Saturday, 19 September 2020

Rich As You Could Be


I was thinking this morning..... I realised early while growing up in a very difficult neighbourhood of Warri that you are as rich as your feeling of enjoyment of the simple things of life. Though the parameter for measuring riches changed over the years, but it has remained centred on my ability to enjoy the simple things of life.

When on Wednesday 16th September, news broke of how Nigerian tycoon, Femi Otedola had gifted his three daughters Tolani, Temi and Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola (DJ Cuppy) with brand new Ferraris for an estimated princely sum of $697,389 (N320 million), social media was set ablaze. Temi had tweeted 'Papa took us shopping and bought one of each!' People were still talking yesterday Saturday 19th September, when Nigerian blogger and entrepreneur, Linda Ikeji celebrated her 40th birthday and decided to gift herself 85 designer shoes and 35 handbags worth about N36 million. According to the former model, she intended to get herself 40 pairs of shoes for her 40th birthday celebration but she ended up getting 85 pairs because she couldn’t resist the beauty of the shoes. For the bags, she narrated she wanted 40 but had to stop at 35 because the bags were expensive. Na so!

It's okay to casually comment on the actions of both Otedola and Linda and even better to use them as point of contact to work harder and ask God for favour. But when many on social media reacted by comparing their dad to Otedola, I knew this generation has missed it. Many have failed to see how rich they are, despite the volume of their material possessions. Riches is not about a fat bank account but how you enjoy the simple things of life. If God has blessed you like Otedola and Linda Ikeji, thank God and enjoy. If not, make shakara with your wheelbarrow like the 'Ikorodu Bois' depicted. Only yesterday the number of lives lost to Covid-19 in the U.S. topped 200,000 and you are alive is the strongest indication yet that you are rich and worth more than a Ferrari or 100 pairs of designer shoes.

Country musician Dolly Parton knew this in 1968 when she sang 'Coat of Many Colours' and said in the last stanza

'But they didn't understand it

And I tried to make them see

That one is only poor

Only if they choose to be

Now I know we had no money

But I was rich as I could be

In my coat of many colors

My momma made for me

Made just for me'

Borrow sense and heed Luke 12:15 'Be careful to guard yourselves against every kind of greed, because a person's life doesn't consist of the amount of possessions he has.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Parable of My Five Wives


I was thinking this morning..... I am normally a man with very high fidelity but working from home (WFH) has made me somewhat polygamous. 'Haba Pastor, how can that be?' I can say that my demand for high speed Internet was average before WFH was activated by Covid-19 pandemic.

When I started WFH, my only 'wife' (WiFi) to offer me high speed Internet was the beloved MTN, which I love to call 'My Sunshine.' When she was wooing me, she promised to make me walk on sunshine. Being light complexion, she radiates in sunshine and I couldn't resist her appeal. She promised me unlimited flow of data (love) but shortly after marriage, I saw her true colour. The love was not unlimited and it was coming too slowly. I was getting frustrated and needed someone to lift me up.

One day, a friend introduced me to this very charming lady that calls herself 'Smile,' who I quickly gave the pet name 'My Smiling Queen (MSQ). Truly, her smile was captivating and her love (data) unlimited, or so I thought. I quickly divorced my sunshine (MTN) and got hooked to MSQ, my second wife. She moved into my home with so much promises. Things started great. Her response to my needs was very fast and truly, I started smiling again. Weeks after, the love dipped and what I thought was unlimited, had a cap. When I asked MSQ why, she answered 'Terms and Conditions apply.' I was disappointed as my smiles became frowns because I couldn't afford the terms and conditions. This greatly affected my effectiveness and I needed to regain my pride.

When I narrated my ordeal to another friend, he told me not to worry and said, 'there is this lady you need to meet. She will be perfect for you and will make you glow with pride.' When I met her, I was awestruck when she revealed the joy and productivity she will bring when I marry her. She promised very fast and unlimited love (data) and above all reliability. That's how I married my third wife, GLO, who I called 'My Pride that glows.' The first few weeks after she moved in, my colleagues noticed the glow in me and asked what my secret was. I told them of my third wife and how she has made my connectivity easy. As weeks turned to months, I started noticing changes in her behaviour. She was no longer as responsive as before, acting sickly and her love seems to be rationed. When I reminded her about the unlimited love she promised, she smiled and said I have a promo for you, pay for a new sim and my love will be renewed. Wow! Another disappointment of a wife.

I immediately started scouting for a new bride. As I watched TV one evening, I saw this beautiful bride adorned with red and white, the colour of love. She calls herself Airtel, saying data is life. I fell in love with her beauty and started calling her 'My life.' Her love songs like 'small doctor' and 'four meta is a metaphor' were so captivating that I divorced my third wife and married her, My Life. She showered me with love to the extent that I always wanted more and had to clone her (got a second MiFi modem). Then I noticed I was spending too much on her. I decided to cut back on my expenses and asked 'My Life' for more of her love. She caressed my neck and said softly, "the more you pay, the more love I give. With N36,000 monthly, I will give you 280gb of my love.' Wow! This wife will make me go bankrupt if I am not careful.

I needed a budget wife that will show me truly unlimited love. Where can I find one? Then my brother advised me to leave the city girls (Glo, MTN, Airtel etc) and go for the less sophisticated ladies. He introduced me to two modest ladies, Tizetti and NGCom. After further enquiries, only yesterday I got married to yet another wife, my fifth wife called NGCom, whom I will call NG-Love. NG-Love came with beautiful promises to change my life for good. She told me there was no love (data) cap, truly unlimited in her services for half of what I was spending monthly on my 4th wife. I was wowed and fell for her charm. Twenty four hours after moving into my house, I turned on Netflix and YouTube and invited NG-Love. She was dragging and spooling. When I asked my NG-Love what the problem was, she responded 'what you see is what you get. I don't live in pretence.' Just like that? Now I have to live with her, for better for worse. Thank God, I did not let go of my 4th wife.

As I thought about my internet love life and the number of wives (WiFi) I have had, I remembered John 4:18 that says 'For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.' Therefore, don't be surprised if you hear that I have moved to wife number six. I have however learnt that changing wives is not the solution. Be true to one partner and sort out your differences. There is no perfect wife (WiFi) anywhere (at least in Nigeria for now). May God help us.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 5 September 2020

The Fever Is In Your Interest


I was thinking this morning...... I woke up this morning feeling a bit under pressure and slightly feverish but can't say why. As I sat quietly, digging deep into my subconscious to extract the reason for the unusual feeling, it suddenly surfaced like sweet crude from a newly dug oil well in Otumara field. For the last 14 years, my system has settled into the rhythm of paying school fees and seeing my children off to school by the first week in September. By this time last year, like every other year, I was telling someone happy school fees week. This year is different, thanks to the Covid-19 disruption.

As my mind and body was involuntarily responding to the School Fees Fever (SFF) or so I thought, I wondered why. But then, I recalled that Nigerians woke up on Tuesday 1st September to a 100% increase in electricity tariff. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had suddenly increased light bill AKA electricity tariff from 30.23 Naira for one kwh (kilowatt unit of energy per hour) to as much as 62.33 Naira per kwh. At this point, it started making sense that it was not SFF giving me the strange feeling but Electricity Tariff Fever (ETF).

Then on Thursday 3rd September, the reality of the news that the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol is now hovering between N160 to N162 per litre dawned on us after filling stations and independent marketers adjusted their retail pump price from N148. In response, I exclaimed 'Oba-jor!' which in my native Itsekiri translates 'no wonder.' Petrol Price Fever (PPF) was also a probable cause of my strange feelings.

Meanwhile, our political benefactors are telling us that the fever is in our interest. Really? Fact is fever could be beneficial. I found out that fever turn on the body's immune system. They help the body fight infection. Normal fevers between 100° and 104° F (37.8° - 40°C) are good for sick children. However, fever with high temperature can trigger a seizure. This is the case with Nigerians. The temperature of Nigerians was almost bursting the thermometer when the prices of food shot up generating another fever called Food Price Fever (FPF) which when combined with ETF and PPF have triggered massive seizures in Nigerians.

Make no mistake, it is not over yet. That the school fees fever (SFF) is delayed does not mean it will not come. It will therefore be wise to prepare so that when schools eventually open, you will not experience another fever to add to FPF, ETF and PPF. While government is saying ETF and PPF are good for us and that FPF is caused by corrupt middle men, the average Nigerian is convulsing. Issorite! I am confident that this seizure that Nigerians are experiencing from multiple layers of fever will not kill us because Psalms 34:19 says 'Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.' Stay hopeful.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Accidental Accent


I was thinking this morning.... about how a car accident left a Jamaican woman left-handed and with British accent. 'How possible is that?' When I first read the report of how 33-year-old Deana-Rae Clayton, an all-Jamaican woman with a rich island accent was involved in a horrible car crash that claimed the life of a friend and left two others seriously injured, I was interested to know more. It was reported that when Clayton first awoke from a coma two days after the accident, she found herself speaking with an American accent, which gradually changed to a British accent months later. Doctors described the phenomenon as foreign accent syndrome – a speech disorder that has caused a sudden change to her native tongue.

Clayton had explained, 'the swelling that the brain damage caused is between my language and motor skills, so my accent has changed and I am now left-handed instead of right-handed. I am unable to speak the Jamaican accent now,' she told The Sunday Gleaner, adding that her life will never be the same again. Wow!!! The accident first turned the Jamaican into an American and then British. Are you thinking what I am thinking? May Nigerians not know the junction in the brain between the language and motor skills o, because they will self-induce the swelling so as to suffer from 'foreign accent syndrome.' You know how obsessed many Nigerians are with having the Yankee accent.

On the other hand, if a simple swelling can turn a right-handed person to become left-handed, won't it be possible for doctors to induce swelling in the brain that will change all the corrupt Nigerian politicians into saints? The kidnappers and killers into caregivers? Abeg which part of the brain can we press, so that Nigerians entrusted with leadership will never remember how to loot the treasury. I am sure doctors will call it 'Corruption Correction Syndrome.'

Deana-Rae Clayton had concluded that apart from her now being left-handed and having a British accent, the accident has affected her so much that her life will never be the same again. The good news is we need not be in an accident to become new. God has made provision to transform us to new creatures. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' Do the right thing and have the right accent of life before a traumatic event forcefully make you change your dexterity and accent.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 22 August 2020

From MAGA King to MAFA King


I was thinking this morning.... One can rightly surmise that my Twitter presence is almost zero except for my connections to the news pages. I follow no one and no one is following me until last week when I decided to follow my brother. Days later, my page was filled with discussions on Donald Trump's reelection with the surprise being that my brother was very active exchanging comments and mobilising Americans for Trump even though he is in Nigeria. I called him up to understand why and his response was 'I am a Maga king.' Since I wasn't a keen follower of the US elections, the term 'Maga' sounded strange to me, so I did the reasonable thing. 'What is Maga king?' I asked. 'Make America Great Again (MAGA)' was his response. I laughed and asked 'But how can you be a Nigerian living in Nigeria and be a Maga king?'

Apart from my being titillated by the term 'MAGA King,' because it sounds like a pidgin English word, I thought about how someone who is not directly impacted by the American politics will become a champion of the cause of one of the political actors. As I thought about it, I recalled how an acquaintance of mine has dedicated a good portion of his Facebook posts to the Edo State election where he is pushing for Oshiomhole, not Ize-Iyamu, to unseat governor Obaseki, by fire by force. He is so passionate about this plot that one will wonder what his interest is in Edo politics since he is not an indigene. I would've concluded that he is a 'MEGA' king with 'MEGA' meaning 'Make Edo Great Again,' but that mantra has been taken up by Governor Obaseki (and his supporters), who unveiled a 12-point agenda tagged 'Making Edo Great Again, MEGA'.

Well, it is well within the rights of anyone to support any political interest anywhere in the world, but most people will expect charity to begin at home or at least close to home. That's why it is a surprise to me that no one is talking about the recent coup in Mali. Mali, our West African neighbour, is a vast country stretching into the Sahara Desert and is among the poorest countries in the world. It has experienced several military takeovers and is currently battling to contain a wave of jihadist attacks and ethnic violence. The ousted president, Mr Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but since June has faced huge street protests over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and a dispute over legislative elections. Following the military coup, which we all thought had become history in Africa, I was really hoping that by this time, we should have lots of 'MMAFA' kings, but alas none. 'MMAFA meaning 'Make Mali Free Again.'

I don't understand why we are not interested in what is happening in Mali, but at least we should be interested in Africa. If you x-ray the challenges that led to the coup in Mali, you will see similar trends all over Africa including our beloved country Nigeria. If we must salvage our nation and continent then we will need hordes of MAFA Kings. 'MAFA' meaning 'Make Africa Free Again.' Free from corruption and mismanagement of our commonwealth. Please step down on being a MAGA king and focus on being a MAFA king. Matthew 7:5 says 'First take the beam out of your own eyes...'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 15 August 2020

This Life Ehn!


I was thinking this morning..... or rather flabbergasted this morning when I watched the video of an Israel-based jeweller, Orna and Isaac Levy, that designed and released pictures of what it claims to be the most expensive face mask in the world. The face mask costs a whooping 1.5 million USD (about 600 million naira). As per a report published by Associated Press, the 18-karat white gold face mask has been decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds and fitted with top-rated N99 filters. Wow!

After watching the video, I picked up both my surgical and cloth face masks, took a good look at them, chuckled and then exclaimed 'This life ehn!' I should wear a mask that costs over half a billion naira? For what na? Will it protect everyone in my lineage up to the 20th generation? I imagined that someone may argue that it has an N99 filter. I know that the letter 'N' means the mask is non-resistant to oil-based particles such as solvents and pesticides, while the number '99' means the mask can filter out 99% of airborne particles. My response is 'And so? Will it filter corruption out of Nigeria?' Hian!!!

The report revealed that the mask was customised for an unknown Chinese billionaire who lives in the United States and wanted to own the world's most expensive face mask. Can you imagine? At a period when hundreds of thousands have died of Covid-19 and millions more impacted from COLIH-20, the priority of this Chinese billionaire is for vanity value. Issorite. All I can say is 'This life ehn!'

I can excuse when people spend obscene amounts of money on fashion or luxury items, but for face mask? Haba! Face mask should not be made a fashion item because it is a personal protective equipment (PPE). This NGN600 million mask does exactly the same thing as the NGN100 cloth mask, which is to protect one from Coronavirus. The only difference is the vanity value of the diamond mask. It even got more interesting when the designers made it clear that since the mask will weigh 270 grams, it won’t be comfortable to wear. So what is the point? This clearly is not an essential vanity. It is sad that at a crucial time as this when all attention should be focused on making face masks affordable and available to all, what is making the news is a single face mask which cost can buy face masks for everyone in Delta state. This life ehn!

Souls are perishing and millions hungry, so I beg you to focus on what is important. 1st Thessalonians 5:21 says 'But test everything; hold fast what is good.' I have considered the diamond mask, surgical mask, paper mask, cloth mask, N95 or N99 masks and can say that what is important is to wear a face mask, if you can't keep your distance from others.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Permit To Whack (PTW)


I was thinking this morning..... In the early days of my career, I worked with a company providing public health services to one of the Oil majors in Nigeria. We visited the company locations weekly to sample potable water and food contact surfaces to determine their hygiene status. One day in 1998, we set out on a day trip to a flow station in Delta State. After delays at the jetty, we set sail and eventually arrived at about 1pm. We got off the boat tired and hungry and headed for the office of the Superintendent for clearance before we commenced work. Having been directed to the cafeteria where everyone was having lunch, we met the Superintendent sweating over a scrumptious meal. The service we were providing allowed us to take swabs of the food to ensure it is safe, but we were not permitted to eat. The Superintendent, being aware of this clause, requested us, two tired and hungry souls, for our Permit to Work (PTW). I reached out and handed him the coloured piece of paper to sign. As he did in the midst of the noise from the clanging cutlery and people chatting as they enjoyed their lunch, my mind segued from work to 'whack.' I looked at the man and said smiling, 'Sir, we don't have a problem with permit to work (PTW), all we need right now is 'permit to whack (PTW).'

In the fastest growing organic language in the world, pidgin English, 'to whack' means to eat. But do we all have enough to eat? According to the National Bureau of Statistics, more than 82 million Nigerians live on less than $1 (N385) a day meaning they don't have enough to eat. While they were scrambling for food this past week, our political leaders were busy with Edo State politics and the Amaechi China loans, and millions of misguided Nigerian youths and adults were watching Big Brother Naija Season 5 also known as 'Big Brother Naija: Lockdown' on DSTV. Chai! As I considered it all, I remembered 1998 and imagined the 82 million Nigerians saying we don't care about politics and social media rave, all we need right now is permit to whack (PTW).

In a bit, my attention shifted to international news and I saw the Bloomberg headline 'Almost 30 Million in U.S. Didn’t Have Enough to Eat Last Week.' 'Really? Hunger in America?' I didn't see that coming because major discussions across America have been on the impact of Covid-19, politics of Donald Trump's response and the November election. But then as the news anchors were yapping away, I could imagine the 30 million hungry Americans saying 'we don't have a problem with politics and the fight against Coronavirus, all we need right now is permit to whack (PTW).

In the Oil and Gas industries, Permit to Work (PTW) could be a life saver for the average worker, but for the average Nigerian ranging from the hundreds of pilots sacked by Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to the millions in Niger Delta made poor by their thieving leaders and the corruption and looting going on in NDDC, the only life saver they know is permit to whack (PTW). The right to adequate food is a long-standing international human right to which many countries including Nigeria are committed, yet over 40% of Nigerians are hungry. Not to worry, Joel 2:26 says 'And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.'

Your permit to whack has been approved. Happy Sunday.

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