Saturday, 25 January 2020

Everyone Deserves an HD Colour Moment

I was thinking this morning.... I was invited to the traditional wedding of a friend and colleague during this past week. For the over 10 years I have known this young lady, she has not invited me to any celebration, not because she has not had reasons to celebrate but because she has chosen to live a simple and quiet life. As I walked into the venue of the traditional wedding somewhere in Lagos, it's like walking into a colour splashed canvas. There was the draped tables with lush green palm trees on each table. The rich pink napkins stood out like an oyibo man would in my mother's village of Gbokoda. The ushers smartly dressed in sky blue on navy blue 'oleku' was a pleasant addition to the picturesque scenery. Well dressed men and women adorned with dirty pink (I wonder why a colour should be referred to as dirty pink) and navy blue outfit walked around brimming with smiles. Then the big one, my friend, whose life in summary could be described as 'black and white' walked in dressed in coffee brown (splashed with red) satin buba and iro, smiling and dancing to the beat. Observing all, I smiled and concluded that everyone deserves a high definition (HD) colour moment.

When you walk into an electronic showroom that sells HD TV, you cannot but be wowed by the bright and lovely colours from the TVs on display. That was how I felt in that hall that day. I thought about it and realized that for most people, the only time in their entire life they splash the colours and celebrate is their wedding day. Great, but there is life before and after wedding. We work so hard from January to December each year. Sometimes going on for years without celebrating anything. We see no reason to celebrate making life seem like it comes only in black and white. Having attended my friend's wedding, I agreed that everyone deserves a HD colour moment.

After getting married and having children, our focus shifts to caring for our children and planning to pay the 'armed robber school fees' the private schools in Nigeria are asking for. We are careful not to celebrate and splash the colours because we want to conserve funds. But after last Tuesday, I am convinced that everyone deserves a HD colour moment once in a while.

For many, the only other time they splash the colours aside their wedding will be during the burial of their parents. It need not be so. I am not advocating for one to engage in frivolous celebration, but for a deliberate effort to add colour to one's life. Adding colour also don't have to be throwing a party but for friends and family to celebrate your life. If you look closely, life does not have to be in black and white. It comes in HD colour. Ecclesiastes 5:19 says 'Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Who Drank all the Alcohol?

I was thinking this morning.... about alcohol. No, I am not thinking of taking alcohol this morning. Shortly after leaving University many years ago, I was invited for several tests for Management Trainee positions at a number of multinational companies, including Nigeria Breweries Limited (NBL). I did the tests for NBL, passed and was invited for interview. During the interview, I was asked a strange question by one of the panelists. 'Do you drink alcohol?' he asked. 'I don't sir' was my reply.' 'Then how do you intend to promote the products of the company you want to work for?' He followed up. I tried providing a response, but deep down in me, I knew I will not get the job and I didn't. Since then I never gave NBL and alcohol a thought until last week.

'So what happened last week?' you may ask. This past Thursday, I read the news story that Nigerian Breweries Limited (NBL) recorded sales of almost N300 billion in 2019 while Guinness is expected to record sales of N275 billion totaling almost N600 Billion (about $2billion) which is about 3% of Nigeria GDP. Wow! Note that Nigeria Breweries has 26 products and only eight are non-alcoholic. So I was thinking, where did all the alcohol go? Who are those drinking N500+ billion of alcoholic beverages in one year, when the majority of Nigerians are either Christians or muslims?

I kept thinking about where all the alcohol went. Could it be that some people used it as fuel for their generators or we use am wash plates? As I was digging in, I read the report by the Forensic team investigating the NDDC that almost half a trillion naira worth of emergency contracts were given out in 2019 without due process. I shuddered. Even worse is the confirmation that there was little or no evidence of what the money was used for. Wondering how a few will loot the people's commonwealth in the midst of abject poverty, I couldn't understand why. Then it occurred to me, 'it must have been the alcohol.' It is only alcohol that can reduce a man to this level of insensitivity. No wonder NBL made N300 billion sales in one year.

I remembered the violent elections of 2019, the kidnappings, ritual killings, armed robbery and wondered 'How have we become so savage as a people?' Then the answer was whispered to me 'it must be the alcohol.' N600 billion sales in one year by two companies with alcoholic beverages as their major products? Wow! Are you saying nothing spoil? Then think about the unaccounted sales of other assorted foreign and local alcoholic drinks like paraga, skian, ogogoro, ogidiga, regal, orimalu, jedi, monkeytail, dongoyaro, alomo, agbara, babyoku, laliga, kerewa, striker, bajinotu, shine, kick and start etc. If you add it all up, then you should worry whether everyone around you was not under the influence in 2019. 

Well, I don't know how much you contributed to NBL N300 billion sales in 2019, just make sure you keep a clear head this year to achieve your dreams because Proverbs 20:1 says 'Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Panty Liner Drink, Panadol Pepper Soup and the Dangers in Shortcuts

Fruit-infusionWater Bottle 

I was thinking this morning.... about the dangers and futility of shortcuts. A few weeks back, I resumed at my desk focused on clearing the pile of work as 2019 wound down. My colleague arrived soon after and set out on her routine of filling her fruit-infusion water bottle before logging into her computer. On her return from the pantry she said, 'Mr Weyimi, you won't believe what I just heard.' 'What?' I asked looking away from my computer. Looking stunned, she said 'A lady saw me filling my water bottle, stared at the bottle and asked if it was panty liner that was inside.' 'Whoa!!! Where was that from? Was that a sick joke?' I followed up in quick succession. She told me that the lady revealed that some people use panty liners in place of fruits for infused water recipe. The reason is not for flavour but as a weight loss therapy. She concluded by saying 'You have to think about this bizarre act on Sunday.' Panty liner drink? Wonders shall never end!

As I thought about it, my confusion deepened. There are established weight loss measures including dieting and exercise. And if you want to enjoy while losing weight, then you can join the keto diet program. But that someone will believe that putting panty liner in drinking water is a shortcut to losing weight is rather disgusting and sheer madness to me. Why are people so ignorant?

Yes, it is an ignoramus that will drink a panty liner-infused water because it is self-inflicted, but it is only a demon that will serve customers 'panadol pepper soup.' 'Kilon je be?' My yoruba friends will ask. I read the report of the new craze in Uyo, now also happening in many other cities, where caterers use panadol (paracetamol) to cook goat meat to tenderise it. Nephrologists have reported that this practice has led to an increase in kidney failure. I will never get over the idea of 'panadol pepper soup.' Chai!!! That someone will even imagine to add panadol to cooking goat meat because they want the preparation time from killing of the goat to serving the pepper soup to be less than 30 minutes, is satanically ingenious. A killer shortcut indeed. 

It is amazing how much time people waste, putting themselves in danger in the process, looking for magic shortcuts to success. The year is just beginning and the wise are already working towards a successful year. Many with spiritual mindset are fasting and praying while others are developing their detailed annual plan with specific details of what to do to succeed this year. But the slothful and foolish will be looking for shortcuts to becoming rich, or like they say 'dem wan hammer or blow overnight.' It is this shortcut mentality that will make a young man kill his girlfriend and together with his mum eat her heart for money ritual. 

I beg you, in this 2020, avoid shortcuts, whether it is for weight loss, preparing goat meat pepper soup or making money. Proverbs 21:5, NLT says 'Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Vision 2020 or 20/20 Vision

I was thinking this morning..... about 2020. I went visiting the eye clinic on Saturday 28th December 2019 for routine check of my prescription glasses. As usual, I was asked to read some letters on the screen with decreasing font sizes, while the optometrist checks out the best lens. Having selected what he thought was the perfect lens, he handed me a laminated sheet and asked that I read the smallest print at the bottom of the page. With some ease, I read out the following words aloud 'If you can read this print, then you have 20/20 vision...' As I walked out of the office of the optometrist, I could not but spare a thought about 20/20 vision, moreso because it was a few days to Year 2020.

I checked out the meaning of 20/20 vision and found out it means normal vision, while some say it is perfect vision. Hmm!! Fast forward 3 days and we were all shouting Happy New Year, clinking charged glasses as we celebrated the dawn of not just a new year but a new decade, 2020. The 2020 we talked and dreamt about yesteryears is finally here with us. As the celebration died down, I started thinking of the many faces of 2020.

First was the Nigeria Vision 2020, where the previous and current administrations had declared their intention to pursue the vision of placing Nigeria among the 20 largest economies in the world by 2020. When the declaration was made then, I looked forward to 2020 with high expectations believing that year will be when Nigeria finally becomes our Eldorado. I still can't believe this is Year 2020 and we are still the way we were. 

Then was the WHO Vision 2020, a global initiative that aims to eliminate avoidable blindness by the year 2020. It was launched on 18 February 1999 by the World Health Organization together with more than 20 international non-governmental organisations. Twenty one years after, we are in 2020, and we are still recording incidents of avoidable blindness.

But why have we failed to achieve our vision 2020 both individually and collectively? If it is true that 20/20 is perfect vision, then why are we still short sighted in year 2020? The answer is in the proverb 'Hindsight is 20/20 vision.'

I discovered that reading the optometrist sheet with ease, Nigeria Vision 2020 and WHO Vision 2020 are all 'now sight.' Now sight can never by perfect vision, only hindsight is. I had asked before, that if hindsight is 20/20 vision, then what is foresight? As 2020 progresses, if you rely on your 'now' ability, you surely will need to be changing your lenses yearly, like I literally do with my prescription glasses. If you need perfect vision to achieve your dreams this year, then you will need both hindsight to know where you had failed and foresight to know what to do. The foresight I mean is that only God can give. Jeremiah 29:11 says 'For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' 

With the benefit of grace to look back (hindsight) at 2019, draw from the foresight of God and you will enjoy 20/20 vision (perfect vision) even as we progress with 2020. Wishing you a success filled 2020.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Do Not Urinate Here

I was thinking this morning.... about evolution and reverse development. Some school of thought believe that with time man had evolved from lower forms of primates into anatomically modern humans. If we follow this line of thought, it should be expected that with each passing year, humans should be making progress behaviourally and democratically. But observing events in the past few days has made me question whether as the world develops, Nigeria is not developing in reverse.

'How do you mean?' you might ask. My niece was returning home to Nigeria for Christmas after so many years of sojourn in the UK. She was returning with the two issues the Lord has blessed her with during the period. By 'issues' I mean children and not problems. On arrival at the Murtala Mohammed International airport, Lagos. Her 11 year old daughter observed where it was written on a wall 'Do not urinate here.' With a curious look, she asked 'Mum, why did they write 'Do not urinate here' on that wall?' 'Because, they don't want anyone to urinate by the wall,' her mum responded. With an even more curious look and maybe a tint of surprise, she asked further 'But why do they have to be told?' Hmm!!! Why must you tell an adult to only urinate in a toilet? As I thought about it, I concluded that behaviourally we may be developing in reverse. 

Like we say in Warri, 'I wonder wetin dey work us.' My niece probably understood why, because she was born and grew up in Nigeria until she travelled out about 15 years ago. What she however did not bargain for, having been driving in the UK for years, was how torturous driving in Nigeria has become. After taking to the steering for a few days, she swore to never drive in Nigeria again. 'There are no driving rules in this country anymore. People drive like they are insane. I wonder why there are not a lot more accidents.' She had lamented. If you drove during this festive period in any of our cities, you will understand where she was coming from. Whew!!! It was hellish in Lagos. Added to the terrible driving behaviour, the roads are bad. As I wondered why the Infrastructures are not improving with time, I recalled the report in the Economist Pocket book that says Lagos is the second worst city to live in after Damascus in Syria (a war zone). When I considered that Lagos was the third worst city in 2018, I concluded that in terms of infrastructure, our development may be in reverse. 

At the national level nko? When it comes to democratic nations, one of the indices of a matured democracy is the obedience of the rule of law. With this year marking 20 years of unbroken democracy in Nigeria, it would have been expected that our democracy should be maturing. Colonel Sambo Dasuki and activist Omoyele Sowore were accused of different offences and thrown into DSS detention. They were taken to court and the courts granted them bail. The DSS refused to release them in spite of protests by well meaning Nigerians. Then on the 20th of December, the US Congress wrote a strongly worded letter to the Attorney General of the Federation (AG) about the implications of disobedience of court orders and how we should behave like a democratic nation. Suddenly, the AG announced the release of both men on Christmas eve. Have we made progress? Yes, but democratically, our development or maturity seems to be in reverse. 

Oh, how this little girl opened my eyes as another year counts down. Why must we be told to do the right thing? Why must we be told to behave? Else, if we continue with this attitude, we will start seeing signs like 'Please do defecate on the bed' in hotel rooms and 'Please do not eat sand.' If truly we have developed from lower forms of primates to anatomically modern humans, there are some things we should not be doing. James 4:17 says, 'Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.' As we enter 2020, I am praying, 'Lord, please help us to behave.'

Happy Sunday and New Year (in a few days).

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

Saturday, 21 December 2019

Where can I find a friend like Miss Nigeria?

Miss Nigeria celebrating her friend

I was thinking this morning.... about true friendship. This past week, news broke of how for the first time, black women now hold the titles of five of the world’s top beauty pageants, with the crowning of Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh as Miss World. According to Time magazine report of 16th December, during the final round of the competition, just three women remained on the stage waiting to find out who would be crowned Miss World. There was Miss Nigeria, Nyekachi Douglas; Miss Brazil, Elis Coelho; and Miss Jamaica, Toni-Ann Singh. 

When the winner’s name was called, Nyekachi erupted to a cheer. She then did a joyful dance around the stage, twirling across the dais in her green gown, before rushing back to hug the woman who had actually won—Miss Jamaica. The fact that Nyekachi was so clearly excited for her friend, even though it meant that she herself had lost the competition, was truly heartwarming. Nyekachi’s ebullient reaction at her friend’s victory has gone viral with people sharing the clip across social media. She may not have won the Miss World crown, but the internet had crowned her thrilled reaction a true friendship victory. It sure made me proud as a Nigerian.

As I read the various comments on social media, that of one Nimelesh @Houseofhilton made my day. She had asked 'Where can I find a friend like Miss Nigeria?' Awww!!! Her question whirled up thoughts within me. Do I have friends like Miss Nigeria? Am I a friend like Miss Nigeria?

As I tried to answer my last question, I recalled how I waited for promotion at work for so long that it became a prayer point. One year while waiting for the miracle to happen, a colleague of mine announced that he has just been promoted. What was my reaction? I was happy for him telling him congratulations. But immediately, my mind started asking why I was not promoted, effectively shifting my attention from the good news, to self. My joy for him became momentary because of my focus on self. As I reflected on the reaction of Nyekachi Douglas, I cried 'Please Lord, make me a friend like Miss Nigeria.'

I have had a fair share of lifting and breakthroughs from the Lord that blew my mind. As far as I can remember, there was hardly any spontaneous reaction of joy or any thrilled response from people around me. No one did the 'zanku,' 'shoki' or the 'azonto' dance for me. At best, having congratulated me, what naturally follows will be 'the God wey do your own, go do for me too o.' Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that response but shifting the attention to yourself takes away from the joy of the moment. Some out of jealousy and envy will be cursing the blessed one under their breath or in their mind. As I thought about it, I prayed 'Oh God, give me a friend like Miss Nigeria.'

The truth is, all of us need a Miss Nigeria in our lives. With such positivity and support, anyone can move mountains. As we count down to 2020, when your friend gets a promotion or a new job or starts a new business, be his or her Miss Nigeria. Ditch the selfishness in every human and be truly happy for him or her without thinking of yourself. Real friends don't focus on self. Proverbs 20:6 'Many will say they are loyal friends, but who can find one who is truly reliable?' Seriously, are you a friend like Miss Nigeria?

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 14 December 2019

Life Like Football Match

Coach Benedict Ugwu 

I was thinking this morning..... On Saturday November 30th, while the Nigerian Professional Football League match between Enugu Rangers and Akwa Starlets was ongoing at the Enugu Stadium, something strange happened. At about the 85th minute of the game, an announcement was made through the public address (PA) system, that the coach of the Coal city side, Benedict Ugwu, has been sacked. The game ended 0-2 in favor of Akwa Starlet (now Dakkada FC). Wow!

The way the sacking was done got many Nigerians talking but got me thinking. Why couldn't the Club Management wait for an additional 5 minutes for the match to end before sacking the coach, if they felt he wasn't delivering? If they must sack him, why would they have to do so through the PA System while he was busy in the dugout? The more I thought about it, the more the life lessons dropped on me like dew on a cold harmattan morning. 

I thought about this couple I knew in the neighbourhood I grew up in Warri. They had six children which I believe they brought up to the best of their ability. Life didn't turn out as expected as all the children dropped out of school. Everyone blamed the parents saying they had failed. It occurred to me that if they were coaches of a football club, they would probably have been sacked like Benedict Ugwu. A non-enthusiast of football will wonder why they will sack coach Benedict Ugwu when he was not the one in the field of play. He has done his best, told the players what to do, but yet they let him down. Hmm! Life is like coaching from the dugout.

Coach Benedict Ugwu was relieved of his job in the 85th minute while the match was still on. Wow! Isn't life like a 90 mins football game with extra time? There are many that have been let go from the match of life early in the first half of their lives. They were still marshalling out their plans on how to win the match, and the heavenly announcement was made to call them home. Yet, others see the match to the end of 90 mins. Life! About 3 years ago, my dear uncle was in the dugout working for the success of his team (family). It was the beginning of his second half and his team was winning, when suddenly the announcement was made. He slumped and that was it. He was gone. He was taken off when the match was only 65 minutes gone (he was 65 years old). But why would the heavenly announcement be made when he was winning the match? Life is like coaching or playing in a football match. Not everyone will stay till the end of regulation time.

When the announcement was made through the PA system announcing the sack of Benedict Ugwu, many Nigerians frowned at and condemned the act, saying it was insensitive. But I asked, isn't that the same way we all are taken off the scene? There is always an announcement. The difference is the response of the crowd of witnesses. Do they give you a standing ovation or boo you out? 

My prayer is that we all will be in the game till the end of regulation time (90 years) plus extra time (30 years) according to Genesis 6:3, but what is important is your focus on your success and that of your team. Should you be taken out before the end of regulation time, like was done to Benedict Ugwu, then you should leave knowing that you have given only your best and impacted lives. This is the season to impact lives, do it with all thy might.

Happy Sunday.

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