Sunday, 3 June 2018

This is Nigeria...Democracy Edition

I was thinking this morning...about Nigeria and Democracy. A few days before the May 29 Democracy Day, Falz (Folarin Falana) released a music video 'This is Nigeria,' a cover version of the Childish Gambino viral video 'This is America.' Within 4 days of its release, the video had 1.4 million views on YouTube. I wondered why. Are the viewers not aware that this is Nigeria or is there something unique about Nigeria they were expecting to see?

There must be something about Nigeria that people are itching to hear. As I thought about it, I recalled a news item during the week of a child that died after being bitten by a snake in a primary school in Delta State. My first reaction was 'is the school in the jungle?' What will a snake be doing in a classroom with little kids? When I also recalled seeing pictures of cows in classrooms in different parts of Nigeria, a pattern seems clear that the animals were probably in class to study our kind of democracy. After all, our politicians have been promising free education for all (including animals) since we adopted democracy as our system of governance in 1960. As I wondered why this is so, it occurred to me that 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

In the hallowed chambers of the State and National Assemblies, the mace is meant to be the symbol of authority in a democracy, but here it doubles as a handy cudgel or missile. This is Nigeria. In a  democracy, voting is about freely choosing who represents you without fear or favour, but that is not how things are done around here. Election, both party congress and general election, is like a civil war, fighting breaks out, shots are fired and people get killed. This is Nigeria. The mantra amongst politicians is that you win, sorry 'rig' by all means and any means possible and later you can settle the case at the 'compromised' tribunal or courts. And after being sworn in, it is okay for them to steal shamelessly, according to the gospel of Rochas Okorocha. When I thought of this again, it is too painful to imagine, but then I thought, 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

Another election looms in 2019 and with fingers crossed, we expected to see an improvement in the build up. But then I turned on the TV and watched the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs, a public servant, leading the Buhari Support Group on a solidarity visit to the President in support of his 2019 ambition. I was like, 'where on earth does this happen?' But was reminded that 'This is Nigeria.' And then the chairman of EFCC, equivalent of the FBI in America, openly wore a Buhari 2019 badge to a public function. Hmm!!! I remembered how the sacked FBI chief, James Comey, stood up against Donald Trump, a sitting President and wondered whether we will ever get to that level of maturity in our democracy, but a voice in my head reminded me, 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

With 18 unbroken years of democracy, it should be expected that the difference between political parties should be ideological solid lines. But no, every one wants his own party. Now we have 68 registered parties with one party called 'All Blending Party (ABP)' and another 'Justice Must Prevail Party (JMPP)' and I am really confused whether we are making progress. On a second thought, I see an opportunity for the ruling party, APC, to merge with and adopt 'All Blending Party' as its new name, considering that all the components parties holding the broom (CPC, ACN, nPDP & ANPP) are currently not homogenous and urgently needs blending. Also, the opposition PDP needs to adopt and change its name to 'Justice Must Prevail Party,' because with the looting and impunity associated with them in the past, it is only justice that can pacify Nigerians. But on the whole, when I considered the mess we are in, it was too painful to bear, but then I remembered that 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

As the current political leaders marked 3 years in office, various governors were showcasing the dividends of democracy to their people. While Jigawa State governor was giving out bags of oranges and wheelbarrows to empower his people, Ortom of Benue had given branded wheelbarrows. While Ikpeazu was sending Aba cobblers to China for training, Borno State provided shoe polish kits and oranges to youths in Gwoza. As I wondered whether these are really dividends of democracy, I remembered that 'This is Nigeria....Democracy Edition.'

Surely, this is Nigeria and I know that we are going somewhere and the glory of God will show forth because 1st Peter 2:9 says, You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation....' This is our destiny and therefore we must collectively stop the cyclical nonsense of political voodoo-ism. Our democracy must move forward because 'This is Nigeria.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Falling From Heights

Falling and No Fall Arrestor
I was thinking this morning...... about falling from heights. The thoughts came to me when I read the headline 'Olisa Metuh collapses in court during trial.' I wondered how Olisa Metuh could allow himself to hit the ground so hard. Was he not using a fall arrestor? It is a rule in Health and Safety for anyone working at a height above 1.8m to use a fall arrestor, to protect themselves in case of a fall from height.
You see, in life people will fall but falling by itself may not be a problem. I remember the words of one of my instructors at a training I attended in the UK some years back. While teaching about the risk of working at height, he had said, 'It is not the falling that is the problem, it is the sudden stop.' It is so true. Think about it, if you fall from 300ft down and at the point of stopping suddenly, a rope holds you back, no problem, it is bungee jumping. When you fall from 2000ft above ground and at the point of hitting the ground, a parachute slows you down. Do not worry, it is sky diving. I once fell from over 180ft straight down at a speed of 109km/hr at 90 degrees drop into a black hole. With bated breath, I screamed imagining how great the crash might be. At the point of crashing, the metal cage I was in just rolled along on the track. Life did not jump out of me because I was in the 'Oblivion roller coaster' at Alton Towers. So, it is not the fall that is the problem, it is the sudden stop.
Everyone I know in politics, business or even in corporate organization wants to move to a higher position. They want to climb the corporate ladder but most of them forget that if you must work at height, you will need a fall arrestor. Little wonder the biblical phrase, 'How are the mighty fallen?' is so common. Have you wondered how some big names of yesterday in Nigeria are nobody today? They have fallen from grace to grass. The sad part is that, most did not fall on grass, they fell on concrete surfaces. Ouch!!!
Babachir Lawal, the former grass-cutting SGF, Timipre Sylvia, Ogbonaya Onu and many other APC chieftains with PDP parentage worked at height and fell. At the point of hitting the ground, they were given parachutes and they landed softly. They went home smiling because it was an exciting sky diving experience. It is not the fall that is the problem, it is the sudden stop. Olisa Metuh, Dasuki, Fani-Kayode, Diezani and all the other PDP goons were working on the same platform thousands of feet above ground. No one advised them to get a fall arrestor in case they all, and they did fall. When they fell, they expected some form of parachute or rope to hold them up and stop them from hitting the ground, but there was none. They crashed like humpty dumpty. It is not the fall that is the problem, it is the sudden stop.
My advise to everyone in high position, working at height especially on political platforms, is that they get a fall arrestor, because the fall will soon start. My prayer is that you will not fall, but if you do fall, will anything hold you up? The best and most trusted fall arrestor is your integrity. Do you have any? Psalms 41:12 says 'And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity and settest me before they face for ever.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Wedding Feast
I was thinking this morning..... about wedding, free food and the pay-as-you-go mentality. But why? I will tell you. Early this week, I read of one Obianuju, a twitter user that had her dreams come true after she attended a wedding where they shared food, and it got round to everybody. She wrote on her twitter page, 'I went to a wedding yesterday and it was hands down; the most organized wedding ever. Everyone got food and drinks on time, there was no selective giving... How did it happen you may wonder? Men were in charge of directing the food servers.' Hmm!!! But why will anyone be celebrating that everyone was served food at a wedding?

Truth is, there are very few occasions where uninvited guests or outsiders get to eat for free, and one of such is at a wedding ceremony. But Obianuju's tweet got me thinking about why free food at weddings is no longer guaranteed. In recent times, there has been a gradual shift from free-for-all, popularly called 'oshofri' to pay-as-you-go. Have you noticed how at weddings these days, tables and rows of seats are reserved for special guests and families and the food and drinks served to these special guests are different from others? While the special guests and stakeholders are served with China dishes, others are given plain rice in take-away packs. That is Act one, Scene one which I am sure most people have watched.

The curtain draws and Scene two commences. You attend a wedding and was unlucky to sit at the back or far way from the aso-ebi ladies. First, disposable cups are passed round and then water placed on each table. Your hopes are high that real food will soon come by, but after waiting for so long, food packs showed up but got finished just before it got to you. Your eyes are fixated on the servers hoping that your portion will be delivered, but you can bet that they are avoiding your row or table like Nigerians are currently avoiding Congolese for fear of ebola. End of Scene two.

I was wondering what the final act was going to be as I followed the events of the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle yesterday. Because of the buzz and blitz, I was convinced it wasn't going to follow my script, but I was wrong. It was the final scene of the transition from free food at weddings to pay-as-you-go. Can you believe that 1200 hand-picked ordinary people, many from charities that the royals support, were invited to the wedding at Windsor Castle ground,  but their handlers were advised in letters to come with picnic lunch? How can the royals invite commoners to their wedding and asked them to come with their sandwiches? Has recession hit them as well? If they can't afford to feed all the guests, why did they invite them?

If the British throne cannot afford to serve everyone they invited food, do you blame Obianuju for celebrating when everyone at the wedding she attended was served? I worry because this is a bad example that Nigerians will soon copy and improve upon. Soon, you will read about intending coupes printing on the cards that guest should come with their chairs and food.

As we gradually entrench the pay-as-you-go mentality at weddings, my joy is that there is one wedding where everything is ready and everyone will be served, irrespective of status; the marriage feast of the lamb. Because Revelation 19:9 says, 'Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the lamb.' Prepare to attend.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Language of Your Thoughts

Language of your thoughts
I was thinking this morning.... in pidgin English. No, I am not thinking of pidgin English, I am thinking in pidgin English. I grew up in a neighborhood in Warri where pidgin English was the dominant language of communication. Though my parents spoke the local Itsekiri language to us at home, pidgin English was the common language because of the diverse backgrounds of the neighborhood kids. Hence, I grew up thinking in pidgin English. Have you ever wondered the language of your thoughts? I once knew a man that speaks in measured words. When asked why he speaks so slowly, he responded, 'You see, I think in Yoruba, so before I can respond to you in English, I must first translate my thoughts from Yoruba to words in English. I takes time you know.' Hmm!!!

As I thought about it, I shouted 'Eureka! That explains it.' It explains why our leaders have been embarrassing us in recent times. I have always wondered why they make such unpardonable goofs even when we know they can communicate fairly alright in English. Remember, when the former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, made her famous 'There is God' speech. She had said, '...There is God o! The bloods we are sharing, there is God o!' As I wondered how we could be sharing blood when it is not money, it occurred to me, she thinks in her native language of Okrika and probably had difficulty translating 'shedding' into English, hence the linguistic misstep.

Next it was PMB in July 2015, while delivering a speech on the 'abduction of the Chibok girls,' at the United States Institute of Peace. The President said that the children had been kidnapped from 'their hotels' instead of 'hostels.' Since I am not aware that we now conduct SSCE exams in hotels, it is safe to assume that it was a linguistic misstep. This is so because PMB thinks in Hausa. According to Google, the Hausa word for hostel is 'dakunan kwanan dalibai' meaning 'the room where students sleep,' while hotel is 'Masauki' translated 'accommodation.' So, if PMB translates accommodation in Hausa to hotel in English, do you blame him?

For a split second, I thought it was only Nigerians that think in a language other than English until I read how France's President Emmanuel Macron goofed during his May 2 visit to Australia, Wrapping up a joint news conference during his brief Australian visit, Macron moved to thank the Turnbulls for  their hospitality. He had said, 'I want to thank you for your welcome, thank you and your delicious wife for your warm welcome.' Oops! How can someone's wife be delicious? Calabar man will exclaim 'Abasi mbok!' I am sure Macron was still thinking of the delicious meal and red wine he was served when he made the comment. However, thinking about it, I found out that the linguistic misstep was because Macron thinks in French where a similarly sounding word 'delicieux' better translates as 'lovely' or 'delightful.'

I have come to realize that the language of your thoughts can change depending on your environment. I have since switched over to thinking in Queens English, but on this Sunday morning, something telleth me that I thinketh in Bible English, because Prov 23:7 says 'For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.' I urge you therefore to think holy to avoid linguistic misstep.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 6 May 2018

The Slim Chance of the Fat and Overweight

Obese passengers and seatbelts
I was thinking this morning... about how the chances of fat people are getting slimmer by the day. Recently, I boarded a small aircraft to Lagos. After taking my seat prior to take off, a friend of mine, a lady got in and took her seat just in front of mine. While I strapped my seatbelt awaiting the aircraft to taxi, I observed my friend struggling to strap herself because the seatbelt was too short to go round her waistline. She was embarrassed to ask for extension seatbelt, which is usually given to nursing mothers to strap their children. I felt her pain but could offer no help. I wondered why the safety of plus-sized people was not considered in designing the seatbelts.

Imagine then my horror when I read the headline, 'Thai Airways bans obese passengers from business class.' Like we say in Warri, fear grip me. It was reported that Thai Airways International plans to install new seatbelts with airbags in the business class cabins of its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. 'Great move,' you will say, but the low point is that the belts are not designed for overweight passengers, as they have a 142cm waistline limit. To me, this is discrimination.

Initially, I thought this disregard for the safety of the overweight is limited to adults only but was shocked when a recent study showed that over 250,000 US children aged 6 and under are too fat to use standard child safety seats. Haba!!!

But wait, why would an airline discriminate against passengers because of their size? They discriminated against potential air host and hostess that are obese and are now extending it to passengers. Why can't they just make provision for the obese? As I continued probing, I discovered that in year 2000, airlines spent $275 million on 350 million additional gallons of fuel to compensate for additional weight of passengers. Hmm!!! So the motive is to further their cost ambition and not safety after all. Na wa! World people!

I don't have a problem with the airline preventing obese people from flying business class, after all they will pay less for economy seat. My only worry is that if all the obese passengers are seated in economy class, usually at the tail end of the aircraft, all the weight will be at the back, presupposing that the plane will have its nose up. I have a feeling they will be headed for space.

But seriously, I really don't think plus-sized people are treated fairly. They are made to feel like something is wrong with them, when for many they were not fat by choice. I understand that it is good to stay in shape and be healthy, but it is fallacious to assume all slim people are healthy and all fat people are unhealthy. For those that put  premium on the size and weight of people to make a decision, always remember that if a rose smells better than water-leaf or ugwu leaf, it doesn't mean the rose can make a better edikang-ikong soup. We are all different and should be so respected.

However, as I comforted myself not to worry about how I am gaining weight in my abdomen (mid life pregnancy), I remembered Judges 3:17 that says, 'He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man.' But after reading what happened to Eglon because of his weight, I took an immediate decision to deliver my stomach from fat through exercise and diet.

Truth is, being overweight (fat) could make your chances with employment, health and now flying business class slimmer, so you must do all within your power to have a healthy weight.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Wife, Relationship and Gender Equality

I Value Relationship
I was thinking this morning...., about Wife, Relationship and Gender Equality. Recently, the wife of a good friend celebrated the award of her Ph.D with a testimony of how God saw her through. She concluded by saying, 'This is that ordinary sister now being referred to as Engineer, Dr (Mrs).....' I smiled because I could feel the value of the 'Mrs' in the titles.
During the September 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, popularly called the Beijing Declaration, it was agreed to address the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere. Since then I have given the declaration all the support I can because I believe we all are equal before God and should not be treated differently.
However, it may seem the struggle for gender equality is being used to advance some esoteric cause. This much I felt when I read the headline, 'Chimamanda Adichie upset with Hillary Clinton's 'Wife' bio.' Chimamanda had told Hillary during an interview, 'In your Twitter account, the first word that describes you is 'wife.' And then I think it's 'Mom,' and then 'Grandmother.' And when I saw that, I have to confess that I felt just a bit upset. And then I went, and I looked at your husband's Twitter account and the first word was not 'Husband.'
I really don't understand why she was upset that Hillary put 'wife' before any other achievement of hers. Was Chimamanda expecting her to put 'Husband' or maybe 'Equal?' If you are not interested in being a wife, then why get married? I understand that Chimamanda is married but prefers to be addressed as 'Miss.' That's her prerogative. I also know that she never dropped her maiden name neither did she attach her husband's name to it. That's also her cup of tea.
But I find it sad to question what people hold dear to them. if I decide to hold my status as 'husband' dear and above all else, please don't 'beef' me, just hold your career or whatever else you value. I was extremely glad when I read the response of Hillary. She had said, quoting Barbara Bush, 'At the end of the day, it won't matter if you got a raise, it won't matter if you wrote a great book, if you are not also someone who values relationships.'
I value relationships and would rather define myself using husband, father, brother, pastor and friend rather than define myself with my personal accomplishments such as doctor, author etc. Like they say, we are only receivers and not achievers. There is nothing we have that we didn't receive from God.
Methinks that being a wife does not make you less equal with the man, otherwise it won't be long before another woman will challenge the value of having the 'wo' as the first letters in 'Woman.' In the same line, not being a wife or mother does not make you less of an accomplished woman, but it is the relationship you have that trumps them both.
Happy Sunday.
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.

Sunday, 22 April 2018

The Inferiority Complex of Nigerian Youths

I took time to brood on those words by Prof. Osinbajo and came to agree with him. I solemnly agreed that the youths need to learn about the superiority complex of the political class and what makes them talk like they have captured lightening in a bottle.
First the youths need experience from the political class, who are the leaders today and deserve emulating. Initially, I thought the training given by 'the Adedibus' of the past political dispensation on 'Amala Politics' was sufficient, but Prof. Osinbajo says they need more training. Yes, the youths need training on how to organize a crack team of five men, break into the fortified hallowed chambers of the National Assembly and remove its symbol of authority, the mace in spite of the Police, DSS and other agencies providing security at the complex. Because it takes rare skill to achieve this, they will need training from the master himself, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC Delta Central), before they can be ready to lead.
It will not be enough for the youths to learn from the political class only, they will need to learn from the academia as well. They need training on what to ask in return when Nigerians start asking for one favour after another. They need to be trained by no other than the Professor Emeritus on Bargaining Skills, Prof. Richard Akindele of OAU, who for a request by Monica Osetobe Osagie to increase her score from 33% to a B or C demanded five rounds of sex in return. He said, 'Let's have the first one today and then we do another tomorrow. Is our agreement not five times?' The youths definitely need this training to be effective negotiators as leaders.
As Prof. Osinbajo was giving his advise, the news broke of Olamide Samuel, a Nigerian youth aged 25, who recently made history as the first African Ph.D holder in National Security Strategy, which he got from the University of Buckingham, UK. But I agree with Prof. Osinbajo that he needs training from the Nigerian Police and other security agencies before he can lead. What does he think he knows about security strategy? He needs to learn from the experts on how they have secured Benue, Taraba and other states in the North Central that no one has been killed in the last couple of years. Please don't tell me the youths don't need the training before they can lead.
One thing I know is that in spite of the shameful examples our leaders have been setting, the Nigerian youths have been in training all their lives and know all it takes to lead, but have chosen to make themselves inferior to the current political class. Job 13:2 says 'What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.' The earlier the youths realize this, the better for Nigeria.
Happy Sunday.
.....Just the thoughts of a certain Wey Mey.