Sunday, 13 January 2019

Fatberg and Sootberg


Sootberg
I was thinking this morning...... about the monsters we feed. During the week I read the Associated Press (AP) News where a British Official says a giant 'fatberg' measuring 64 meters (210 feet) long has been found blocking a sewer in southwestern England. 'Fatberg' is a term coined from 'Iceberg' to refer to a mass of hardened fat, oil and baby wipes. Andrew Roantree of South West Water says it will 'take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.' he urged the public not to pour grease down the drain or flush baby wipes down the toilet, adding; 'Don't feed the fatberg.'
 
As I reflected on this report, I was not interested in whether we have a similar challenge of blocked sewers in Nigeria because we do not have public sewers or underground drains in most cities. Everyone digs his own soak away pit and manages his 'shit.' Those who can't afford to have their own soak away pits, throw their wastes in open drains. yes, that is our lot. What however came to my mind was the parallel in our society, when I read his final statement, 'Don't feed the fatberg.' I recalled stepping out of the bathroom in my house in Port Harcourt and with wet bathroom slippers walked on the white tiles. When I looked behind me, with each step was a black patch on the floor. Wow! Black soot! Why do we still have this soot problem after so much protests to the government? What started as inconsequential effect of some youth engaging in illegal refinery (referred to as kpo-fire in the local parlance) have now become a major environmental challenge which I can now call a 'Sootberg.'
 
Now, because the NNPC-distributed kerosene and diesel don't get to a lot of communities in the riverine areas, whole communities get involved in 'kpo-fire' to run their lives and economy. They are feeding the sootberg. The community boys need to make fast money, so they damn the odds and move into the creeks to cook crude. They are feeding the sootberg. The security agents and politicians are involved. They collect 'tax' from the refiners, use them as political foot soldiers and turn the other way to allow them ply their illegal trade. They are feeding the sootberg. In all of these, the masses are the losers because in a few years the health effects of this pollution will be loud. I beg all those involved, save the lives of present generation and stop feeding the sootberg.
 
We feed the monster but know it not. Politics is here and it's been nothing but bitterness and intolerance. Rather than engaging in intellectual debate of their programmes, politicians are resorting to crude ways of winning. They believe, if they shut their opponents out from the public, their popularity will wane. So they violently resist their opponents from putting out their campaign posters or campaign in areas they control. You read reports like 'SDP agent stabbed in Kogi by suspected APC goons for pasting posters,' One killed in Rivers during fight over poster placement,' MC Oluomo stabbed, dozens injured as Lagos APC rally turns violent' and I am wondering, are we not feeding a monster here? In all of these, the disgruntled youths (scum of society) are the ones being used and I am saying, please don't feed the 'scumberg,' (not scumbag.)
 
Fatberg, sootberg and scumberg are modern day monsters that we must starve rather than feed. There may be many other monsters that are in your lives (lies, infidelity etc.) that I urge you to stop feeding but rather shatter their heads as was done in Psalms 74:13.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.
 
 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Witch Hunting: Na Our Work o!

Witch-hunting: Na Our Work O!
I was thinking this morning..... about the exploits of 'village people' and the burden of blame. Of a truth, 2018 was a great year. One of great breakthroughs for many, but also one of great disappointment for others. While I know that many have testimonies to share about how they are the architect of their success, what is not common is people taking responsibility for their failures. It has become trendy for people to point fingers at who they believe is responsible for the unfortunate turn of events in their lives.
 
I heard of a man that the Lord had blessed with a great job and a lovely family. Suddenly, he said the boss annoyed him and decided to resign. The wife begged him not to but out of pride, he turned down all sensible pleas and left the organization. Months later, he couldn't care for his wife or pay his children school fees and the family crumbled. hen he sat back in his loneliness to reflect on where he missed it, he heard his 'village people' (household wickedness) saying 'Na our work o.' We know of the work of the 'village people.' but this trend of blaming every misfortune on others and 'village people' is becoming sickening.
 
Imagine Donald Trump riding on the Blame Game wagon. He decided to tag every of his misfortune including the Russia investigation as a 'witch hunt.' According to CNN news, Trump is reported to have used the term 'witch hunt' more than 60 times on twitter and the witches in America are angry. The witches in America came out openly on CNN to say that Trump's repeated use of the term 'witch hunt' throughout his presidency and most recently to describe the Russia investigation is disgraceful because none of it is their handiwork. The witches are saying 'No be our work o.' Hmm!!!
 
Then the Nigerian politicians took it to the next level. In 2018, NBS says unemployment rate rose from 18% to 23.1%, while the number of unemployed Nigerians jumped to 20.9 million. Poverty level increased and the degraded Boko Haram charged back with renewed vigor. Even the President and his lovely wife were at each other's throat concerning the cabal running this government. When people asked what is happening, the ruling party responded, 'Na their work o.' They said the PDP possibly working with some 'village people' are responsible. On the other hand, the Police and Dino Melaye are playing 'Tom & Jerry.' When you tell Dino to go answer to his charge, PDP will tell you it is the work of APC, their detractors. They will say 'Na their work o.'
 
But why won't the witches and 'village people' carry placard with the bold inscription 'No be our work o?' Ehnn? When so many are hiding under 'village people' to excuse their failures and wickedness. Imagine kidnappers, yahoo boys and ritualists that have met their Waterloo after so much atrocities, blaming 'village people' and saying 'Na their work o.' Mtcheww!!! This blame game must stop. Thank God for the fresh opportunity provided by the New Year to make a difference. This January, many churches are embarking on fasting and prayers. I enjoin you to participate to start the year strong, but after the spiritual exercise, roll up your sleeves and work for your success. Just like Ecclesiastes 9:10 says 'whatever you hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.' Do not be lazy mentally or physically because whatever becomes of you tis 2019 'Na your work o.' Take responsibility for your actions because there is no room to blame 'village people' this year.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.
 
 

Sunday, 30 December 2018

Transition and the Fading Lines

Crossing Over
I was thinking this morning...... about transition and the fading line between. Days ago, my young wife and I were faced with the dilemma of attending two events back to back that require us to wear two different outfits and emotions. The first was a funeral service for one of the ordained workers in the church that went to be with the Lord at 56. The second was another ordained worker celebrating his golden jubilee on earth. Interestingly, the burial was for 10am and the birthday was 12 noon. How we are to transit from a countenance of sobriety to that of celebration within a minute was a challenge to us. Because there was not enough time for change of clothes, we decided to dress midway, combining black and some colours. As we departed from the graveside for the birthday party and settled at gaily decorated tables with lots of music, my thinking gear went into full throttle. Life is but a transition but the lines are getting blurry.

Think about it. There is a reason Ecclesiastes 7:2 says 'it is better to go to the house of mourning than the house of feasting.' Shouldn't there be a clear demarcation of emotions between burial and parties? I thought there should, but that line is fast fading, because what we now have is burial ceremonies converted to a big party and called 'Celebration of Life.' How do we celebrate someone's life in his absence? If you don't understand, go watch the Nigerian movie 'Chief Daddy,' now showing in cinemas.

Truly, the transition is getting blurred. When we went to school and you are done with Class 5, you either go for A-Levels or go straight to the University. The difference between college and University was very clear. Now, there are all sort of bridging or pre-university programs, that make the last year in college look like the first year in the University or the first year in University look like the last year in college. The transition is getting blurred.

In the political space, we should be expecting a major transition in 2019 because it is an election year in Nigeria. The incumbent should be on overdrive trying to fulfill promises made to justify a second term, while the opposition should have their sleeves rolled up working hard to win the hearts and minds of the masses. But we have been disappointed so many times in the past. The politicians care less, they need not campaign regarding any ideology nor fulfill promises made in the past. They know what to do. They whip up ethnic and religious sentiments and if that fails, they buy the votes of the people either in market places before the election or by sharing dollars on election day. There is supposed to be a clear difference between pre and post-election, but the transition is getting blurred.

In a couple of days, the curtain of 2018 will be rolled up and 2019 unveiled. Millions will be attending crossover services across the world, but is the purpose merely to cross over in time? As we transit from 2018 to 2019, please keep the lines solid, let the difference be clear. Don't enter 2019 with the same 'legbere' attitude with which you are ending 2018. Focus more in 2019; keep expectations high, pray more and achieve more.

Happy Sunday and New Year.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 23 December 2018

The Smell and Taste of Christmas

The Smell and Taste of Christmas
I was thinking this morning...... about the smell and taste of Christmas. What does Christmas smell like? Is it like fried turkey or like fresh flowers? I really do not know. As we walked back from lunch days ago, there was this gentle breeze on a dry, cool and slightly sunny afternoon. It was unlike the usual harmattan day. There was something different about this period, or so I thought. Just then, my colleague spoke out saying, 'why can't we have this Christmas season twice a year? Really? But what exactly does he mean by 'this Christmas season?' I queried within me. Could he be referring to the smell of Christmas?
 
As I got back to the office, I heard some colleagues discussing pay day. Is it the end of the month already? One said a sister company had paid their staff on the 15th, reminding me of the news I read recently that Cross River State paid their civil servants their December salaries by the first week in December. This can only happen because it is Christmas season. It must be why this season smells like Christmas.
 
After a long day at the office, I headed home with nothing else in mind but to take a shower and embrace my pillow. As I drove home, there was this glitz on the streets. Why is everywhere looking different? In Community neighborhoods in Port Harcourt, silver discs, flags and ribbons had been tied across the streets, while in the high brow areas flats and duplexes are adorned with decorative string lights, green wreaths, tinsels, snowman etc. What exactly is happening? Oh I see, it is part of the smell of Christmas.
 
As I observed people moving around, there seems to be some sense of urgency in their steps. Suddenly, flights out of town are fully booked and people are going on vacation like their lives depended on it. It seems like offices are shutting down. What is going on here? Could it be, a date has been fixed for the rapture? As I thought about it, I realized it was part of the smell of Christmas.
 
Oh as wonderful and breathtaking as the smell of Christmas could be, there are millions around us who will never taste Christmas and many to whom the taste of Christmas will not be great. I found out that just like Kale (vegetable) often smells fresh, but can taste bitter to people who have toxic taste buds, so is Christmas for many. The smell of Christmas is everywhere, but many around you, not so blessed with the basic necessities of life, will not taste Christmas. Oh, the taste of Christmas is in sharing and giving, without which Christmas will be just like Kale vegetables.
 
Christmas is not about activities but about giving. I recall a story I read years back of a woman that went to the market on Christmas eve for shopping. Everyone was in a frenzy for the last minute shopping and there was hardly an inch of ground to stand on because of the crowd. After shopping, she eventually pushed her way through the crowd and entered the bus very tired. As she took her seat and the bus set out, she took a deep breath and without thinking said 'whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be arrested and shot.' And in a soft voice, someone responded behind her, 'You need not worry ma'am because he was killed over 2000 years ago.'....Mark 10:45.
 
Christmas is here, everyone can smell it, but everyone will not taste it. So, ditch the activities, focus on the giving and share with someone so they can taste Christmas. But as you do so, keep an eye on January, so you won't be among those that will say January has 60 days. There will still be school fees to pay and children to feed after Christmas.
 
Happy Sunday and merry Christmas.
 
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 16 December 2018

The Value in Sweat

The Value in Sweat
I was thinking this morning.... about the value in sweat. As we huddled at the departure lounge waiting to board our flight out of Lagos last Monday, some colleagues and I engaged in discussions of varied topics. Surprisingly, we were not discussing politics but family life. At a point, one of us from the South-West said he had a splendid weekend in his village where he made and ate 'sweat-generated pounded yam' and efo riro soup. The younger in our midst wondered why the emphasis on 'sweat-generated pounded yam' since the machine made poundo gives same value. Those that grew up in the village amongst us objected promptly explaining that the  sweat-generated, mortar pounded yam comes with a different texture and taste that is so yummy you just can't resist it. At this point I remembered Mark Cuban, an American businessman and investor, who had said 'Sweat equity is the best equity.'
 
Days later, as I thought about the sweat-generated pounded yam, I started to hunger for it but remembered that I was on a mission to reduce my stomach size. But what is the best way to reduce my belly fat? Should I sweat it off in high intensity exercise or I should go for those wonder tablets or juices that promise to blast my belly fat in a week? The wonder juice seems tempting but I would rather the more natural sweat-generating weight loss program. Recalling how refreshing it is to go under the shower after breaking a nice sweat, I concurred with the statement 'sweat equity is the best equity.'
 
Sweat equity is literally the best equity if you know what to do with the sweat you generate. Do you know that the normal human being sweats around 278 gallons (1,052 litres) each year? This is about 56 CWay bottles of water. This is a lot of water any way you look at it. No wonder a Swedish scientist created a delicious beverage machine that dispenses freshly secreted sweat. The 'sweat machine' works by sucking moisture out of sweaty clothing and purifies it enough to drink. Hmm!!! According to Spiff of 'The Johnsons' show, 'Boys thinking deep.' Truly, sweat equity is the best equity.
 
Funny, how so many people make so much effort to avoid sweating. They buy yam pounder and other machines to help, install air conditioning everywhere including kitchen and even use anti-perspirant. Haba, sweating is not a taboo. Interestingly, the fitter you are, the more you sweat. So the next time someone says you look sweaty, take it as a compliment. No wonder Jesus did not shy away from sweating as Luke 22:44 said 'And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.'
 
So, as we get into 2019, it doesn't matter whether you are pounding yam on mortar, working out or praying earnestly like Jesus, just make sure you generate your 278 gallons of sweat next year and if you don't know what to do with it, go to Sweden.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.





Sunday, 9 December 2018

Seventeen

Seventeen
I was thinking this morning..... about Seventeen. I am not 17 years old neither is any of my children. Why then am I thinking of 17? Do you know that 17 is the number you're most likely to pick if you're asked to choose one number at random? Don't ask me how I know. It is proven. Just like 17 is the average of the first two perfect numbers, it could also make up a perfect couple. Yesterday makes it exactly 17 years since my young wife walked the about 17m aisle at St Andrews Anglican Cathedral in Warri to meet me standing before the altar from whence commenced our Blessed for Bliss marriage. We give God praise!

As I reflected on the significance of 17 years yesterday, with a heart full of thanks, I smiled when I found out that you need to use 17 muscles to make a smile. Hmm!!! In my deep thought, I didn't realize I was staring at the wallpaper on one side of the bedroom but seeing nothing. It all made sense when it occurred to me that there are 17 different ways a wallpaper pattern can repeat itself. Humorous God.

During these 17 years, 'my young wife' had been pregnant three times giving birth to our three lovely children. I was awestruck with gratitude to God when I realized that at 17 weeks of pregnancy, if you were to hold your baby, she would fit snugly in the palm of your hand. Wow! What an amazing God. It is easy to take for granted how great a grace you enjoy to be there when your child is born. I gave God praise when I found out a wild goose will accept as it parent whatever creature it sees within its first 17 hours of life. Great God!

Wow! Seventeen. I started laughing when I discovered that Malala Yousafzai became the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Prize at 17. Brazilian football legend Pele played in his first World Cup when he was 17. While I can't recall how many times I laughed yesterday, I found out that the average person laughs 17 times each day. I further gave thanks because unlike the French who have to dial 17 to call the police, I only needed Jeremiah 17:17 to call my God. Seventeen!

With 17 years gone, I did not suffer from heptadecaphobia (the fear of the number 17) like many, because when Jesus asked in Luke 17:17 'Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?' I showed up and screamed 'Thank you Jesus for 17 years of marital bliss.'

Happy Sunday.

......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

It's A Lie!

Lying with the Truth
I was thinking this morning... about lying with the truth. How can the truth be a lie? I was at the DPR HSE Conference last Monday where everyone agreed that the truth of environmental degradation cannot be a lie. When it was time for lunch, we filled our plates and settled down to replace lost energy. Hardly had we taken our seats, when one of the delegates saw a long time acquaintance of hers. She walked briskly towards her, wide-eyed and shouted 'It's a lie.' Really? How can someone standing before you be a lie? Except of course she is implying that the person before her is a ghost. Hmm!!! Just an exclamation you will say, but it got me thinking.
 
I discovered that you can lie by telling the truth (referred to as palter) but you can't tell the truth by lying. Are you confused? Think about it. Generally, it is believed that if something is the truth, it cannot at the same time be a lie. A young man promised a lady that if she married him, he will make her sleep in all cities of the world. She happily accepted and they got wedded. On their wedding night, she was stunned to discover that the bed was laid with a bedspread of the world map with all the cities of the world boldly printed. She slept on all the cities of the world. Promised fulfilled. You can lie by telling the truth but can't tell the truth by lying.
 
Sometimes something can be so shockingly true that you wish it was a lie. Two weeks ago, the local news started reporting the attack by Boko Haram on the 157 Task Force battalion at Metele. My initial reaction was to watch the news with lugubrious 'corner-eye,' but when the Reuters news agency reported about 100 soldiers dead, I couldn't help but shout 'It's a lie.' Days later, Presidential spokesperson Femi Adesina was featured on Channels TV disputing the figure and saying that all over the world the military does not disclose casualty figures. The BBC and AFP journalists, Anna Cunningham and Phil Hazelwood immediately called him out for lying and providing evidence to the contrary that military releases casualty figures. As if to shame Femi, the Nigerian Army last Thursday released the casualty figures for the attack. At that point, it occurred to me that you can lie by telling the truth, but you can't tell the truth by lying.
 
The question is, why should anyone in the face of a stunning truth shout 'It's a lie' instead of 'It's a truth?' I found no answer apart from the fact that the exclamation was proudly Nigerian. I have decided that when faced with an unbelievable truth, I will henceforth shout 'Of a truth' instead of 'It's a lie.' No wonder Job 34:12 said 'Of a truth, God will not do wickedly, and the almighty will not pervert justice.' Remember, you can lie by telling the truth but you can't tell the truth by lying.'
 
Happy Sunday.
 
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.