of life to some is a sprint; to others is a marathon. Whether as leaders or citizens, the difference is what we use our lives for, and that’s what we leave behind after our time. It is either you are a Mother Theresa or an Adolf Hitler to people. There is no middle point to the good or the bad of your deeds.
George Etinosa Aiyudu was a Nigerian whose dash started from 23rd of December 1973 and ended on 11th December 2019. From 1973-2019, though a short 46years, George Aiyudu proved Corrie Ten Boom’s quote “the measure of a life, after all, is not its duration, but its donation.” to be evergreen. George’s life justified Myles Munroe’s rephrasing of the same quote when he said the value of life is not in its duration, but in its donation. You are not important because of how long you lived; you are important because of how effective you live.
George was an example of a private person whose impact exceeds any public space’s life without effect by the lives he touched and influenced. Leadership is truly a thing of the mind and not necessarily a product of position or wealth. He used his 21years top-notched and fast-paced career in the banking industry to touch some many lives and advance humanity. You need to engage with his former colleagues at Diamond bank (now Access Bank) where he served for 20years to know the pains of George’s demised and the magnitude of blessings his short life imparted on others.
After the mandatory youth corps service, Etinosa, a graduate of chemical engineering from the University of Lagos was retained by Diamond bank. At the university, he was known as the teacher where he organised a tutorial group for the Chemical Engineering Department students to help them achieved success. He lighted others with his virtue of hard work, excellence, love, loyalty, humility, and service. His 20years career time at the Diamond bank proved him to be someone who put others first and whose primary mission was to see advancement in the lives of his contacts. Within a few years, he became a household name in the bank through hard work and creativity. As an operation staff in the branch, George furthers his interest in programming with self-studies and enrolment in the courses offered by the NIIT. His creative contributions and skills paved the way for him to be redeployed into the Information Technology Department of the bank where he excelled and grew to be a leader and an essential member of the bank.
Seeing programming as a platform to serve and develop, he enrolled at the University of East London for a master’s programme in Business Information Technology. Within one year of his programme, George was a teacher and known as a teacher to his course mates who were not Nigerians. I was privileged to see him helping others in a tutorial set-up at his hostel in East London during my visit to him for a piece of career advice in 2007.
While on his master’s programme, I am aware of two Nigerian and Ghanaian businesses he developed software applications that improved the business processes and made those businesses sustainable till date. When the Ghanaian man enquired for his fee, George replied “I should thank you for bringing to me problems that enable me to express my skills. What I did for you is part of my studies.”
On his return to Nigeria after his studies, George Aiyudu dedicated his service and commitment to his employer by involving in the various business transformational projects that see Diamond bank taking the lead in retail and commercial banking spheres. In doing this, he made it a point of call to develop others by imparting all the skills he had acquired both on the job and through self-efforts.
One thing he will never be forgotten for at the Diamond bank was his influence on people. George was a people’s person. He was always with you and in it with you, be it on work or personal issues. You can count on Aiyudu as your friend even when you make the most grievous mistakes. He was known to be a problem solver with one thing in mind; people. He was always looking for the happiness and the development of others. George Aiyudu took on a new challenge as the pioneer head of IT of Titan Bank of Nigeria, a post he held before his time was due.
Etinosa’s life was not a story of all smooth rides with no strain of turbulence. He had his fair share of the valleys of life after attaining many peaks in career and in seeing to the welfare of others. One thing that was constant about him was his tenacity to put smiles on the face of others in whatever way he can. During a significant health challenge and a few years after he returned to work, George coached and supported a man through financial difficulties to be a business owner. He was a rallying force for his secondary school alumni when he created the group and inspired everyone to be active and look after one another.
Senior George as his mates and juniors popularly called him at Keke High School will forever be remembered as a mentor and teacher. He was my personal maths teacher in the 1990s. After secondary school and while in the university he will return home to teach young ones at his Alma Mata and in Agege area. This earned him names like senior George and the drummer boy. George can drum with anything including the reading desks, books and chalkboards.
The life of George Etinosa Aiyudu is evergreen in the lives he had touched. It would be best if you saw the massive show of tributes on his Facebook page to know the quality in the dash of his life, though it ended at a short lifetime of 46years.
George’s life was an example of servant leadership we need at all cadres of our lives and in our society. His life was beyond his welfare or that of his immediate family. He lived for others both in his good time and his tribulations. He put others first and used himself as the chair for others to sat on and be supported to advance their lives. George’s memory and good work live on as emotionally captured by T Regis Anthony in his tribute.
Regis wrote: “Boss, friend, big brother. Words cannot express enough the amount of impact you made in my life and the lives of many of us products of Diamond bank Plc’s IT Services. Baddest programmer ever; Wise counsellor. Concerned friend. Even after we had all dispersed, you kept in touch with me, despite the huge space between our levels in social strata. Your humility was top-notch. You lived a good life, nwoke oma, enyi oha. Impacting lives. I still feel indebted to you in many ways. Little did I know that your call a month ago was going to be our last conversation. You will be sorely missed, sir. God rest your beautiful soul. You fought a great fight, but God knows best, and we cannot question Him. Rest in the bosom of your Creator. Your soldier: Tochi.
Georgee, you came, you saw and conquered. You touched many lives for better in the process.
Adieu George Etinosa Aiyudu.
Babs Olugbemi FCCA, the Chief Responsibility Officer at Mentoras Leadership Limited and Founder, Positive Growth Africa. He can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org or 08025489396.