Sunday, 10 December 2017

It's a Season of Happiness

Season of Happiness
I was thinking this morning..... about the happiness of this season. Where I sat reflecting on my plans for the end of the year, my mind was inditing the reason why this season oozes the fragrance of happiness. Could it be because of the fog and harmattan haze we wake up to behold each morning or the almost synchronized sessions of year end appraisals going on in most organizations, giving the feeling of relief from the year long frenzy of tasks? I am suspecting that it is the sights and sounds of Christmas carols and season greetings that is softly dropping the happiness in the air like black soot in Port Harcourt. Whatever the origin of the happiness, it is sure a good feeling.
 
It was this smile I had on my lips when I read the news of Owelle Rochas Okorocha appointing his sister as 'Commissioner for Happiness and Couples' Fulfilment." My smile immediately exploded into laughter. What a joke! While I understand that happiness is a very important feeling, in the serious business of governance, methinks it cannot be a ministry for which you appoint a commissioner. Think about it. How can you measure the success of the Commissioner for Happiness and Couples' Fulfilment? Is it the number of citizens smiling daily or the number of couples blessed with the fruit of the womb that year? Since most couples will feel unfulfilled if they don't have children, will the commissioner be assisting them to make babies?
 
Following widespread criticism, the State has come out to blame printers devil, clarifying that the Ministry is that of 'Happiness and Purpose Fulfilment' and not 'Couples Fulfilment.' Dem try!
 
I am really thinking, assuming we have successfully dealt with tangible issues like roads, housing, finance, health care etc. and wish to move into the intangibles, I believe there are more important portfolios to assign like Commissioner for Joy and Gladness, Commissioner for Patriotism, Commissioner for Love and Commissioner for Freedom from Corruption. And if they really want to care end-to-end, they should also appoint a Commissioner for Burial Ceremonies.
 
Though the outcry against the governor was massive, a cursory review of recent happenings in Imo state seems to justify the move. With multiple buildings collapsing, several incidents of fire and explosions and a botched presentation of the 2018 budget, the people surely will not be in a happy mood this season. Hence, the Commissioner for Happiness to the rescue. Na wa o!
 
But do you know that happiness is a choice and that people are happier in the morning? Also, an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard, Nancy Etcoff, says it is a scientific fact that friends inspire more happiness than family members. Really, Nancy? She gave the order as friends, relatives, spouses and then children. While I won't argue with her, one thing is clear, your friends will inspire more happiness than the Commissioner for Happiness. While hoping that I have inspired happiness in you this morning, I beg you not to wait for a Commissioner for Happiness or anyone else before you choose to be happy because Philippians 4:4 says 'Rejoice in the Lord always, and again I say rejoice.'
 
Happy Sunday.
 
.......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Snakes, Anti-venom and the Jungle we Live

Running away from Snakes
I was thinking this morning.... about the jungle we live in and snakes. I read the headline in The Guardian Newspaper titled '91 deaths in three weeks from snakebites, and unavailability of anti-snake venom annoy senators.' 'Like seriously? Why are they annoyed? Na today snake don dey bite Nigerians?' These and many other questions flushed through my mind as I read the news article.
 
Yes, I know that there are snakes in Nigeria and I know of one or two persons bitten by snakes while growing up, but have never heard of 91 people dying of snake bite in 21 days. No, not even in the Amazon forest where anaconda is king. It seems while we were busy chasing shadows, wild animals have overtaken our land. Anyone reading that headline outside of Nigeria, will surely conclude that we are living in the jungle. How sad!
 
Maybe we are truly living in a jungle in the midst of wild animals. I suspect there are anacondas, vipers and rattle snakes in this our jungle and it must be these venomous snakes that are scaring Nigerians to death within and outside the shores of the nation. Yes, it must have been snakes that scared those 26 Nigerians girls from their homes to make that perilous journey through the Mediterranean sea to Italy, but unfortunately died in the ship and were buried like savages in a strange land. It must be the fear of snakes at homes.
 
Snakes are creepy and scary animals. It must be the fear of snakes at home that will make able-bodied Nigerians to choose the indignity of being sold as slaves in Libya, rather than stay back and work for a living. They probably said, like a typical Waffarian, 'I rather die.' Imagine my horror watching the CNN investigative report, not Kunta Kinte movie, with a salesman in camouflage gear saying, 'Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man, he'll dig, what am I bid, what am I bid?' Oh it must be the fear of snakes at home that will make them prefer to be in cages in Libya.
 
How can our senators be angry about these venomous reptiles biting Nigerians and be blind to the thousands that have died from economic, political and religious snakebites? As I dwelt on the thought, I realized truly that Nigeria is a huge farm of snakes. If you have seen that movie, 'Snakes on a Plane,' then you will understand the jungle we live in.
 
Truth is there will always be snakes around us, so what we need do is wade them off and have snake anti-venom available. But where is the good governance that will keep the snakes at bay and the social security that will neutralize the poison should we be bitten? Not available in Nigeria. I will therefore not depend on these leaders to protect me from snakes, but will rather hold on to Luke 10:19 that says 'Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.
 
May God deliver us from human and real snakes.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Queen Elizabeth and 70 years of Marriage

The Sanctity of Marriage
I was this morning.... about the sanctity of marriage and the appropriate gifts for celebrating. As I sat in my taxi, I browsed through the news headlines and saw this BBC news that asked, 'what do you give to your partner to celebrate 70 years of marriage?' The very first question that popped in my head was 'No be two of us marry? why should I give my partner a gift?' Feeling a bit ashamed that I am thinking like a typical African, I put my hand in the basket of my thoughts again to try and bring out a fitting gift for a platinum wedding anniversary, but I couldn't help but reflect on the more important question of what is it that keeps a couple together for 70 years in a world where couples divorce because of toothpaste, tomato paste or even peanut butter paste?

This was my thought as Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip marked their platinum wedding anniversary last Monday. The couple got married at Westminster Abbey November 20 1947, and 70 years on, Elizabeth (91) and Philip (96) are not tired of each other. What are they doing that modern day celebrities are missing? I have heard some seniors advise the youths to watch the family they are marrying into. They say if the parents are divorced, then 'e dey the family.' Has divorce become a contagious or hereditary disease? To show the futility of that thinking, do you know that while the marriage of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip has remained strong, three of their four children have seen their unions end in divorce? Most notable is heir Prince Charles's ill-fated union with his late wife Princess Diana. Please don't tell me the children need deliverance.

I am thinking, though my marriage is still a long way from 70 years, what can I learn from this power couple? While Prince William says the secret is them being comfortable in each other presence, others say it is their shared sense of humor (SSOH). The Queen herself says, 'He has, quite simply been my strength and stay all these years,' and Prince Philip says, 'You can take it from me, the Queen has the quality of tolerance in abundance.' Hmm!!!

While everyone in marriage will put forward different qualities that make their marriage work, to me it is a combination of the little things, the God factor, tolerance and the firm knowledge that, come rain or shine we are together, that makes the difference. Hence Romans 8:38 says, 'For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,' shall be able to separate us from the love of God.

My prayer is that as our marriages take one step at a time towards 70 years, any principality that wants to ply it's trade on us will expire this year in Jesus name. Amen.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Time, Reality and Change of Priority

Changing times and Reality Check
I was thinking this morning...... about time and reality. Where I sat in my living room relaxing, shortly after arriving from a journey yesterday, and expecting no one at that time of the day, the door bell rang. 'Who can that be? Who are you expecting?' I had asked my wife. As we both paused the TV to go downstairs to attend to the visitor, I was wondering how anyone will be at my door without notice.
 
When we eventually let the visitor in, it was my niece in-law. As she greeted me and we gave her a warm welcome, I couldn't help but think of how times have changed. This lady that is today in Law School in Lagos was only about 5 years old when she was our little bride 16 years ago. As I stared into oblivion, it dawned on me that time has made my reality and changed my priority.
 
But wait, if time could make my reality and changed my priority, how come it didn't have the same effect on Mugabe? Robert Gabriel Mugabe was 56 years in 1980 when he became Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. He became President in 1987 at 63 and has been in power since then. Thirty years later and at the age of 93, Mugabe is still fighting for power like he did in 1980. He is imprisoned by his 1980 reality and therefore cannot change his priorities. How sad.
 
If you take your mind back home, you will pick up a number of our politicians imprisoned in their past and still playing the politics they played in the eighties. Oh God, why hasn't time made their realities and changed their priorities? If you think about it deeply, you will realize that the sum of their individual imprisonment in the past has collectively imprisoned us as a nation preventing us from moving into our today. Hmm!!!
 
As you get up to start another day, has time made your reality and changed your priority? I have always said that if you are blessed enough to be alive and strong at 70, you should immediately start reconciling with your God, if you had not done so and dedicate your life to service of God and man till your departure. Seventy to me is the milestone for change of priority because 1 Cor 13:11 says, 'When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.' Time is ticking, things are changing, please move from your past into today.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Dino Melaye, National Projects and the Pain of Indigestion

National Projects and the pain of indigestion
I was thinking this morning.....about indigestion. Whenever I think of indigestion (also called Dyspepsia), I imagine how uncomfortable it makes one feel, the heartburn, bloated stomach and pain. However, if you are pregnant or your wife is and suffering from indigestion, then go buy a set of comb because your baby will be very hairy. No, it is not 'fabu,' but true. A John Hopkins University study revealed that higher hormone levels like estrogen (thought to be a cause of indigestion during pregnancy) can contribute to more baby hair. Interesting, isn't it?
 
Okay, I am not pregnant nor suffering from indigestion, but it seems some projects in Nigeria have this condition. How? You may ask. On Thursday 2nd November, Senator Dino Melaye of APC Kogi West called the attention of the Senate to alleged 'monumental fraud' in the Ministry of Power, Works and housing headed by Babatunde Fashola. Mr Melaye alleged that the Ministry squandered $385 million on projects not appropriated in the budget between 2013 and 2016. He had said, 'Mr President, this money was stolen in installments. As I speak to you, sometimes last year again, the Ministry of Power came up with a term they call fast power. This undigested project is supposed to build new generating plants to add power to our grid.'
 
At this point, I was like, 'how can a project be undigested again na?' But I now understand, you know that feeling that burns your heart (like heartburns) when you are watching your favourite programme on TV and there is power cut? yes, it is because the power projects were not digested. This heartburn does not compare to the sharp pain of 'indigestion' that one mother in Port Harcourt felt recently when her pre-term baby placed in an incubator in a government hospital suddenly died because power was cut for about three hours. Oh the pain of undigested power projects.
 
And they are not alone. You turn on the TV or radio to listen to the local news and you hear the presenter announce the death of someone and then shockingly calls him or her 'diseased' instead of 'deceased.' Our graduates no longer know the difference between diseased and deceased. It's a crying shame, and it is because our educational programs are undigested, hence the pain and heartburn.
 
Honestly, I have this feeling that the 2017 national budget was undigested as well because the impact is hardly visible, rather what we hear are stories of State house clinic without drugs. What happened to the budget for the clinic this year? It probably has not been digested.
 
Now that the 2018 budget has been presented before the joint session of the National assembly, I beg of the operators of the economy to please allow the budget and projects to be digested so that we all can enjoy the benefits in 2018. In spite of the indigestion we suffer as a nation, the curse of 2nd Chronicles 21:15 is not our portion in Jesus name.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Flamboyance or a Mess?

Flamboyance of Flamingos
I was thinking this morning..... about flamboyance. I bet you did not know that a group of  flamingos is called 'flamboyance,' just like a group of iguanas is called 'a mess.' While I am not interested in the mess caused by some Nigerians, the flamboyance of some became worthy of my thoughts today. Until recently, flamboyance meant showing off particularly in bright colours, but my scope was deepened when I read the article of one Tochukwu Ezukanma talking about what he called our 'pesky, exasperating albatross: tribalism.' He explained how some Nigerians had declared that their tribe was not only going to dominate Nigeria but that they will dominate Africa. He called it 'verbal flamboyance.' Hmm!!!

As I dissected what he called verbal flamboyance, something tells me that it is either this guy lives outside of Nigeria or he has never been to Lagos nor use the public transportation called 'molue.' How could he have called the declaration by someone that his tribe will dominate Nigeria 'verbal flamboyance?' Like the Americans will say, he ain't seen verbal flamboyance until you ride in a molue or danfo in Lagos. With mouth wide open and at the top of their voice, in ten seconds, the bus conductors will reel out all the bus stops between Oshodin and Okokomaiko, shouting 'Oshodin o, Oshodin-Oke o.....' And if you are unfortunate to have an argument with one of them, he would've beaten you to pulp with his mouth, shouting 'ah, ah..' inbetween his threatenings but without raising a finger. Now, that is what I will call verbal flamboyance.

Feeling satisfied that I have done justice to the term, I smiled and wondered if verbal flamboyance is not another term for boasting. Well, it is a known fact that Nigerians love showing off but it seems to be crossing the line of sanity. That was my thought when I saw photos from a wedding somewhere in Western Nigeria where camp gas (gas cylinder with burner) and large 4-wheeled suitcases were given to guests as souvenirs. Believe me, my concern was not that those bulky items were distributed, I was miffed to see these items displayed on top the small tables, occupying every available space at the reception venue. Now, that is 'souveniral flamboyance.' Don't bother checking the dictionary for 'souveniral,' because it is not there. My worry, like a Nairalander had expressed, is that soon they will start giving mattresses and dining tables/chairs as souvenirs.

Okay, I can understand both verbal and souveniral flamboyance, but struggling to wrap my head around 'gestapoic flamboyance.' 'Kilon je be?' I read of a lady that donned camouflage t-shirt and trousers and was accosted by some soldiers. In a sane society, she will, worst case be warned about the implications and advised to go back home and take them off. But in my Naija, she was not only stripped naked in the public but was made to frog-jump and flogged. Now, that is 'gestapoic flamboyance' or exaggerated show of force. Only last Monday, the federal High Court in Calabar ordered the Nigeria Navy to pay the sum of N75m to a bricklayer for illegally shooting and torturing him for no reason. The navy men were 'gestapoically flamboyant.' Haba naija!!!

Time and space will fail me if am to talk about fashion flamboyance, culinary flamboyance or grammatical flamboyance (when Patrick Obahiagbon speaks and no one understands), but I beg you, whichever way you choose to be flamboyant, do ensure you are causing no harm to people or the environment. If like iguanas, your show off causes harm, then you are a mess, but if it brings joy, then like flamingos, you are flamboyant. But remember Philippians 4:5 says 'Let your moderation be known to all men.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Sam Omatseye, NNPC Contract Scandal and the Melodious Lie

NNPC Contract Award and Melodious Lie
I was thinking this morning..... about the many types of lie. No, I do not subscribe to lie in any shade and colour, but have seen people dress up 'lie' in different garbs. I am sure you must have heard of 'white lie,' which according to the dictionary is a lie with good intentions.
 
I was wondering why anyone with good intentions should tell a lie. If a lady asked 'how do I look in this dress?' and you tell her she looks good when she doesn't, it is a lie and there is nothing white about the lie. But wait a minute, if there is white lie, is there black lie? According to the Urban Dictionary, when a black person gets blamed for a white person's crime, it is called 'black lie.' Na wa for oyibo people, always giving the black man the short end of the stick. Never in our favour.
 
But why should I be spending my time thinking about lie? I never thought to do so until I read an article written by Sam Omatseye, Chairman Editorial Board of The Nation Newspaper. He had said concerning the alleged $25b contracts award at NNPC and Buhari's response, 'As far as this column is concerned, unless Buhari reviews and annuls the contracts, his war on corruption is melodious lie, an exercise in hypocritical grandstanding.'
 
While I am not interested in the politics of the assertion, the use of 'melodious lie' got me thinking. If a lie can be melodious, then a lie can be many things. Think about it. When a young man approaches a lady he has just met for the first time, telling her all the stories young men tell including how she is the sugar in his tea. Like we say in Warri, as as how na? It is a 'lovely lie.'
 
Imagine 'I go die,' the comedian, telling his audience that they were so poor back then that his dad will take out the clock battery when they are going to bed just to extend the battery life. His audience will laugh because it is a 'funny lie.'
 
As I dug deeper, I recalled the incident in Port-Harcourt months ago where a Uniport student killed his 8 years old niece and harvested her body parts before he was caught. His initial response was that he never meant to kill her. But how can you extract somebody's vital organs without first killing the person? That was a 'bloody lie.'
 
It is common to see a plus-sized lady making so much effort to lose weight. She eats vegetables in the morning and pounded yam in the evening. Two weeks later, she tells you she has lost weight, when in actual fact she has added. It is a 'fat lie.'
 
Melodious lie, white lie, funny lie, bloody lie or fat lie, the one common denominator is that it is a lie. The NIV translation of the Bible in John 8:44 speaking about the devil says, 'when he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.' That means the devil tells 'native lies.' Though our leaders and politicians have perfected the art of telling native, diplomatic, executive and legislative lies, please do not join them to normalize this anomaly. Let your no be no and your yes be yes.
 
Happy Sunday.
 
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.