Sunday 21 April 2024

Seven States of Life

I was thinking this morning..... It was meant to be a simple journey from Port Harcourt to Omu-Aran in Kwara State, but it turned out to be the longest road trip I have ever embarked on. While Google Maps estimated the 550.9km trip to be about 10hrs 33mins, the journey took us 14hrs 30mins. A trip that was dotted with so many life lessons.

We set out at about 7.30 am in a convoy of two coaster buses and a security escort pick-up van. Friends that couldn't wait for us, set out in a solo 4-wheel pick-up van, and arrived a solid 4 hours before us. How fast one travels in life is dependent on the capacity of the vehicle. Some have taken time to develop themselves and upgraded to turbocharged engine while others are okay with their two cylinders engine. Their speed in life tells the story.

Life, though, is not all about speed. While the coaster buses in a convoy meant the trip was slower, the bond of friendship and fun of travelling in a group was more alluring. Sometimes in life, it may seem like you are moving too slow because you had chosen to go with friends and family, but the experience you have working and fellowshiping with people is one those riding alone will never enjoy.

As the adventure across seven States progressed from Rivers to Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Ekiti, and finally Kwara State, I observed that the quality of the highway determined the speed we maintained. In life, there are some travelling on the superhighway that was constructed by their parents and forebears, others had to construct their own highways. Yet, for some, there are no paved roads. They had to trudge along the dusty and rough earth roads of life. Tough life, you will say.

Somewhere around Owo, in Ondo State, our vehicle developed a fault, and we had to stop to fix the problem. Though we lost an hour, thirty minutes in the process, we soon got back on our way. In life, breakdowns from illness or accident can happen and set you back a few years. Don't despair. You will soon be on your way to your destination.

A journey we started before sunrise, crossing so many rivers, large and small, and going through roadblocks, continued after sunset into the night. We finally arrived at our hotel a few minutes before 10 pm. It was a long tortuous journey but we stayed the course and arrived safely. Despite the challenges of life, keep moving and stay focused on your destination (Hebrews 12:2).

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 14 April 2024



I was thinking this morning.... With a bonus holiday given to us last Thursday, I decided to go out for an evening fitness walk. As I did, I observed young men and women hanging out just by my estate reminding me of my late teenage years.

It was the year 1988, and I had returned home for my end of semester break. Feeling like university big boys, my brothers and our friends would meet up to hang out in the neighbourhood every evening. Occasionally, we would challenge ourselves to approach and chat up with any young lady who caught our fancy. There were these two beautiful Igbo girls living adjacent to our compound. Their brother, a Yankee returnee, had a Lamborghini Pontiac, making the girls believe all young men in the neighbourhood were beneath them.

The few times the girls would come out to take a walk, we would observe them from a distance desiring to be their friend. We were generally good boys learning to fish is calm waters. Amongst us, I had the least courage and with near-zero interest in girls. One day, after much hyping and encouragement, I agreed to the prodding of the boys to approach the sisters. As I got close to them, with fear paralysing me, I said, 'Hello! Can I talk to you?' The younger of the girls looked at me and with a very stern tone and rich Igbo accent, she barked 'get-taa-way.'

I froze where I stood and didn't know what to do. My friends laughed out loud, worsening my predicament. That instant, it was like my brain switched to reset mode, and I learnt lessons I would never have learnt in the university. I learnt that there is a time and season for everything. Just one 'get-taa-way' made me realise that it was time to study and get a degree and not be interested in girls.

Sometimes, to make progress, we must unlearn certain things and remove clutters and distractions from our lives. We all need a 'get-taa-way' (a rebuke) to keep us focused. Just one embarrassing get-taa-way can save you a lifetime of regrets. If, like me, you've been stirred up to make the wrong move, one get-taa-way is all you need. Do not despise rebuke or chastisement, it could be what you need to reset your brain (Hebrews 12:5).

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 7 April 2024



I was thinking this morning..... Following the pulsating Chelsea vs Manchester United 7 goal thriller last Thursday, I woke up Friday morning to see the trending headline 'Onana @70.' My initial thought was that the trolls are at it again. How can Onana be 70 years old? But then the short narrative beneath the headline says, 'no be birthday o, na the number of goals conceded this season.'

I felt sorry for the Cameroonian born goalkeeper of Manchester United, Andre Onana, who has continually been the butt of jokes from online trolls. Why do they always pick on Onana? Put differently, why do we always pick on the failures of others rather than their wins?

When in November of 2023, Onana helped Manchester United to achieve their 500th clean sheet, the most in Premier League history, Onana@500 did not trend. When he played his 40th match for the Red Devil  not too long ago, Onana@40 did not trend. Good news, they say, don't sell. Bad news does.

We should learn to celebrate our wins and not wait for others. If you are waiting for the world to celebrate you, they will not. If you have been driving for 10 years without a crash, celebrate Crash-free@10. If you're 40 and have never spent a night on the hospital bed, celebrate Grace@40.

I have also learnt to celebrate others. Same Friday that negative minds were trending Onana@70, our colleague and friend, Mazi Ikechukwu Okafor was celebrating his 60th birthday and bowing out of paid employment after 26 years of meritorious service. I would rather celebrate Mazi@60 than Onana@70.

Mazi Ikechukwu Okafor is an ardent supporter of Arsenal Football Club (a true gunner) and a football buff. Whether celebrating a victory or enduring a defeat, Mazi's love for Arsenal is unwavering. I would rather celebrate Mazi@60 than Onana@70.

Kind words do not cost much but can accomplish so much. Hence, rather than join trolls to trend Onana@70, please join me to celebrate Mazi@60. Mazi Ikechukwu Okafor, like Philippians 1:3 says 'I thank my God in all my remembrance of you. Congratulations and have a blessed retirement.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 31 March 2024



I was thinking this morning.... It was a long awaited wedding. We had prayed and waited for the Groom to tie the knot and it finally happened yesterday. Sitting as one of the officiating ministers, I eagerly awaited the moment the Groom will say I do and how his references to the Bride will automatically change to 'my wife' or 'mine.'

Wow! Life! But then, I imagined. According to the English dictionary, 'my or mine' is used to refer to a thing or things belonging to the speaker. I pondered again on the words of the martial vows '... to love and to cherish, till death us do part.' There it is. That there is a condition means the couple don't own each other forever, but have only secured companionship for as long as they live. Truly, in life, we own nothing.

It's easy to say 'I own 4 houses and 6 cars.' Really? Do you really own them in the true sense of the word? If you've ever obtained a Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) of any of your property, pick up the document and read it. You will notice the early paragraphs that read like (paraphrased) ' virtue of the C of O act, ---- was granted a statutory right of occupancy over the parcel of land (hereinafter referred to as 'the property') for a term of 99 years commencing from ....' Notice that it was for 99 years and not forever. Why 99 years? You thought you paid fully for the land? Yes, you did but the truth is you had only leased the land and not own it. We own nothing.

If you buy a car, you have only paid for your transport for the period the car will last or as long as you are alive. Reach for your wallet and bring out any currency note. You think you own the money, right? Take a close look at the currency and notice the name of the owner. 'Central Bank of Nigeria' for naira and Federal Reserve Bank for US Dollar. We own nothing.

Ah!!! Of a truth, we own nothing. Whatever we think we own, is only for our benefit as long as we are alive. When it comes to material things, do well not to attach your life to it, neither should you be afraid of losing them. I have seen people have heart attack because they lost 'things.' If you really understand that we own anything (Luke 12:15), your anchor will be on God.

Christ died that we may have all things both in this life and in eternity.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

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

Sunday 24 March 2024


I was thinking this morning..... Last night, I attended the Granite jubilee (90th birthday) celebration of one of Nigeria's finest, a Super Permanent Secretary, Diplomat, Bureaucrat and former Minister of Petroleum, Chief Izoma Philip Asiodu. As I sat watching him converse with another of Nigeria's finest, Chief Emeka Anyaoku (91 years), another Diplomat and 3rd Secretary-General of Commonwealth of Nations, what I saw was an impactful generation on their way off the stage of life.

Packed in the Oduduwa Hall of Movenpick Hotel, Ikoyi, were numerous other notable octogenarians and nonagenarians and the achievers of yesteryears My young wife and I were blessed to be in the midst of these very successful seniors.

The tribute to Chief Asiodu was a long list of what he had achieved over the years. Strikingly, most of his major achievements were in the 1970s and 80s. As I reflected on what could possibly be the secret of his success, Chief Emeka Anyaoku stood up and saved me the hassle. He listed the attributes to be hard work, discipline, integrity, public spiritedness, and care for humanity and the environment. While many would've been tempted to ask how many of our leaders today had all these attributes, I was more focused on myself. How many of these attributes do I have? What will be said about me when I turn 90?

The generation of Philip Asiodu and Emeka Anyaoku had the stage in the 70s and 80s, and a few of them took concrete steps towards success. Today, the stage is ours. What are we doing with it? Rather than work, our youths are betting their future away and dancing azonto and shoki. Our political leaders, instead of showing integrity, are dancing skelewu and makossa. Many of our religious leaders, rather than show care for humanity, are dancing shaku shaku and alanta on the glorious stage.

Life is a stage. There is a time to dance and a time to take concrete steps towards success. Philip Asiodu and Emeka Anyaoku are dancing today because they worked when they had the stage. If all you do is dance etighi and zanku when you are supposed to work, the results will be clear at 90. Success is not random. You make it happen by taking steps of faith and diligence and not by dancing sekem or galala. May the Lord order our steps aright (Psalms 37:23).

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 17 March 2024



I was thinking this morning... I was born to know Mr Ikonshensi. He was a very friendly, noble and great man. Though he wasn't married and had no family, he was part of every family in the community. No one knew exactly where he was from or how old he was but he was well respected in the community. He was always there to help everyone resolve any conflict, either between two persons or between a man and the community. Whenever the Community leaders sat to decide the affairs of the community, Mr Ikonshensi will be there to guide them in favour of the people.

As time went by, people started being rude to Mr Ikonshensi. I didn't understand why but it seems they were jealous of his influence. When they did something wrong and Mr Ikonshensi intervenes, he will be ignored. When the elders gathered and Mr Ikonshensi walks in, he will be excused and told to sit outside until he was called in.

After months of enduring the disrespect, Mr Ikonshensi decided to no longer intervene in the affairs of the community. He stayed indoors most of the time. Many were happy with his decision saying that 'his know-know was too much.' Others that appreciated his value, did nothing when he was being disrespected.

Not many years after, Mr Ikonshensi departed the Community without anyone noticing. The few that noticed made no serious effort to appease him and bring him back to the community. The majority cared less and moved on with their lives. Five years became ten and then twenty, Mr Ikonshensi did not return. There were rumours that he had died but some were certain he had started a new life in a far away community.

It wasn't long before things started falling apart in the community. Greed and selfishness had taken hold of everyone. The elders cornered all the community land for themselves. Families were crumbling and no one could help because Mr Ikonshensi had long gone.

The account of Mr Ikonshensi is an allegory of how we lost our conscience in Nigeria. When I read the news of a village school collapsing on innocent children in Zamfara, a state where politicians recently spent billions to buy SUVs for themselves, and how the National Assembly padded the 2024 budget to the tune of N3.7 trillion, in a country where millions are starving, my heart cried 'Oh God, where is our conscience?' Please come back, Mr Ikonshensi.

Is your conscience alive, dull or seared with hot iron? (1st Timothy 4:2).

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 10 March 2024



I was thinking this morning.... On my way to attending the burial ceremony of the father of a friend at Oviri-Olomu, a village in Delta State, I passed by several small settlements. I couldn't but notice how peaceful life was for the villagers. No noise or air pollution, nor stress, as their needs are basic. For a split second, I wondered whether city life was worth all the stress.

Good health and peace are the main determinants of wealth. Most people don't appreciate how wealthy they are. A man cannot be wealthy in sickness. It takes a healthy body, mind and soul to be wealthy. You are as rich as your health status. In the face of sickness, material possessions amount to nothing.

Wealth is only yours or of value to a man in great health. When a man gets sick, he loses a part of his wealth. Wealth and sickness are inversely proportional. The sicker one gets, the smaller your wealth.

Think about it. To a poor man with only N10,000, home and abroad, ordinary malaria can wipe out his wealth. To a civil servant with N3 million savings, the onset of Hepatitis B can take his wealth away because it cost over a million (about $1,000) a year to treat the illness. If a billionaire comes down with hemophilia B (a genetic bleeding disorder), his wealth may be eroded fast because Hemgenix (the most expensive medication in the world) cost about $3.5 million (N5.2 billion) for just one treatment.

It takes health to appreciate wealth. At the end of the sickness spectrum is death and when a man dies, the wealth is no longer his but someone else's. Herbert Wigwe was estimated to be worth $65.2 million (about N100 billion), while his wife, Chizoba, was estimated to be worth $1 million. With their unfortunate demise, no one will say Herbert is a wealthy man. The wealth is no longer his but now belongs to someone else.

No wonder Luke 12:15 says "one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” Wealth is measured by a healthy body, mind and soul. If you are alive and healthy, be thankful, because you are a wealthy man, even if you have no money in your pocket. Adieu to the Wigwes.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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