Saturday, 21 November 2020

FIRST CLASS JOKE

 


I was thinking this morning..... Early last week, news broke of how the Federal government, through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echonu said that only professional teachers with First Class certificates will be employed beginning from next year, 2021. As the news trended for days, I was overjoyed that for the first time our policy makers are thinking. I have always wondered why the government will be allowing lower second and third class graduates to be enjoying the excellent package they have for teachers in Nigeria. For once these first class graduates will enjoy what they truly deserve.

The enjoyment starts on the first day of work as a teacher. While personnel in multinational companies and banks join air-conditioned staff buses to work, the first class teacher will have to enjoy as he rides keke or Danfo to work. If he is broke, he will have to do first class trekking. To give you a flavour, only last week, a family member that has put in close to 30 years as a teacher was involved in an accident that dislocated her bones, while commuting to work. Why? She boarded a first class transportation, okada.

On getting to work, the first class teacher meets unbeatable first class facilities. First, chalk and blackboards are available instead of the electronic boards. To prepare lesson notes, he would've to rely on books bought 10 years ago, which are first class materials compared to a computer with high speed Internet.

At the end of the month, he will receive first class salary, which on average is between N15,000 and N70,000 per month for a public school teacher. Graduates who are placed at Level 8 and are teachers at Federal schools collect an average salary of N46,000 to N66,000, equivalent to what cleaners are paid in many multinational companies. Truly first class indeed.

The enjoyment doesn't end there. The first class teacher will be well compensated with an average accommodation allowance of about N7,000 per month. This will be more than enough to rent a house in first class residential areas like Ikoyi in Lagos or even outrightly purchase one if he saves it up for a year. It's very possible because a good three bedroom apartment in Ikoyi goes for about N150 million only. See groove for first class teachers.

After 30 to 40 years, they will be given first class treatment while queuing for their pensions. Unlike others that will have to queue in the sun, retired first class teachers will only queue in shaded areas. Isn't that wonderful?

No gain saying that the Nigeria educational system needs the best hands to improve the quality of our leaders of tomorrow, but if the conditions of service for teachers don't improve, they cannot attract the best hands. Employing first class graduates will only exposed them to first class suffering. Galatians 6:7 says 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' You cannot make third class investment in education and expect to attract first class graduates. Warri man will say 'Odio-di' meaning 'nothing for you.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 14 November 2020

Oh Lord Please Promote Me

 


I was thinking this morning...... after a very hectic week, I decided to take up my wife's offer to accompany her for what the aje-butter will call grocery shopping. To me it was an opportunity to receive fresh air having stayed indoors all week. I couldn't believe my experience. Yes, 'e shock me.'

It's like there has been mass promotion in the commodities market. While some food products got double promotion, others tripled. You still don't know what I am talking about? Yoruba man will say 'farabale.' As my wife and I moved from one counter to another, I remembered the words of Shehu Sani who had tweeted earlier that bread has been promoted to join the esteemed class of rice and onions in Kogi.'

I picked up a few tangerines, handed it over to be weighed and 'whoa!' was my exclamation when I saw the price tag. Six medium sized tangerines priced over N3k (meaning one cost over N500). For what na? Does it cure hunger permanently? Please don't mind me, just surprised by the sudden jump in price. In a year when the earning power of many has seriously depreciated due to the impact of Covid-19, the price of tangerines increased by over 200%. God, please promote me like tangerine.

I thought the promotion was only for food products, only for me to stop by the fuel station and observed that pump price of petrol has been adjusted to N168 per litre. The Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had announced the ex-depot price of petrol has been increased from N147.67 per litre to N155.17, effectively promoting the pump price of petrol from N152 to between N168 to N170 per litre. Wow! Isn't that wonderful? Petrol price has increased 17% this year alone. Oh God, please promote me like petrol.

Currenries were not left out in the mass promotion, but sorry not the naira. During the week, the US dollar had been promoted at the expense of the naira. Parallel market rate for one USD today is now N470 compared to N360 same time last year, giving an impressive 30% increase. God, please promote me like the US dollars.

The good news is that there are two ways God can promote you in a depressed economy. He can either reduce your expenses or multiply your finances. My prayer is that you enjoy both. Therefore, despair not because Job 22:29 says 'When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.' Humble yourself because your promotion is on the way.

Happy Sunday.

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


Saturday, 7 November 2020

Politicians Cry, Onions Scarce

 


I was thinking this morning.... when I read the Channels TV headline on Thursday 'I Nearly Shed Tears Seeing The Destruction Of Properties In Lagos – El-Rufai' I wondered what is making everyone shed tears these days. The last time I shed tears was while slicing onions. Why does chopping an onion make one cry? Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes’ lachrymal glands so they release tears. 


This new trend of our politicians shedding tears very cheaply is coinciding with a serious scarcity of onions in Nigeria, so much so that many now call onions the new gold. I am beginning to suspect that there might be a connection. Politicians that are soulless and hardly moved by the hunger and killing in their domain, suddenly shedding tears because of material loss? Naa! It is not from empathy, they are using our onions.

First, it was Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State. Some months ago while inaugurating the State Anti-Tax Agency, he got into an emotional fit, and wept over the level of poverty in the state. He had said amidst tears 'I really wish I can help.' Really? You've been governor for 5 years, na now you know say poverty dey abi? It's an onionic tears. Give us our onions.

Then on Wednesday 28th October, the Kogi State Commissioner for Health Dr Saka Audu while speaking on national TV on how looting affected the State, suddenly started crying. What's going on here? You couldn't find tears, when several people died from election related violence in 2019, neither did we see tears when workers were owed salaries for months. Now the tears are flowing at the same time onions became scarce. Abegi! It's an 'onionic tears.'

I thought I had seen enough tears. Later that day of 28th October, Lagos actor, turned lawmaker, Desmond Elliot was on Arise TV after being dragged to filth by Nigerians over his comment on the regulation of social media. He was still speaking when he broke down in tears. Haba! Just like that? You shed tears in the evening, onions became scarce in the morning.

Why won't onion be scarce when politicians are using it to stimulate tears to show they are empathetic. We don't need tears but good governance. You were not voted in to cry for us but to deliver the dividend of democracy. James 2:14-16 says 'If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 31 October 2020

WHERE IS MY PALLIATIVE?

 


I was thinking this morning..... the most popular word in Nigeria in the last one week is undoubtedly 'Palliative.' According to the Cambridge dictionary, Palliative means something that makes a problem seem less serious but does not solve the problem or makes it disappear. And of medicine or medical care, it means relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the condition.

There is no doubt that successive governments have failed this nation and that there is hunger in the land. And with Covid-19, it became clear that without some form of palliative, 'everywhere go cast' (speaking in my waffi patois). Following days of protest, things got out of hand with wanton looting and carting away of government and private properties under the reign of mobocracy (the rule or domination by the masses) which was interpreted as '#FreePalliative.' Many people tacitly supported the #FreePalliative movement after watching videos of Cacovid sponsored bags of garri and other perishable food items being 'liberated' from government warehouses across the country by thousands of hungry Nigerians.

As I juxtaposed these incidents against the definition of palliative, I realised palliative means different things to different people in a mobocracy. To the hungry, any foodstuff such as rice, garri, noodles and even poisoned beans, is a palliative. To those who looted vaccine stores and Covid-19 isolation centres in Taraba State, drugs and hospital beds are their palliatives. And to the 'deprived farmers' that looted brand new tractors in Adamawa State, farming equipment is their palliative.

I thought I had seen it all about palliative but got the shock of my life when I read of how someone with bad eyesight needed a palliative of reading/medicated glasses. He saw an opportunity and looted Obafemi Awolowo's glasses from his statue in Lagos. That was his palliative.

I believe that every well meaning Nigerian should condemn the mobocracy that we call #FreePalliative, but when our politicians come on air to shamelessly do same, I sneered at their hypocrisy. For 16 years since the commencement of the 4th Republic, the political mob called politicians has been going round the country looting the treasury. To them, the trillions of naira meant for good governance are their palliatives. Worse still, after looting the treasury, some even looted the palliatives meant for the masses for use as birthday gifts. Chai!

While the scramble for palliative continues, the question is 'what are you hungry for? In order words, what is your palliative?' Matthew 5:6 says 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.' Aim for a palliative that will truly satisfy the longing of your soul.

Happy Sunday.

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


Saturday, 24 October 2020

A WEEK OF OWN GOALS....Na Aduma-do-bodi

 


I was thinking this morning..... Last Sunday's Premier league fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United (WHU) started what later became a week of own goals. Everyone wanted to see how the Jose Mourinho led lads will build on the momentum having trashed Manchester United at the last match day. Sixteen minutes after the blast of the kick-off whistle, Tottenham had raced to a 3 goal lead. Wow! Everyone thought it was going to be another rout, but we were wrong. The opposition, WHU dug in after the third goal. Eight minutes to the end of regulation time, WHU pulled one goal back and three minutes later, Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham experienced every defender's nightmare when he scored an own goal. With five minutes left, the signs were ominous for Tottenham. Truly, at the 90th minute, WHU drew level and the match ended. Tottenham was the loser of the day, no thanks to the own goal. Wow!


An own goal is when one makes a serious mistake leading to a setback. In other words, it is shooting oneself on the foot or what we call 'aduma-do-bodi' in Warri. As I reflected on the impact of the own goal, my mind drifted to the #ENDSARS campaign that had peaked that Sunday with youths in many states registering their anger with what is going on in Nigeria. The Feminist Coalition (a group of young Nigerian feminists) formed in July 2020, was at the forefront of the organisation and mobilisation. Up until that day, support for the protest through the group was on the upward projectile. They raised over N74 million within 10 days and were doing a fantastic job in disbursing the funds and supporting protesters at the front line. Then late Sunday the group said their fight is also for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ+). They had tweeted 'Our communal fight to #EndSARS is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community who are also harassed, assaulted and killed by police.' Really? People started questioning if the group had a hidden agenda. By the time they deleted the tweet, it was too late. The group had lost a lot of goodwill from the now viral tweet. It was an own goal and own goals kill moral.

As the protest continued on Monday, sponsored hoodlums had infiltrated the group and became violent and States started declaring curfews. Lagos State, the centre of the protests was next to declare after Edo State. The curfew was announced by midday and commencement time set at 4pm. How is that possible? Just before 4pm, the government announced a change of time to 9pm, but it was too late. The military moved in to the protest ground zero, the Lekki Toll Gate and started shooting. Many were injured with some reported fatalities. How could our progressive governor, Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who has been doing a lot to show he understands the grievances of the protesters, impose this ill-advised curfew? Oh, it was an own goal, that got everyone including hoodlums angry leading to massive destruction of properties.

Is that the last own goal? No. Following the circulation of video evidence of cameras being removed and lights being switched off at the Lekki Toll Gate just before the arrival of the military men, everyone rightly or wrongly pointed to the Lion of Bourdillon. Spleens got burst and the investments of the Lion became targets. Chai! When a Lion who has worked so hard to take up residence in the Rock come 2023 becomes complicit in the events leading up to Black Tuesday, it is an own goal and the people will not forget.

As the violence intensified, what most protesters did not know was that 'own goal na aduma-do-bodi.' The youths and most of us the sympathisers are unanimous that the impunity at the centre must stop. We want a better Nigeria and not rhetoric. But when false narratives and fake news are continually being peddled on social media urging the miscreants to keep destroying and looting the properties of innocent Nigerians, it is an own goal. We wanted a better Nigeria, but to destroy the mass transit we use, malls we visit and what hardworking Nigerians that are not politicians have built? No, that na aduma-do-bodi.

It's been a crazy one week, which I believe everyone will look back and regret the avalanche of own goals because what most groups have achieved is take one step forward and another backward. Truly, own goal na aduma-do-bodi. My prayer is that we will be vigilant enough not to score own goals. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Happy Sunday

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

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Yet Another Naming Ceremony

 


I was thinking this morning.... following the wave of #EndSARS protest last week, the government finally acceded to the demands of Nigerians on Sunday 12th October announcing the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). While the protesters celebrated the modest achievement, they were still on the streets 48hrs later calling for deep reforms when the IG announced a new unit called 'Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.' It was then it dawned on everyone that what just happened was a 'naming ceremony.' SARS was not ended but renamed.


As I took the 'Oshiomhole sticker' position (arms akimbo), saying 'You don't mean it!' Nigerians began doing what they know best, giving the acronyms SARS and SWAT a performance based interpretation. It started with my young wife saying SARS means 'Satanic Agents Rampaging Society' while someone else said SWAT means 'SARS With Another Title.' Hmm! No be lie. But wait o, how deep is the thinking that led to the creation of SWAT within 48hrs of disbanding the killer squad? How fundamental is this change? What Nigerians want is nothing but a complete turnaround. As I pondered, my wife concluded with this bombshell 'this SWAT is nothing but 'Spiritual Wickedness Against Turnaround (SWAT).'

But our leaders sha! Why are they so shallow and reactive in their problem solving response?' Cast your mind back. As the failure of NEPA became legendary, everyone interpreted NEPA to be 'Never Expect Power Always.' When the clamour by Nigerians for reform got louder, the government in 1999 scrapped NEPA and came up with PHCN after very cosmetic changes. When the hours of darkness did not abate years after, we knew that what happened was a naming ceremony rather a reform.

Twenty years down the line in 2019, it was the turn of Nigeria Prison Service (NPS). Rather than being reformatory and rehabilitative, Nigeria's penal system is punitive, degrading and dehumanising and leaves the prisoners with the least opportunity of re-entry into the society. What was the response of the government? Buhari approved a bill that changed the name of the Nigeria Prisons Service to Nigeria Correctional Service. With the change, questions were asked. 'Has the prisons been changed to amusement parks?' 'Will they no longer hold 150 prisoners in a room?' Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) to Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), 'Okere High College' (as prison is called in Warri) remains the same. It is not reform but a naming ceremony.

We must learn from our failures as a nation. When things don't work in our business or other investments, just pause. Don't be in a hurry to rename or rebrand. Deconstruct the situation, examining the flaws and seek input from those that know better and have succeeded. Isaiah 1:18 - 'Come now, and let us reason together, Says the LORD.' Don't be cosmetic. Renaming or rebranding is not reform.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Ending the Killie-killie

 


I was thinking this morning..... while listening to the MOG in Abuja preach at the midweek service last week, he had summarised Matthew 19:27 thus, 'Then Peter said to Jesus, what do we get from our 'follow-follow?' As he spoke, I couldn't help but imagine how entrenched the Nigerian characteristic style of expressing emphasis is. While I am not sure how this practice became a part of pidgin English, what I know is that though many verbs in the English language can easily be converted into nouns with the addition of suffixes such as -ance, -ment and -tion, it is only in pidgin English that you repeat a word with hyphen in-between and it becomes a noun. For example, 'follow' is a verb, but 'follow-follow' (the person that follows) is a noun. Hmm! Warri!!!

I don't know how far back this has been, all I remember is that as a kid if I dare ask my brother for a piece of sweet, my elder ones will sneer at me and instead of calling me a beggar, they will say 'Hmm. Beggie-beggie.' I walk away in anger and by happenstance meet a scene of boys fighting, interested in knowing who will have the upper hand, I join to watch. This again puts me in trouble as I get the 'corner eye' look followed by the words 'Looku-looku.' You will think that will be all. I wish. When I came home 30 minutes after school closed because I had to join other boys to pluck ebelebo (almond fruit), I went through a series of FBI interrogation with the concluding statement always, 'Oya, get inside. Waka-waka.'

It is against this backdrop that I read the statement last Wednesday by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) expressing deep concerns that Nigeria's mounting debt profile has become unsustainable. They noted that statistics from Debt Management Office put public debt at N31 trillion at the end of the second quarter, 2020. Wow! So much debt. When others complained, I responded and said in our shibbolethic way, 'Not surprising. Nigeria na 'Borrow-borrow.'

The next day, Falz and Runtown alongside other Nigerian Celebrities, took to the streets protesting against the alleged illegal operations of SARS. The #EndSARS movement is gaining momentum across the country. But why? These are police men meant to protect us from robbers. But after reading the summary report by Amnesty International titled 'Time to End Impunity', that documented 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial executions by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020, I shook my head and agreed with others that there must be better ways of dealing with robbers and cyber criminals while protecting innocent Nigerians. For now, I can only pray 'Oh God save us from 'Killie-killie.'

Follow-follow, looku-looku, waka-waka, shitty-shitty, whatever applies to you, just ensure you are on the Lord's side (Exodus 32:26) and not a 'yahoo-yahoo'. If you must be a follow-follow, follow a good cause like Peter. Abeg let me end here before someone calls me 'Talkie-talkie' or 'thinkie-thinkie.'

Happy Sunday.

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