Best Boss! Best Friend!!…that’s Rev. Fr (Dr) Martin Anusi

One of the hallmarks of every successful organization is the tenacity of the person behind the wheels steering her ship to make a mark of distinction in this fast growing world of competitions. I have worked for FIDES for about five years now and still counting and can comfortably look back and say that FIDES is an organization that has not only grown in leaps and bounds over the years, but has attained relevance in both the digital and communication world. In the last three years, FIDES experienced a massive transformation that has set it at par with great communication outfits within and outside the country. I daresay that this was made possible because of the man I write about. He is the kind hearted, benignant, hardworking and beneficent Director of Fides Communication, Rev Fr (Dr) Martin Anusi.

This cerebral, innovative and focused dashing gentleman has a mission and vision for FIDES that is as noble as it is progressive. I will not be wrong if I say he is a man with the Midas touch. Yeah! He came to FIDES seemingly unassuming but ended up being the man with the magic wand that brought her great transformation and relevance in the thriving world of Communication. Kindly read excerpts of my interview with this great motivator, boss and friend…

Let me start by saying Happy Birthday to you, Sir.
Thank you.

So, tell me your exact feelings right now.
I feel very happy. I feel really inspired and really surprised because what I saw this morning was never my expectation or imagination. I was taken aback when I opened the office this morning at my usual time and saw many of the staff members inside my office wearing the birthday vest, one of which I was made to wear. You know, sometimes, you imagine what people could go through to get something done. You know, the time used to buy the tee shirt, to print my names behind it, get the workers organized, putting these balloons in my office (laughter). I came in and said it wasn’t my office. That explains why I said I was also surprised. You know, surprises often come during birthdays but to see it in this dimension was really touching. I’m usually used to gathering a few people who live here after work in the evening and maybe get a cake for the staff just to let them know that God has blessed you again to see another birthday. I called one of my friends in the US, Fr Mike. I told him what happened and he told me that says a lot about your relationship with your staff. I was able to read some of the posts by people on facebook. These are people who feel that they have been inspired by me. So, it goes to show that the little things that you try to do for people help them somehow. So, that’s the sense of inspiration. And of course, it’s your special day and you woke up healthy and everyone is saying happy birthday. I believe that every happy birthday wish is a prayer. So, those three words basically summarize my mood today. I’m happy. I’m surprised. I’m inspired.

Talking about your staff, your friend, Fr Mike told you that their surprise act for you on your birthday tells a lot about the kind of relationship you have with your staff. Tell me, how do you handle them? How do you deal with the different personalities that work here?
Yeah. I always say that I am a Jesuit trained Priest and there’s one thing I learnt from the Jesuits- The Society of Jesus Communications. I studied in their university. One of the things I learnt from them was that in their formation, they just leave you and watch you. What they are looking at is what stuff have you? They are not interested in asking you if you’ve done this or that. They just want to know ‘who is this person?’ The moment they get a glimpse of who you are, they will gather all the resources they have and push you beyond the sky because if you get who somebody really is, that is where his or her excellence lies. So, I adopted that in my relationship with people. In my family, for instance, myself and my family are not the same even though we are from the same parents. Imagine when you come into an establishment like Fides, you have people who come from different states or even same states and different local government areas. And then, you think about their family background, their education. So, if we have 50 people here, we have 50 different worlds. And then, it is a big task for somebody who would be a leader and then, I remember my little training in Administration. Sometimes, you really have to work to understand people and not people working to understand you because you are the leader. You take the bull by the horn. So, if you want people to understand you, you have to prove to them that you also understand them. It is not easy. I’m not saying it is easy because you can’t just keep understanding without getting the company moving. So, it’s all about that understanding of people and then, you continue to remind people of their responsibility. But someone like me, I always believe that it’s not just about reminding people of their responsibility. You should also live your own responsibility. Perhaps, my formation as a priest helps me. Yeah. I tell people that when I go to church to preach, I don’t just preach what comes from my head. I try to look at how I have lived the passage of the bible or whatever passage I read and then try to share with people, my own experiences. So, people are different. Just know that. And the more you show them your understanding, the more they respond. It’s very important. I think that the best secret of a leader is that you must show to people, concretes gestures that you care for them and that you love them. That is very important because, they say a friend in need is a friend indeed. So, if you show me really that you value me beyond the work, I think it sends a lot of messages so that tomorrow, if you see me shouting on somebody, that person will say, ‘he is shouting on him, there must be something wrong that he did because the other day, he did this because somebody who doesn’t like me will not do this kind of thing to me. So, that’s what I think. Of course, we don’t joke with the grace of God.

Are there any professional mistakes you’ve made as far as Fides is concerned and have you learnt any lessons from them?
Of course, every one of us makes one kind of mistake or the other. And, someone like me, what I normally do is that I go beyond myself by trying to learn from the mistakes of others so I don’t repeat them. Okay? So, that’s what I have always tried to do. You learn from the mistakes of others so that you don’t make the same mistakes again. But of course, you know you can never be 100%. So, there must have been one or two mistakes one would have made, but then, what is important in life I think is not making mistakes. It’s what you have learnt from it. If you make a mistake today, they say, ‘once beaten, twice shy’. So, if you make a mistake today and make the same mistake tomorrow, then you have not learnt. I also believe in the famous didactic story they always tell. It’s about a man who had three children and wanted to know which one was his true son. So, he called the first one and said, how many times should something happen to you before you learn. He said, twice. He called the second son and asked him the same question and he answered, ‘once because I will not allow it to happen to me the second time. Then, he asked the third son the same question and he said, ‘I wouldn’t even allow it to happen to me. I will learn from what happened to the others. And the man beat his chest and said to him, ‘this is my son. So, that’s what I try to do in my life. I look at the reason why people fail and make mistakes. It influences my life and my relationships with people.

Where do you think Fides will be in the next ten years?
One thing I’m sure is that I won’t be in fides in the next ten years (laughter). However, I have a lot of dreams for FIDES. In the next ten years, if you ask me to project, I will tell you that Fides will be the number one leader in its mission and vision. I am as certain as anything in my mind and in my heart. That’s what I can say about that. In fact, FIDES will be a leader of standing quality. I’ll also say that in the same time frame, I will tell you that Fides will be a completely digitalized media company. That’s for sure and of course, I would say that FIDES would have expanded in so many of its territories and in the new areas we intend to venture into.

To be continued…

Fr. Martin Anusi with the Editor-in-Chief, Jude Atupulazi, 1st left and Assistant Editor, Mrs Uche Amunike, 1st right