By Sunday Ani
On Wednesday, May 31, family, friends and well-wishers of the late founder and chief executive officer of leading security firm in Nigeria, Sheriff Deputies Limited, Charles Anyasi, gathered in Ikorodu, Lagos, to witness the launch of a book in his honour.
Titled “Signature of Success,” the book, authored by his son, Dr. Island Anyasi, x-rayed the life and times of the late Anyasi, who was also the founder and chief executive officer of a leading cleaning company in Nigeria, Kleerite Limited
The junior Anyasi, who is now the managing director of the two companies, said the idea to write the book was necessitated by the need to share the deceased’s vision, following the many positive testimonies by friends and business partners at his burial five years ago.
“We decided that it would be good to capture some of these testimonies in a book so that we can share them with future generations, friends and family. What we have done with the book is to compress it to the barest possible minimum for this edition. It is less than 80 pages; it has pictures, so it is a light read and it will take you about three to four hours to read. It is very captivating and once you pick it up to read, you will not drop it until you are done, and by the time you drop it, your life would have changed because you would have met somebody who was truly inspiring for the future generation,” he said.
Explaining the choice of the book’s title, he noted that it was simply meant to intrigue the reader. “But one of the interesting things about him was also his signature. He used to sign it like an art. It was very long and it occupied a lot of space. So, in naming the book, we decided to combine his success story with his signature, and if you look at the cover of the book, you will see a sample of that long, sprawling signature,” he added.
He lamented that his death in his late 60s was painful and raised a lot of questions about what success really is. He said: “One of the unfortunate things about him was his passage at a relatively early age; he was just about 60 when he died. One wonders what life is all about if a man who is approaching the prime of business success, career success and family success is suddenly cut off. Are we going to say that there is no success or joy in life? So, in telling the story, our aim is to convince the reader that success is a lifestyle; that a man can be seen as successful even after his death because of the ability to gather people to celebrate his life and continue to motivate people to be successful in their own lives. Some of the people here today are people that can be considered to be his students; people who worked with him and who have gone on to establish their own successful companies. They are people who were younger staff with him, but have risen to management positions due to the mentoring he was able to give them. So, we are convinced that success is one’s ability to generate successors; the ability to create a legacy that outlives one.”
The author noted that the take home message from the book is that the late Charles was a God-fearing man, whose motto was, “Leave work to pray because prayer works.” He also advised the youths not to be discouraged or feel disadvantaged but to know that if his late father with all the disadvantages in life could become successful, they could also walk the journey towards success. “That is our message,” he added.
The late Anyasi’s wife, Mrs. Violet Charles Anaysi, also described her late husband as loving but very aggressive when it comes to work. In an emotion laden voice, she went down memory lane, saying, “He doesn’t take no for an answer. He loathes laziness. He was always rushing to do things and when his time came, he left. It is painful that he passed on so early. He taught me a lot of things. He made me understand that when you relate well with people, you get somewhere. He doesn’t play with work; he never gets tired. He is a workaholic. I will forever be grateful to God for what He has used him to do in my life.”
For the book reviewer, Mr. Omoruyi Ihiere, the book is only trying to show how to be a successful person. “People’s approach to success varies but then there are basic constant ingredients of success. It is a combination of emotional and psychological factors and if you don’t have them in the right combination, you may not attain that high level of success,” he said.
He also noted that the book chronicled Anyasi’s life’s journey to success, stressing that success is not measured by physical wealth, but by how many people one has blessed. “This book details everything that this man has done to humanity. So, I encourage you people to pick it up, read and learn,” he said.
However, Mr. Tunde Olagunju attended the University of Lagos together with the late Anyasi and he also spoke glowingly of the deceased. He said: We graduated in 1981 and when we started our working lives, we equally shared common values. What will attract you to him any day is his level of discipline. He is public spirited, and down to earth. He is very original and if he says good morning, you can’t doubt him. He is trustworthy.
“I am not disappointed with what his son is doing. A person like that can only beget somebody like him, and I am so happy that his children are able to move along. Dr. Island in particular is a replica of his father in terms of character, drive and energy. He is very humble and full of respect. I am certainly sure that he will also bequeath the same legacy to his children. Charles has laid a good foundation.”
It was a day when the spirit of the late Anyasi resurrected as workers from the two companies, family and friends, as well as business partners, all gathered to celebrate a man they all agreed impacted so many lives while he lived.
His daughter-in-law, Mrs. Cynthia Island Anyasi, was not left out as she also narrated her experience of the late Anyasi. She said: “I didn’t know him because he died before I was married into the family, but I heard that he was a caring person, a good listener and a great mentor. I have seen what my husband is doing with the companies and I can say his father mentored him very well because he is doing well. He was a good father and husband. I hope that they will continue to carry on with all that he left behind.”