Sunday 30 July 2017

I was Thinking this Morning ...... About Polished and Unpolished Rice,

Polished and Unpolished Rice

I was thinking this morning ..... my wife returned from shopping recently and told me that while she was in the process of purchasing the regular rice in the market, the very nice lady intervened and said 'madam you want to buy this polished rice, why don't you buy Abakaliki rice? It is very good o.' While she spoke, there were flashes in my head tending towards worry about the quantity of 'polish' I have eaten over the years. Before you tell me to calm down and not be scared, understand where I am coming from.

Whilst I sat quietly listening to her, the mention of 'polished rice' reminded me of a gist we loved while in secondary school about a  young man waiting to go across a busy road. At the point of crossing, he observed an elderly woman also waiting to cross over. He stopped the traffic and took the woman by the hand to the other side of the road. The woman in response looked at the young man and said, 'Young man, thank you. You have a very polished character.' Without hesitation, the young man responded, 'Yes, I use Kiwi.' Hmm!!!

In those days, Kiwi polish was the most popular brand of shoe polish for students and as far as the young man was concerned, you cannot talk about polish and not mention Kiwi. So pardon me when I thought of 'polish' as the cream (noun) you apply in shining your shoes, rather than the act (verb) of making smooth and glossy, especially by rubbing or friction.

Phew! With that understanding I relaxed and listened to the rest of my wife's gist. But it got me thinking about the benefits of polishing rice. Polished rice is rice that has been milled and had the husks, bran and germ removed. You polish something to make it better, but it seems that of rice, apart from making it look good, has caused more harm than good.

So if rice can be polished, why are we not doing a lot more polishing than we are seeing? You see children disrespect their elders without qualms, they need to polish their character. Have you seen some workmen eat like food is going out of fashion? They need to polish their appetite. What about the way some people dress? Surely they need 'Kiwi' in their wardrobe. And in response to CNN's question of what we think about Trump's leadership style, my answer is that it definitely needs political polishing. If you have paid attention to how praying for husbands has become a major prayer point for many ladies, you probably will agree that in many cases unpolished character is responsible for the delay, hence Psalms 144:12 says 'that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of the palace.' 

My prayer is that God will give us the grace to polish our daughters and eat unpolished rice this Sunday.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 23 July 2017

I was thinking this morning....... of Siblings Rivalry

Siblings Rivalry
I was thinking this morning....... about the Venus and Serena Williams sisters rivalry. Last week Saturday, Venus Williams played yet another Wimbledon open final, this time not against her kid sister but against Garbine Muguruza. Oh what an opportunity for her to win her 7th grand slam title. This is so because her younger sister Serena did not participate in the tournament because she is preparing to have a baby in a few weeks.

Since 2008 when Venus last won Serena in a grand slam final, Serena had beaten her elder sister without respect. Both sisters have played 9 grand slam finals and Serena won 7.

Although the rivalry is long established, and is very fierce in competition, the two sisters remain personally very close. I was listening to Venus after beating Johanna Konta at the semi finals talking about Serena and she said, 'I miss her so much. I really wish she was here.' I was like, seriously? If she was there, you can be sure not to have a chance at the trophy. It got me thinking, how are they able to remain so close in spite of this fierce competition?

Think about it, if they are Nigerians, Venus would have called a family meeting and pleaded with the parents to warn her younger sister not to embarrass her at grand slam finals again. 'What have I done to her that she won't allow me win?' I can imagine Venus say. And if they are very spiritual, someone would've warned Venus to stay away from Serena, because Serena is using her glory to shine. They would've argued that how come it is always Serena stopping her from winning another grand slam every time she had the opportunity since 2008. If Venus had won on Saturday, the spiritualist would've said, 'Didn't I tell you, this year that Serena is not here, you have won it. Pray o, pray that God should continue to make Serena pregnant, so that you can win more slams. After all, she has won 23 grand slams already.' they will conclude. Hmm!!!

As I pondered on this exemplary sisters, I reflected on how strong the bond that holds me to my siblings is. Will it hold if any of my sibling continue to have the upper hand at my expense? Think about it, your younger brother and yourself are in the same line of business and bid for same contracts from different companies. If your brother continue to win all the contracts at your expense, how will you feel? Even if you try to be normal, I am sure your spouse will tell you to 'shine your eye' because it is not ordinary. Is it really not ordinary? Some will say it is our way, but should it be? There is something special about Venus Williams, a virtue rarely found in Africans, even though we declare 'blood is thicker than water.'

As I close my thoughts, I was encouraged that I can do better than Venus, as I remembered the admonition of Romans 8:35 'Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?' As we continue this year, let no economic recession weaken your bond with your siblings nor our bond as Nigerians.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 16 July 2017

Mainlanders and Islanders

Flood on the Island

I was thinking this morning...... about our proclivity as Nigerians to seek out for things that divide us rather than what unites us. If you have been following the news this past week, you surely would have heard of or seen heart breaking videos and photos of how many Nigerians living in Ikoyi, Victoria Island and Lekki areas of Lagos were devastated by floods from torrential rains the week before. While some people in other areas of Lagos were genuinely concerned, it seems a good number living on the mainland areas of Lagos had some satanic joy at the fate of those on the Island. Never at a time has the terms 'Mainlanders' and 'Islanders' been so popular than now. Social media and even the traditional print media were buzzing with news about the floods on the Island. I gave it no thought until I read an article in the Independent News titled 'My Lekki Neighbour, How is the Weather?' One other article was titled 'The Rich also Cry.'

The Headlines got me thinking, are there no rich people on the mainland or are they saying there are no poor people living on the Island? Na wao! These headlines would give nothing away until you read the details to discover how the writers are gloating about their choice to live on the mainland as against the seemingly rich colleagues that chose the Island. I was thinking, if the decision to live on the Island is a personal rather than financial one, why should anyone celebrate the loss of another person.

Consider this, before now we were all Lagosians, now because of flood, some have separated themselves and have become 'Mainlanders.' This mindset is a snippet of the larger picture. We are Nigerians but yet divided by regions, states, tribe, religion etc. Haba!!! Why are we like this? I never knew Cameroon is one of the most diversified country in the world until recently, yet their differences are not in the face of the world like Nigerians have made theirs. Cameroon, with about 24 million people, has 289 ethnic groups and 2 official languages and cultures, French and English. Compared with Nigeria of 180 million people that has about 300 ethnic groups and one official language. 

My worry is that the way we are going, it will only take another heavy downpour before we hear of 'Ajahites' sending sympathy texts to the 'Lekkites' or we hear of the 'Ikotans' deriding the 'Awoyayans' because their area is flooded. What is surprising to me is that instead of the disaster bringing us together, it is tearing us apart. In response to some 'mainlanders' mocking those on the island after the flood, Beat FM On-Air-Personality (OAP), Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi had fired back that it was the inferiority complex of those in the mainland that is motivating them.Hmm!!!

As we brace up for what is left of the rainy season, I leave everyone in Lagos, especially those on the mainland with the words of 1st Peter 3:8 that says, 'Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind,' because like the saying goes, 'what goes around comes around.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 9 July 2017

Happy Vs Unhappy Family

Happy Family

I was thinking this morning..... about family and the opening statement in the popular Nigerian comedy show 'The Johnsons' that says, 'We look like a regular Nigerian family, but there is nothing regular about any of us.' It got me thinking about what 'a regular Nigerian family' is. Is it a polygamous or a monogamous family? Is it a happy family or an unhappy one? Is it a peaceful family or one like Fuji house of commotion? Is a regular Nigerian family one made up of a working husband, a full-time housewife and five children living in a 3-bedroom apartment? Maybe, you should tell me.

As we gradually get into the long holiday season with the children returning back from school, I was wondering what makes one family happy and another unhappy. Could it be the availability of wealth in the family or the presence or fear of God? As I pondered on this, I recalled the statement by Leo Tolstoy in his book Anna Karenina that 'All happy families are alike: each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.' Hmm!!!

I know of a family of eight with very limited resources, who during the long holiday, visits the village and have fun eating 'guguru and ekpa.' I also know of a family of four with so much to spare and they travel abroad yearly for vacation. Trust me, they are a happy family. As I considered both families, I agreed with Tolstoy that all happy families are alike. It is the one big thing, the love of family and fear of God, that makes them happy.

Look around you and Selah (pause and think). You will observe disintegrated families, squabbling families and unhappy families. You will even find '5 by 8' families. Okay, I am not referring to a family that sells 5 by 8 inches-sized plywood. Rather, the term '5 by 8' was a description given to a couple I was told about years ago that was so unhappy with themselves that they got intimate only 5 times in 8 years of marriage. Wow! you will say, and if you want to be a typical Nigerian housewife like Emuakpor Johnson of the 'The Johnsons' comedy show, you will be pardoned if you shout 'akpooorrr.' Lol.. If you think deeply, you will agree with Tolstoy that 'All happy families are alike: each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.'

While happy families are happy for one reason, love of family, the unhappy ones are so because of many different reasons. One family may be unhappy because of money, another because the wife cannot cook and yet another because the husband snores. You will read about a family with friction because the wife is fat and another falling apart because the children are not as smart as their dad.😞

As my thoughts become hazy, I am convinced I must spend quality time with my family this holiday, because I know that the happiest families are not those who have the best things, but those who enjoy life and make the best of what they have. Forget about the little things that can make the family unhappy, and focus on the one big thing that matters, family. Create time to bond with your family this season. Go out with your family, go for worship with them and even farm with them so we can harvest more yam for export. But if for reason of the persistent rain, you cannot go out, at least sit with your family and watch the DSTV Family channel, assuming of course you have electricity.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 2 July 2017

The Helplessness of man


I was thinking this morning..... about how fast the first half of 2017 flew by and how well I have done with my targets for the period. In my reflection, I recalled a recent conversation with an Angolan living in London about African affairs, and she said, 'we do not even know what is happening to our President.' 'How so?' I had asked. She revealed that 74-year-old Eduardo Dos Santos has been in Spain for weeks on medical treatment without information.

As she spoke, it seems like dejavu to me as I recalled that our own 74-year-old Buhari (PMB) has also been in the UK for weeks for medical reasons. While it has been somewhat quiet for the most part since PMB departed for his 'second missionary journey,' this past week was dominated by discussions about his health. While many were debating the veracity of whether PMB has lost his voice, suffers from memory loss or is on life support, I was humbled by how the narrative had changed from what PMB is doing or going to do to improve the health of Nigeria to issues relating to his personal health. Life!

I couldn't but reflect, if men like Dos Santos and PMB at the highest office, can be so helpless, why all the 'kati kati?' like we say in Warri. Imagine how quickly our aspirations pale into insignificance when one's health is challenged. We all started 2017 with great expectations, but while most people settled down to work, PMB embarked on his 'first missionary journey' on 19th January to attend to his health. Six months after, his 2017 list of expectations has been turned on its head. Hmm!!!

Where I sat reflecting on the challenges both Presidents are facing and praying for their speedy recovery, I tried imagining what is in the mind of PMB as he continues to battle his illness in London. Pause a minute and imagine PMB's  plan to follow through on the perennial electricity problem in the country and succeed where others failed, but he is distracted by his ill-health. I am thinking of how PMB has planned to deal with corruption, but today the Ikoyi dollar scandal remains unresolved weeks after investigation commenced. Oh how pained PMB will be that he is not fully on ground to lead his forces in kicking the economy back to life with the US dollar stubbornly refusing to bow below N365. Truly, life is a mystery. We can only throw the dice but cannot determine the outcome.

As I stand up to step out, I was reminded of Romans 9:16, 'So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy.' So as you set your targets for the second half of 2017, pray for grace to accomplish.

Happy Sunday.

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