Saturday, 10 April 2021

WHAT HAS HENRY DONE?

 


I was thinking this morning.... Having spent the better part of my adult life with friends from Igbo, Yoruba and Hausa/Fulani extraction, I am aware that like us Deltans, these tribes also have challenges with pronouncing some letters and words. While the Igbos have L and R factors, the Hausa/Fulanis are challenged with pronouncing 'F' and 'P' words. The Yorubas, on the other hand can't pronounce words with 'H' as the H will be silent. In order to compensate for the 'H' challenge, you hear many educated yorubas, force 'H' into words that don't have it. For instance, they pronounce 'air', (H)air while Hair will be pronounced 'air.'


Against this background, I was worried for my cousin, named Henry when I first saw a newly-painted road sign in Maldon, Essex UK. The sign says "NO Enry." I had initially thought it was written by a yoruba man who had spelt the name 'Henry' the way he pronounces it and left out the letter 'H'. 'What has Henry done?' I imagined. I was still musing when I saw the social media rave about the sign. Apparently, the council staff that painted the words wanted to spell ENTRY but missed out the letter 'T'. While so many people teased and suggested the staff were 'on a T break', one man echoed my sentiment exactly when he joked: "Poor Enry, I feel for 'im".

As my small frame shook with mirth from the sign and comments, I imagined how a minor error could have grave implications. The 'NO ENTRY' sign was meant to stop everyone from taking that route, but someone's error that left out a letter changed the narrative and meant only those called '(H)enry' are barred. Poor Henry! When this happens, I can imagine Henry telling the sign writer, 'If na you dem send, tell dem say you no see me.' 🙂

If your name is Henry and you are denied access because of the 'NO ENRY' sign, do not just turn back and say 'hard luck.' Ask why, as it may just be a simple error because someone is on 'T' break. So many have lost out of their blessings because they are too fearful to ask 'why so?' Do not be afraid to challenge the status quo.

However, when you do challenge the person and the process, please do not attack his person because the man may just be having a bad day. Like the sign writer in Maldon, he made a harmless mistake and had nothing against Henry.

If you feel like Henry, disadvantaged or marginalised for no reason, denied from making progress, do not resign to fate, like Isaiah 41:21 admonishes 'Pesent your case, says the LORD. "Set forth your arguments," says Jacob's King.' If you get no answer from man, ask God in prayers.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 3 April 2021

MIND YOUR LANE

 


I was thinking this morning.... For someone that has lived in Lagos for over 10 years, enduring the traffic is no longer a biggie. I have even developed the habit of picking up life lessons as I drive. Driving from the Island to the Mainland recently, I was on the left lane, in-bound Ikoyi, on Falomo bridge on a light traffic when a Toyota Avensis dangerously swerved into my lane. I stepped on the brakes, narrowly avoiding a collision. I checked to see if the driver was sorry but 'the guy no send' as he drove ahead leaving me behind. I activated my Warri bad boy mode and decided to do James Bond driving to stay ahead of this driver. I swerved to the right lane as the traffic on the left lane came to a stop. I succeeded for a bit and got ahead of the stubborn driver. As I left him behind, I felt a sense of fulfilment but suddenly the right lane stopped moving and I watched the Toyota Avensis drive past me before I could change lane again. He zoomed out of sight while I struggled to change lane. When I finally changed lane like everyone else, I discovered that a LATSMA official had stopped a vehicle on the right lane that made me lose my self-imposed Formula 9 race. As I reflected later on, I saw my error, repented from engaging in an unsafe act and learnt that life is like Lagos traffic: Just mind your lane and you will get to your destination in peace.

Imagine how so many people are provoked by the inappropriate behaviours of others to leave their lane. This can happen between married couples, siblings, brethren or even strangers like in my case. Only recently, a Ghanaian woman reportedly driving at top speed to catch her “cheating” husband, lost control of the vehicle and was fatally injured. Sad! She died cheaply. Women, do not allow your unfaithful husbands provoke you to unhealthy competition about who is smarter. Life is like Lagos traffic: katikati will do you no good. Just mind your lane and you will get to your destination in peace.

Men nko? Do not allow your nagging wife provoke you to unsafe behaviour. You will just die of high BP. Forget all the Warri threat of 'I go change am for you.' It doesn't work. Life is like Lagos traffic, you can change lane all you want but make no appreciable progress. Just stay on your lane and you will get to your destination in peace.

Don't be in an unhealthy competition with anyone, because like Lagos traffic, you can never tell when the traffic will stop on your lane. Also, don't feel bad when it seems the other lane is moving and yours is not. Relax, in good time, your lane will move and you probably will catch up with the other driver you think had gone ahead. And if you don't? Fret not, you both are headed for different destinations. He might be going farther. Mind your lane and you will get to your destination in peace.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 'Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.'

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Easter.

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

Saturday, 27 March 2021

YOUR THOUGHTS, YOUR LIFE

 


I was thinking this morning..... As we were preparing to celebrate my dad's birthday a couple of weeks ago, I had asked my sister what they were preparing for him, and she responded 'gbagba-fofo' which is a variety of itsekiri perpersoup prepared with sliced okro. Wow! It's been about 20 years since I heard of or ate gbagba-fofo. When I dropped the call, I couldn't help but ponder a bit about the olden days when gbagba-fofo was a regular on our menu. Since gbagba-fofo wasn't one of my favourite soups, I hardly thought about eating it since I left Warri close to 20 years ago.

A week after I had this conversation with my sister, I had reason to lodge at Sheraton Hotel Lagos for some days. On one of the days that I couldn't go to the restaurant, I decided to order room service. When I asked what Nigeria meal they had for lunch, the young lady at the other end responded, 'we have oziza soup and we also have gbagba-fofo.' I was like 'Whoa! What did you say?' My surprise was not so much that they had the soup, but more because it was called the indigenous Itsekiri name.

What are the odds that a week after I thought about gbagba-fofo soup, the hotel I was lodged 1000km from Warri had the soup on their menu? As I considered it, I remembered a statement I read recently that says 'where your mind goes, your life goes.'

Someone might say, 'But if it is true that your life goes where your mind goes, how come my life is still in Nigeria, because my mind has been in America for years?' I don't know, but it could be HT (Home trouble). What I know is that those that focus on being successful and take the right steps, end up being successful.

I understand that things could go wrong and you can't help but think on them. If things go wrong, don't go with it, because if your mind stays with it, your life will go with it. Drag your thoughts away from your challenges, inadequacies and negativity, because where your mind goes, your life goes. No wonder Philippians 4:8 summed it up thus, 'Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report....think on these things.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday

Saturday, 20 March 2021

WETIN SHE DO YOU?

 


I was thinking this morning..... As the world celebrated Mother's Day last Sunday, recognising the indispensable role women, particularly mothers play in keeping our world together, I was thinking and looking at some husbands askance and could not help asking them this question 'wetin she do you?'

The question became necessary when I was told of an incident that happened recently in Lagos. This man, a member of 'Hide Your PIN From Your Wife' Association, was very sick and hospitalised. While in the hospital, there was need to make some payments including the DSTV subscription and recharge his prepaid meter. Because he doesn't want to reveal his phone PIN to his wife, he decided to do it himself in his very weak and precarious state. He succeeded in paying for DSTV and transferred some money. He was about to buy electricity token when he collapsed and died on his bed. While I know that it wasn't the transaction that killed him, but why go through that trouble just because you don't want your wife to know your PIN? Chai! Na wetin she do you?

The interesting thing is that many of the men that celebrated Mothers Day last Sunday are members of 'Hide Your PIN From Your Wife' Association. How can you be celebrating your wife on one hand and still distrust her enough not to leave your phone with her? Haba!!! Wetin you dey hide?

I know of modern men that have their own bedroom separate from their wife's. I understand that this may be okay with a polygamous man or those from the older generation, but don't understand how a today's man will keep his wife at bay and only invite her to his room when he wants to sow his royal oats. These same men will hide their financial records, including salaries, from their wives. Haba! Wetin she do you?

You took a decision to go search out and marry your wife, yet you treat her like she is leprous or like we say in Warri, like someone that has lakpalakpa. She left her family to come be with you and you isolate her emotionally and sometimes physically. Haba! Wetin she do you?

Marriage is meant to be a fortress of sort, a bastion where both the man and the woman should take solace from the emotional, psychological and physical attacks in the world. Unfortunately, many women are being tortured by their husbands all in the name of being members of 'Hide Your Pin From Your Wife' Association. Even Ananias in his wicked ways still carried his wife, Sapphira along (Acts 5:2).

As we celebrated International Day of Happiness yesterday, 20th March, I encourage men to love and trust their wives. Let her be your buddy and gist partner. Depression is real and your openness and trust will help grow happiness.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 13 March 2021

REMEMBER THE DAYS OF ALARM

 


I was thinking this morning..... Growing up in Warri decades ago was not a smooth ride. Yes, it was full of love, but the years were punctuated with seasons of lack. Seasons we collectively called 'alarm.' 'Alarm' referred to lack, famine and deep poverty. During the 'alarm' season where my parents had to feed seven hungry mouths, it was common in our household to downgrade the menu from staple food to what we called 'alarm food.' These alarm foods were not decided upon for taste or nutritional value, we ate them purely because it was what we could afford to fill our tummy with. As I sat before a scrumptious meal my young wife prepared recently, I gave God thanks for His provision, as I remembered the days of lack in Warri when we ate 'alarm food.'


First, I remembered Kpokpo-Madiga. What is that? Kpokpo-Madiga is a thick hard piece of baked flour. It is a pastery that is neither bread nor biscuit but hard enough to block your intestine once a piece is eaten. When there is not enough food for three square meal, two straight meals of Kpokpo-Madiga (alias belle blocker) always does the magic. Shout out to the Madiga generation.

Another cheap meal for the alarm season was Agidi jollof. Chai! How can I forget the role it played in my life in Warri. Agidi also known as Eko by some is simply corn jellos. It becomes jollof when it is oiled and spiced. To underscore the alarm nature of the Agidi jollof, it doesn't contain beef or fish, instead it has chewable soft bones, which we used to call 'biscuit bone' (correct term is brisket bone). The taste of the brisket bone to an hungry child is simply divine.

In the thick of the alarm season, when we could not afford to buy Agidi jollof or Kpokpo-Madiga, we scaled back the menu further and ate fried garri. I am sure you already know that garri is fried cassava. Fried garri is frying the garri with oil and crayfish. Eating the hot crunchy fried garri containing crayfish is a sure banker to make any Warri child scratch his head. The father of all alarm food is when we can't even afford to eat fried garri and settled for garri and palm kernel nuts.

Oh what we ate in the days of alarm, the days of humble beginning. Las las, we give God praise because in our days of lack, God no shame us. Psalms 37:19 says 'They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, And in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.'

Remember the days of 'alarm' and the food you ate. Name them and give thanks.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 6 March 2021

Don't Sit on Your Strength

 


I was thinking this morning...... I had a task of trying to lift a very heavy object sometime ago. I tried the first time but couldn't. I pumped my biceps and triceps and tried again but still couldn't. Then I sat down and wished I had bigger muscles. While wondering where I could borrow muscle from, I was shocked to find out that the largest muscle in my body is the one I am sitting on. Do you know that the largest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus? Located at the back of the hip, it is also known as the buttocks. Really? How can I be sitting on such large mass of muscle when I need it to do heavy lifting? What a waste.

As I pondered on the buttocks muscle and weight I couldn't lift, I heard a soft voice asking, 'Isn't that our state in Nigeria?' We have very heavy Nigerian muscles in the private sectors and in diaspora that can be engaged to do heavy lifting, but we ignore and sit on them.

Think about it. In the area of economy, our nation is on life support with tens of millions going to bed hungry daily. Those in charge are confused, churning out incongruent economic policies. As we struggle, our own Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the DG of World Trade Organisation (WTO), Akinwunmi Adesina got a second term as president, African Development Bank (AfDB) and Yemi Babington-Ashaye is the head, Global Shapers Community and director at the World Economic Forum. Instead of using these muscles to lift us out of economic doldrums, we ignore and sit on them. Dem talk am true true, the largest muscle in our body is the one we are sitting on.

I don't understand. How can we be having fuel scarcity in Abuja in 2021 when Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo has been OPEC Secretary General since 2016? How can Nigeria carry plate for hand like 'bambi-allah' (like we call beggars in Warri those days) dey beg for Covid-19 vaccine when a Nigerian, Dr Onyema Ogbuagu was one of those that developed the Pfizer vaccine? They even ignored shame and held a reception to receive the awoof. Hmm! It is because we are sitting on the largest muscles in our body.

How did we come about allowing the most mentally and intellectually weak to lead us and expect them to carry the heavy weights that Nigeria comes with? The best of us are politically useless but expect Nigeria to become like Singapore? No, you cannot sit on the largest muscle in your body and expect to lift a house.

We are in a pit and must stop digging. We must exercise and use our largest muscles if we are to come out of the pit. But first, we have to exercise our faith muscle and believe it is possible (Mark 11:23).

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 27 February 2021

FROM OLE-FOWL TO BIRDNAPPER

 


I was thinking this morning...... Last Friday, while everyone was talking about the kidnapping of the 317 school girls in Jangebe, Zamfara state, I read a report that Lady Gaga’s father has spoken out about the dognapping of his daughter's two French bulldogs, Koji and Gustavo, who were stolen at gunpoint. “We’re just sick over it, it’s really horrible,” Joe Germanotta told The New York Post. “It’s like someone took one of your kids.” You may be wondering what 'dognapping' means. It's an adaptation of the word kidnapping. Since it was a dog and not a person that was abducted, it is dognapping. I thought it was a word he just made up until I checked the dictionary and found that to dognap means to steal (a dog), especially in order to sell it. So, someone that steals a dog is called a dognapper. Hmm!! Na wa for oyibo people!


I have learnt a new word. But, if we have the template for naming stealing of animals, why then are we doing something different in Nigeria? If you have been following the news on the security situation in Nigeria particularly in the North, you would've read that large scale stealing of cows is one of the root causes of banditry. That I will not argue, but what I don't understand is why stealing of cows is called 'Cattle rustling.' Going by the oyibo template, it should be called 'Cownapping.' Abi beko?

Even those of us in Warri those days no know book. Chai! Our ignorance was legendary. If we were literate enough, we would've learnt from oyibo people that when a hawk steals a chicken and flies away with it, you don't call the hawk 'Ole-fowl,' the correct term should be 'Birdnapper' or 'Chickennapper' or if you want to go local 'Fowlnapper.' Warri!!!

I continued thinking. When someone steals a fish from a fish pond, it is 'Fishnapping.' I once saw a ram roaming around my compound and had to report it. Thank God I did because someone would've eyed me askance thinking I am a 'Ramnapper.'

We can safely conclude that the Nigeria of today is suffering from the menace of kidnapping. But there is also Cownapping from the North and Birdnapping from the air. One assault we still need to investigate is that of 'Fishnapping' from the sea, because the rate at which fishes have disappeared from the shallow waters is really a cause for concern.

Kidnapping, Dognapping, Goatnapping, Cownapping and all ...nappings including Fishnapping from your mother's pot are vices and the Bible says all ...nappers like other sinners will go to hell (Revelation 21:8). Stay away from any form of ..napping.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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