Sunday, 16 June 2019

Tea or Coffee?

I was thinking this morning.... about tea and coffee because it rained for the better part of last night. I walked into a restaurant with colleagues for a special breakfast last Thursday looking forward to a simmering pot of tea or coffee. As I scanned the refreshment desk to see the choices available, disappointment immediately replaced my expectation when I discovered there was only Lipton tea and Nescafe coffee. I was transfixed for some seconds as I remembered my experience as a child.

I remembered early in the days in Warri, a good breakfast for me was akamu (pap) and akara (bean ball) while a great breakfast was yam and pepper soup (which in Itsekiri, we call Igbagba or Epuru, when the yam is cooked together with the spicy sauce.) In all my growing up years, one meal I disliked as breakfast was bread and tea/coffee. It was not just because, at best the bread goes with 'Blueband butter,' the tea/coffee was never an inspiration. So whenever we were made to take tea/coffee for breakfast, I would frown and literally curse whoever discovered tea as a part of a meal. I never knew that some day I would understand why and start enjoying tea and coffee. 

Decades had passed and it was deja vu staring at the simmering pot of tea that has become a permanent feature in my diet. From whence cometh this tea? I imagined in Bible language. I found out that tea was discovered and consumed as a beverage around 3rd century AD, while coffee was discovered in Ethiopia around 11th century AD? Interestingly, tea has become the most popular beverage in the world after plain water, with the world’s tea market estimated to be worth $38.8 billion in 2013.

It is interesting to see how tea/coffee preparation and options had developed over the years from one nation to another. In the Himalayas, it’s traditional to add butter to milky black tea. Wahoo!!! Why on earth would anyone add butter to tea? Wonders will never end. In Nigeria today, you still see the tea seller, generally referred to as Mai Shai, brewer of tea in Hausa, creating a waterfall or should I say a 'tea-fall,' as they mix the beverage between cups. Same old Lipton tea, no improvement whatsoever. Though Turkey is the highest consumer of tea in the world, the Americans have by far made the most improvement in the tea/cofee business. Do you know that Starbucks, the American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, can serve a cup of coffee 19,000 different ways? Yes, you read right, 19,000 options. No wonder that between 1971 when Starbucks was founded and 2019, they're operating in 30,000 locations worldwide. Who would have thought that selling tea and coffee could be so lucrative. 

As we get deeper into the rainy season, your preference to keep warm may be plain tea or coffee or one of the 19,000 options on offer at Starbucks. Or it could even be the old fashioned pepper soup. Whatever it is, just don't beat yourself because Colossians 2:16 says 'Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink.' The most important thing is that you stay warm. 

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 7 April 2019



I was thinking this morning... about taking a flight to forgetfulness. You know how when something unpleasant happened to you or you are stunned by the grimness of news, and you wish there was a flight you could board to forgetfulness? Well, I never knew that was possible until I read the news item about how a Kuala Lumpur-bound Saudi Airlines pilot was compelled to make a U-turn and return back to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia after a mother suddenly remembered that she had forgotten her baby in the airport terminal. The frantic mother told the crew that she had accidentally left her baby in the boarding area of the terminal, according to the Gulf News.
I am not sure what the mother was thinking or what distracted her to the extent of forgetting a whole human being, but one thing I know is that she was sure on the flight to forgetfulness. For us waffarians (Warri born and bred people), the only thing strong enough to make someone forget his/her child is what we refer to as 'yawa race.' What is yawa race? Ask a Warri man.
It is because of these situations that schools decided to engage the services of 'childminders.' But how do you explain a situation where a school bus of an International school in Nigeria with two minders detailed to drop off children after school will forget a three year old child in the bus, doors shut and the adults closed for the day. In this case, the minders were not mindful, rather they had boarded the flight to forgetfulness.
I have discovered that you can make a deliberate decision to board this flight or sometimes you just find yourself on board this flight. Think about it. Remember that occasion when you left the sitting room and walked into the bedroom and on getting there, you stood there wondering what exactly you were there to do? Bros, please don't overthink it, you were on a flight to forgetfulness.
When old people start forgetting things, it is generally seen as a sign of dementia with Alzheimer's disease being one of the many types. But when young people start forgetting things, what could they be suffering from? B-mentia or C-mentia? Don't be scared, I found out something positive about forgetfulness. Brice Kurl at Stanford University in California, US, and colleagues demonstrated that forgetfulness is a tool of the brain and that we should be thankful we don't remember everything, because it means our brain is working properly. No wonder Genesis 41:51 says 'For God, said he, hath made me forget all my toil, and all my father's house.' So, forget the bad times but please try not to forget your children in church today.
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Our Hunger for Singham

Police at Roadblock

I was thinking this morning...... about our hunger for Singham. If someone says this to you, it sounds like 'our hunger for chewing gum.' But what or who really is 'Singham' that Nigerians are hungry for? Days ago, I read the Daily Trust news headline, 'Singham: The Story of Nigeria's Super CP' and my curiosity was naturally aroused.
I found out 'Singham' is a no nonsense police officer in a 2011 Bollywood (Indian) movie titled SINGHAM. The lead character called Bajirao Singham (Ajay Devgan) is depicted as an honest Maratha police inspector who resolved most of the problems in his town informally and without filing charge sheets. He consequently gained much reputation and love from the villagers. It was this reputation that many in Kano gave the state Police Commissioner CP Muhammad Wakili who has been nicknamed 'Singham.'
In Nigeria, it is very difficult to find a honest police officer, much less one that senior. But there has been several tweets on Twitter attesting to CP Wakili as a man of integrity who ensured Kano State had peaceful elections amidst challenges apart from combating illicit drug sale and consumption in the state. Hmm!!! As I imagined how possible that a Nigerian police officer will be mobbed as being a 'Singham,' I realized that the masses are hungry for a hero. They are desirous of a shining light in the gross darkness we are in. Someone that will stand out from the compromised officials we have all gotten used to.
As I searched my mental repository for other 'Singhams' within the Nigerian Police, I recalled the headline in The Nations Newspaper of how one Ogar Jombo, an Assistant Superintendent of the NSCDC, was alledgedly beaten to death by two police officers in the presence of his wife and children, because he allegedly violated traffic rules. I shook my head and concluded that these men are definitely not 'Singham.' Then I remembered with pain, how, many years ago in Warri, I was stopped on my way to church at an illegal checkpoint  y some police officers. After a detailed scanning of my documents under the microscope, they successfully picked a discrepancy and demanded for N20,000. Having told them I have no such amount to give, they searched my car and found the tithe of my salary for that month in an envelope, so labeled. Fearlessly and shamelessly, they took the money in spite of my protests and questions whether they are now God. Those officers were definitely not 'Singham.'
I have always wondered why my hearts skips and pray a silent prayer whenever I see a police officer on the road, even when I am driving a brand new car. Truth is, the default mindset of a typical policeman in Nigeria is to find a fault in you and believe me, they can get water out of a rock. Unfortunately, the majority of our police officers are not 'Singham' but rather they are 'chewing gum.' You know how chewing gum is only useful for a short time and you toss it out? If you hold on for too long, it can stick to your clothes and furniture and mess it up. I believe in Romans 4:18 'Who against hope, believed in hope that he might become...' I am believing that the 'O to ge' revolution might happen in the Police Force, so that the majority will become 'Singham.'
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

History Has No Emotions

History Has No Emotions
I was thinking this morning...... about history and emotions. I returned from church last Sunday to the very heartbreaking news of the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 near Bishoftu, Ethiopia, on it's way from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. All 157 persons onboard were killed including 19 United Nations staff members and 2 Nigerians. A Slovakian lost his wife and children in the unfortunate incident. Sad!
As the world mourned, Nigerians, especially those from the literary community also mourned the loss of the Nigerian-born Canadian Professor, Pius Adesanmi. In the midst of the emotions, sorrow, tears and shock, people were still able to tell of how great a poet, writer, satirist, teacher, literary critic and father he was. Tributes flowed both on social and mainstream media. As I reflected on each tribute, it occurred to me that in spite of the emotions people felt, everyone spoke about what they knew about Pius Adesanmi and how he had impacted their lives. At this point, it dawned on me that everyone will be judged by the impact they make, good or bad, reminding me of a statement by Reno Omokri, that 'History has no emotions. It will judge all, both men and women as they deserve.'
As I thought about what will be said about each of us at the fullness of time, I remembered Mike Igini, the Akwa Ibom INEC REC, who has been in the eye of the storm in this election season. While I was in the University of Benin (Uniben), he was the SUG president that fought the then VC, Prof. Onokerhoraye to a standstill and championed the June 12 protests. In 2015, a REC for Cross River State, he attacked the ruling party for a shambolic primary and in 2019, true to his character, he remained resolute in the face of attacks from the ruling party of the day. Many, having been freshly baked in the oven of partisan politics may have a contrary opinion of  him, but one thing I know is that 'History has no emotions. It will judge all, both men and women as they deserve.' And to all the political actors whose actions and inactions are causing pain and death, in a short time the emotions will peel off and you will be judged by your actions. History has no emotions.
Think about how crookedness has become the way of life for many Nigerians. You give your mechanic money for original spare parts, he buys a fake or a first-grade China (whatever that means) to make extra money. You apply for building permit from the government. The officer in-charge is expected to visit the site before approval, but he chooses to collect bribe and ignore the process. Then the builders or even the bricklayer, also chose to cut corners and use less cement than recommended so he could make extra bucks. Down the road, something goes awfully wrong like the Ita-Faji school building collapse. Souls are and everyone mourns. Just know, that history has no emotions. Everyone, whose crookedness contributed to this disaster will be judged as they deserve. In my reflection, Ecclesiastes 11:3 came to mind, 'If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be.' Deep! In closing my thoughts, I say, be mindful of where you will fall because 'History has no emotions.'
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

The Prescription for Foolishness

Prescription for Foolishness
I was thinking this morning...... about the prescription for foolishness. Sunken in my favourite 3-seater settee in front of the TV watching my stress douser, Tinsel, the enigmatic Brenda Mensah was fuming in this scene about Mrs Dieko asking for what she doesn't deserve. In her anger she sputtered 'where do people get prescription for foolishness?' I thought it was a very good question even though I couldn't come up with an answer immediately.
But really, where do people get prescription for foolishness? Finding the answer to that question might save the lives of many Nigerians. You know, I have been blessed with many occasions where I am confused as to how to celebrate a breakthrough. Shouting halleluyah followed by break dancing is usually the sequence of my response. So imagine my shock when I read the headline, 'Bala Haruna dies after swimming in and drinking gutter water to celebrate Buhari's re-election.' Really? Why didn't he jump up and down or do something sane to celebrate? Why must he drink gutter water? When I couldn't find an answer, I shook my head and asked 'where do people get prescription for foolishness?'
One location where this prescription will be in high demand is the Niger Delta. How do you explain that the two major Presidential candidates in the last election were from the North-East and North-West, the Vice Presidential candidates were from the South-West and South-East, yet over 90% of those that lost their lives on election day were from South-South. Why would the political leaders of Niger delta decide to turn their villages to battle grounds to settle the scores of others? Oh God, where can we get the prescription for foolishness?
In my search for an academic answer, I discovered that for the next Common Entrance examination, Zamfara, Taraba and Kebbi States combined, registered only 173 pupils compared to 7,500 students for Abuja alone. I am thinking, if these three States were able to mobilize a combined 2.1 million votes in the February 23 election but could not mobilize 200 children for common entrance exams, where lies our priority? But truly, where can we get prescription for foolishness?
Maybe the medical practitioners can help to prescribe a treatment drug. I found out that there are a total of 11,926 different drugs in the world, out of which 3,732 are approved. But not one can be prescribed for foolishness. As I closed my thoughts, I remembered the words of Galatians 3:3, 'Oh foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?' Who has bewitched Nigeria with foolishness? And I concluded that the cure for foolishness can only be the wisdom of God. Get a dose today.
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Ijebu Garri Syndrome

Ijebu Garri Syndrome

I was thinking this morning..... about Ijebu garri syndrome. Why is Ijebu garri on my mind this morning and not Itsekiri garri? Could it be because the Itsekiris are known to eat starch (Usin) more than garri? Anyway, as my colleagues and I  were driving back from lunch last Wednesday, the issue of the Presidential election results came up. As I listened to their views of what transpired, one said, 'The total votes of Party X is like Ijebu garri.' As I tried to deocde what she meant, she added. 'the number of votes rises as it moves from states to the INEC collation centre in Abuja.' My God! What an audacious deployment of simile.
As I smiled all the way back to the office, I couldn't shake off the Ijebu garri simile from my mind. Everyone familiar with the physical behavior of Ijebu garri will know that it is only a matter of time, Ijebu garri must rise when water is added to it. Truly, if you know you know. I thought within me, isn't the better part of the Nigeria elections like Ijebu garri? Think about this, in 2015, the number of political parties with candidates on the ballot for Presidency was 14 and now in 2019 it increased to 73. Tell me, what increases so fast within a short time, if not Ijebu garri? The increase is so comical that the acronym of one of the parties on the ballot is 'A.' Believe me, I have never seen a single letter acronym or a one word political party. This can only come about because of the 'Ijebu garri syndrome.'
Ijebu garri can rise sha, just like the electoral violence in Nigeria. In 2015, apart from the deaths caused by Boko Haram attacks, there were minimal deaths on election day but 4 years later, when we should be making progress, 47 persons lost their lives, according to the Situation Room. Sad but not strange because now we know that it is the Ijebu garri syndrome at play.
Thank God the Presidential and National Assembly elections are over and certificates issued. I now look forward to the Ijebu garri syndrome being exhibited positively in all aspects of the Nigerian life, particularly those affecting the masses. Starting with the electricity situation, we have only seen a modest increase of electricity generation and distribution in the last four years. Now we need the Ijebu garri syndrome to catch up with South Africa who currently generates about 51,000 megawatts. We also need this syndrome in the education and economic sectors. Things must change like Ijebu garri in the next four years, otherwise it would be a shame. If we can apply the Ijebu garri syndrome in elections, we must also do so in governance, after all, according to the late comedian, Jaguar, 'What is good for the Jews, is also good for Uganda.' Smiles...
It is unfortunate that instead of Nigeria to rise and shine as commanded in Isaiah 60:1, our leaders have chosen to allow negativity rise like Ijebu garri. May God help us.
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Fatberg and Sootberg

I was thinking this morning...... about the monsters we feed. During the week I read the Associated Press (AP) News where a British Official says a giant 'fatberg' measuring 64 meters (210 feet) long has been found blocking a sewer in southwestern England. 'Fatberg' is a term coined from 'Iceberg' to refer to a mass of hardened fat, oil and baby wipes. Andrew Roantree of South West Water says it will 'take our sewer team around eight weeks to dissect this monster in exceptionally challenging work conditions.' he urged the public not to pour grease down the drain or flush baby wipes down the toilet, adding; 'Don't feed the fatberg.'
As I reflected on this report, I was not interested in whether we have a similar challenge of blocked sewers in Nigeria because we do not have public sewers or underground drains in most cities. Everyone digs his own soak away pit and manages his 'shit.' Those who can't afford to have their own soak away pits, throw their wastes in open drains. yes, that is our lot. What however came to my mind was the parallel in our society, when I read his final statement, 'Don't feed the fatberg.' I recalled stepping out of the bathroom in my house in Port Harcourt and with wet bathroom slippers walked on the white tiles. When I looked behind me, with each step was a black patch on the floor. Wow! Black soot! Why do we still have this soot problem after so much protests to the government? What started as inconsequential effect of some youth engaging in illegal refinery (referred to as kpo-fire in the local parlance) have now become a major environmental challenge which I can now call a 'Sootberg.'
Now, because the NNPC-distributed kerosene and diesel don't get to a lot of communities in the riverine areas, whole communities get involved in 'kpo-fire' to run their lives and economy. They are feeding the sootberg. The community boys need to make fast money, so they damn the odds and move into the creeks to cook crude. They are feeding the sootberg. The security agents and politicians are involved. They collect 'tax' from the refiners, use them as political foot soldiers and turn the other way to allow them ply their illegal trade. They are feeding the sootberg. In all of these, the masses are the losers because in a few years the health effects of this pollution will be loud. I beg all those involved, save the lives of present generation and stop feeding the sootberg.
We feed the monster but know it not. Politics is here and it's been nothing but bitterness and intolerance. Rather than engaging in intellectual debate of their programmes, politicians are resorting to crude ways of winning. They believe, if they shut their opponents out from the public, their popularity will wane. So they violently resist their opponents from putting out their campaign posters or campaign in areas they control. You read reports like 'SDP agent stabbed in Kogi by suspected APC goons for pasting posters,' One killed in Rivers during fight over poster placement,' MC Oluomo stabbed, dozens injured as Lagos APC rally turns violent' and I am wondering, are we not feeding a monster here? In all of these, the disgruntled youths (scum of society) are the ones being used and I am saying, please don't feed the 'scumberg,' (not scumbag.)
Fatberg, sootberg and scumberg are modern day monsters that we must starve rather than feed. There may be many other monsters that are in your lives (lies, infidelity etc.) that I urge you to stop feeding but rather shatter their heads as was done in Psalms 74:13.
Happy Sunday.
......Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.