Something very unusual happened on April 1, 2011. Loy Okezie got me with his April fool jokes. I believed them – 100%. At around 6am Boston time, I read that Encipher – one of the local tablet players in Nigeria – had been acquired. I am a subscriber to Loy’s blog. Then few minutes later, I got an email from Encipher Facebook page with the same message. I visited Encipher corporate website and read the same news. Google had bought them off. Loy added $2m while there was no monetary figure in Encipher’s version.
I quickly called Ahmad Sadiq – the founder of Microscale Embedded. I told him the latest news in Nigeria. Google had bought Encipher. He was honestly surprised. I excused him and called some of the seniors guys in Fasmicro (my company) in Lagos and Owerri. Strange, there were not engaged. As I tried to explain to them that if we should have such opportunities, most of them will become Naira millionaires since they own the company stocks. They were not interested. In short, one told me that he was busy working on a programming module and he would read the email I sent him on it after he was done. He felt I was distracting him. (Later, they explained they knew it was April fool but wanted to get into my skin. I forgot April 1 entirely).
Politely, I was excused. Then I called the one responsible for our software. He just said “hum” and changed the topic that a customer was placing a call for a project. At the end I was able to speak with the Android one who was doing something close to Google’s. He was also busy but quickly told me that it must be April fool. What? A company could play with its brand with April fool?
Then Ahmad called from Asia. He told me that it might be April fool. I quickly went to Loy’s blog to post a comment. I wanted to know the reason for this acquisition since Google buys into core technologies. Unfortunately, those do not come easily, especially in Africa. I tried that comment more than 5 times and gave up.
I went to work and then Loy put another one – Nitel going to buy Airtel. It sounded noisy in my ear. Why? Why would Airtel take all the troubles from Zain just to kill the company via Nitel. Yet, he helped me there by saying “No, Please!” on the subject. I think that one was not realistic especially now we are into election.
But the last one – Gbenga Sesan appointment as NITDA DG was believable. I actually sent a congratulatory email to Gbenga. And believe me, I promised to send some suggestions if he would need my help. Gbenga is qualified for that dam job, after all. He has vision and a great guy. I asked Ahmad who checked the web and noticed that no other news source reported it, but Loy. Yet, Loy has done some really good reporting with his fun and engaging type of journalism. I have no reason to doubt.
Buy yes and behold, April 2 and few minutes ago, I googled the stuff and nothing came out. No other reference, but Loy’s blog. And somehow, I remembered to check Gbenga’s twitter and what I saw is the photo above. The young man was still waiting for the letter.
Loy, you got a good part of me on your April fool pranks. Congratulations!
--- Read my new books Africa's Sankofa Innovation and Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics (out Oct 30). Both, exclusive articles and more for $20 (or N7,000).