My name is Syn.
On the 23rd of June, 2020, a former employee of Syncity NG, the literary community I run, made a post alleging the deprivation of his creative rights. I would like to issue a statement concerning this allegation.
In December 2018, I made a post seeking for a blog manager. I was in the middle of a postgraduate study and I had little time to continue manning the blog. Mr Udofa was one of the people who signified interest in the position. He assumed work in January 2019.
During the time I made the call for the position, I was on speaking terms with a former employee of a literary platform. I asked him what his boss paid contributors and his answer influenced the payment structure for the position. (My service provider, MTN can be subpoenaed to produce a record of this conversation if need be).
Ama agreed to the renumeration and his job responsibilities were assigned to him.
At Syncity NG, it is mandatory for all employees to brainstorm ideas geared towards brand growth. Ama came up with an anthology.
From January to July, 2019, when he worked with the brand, his job responsibilities were largely unmet. There was always an excuse -no power, his laptop wasn’t working, he wasn’t at home or he was on it. The excuses were basically in rotation depending on what the DJ was playing that week. Once in a while, I would see articles on the blog posted at his time and convenience. His job was unmet but he took full advantage of the opportunities, network and access the Syncity NG brand provided to promote his personal pursuits.
Even with the excuses and work undone, Ama received his payments promptly and then some more from my purse, to take him through rough months.
Mr Udofa was acknowledged for his role in the anthology on social media and in the anthology itself. The pinned tweet on Syncity NG’s Twitter page made on the 17th of July, 2019 still has his name on it.
The 2019 anthology was made possible by a team of readers, judges, proofreaders, and editors. All these people were acknowledged in the 2019 anthology.
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When more than a dozen people work on an anthology, it is difficult to fit them on a cover as the average African has a first name, middle name and surname that can range anything from 6 letters to 20 letters if not more. Ama Udofa wanted only his name on the cover; insisting that he wasn’t sharing editorial credit and cover space with the others who had laboured from dawn to dusk on the anthology.
This is after his “edited” manuscript had to go through other rounds of editing to make it fit for public consumption. He was more concerned with placing his name in shinning lights than actually producing a work that the brand and the judges affiliated with us would be proud of. The tantrums continued as he made e-scene after e-scene demanding that the work was purely his and that the other editors would not share the credit with him. He threatened to go public if I didn’t give him sole credit and now that he has, I hope people can see it for what it is.
As the creative director of Syncity NG, it is my duty to ensure every member of the team is recognized for their contribution unless they wish otherwise. I will not succumb to threats to deny other members who toiled on the anthology their due right.
Due to Ama’s antics and the series of threats to my person concerning sharing the editorial credit, two editors(a former Kachifo editor and a lawyer) declined to work on the anthology.
Akin**** Ha**** the editor who did the final edits on this anthology decided not be mentioned in other to prevent further threats to me and the Syncity NG brand. My lawyer is aware of this.
A lot of men work well with female bosses but Ama is not one of them. During some of our interactions, he was outright disrespectful, thereby making the work environment hostile. My lawyer and the Syncity NG management have copies of these conversations. A member of the Syncity NG management board who is also a Nigerian publisher asked me if he spoke to men the same way he did to me. The tantrums were unending, some of which I returned in equal measure.
During his time at Syncity NG, he was more concerned with the power associated with the brand name and his position than actually doing the work.
Syncity NG has a bi-annual appraisal. Members of staff are aware of this. Employees who meet their KPIs are entitled to a raise twice a year. Those who do not, face disciplinary measures.
The appraisal for Jan-June 2019 was done in July and Mr Udofa was found wanting in his duties. Negligence of duties over the 6-month appraisal period was the reason for the termination of his contract. He was paid in full including a two-week severance package.
In his termination letter, he was informed that he would be acknowledged in the anthology for the role he played. All the judges, beta readers, editors, proofreaders were acknowledged in the anthology published in July 2019.
It has been a year but Mr. Udofa still goes around spreading super-storic tales about my person. If he is not instigating sub tweets, he is spreading falsehood among his peers. After one of such incidents, he and his cohort were blocked on our social media pages.
Silence is not weakness.
Perhaps the problem is insufficient recognition and I apologise for that. Permit me to do this again.
I would like to acknowledge the 2019 Anniversary Anthology team. They are as follows:
Judges: Leye Adenle. Mukoma Ngugi.
Foreward: Tendai Huchu.
Editors: Ama Udofa, Akin**** Ha****, Mystique Syn Osuchukwu
Proofreaders: Mystique Syn Osuchukwu, Theola Amiokhaibhor
Beta readers: Emem Alexandra Akpan-Nya, Damilola Adeleke, Hymar David, Nnamdi Atupulazi, Peter Ngila.
And the contributors whose stories are in the anthology. I thank them for their contributions and appreciate them for all the work done.
I take full responsibility for any inconvenience this issue may have caused and hope that Syncity NG remains your preferred destination for the arts.