Saturday, 1 August 2020

Mummy Calm Down



I was thinking this morning.... When I watched the viral video of the young boy crying while pleading with his mum to calm down, his plea did not get lost on me. Though my first impression was that of surprise that the mother will even consider recording this little boy and post it on social media, but watching the video left a strong message that is germane for all adults, particularly Nigerians to heed. He had said with tears in his eyes 'Mummy calm down. Mummy you must rest a little.'

But Nigerians sha, our blood too dey hot. I considered the Sahara Reporters headline 'Man Beats Pregnant Wife To Death In Ondo,' and took a deep breath. I imagined what Blessing would have done to her husband, 47 years old Olabode Oluwaseun, to warrant his hitting her on the abdomen, leading to her death and that of her unborn child. Wow! The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic violence as a "shadow pandemic" alongside Covid-19 as it reports a 20% increase during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser. But why do we get so angry to the point of being violent? It is still a shock how Olabode got to the tipping point but if he had taken a minute to listen, he would've heard the words 'Honey calm down. Honey you must rest a little.'

If you still can't appreciate the importance and urgency of the little boy's message, then read the Daily Trust headline of last Thursday 'Soldier Kills Commander in Borno.' Why would the soldier kill his superior instead of Boko Haram? The soldier was said to have fired eight shots at his commander, a Lieutenant of the 202 Tank Battalion, killing him on the spot. It was reported the soldier was embittered because his allowances were withheld and account blocked. Haba! Is that enough to kill your oga? I may not understand why he took that extreme action, but I know that had he listened carefully, he would have heard that voice saying 'Bros calm down. Bros you must rest a little.'

Every where you turn, tempers are high, people are hungry and justifiably angry and flipping over due to a combination of economic and other factors. The pressure on people is unbearable and I can hear a typical Warri man exclaim 'Head don burn! Everywhere don cast!' But before you do anything you will regret, realise that at the verge of our tipping point to violence, whether verbal or physical, is always that calm little voice saying 'Bros/sist, calm down. Bros, you must rest a little.' The challenge is that we seldom hearken to that plea, a virtue we must all adopt. Having heard all of the above, if your blood still dey hot then listen to the ISV translation of Judges 6:23 that says 'Calm down! Don’t be afraid.'

Happy new month.

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

Saturday, 25 July 2020

The Chairman Has Spoken

Sshh!!! That's okay 

I was thinking this morning.... sshhh!!! Off the mic so I can think of the drama at the NDDC probe last Monday. Having been accused of benefiting from an NDDC contract and therefore bias, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta, Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo) stepped aside as head of the panel investigating alleged corruption at the NDDC and handed over to the deputy chairman Hon Thomas Ereyitomi (PDP -Delta). At the resumed sitting, apart from the bizarre and shocking incident of the NDDC IMC chairman fainting on live TV, it was pure drama watching the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio respond to the panel members. The highlight of the session with the Minister was when he alleged that over 60% of NDDC contracts goes to the National assembly members. The session got rowdy with the panel members and Akpabio talking over themselves. The panel chairman became uncomfortable with the damning revelations and declared continuously 'Hon Minister, that's okay. That's okay! Off your mic! Off your mic!'

As I pondered on the attempt by the panel chairman to shush the Minister I saw the big picture of what Nigeria has become.
Think about it. We all saw the naked dance of the former head of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ayodele Oke in 2017 who stashed $43.45 million in a house at Ikoyi. The lid was blown open, questions were asked with everyone believing that the actual people behind it will be brought to book. The news was in the public domain until one chairman somewhere shouted 'Hon Minister, that's okay. That's okay! Off your mic! Off your mic!' The lights went out and that was the end.

Remember the $2.1 billion arms deal popularly called Dasukigate? Ex-national security adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, along with many others were arrested in 2015 at the onset of the current administration. Sizzling revelations kept rolling out for years and everyone thought convictions will be made. Suddenly at about 9pm on Tuesday December 24th 2019, Sambo Dasuki walked out of prison a free man. Till date, no traction on the case and Nigerians have moved on because the chairman had said 'Hon Minister, that's okay. That's okay! Off your mic! Off your mic!'

Nigeria we hail thee. Ibrahim Magu of Magugate, shortly after his release from detention, had summed up the frequent episodes of corruption scandals in Nigeria as a case of dog eat dog. Every time one unsatisfied dog attacks another, the chairman will intervene. That's why when the Speaker of the lower chamber challenged Akpabio to make open the list of all those in the house that were given contracts within 48 hours, Akpabio denied the accusation. You know why? The chairman has intervened and the mic has been switched off. The good news is that some day the chairman will be overruled, the divine klieg light switched on and the trumpet, not just the mic, will sound to reveal all. Luke 8:17 'For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.'

Stay safe and when in public, you can off the mic but please wear a mask.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Cursing Covid-19




I was thinking this morning..... When I first saw the photo of a keke somewhere in Nigeria with the inscription 'God Punish Covid-19,' I immediately understood where the operator was coming from. He must have been personally affected by the impact of the pandemic. One obvious impact, I believe, is the increasing trend of activities going virtual. How will a keke operator make money when everyone is staying home and working from home (WFH)? If we really want to comply with 2m social distancing, who will enter keke?

To tell you how serious this virtual reality has become, I was on phone with my younger sister during the week, discussing coping strategies during this difficult time. She shocked me when she mentioned that she recently attended a virtual naming ceremony of her neighbour's child where the pastor officiated the ceremony from somewhere in the world. While she was yet musing on this change, she received an invite from a friend to a virtual burial ceremony via zoom. Wow! 'Obito,' like we call it in Warri, has gone virtual. Can you imagine all the opportunities for free food and souvenirs that area boys and non-area girls will lose from 'owanbes' becoming virtual? What about the Caterers cooking the party jollof rice? Bad business mehn!!! I am sure many are angry with the situation and cursing like the keke operator saying 'God Punish Covid-19.'

Then on Tuesday 14th July, the Nigeria Supreme Court struck out two suits by Lagos and Ekiti State governments challenging the validity and constitutionality of the Virtual Court Sittings procedure. While the suits did not reveal the real motive of their grouse, I know that 'charge and bail' lawyers and all the 'Court rats' that earn their living from the 'legal and illegal markets' around the courts will seriously be impacted if the court sittings go virtual. They will, like the Keke operator, be cursing 'God Punish Covid-19.'

It's only 6 weeks to the resumption of schools for the September (Fall) session and thank God the Federal government has announced September 5th as resumption date for schools in Nigeria. I have been waiting patiently to see how the school fees regime will comply with the Covid-19 protocols. I finally received the invoices from the schools of two of my kids. Wow! To my chagrin, the fees did not go virtual, even though classes will be virtual. There was absolutely no negative 'social distancing' between what we paid pre-covid and now. If anything, it was 'masked up.' But why? Don't they understand the impact of Covid-19 on the finances of parents?

Covid-19 has indeed been wicked to mankind with 14 million confirmed cases, over 600,000 dead and economies destroyed. As I remembered those I know that have died from Covid-19, I muttered in the voice of my younger brother 'Wicked! Very wicked!' But knowing very well that Proverbs 3:33 says 'The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,' I can confidently join the keke operator to say that 'God will not only Punish Covid-19 but will kill it from its root.'

Wear a mask and stay safe because this too shall pass.

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

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Karma Na Shege




I was thinking this morning.... When I read the headline 'Dino Melaye debuts new song 'Karma na shege' for suspended EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu,' I didn't know what to think. The reason is because I have become numb, okay, indifferent more like it, to the political happenings in Nigeria. However, what I couldn't shake off my mind quickly enough was the phrase 'Karma na shege,' maybe because of the Warri patois. Before I open my thoughts on the phrase, I wish to establish three facts.

First, it is important to state that I am personally not a fan of Dino Melaye and his style of politics because I believe he is part of the problem of Nigeria. All the wealth he displays while recording his chart breaking singles are pointers that his ways are not pure. Secondly, I don't believe in Karma which in Hinduism and Buddhism, means the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This is because I believe that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that judgement. Thirdly, though 'Shege' in Hausa means 'illegitimate,' it is often used in pidgin English to express a damning surprise. 

Against that backdrop, when I read Dino's single title 'Karma na shege,' my interpretation is that a man shall reap what he sows whether good or evil and that retribution for someone's evil act can sometimes be sudden but saccharine. Imagine in a country where the government gave out peanuts to some citizens as Covid-19 palliative and nothing to most, the acting NDDC MD, Kemebradikumo Pondei telling the Senate committee investigating their financial recklessness that they used N1.5bn to take care of themselves as COVID-19 palliative. Choi! These people shared the monies meant for the masses among themselves, leaving the masses to die. The kind of money our politicians and their acolytes steal is simply slobbering. What I know is that it won't be long for payback because 'Karma na shege.'

In my foul mood, I decided to take a walk early that morning. With my headset on, listening to music, I made this turn along my usual path in my estate. Then I observed about 10 young men with very suggestive looks, leaving an apartment, most clutching a laptop and their phones. I need no Daniel for interpretation of the scene. The house they were coming from was a 'Hushpuppie Academy.' To evade the prying eyes of security agents, it seems the 'Hushpuppie Academies' have relocated to gated estates. They spend all day and night undergoing hands-on training on how to scam the rich, poor, sick, politicians, students and just about anyone. They throw their unfortunate victims into misery and send many to their early grave, while they display their ill-gotten wealth on social media. Some may be lucky to escape the claws of 'Fox Hunt,' but it won't be long before their end came because like Dino said 'Karma na shege.' 

The evil in our world is so pervasive that many people are cavalier about the repercussions. One thing is certain, Galatians 6:7-8 says 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.' 

Stay safe and stay true to man and God.
Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Kolobi Na Chokehold


I was thinking this morning...... It is interesting how the first half of 2020 has simply rolled by like a lazy truck on the Lekki-Epe Expressway. The last four months to many has been anything but copacetic, as the feeling was almost like one being strangulated. Many now understand what George Floyd meant when he said 'I can't breathe' and can appreciate all the fuss about banning chokehold. The nationwide outrage that followed George Floyd's death on May 25th has compelled many US States to ban the use of the controversial Chokehold technique by their police officers. But what is this chokehold technique?

I decided to consult Google on what exactly chokehold is. While searching, I also dug into my bag of Warri experience and discovered that chokehold is not a new technique and depending on the purpose, there are three variants from my perspective. The first is what we simply called 'kolobi' in those days in Warri. Kolobi (I have no idea where the word is from) is a friendly fire that follows a disagreement between friends. One friend wraps his arm around the neck of the other purely to immobilize him. The second variant of chokehold, also common in Warri, was known as 'Tie-neck.' Tie-neck, unlike Kolobi, was used by criminals to not only immobilize but also to inflict pain on the victim forcing him to surrender his possession. Since guns were not so easy to come by those days, the weapon of the Area boys (Jaguda and Boma) was 'tie-neck.' 

I never knew there was a third and most deadly form of chokehold until recent events started unfolding in the US. It is called Carotid neck restraint, also known as sleeper hold or a blood choke, which involve putting pressure on the sides of a person’s neck to restrict blood flow. Thank God the criminals in Warri back then had no idea about the Carotid arteries in the neck and their importance, otherwise 'yawa for gas o.'

Reflecting on the chokehold types opened my eyes to how brutal Covid-19 has been. First, through the lockdown, it 'kolobied' so many, keeping them immobilized both physically and financially for months. Then many others were 'tie-necked' when they became sick, struggling to breathe and had to spend their savings to stay alive. For some others, what they got was the 'Sleeper hold' and made worse by underlying medical conditions, they didn't make it. God rest their souls.

All put together the violence inflicted on mankind by Covid-19 is unprecedented. According to Worldometer, at the end of the first half of 2020, about 11 million people has been infected with over 500,000 deaths. Wahoo!! As we march on into the second half of the year, circumstances of life will attempt to kolobi, tie-neck or give you sleeper hold, do not give in 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.'

2020 shall end well for us and our homes shall be festooned with balloons and flowers in celebration. 

Happy Sunday.

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


Saturday, 27 June 2020

DEM NEVER BAFF

Dem Never Baff

I was thinking this morning.... There were so many news worthy events last Thursday 25th June 2020. The day started with political intrigues in the two major parties in Nigeria. The ruling party, APC, sacked the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) two years, two days after it came into office. Governor Obaseki of Edo State finally clinched the PDP ticket for the September election after other strong contenders stepped down for him. Then news started shifting to the UAE, when the Dubai Police released a stunning video of 'Fox Hunt 2' showing how Nigeria internet fraudster Ramoni Igbalode AKA Hushpuppie, allegedly defrauded over 1.9 million victims to the tune of $435.6 million. Wahoo! Nigerians were still masticating on the depressing news when fresh news broke that Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past governor of Oyo State, had passed on at the age of 70 after battling Covid-19 related complications. So sad.


While all the news of the decadence of our politicians and youths dampened my mood that day, none got me thinking about life until another video surfaced late that evening of Senator Abiola Ajimobi revealing that he has always told God he wants to die at the age of 70. Ajimobi had stated this during an interview with Splash FM some weeks before he was hospitalized. He had only celebrated his 70th birthday about 6 months ago on 16 December 2019.

I went to bed wondering why anyone will choose to die at the lower limit of old age. Yes, I call it lower limit of old age because David in the bible, like Senator Ajimobi, specified his age on earth to be 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and he died at 70. The interesting thing is that at 70, the bible says David died at a ripe old age, full of years (Ist Chronicles 29:28). Hmm!! But why won't anyone prefer to die at the upper limit of old age (120 years) as specified by God in Genesis 6:3? Genesis 25:8 says Abraham died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years. He died at 175 while Moses died at 120 years. 

So, yes, everyone wants to die at a good old age, but whether you die at the lower limit of 70 years or upper limit of 120 years will depend on what you ask for. I remembered a friend of my aunt while I was in the University. It was the early 90s when Ibrahim Babangida was our Head of State. This man, in his mid life season, will always declare while discussing politics with his friends, that he has no reason to be alive to see the nonsense happening in Nigeria then. I always wondered why he should be making such strong statements. He died not long after while the nonsense in Nigeria continued. 

The nonsense in Nigeria has continued till this day so much so that our politicians have become 'Political Hushpuppies' scamming 200 million Nigerians from APC to PDP. But rather than their behaviours making you speak words that will entrap your destiny, pray for them, because like my young wife will say in pidgin English, 'Dem never baff (bath). How I take know? Because yeye dey smell follow dem.'

Speak life to stay alive and may God keep you to the good old age of 120, full of years and strength. 

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 20 June 2020

WHO PRESSED THE PAUSE BUTTON?

Pause and Play on the Remote control 


I was thinking this morning.....Yesterday, I sat lazily on the couch watching Live Premier league football when suddenly everyone on the pitch froze, or so I thought. I looked again, it was the transmission on cable TV that froze. 'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' I asked, turning to my son. 'Daddy, but the Remote is with you,' he responded. I checked around me and discovered that I had sat on the Remote Control and inadvertently pressed the 'Pause' button. I pressed 'Play' on the Remote Control and the transmission continued. Though I continued watching from where it stopped when the 'Pause' button was pressed, what was less obvious was that it was no longer real time. The match continued while I was looking for the Remote Control. It became obvious when one of the teams scored and I heard fans at the Viewing centre close by shout 'Goooaal' seconds before it happened on my screen.

'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' That question lingered as I went to bed. It's nine days to the end of the first half of the year and it seems like someone had pressed the 'Pause' button on the eternal Remote Control of time early in the year. What had happened to the months? How was it possible that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses, careers, leisure, pleasure and other activities of humans could be paused for so long while other creatures on earth carried on living?

So many students are asking, 'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' Year 12 (SS3) students started 2020 with great expectations to take their WAEC and IGCSE exams in April/May 2020 which would've formed the basis of their gaining admission to the University within or outside of Nigeria in September. The months are rolling by and no one knows when the WAEC and IGCSE exams will take place. Will they be able to join their colleagues to resume University in September? How can they get visa to study abroad when the embassies have suspended visa issuance due to Covid-19? Who pressed the 'Pause' button?

'Who pressed my 'Pause' button?' That was the question on the mind of Cynthia Kudji, a native Ghana, who while she was 23 dreamt of being a medical doctor. She however mistakenly pressed the 'Pause' button on her dream when she got pregnant and gave birth to her daughter Jasmine. After so many years of being in the 'Pause' mode, Cynthia enrolled in the Family Medicine program at The University of Health and Sciences on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean while the daughter Jasmine studied General Surgery at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mother and daughter graduated as Medical doctors in March 2020 and will begin their residency in July 2020 at the LSU Health New Orleans. Pregnancy placed her dream on 'Pause,' took her years, but couldn't take her dream.

You probably are looking through your aide-memoire for 2020 and it all but seem like your career, business and travel plans are on hold and you are asking 'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' The answer could be simple or esoteric, but whatever it is, like Cynthia Kudji, pick up the Remote Control and press 'Play.' Philippians 3:13 'But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.'

Just press 'Play,' and stay safe.

Happy Sunday.

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