Sunday 24 June 2018

Left Turns Are Accident Prone

Left Turns Are Prone to Accident
I was thinking this morning... about turning left. Recently, I was driving in a city I had never driven before and was being guided by a GPS. As I hurried towards the airport to catch my flight, the GPS keeps telling me to take the next right turn and followed by the next left turn. I kept shuffling from one end of the road to another and then it became too much for me and I missed my next exit. It took me almost 30mins to get back on track. Thank God I did not miss my flight. I later wondered whether it was possible to make only right turns, as it sure would have been a lot easier for me. As I reflected on that experience, I understood why UPS drivers never turn left.

Really? You might be thinking. Why won't UPS drivers turn left? Could the reason be related to the belief in Nigeria that it connotes bad omen to hand at item over with your left hand? I think not. According to Travel and Leisure Magazine, the UPS delivery truck drivers avoid left turns not because of some superstitions involving packages and cross-traffic turns, but it's actually the result of a complex mathematical problem equation that has saved UPS millions of dollars. In countries like Nigeria where cars drive on the right-hand side of the road, the UPS vehicle routing software has determined that turning left is a waste of time and money. It established that although reducing cross-traffic turns may increase time spent to get to a destination, it reduces chances of an accident and eliminates time spent waiting for traffic to make a turn (which wastes fuel). Hmm!!!
It is true that life is full of turns and cross roads, but why do we make so many left turns and cross-traffic turns in life if they are accident prone? As I pondered on this, I discovered that the MFA (Master of Fine Art) program at George Mason University, USA has a class called 'The Left Turn', where short stories and novels are often crafted around the left turn: that moment when you take a seemingly unexpected turn.

If you think about it, the life of a Nigerian is filled with left turn. Only a few weeks ago, our Super Eagles was the toast of the world. They were coasting on a straight road, accident-free, when their Nike-designed World Cup kit was voted as best in a Sky Sports poll and on the eve of the tournament, their traveling outfit got everyone talking, with CNN concluding that they were the most stylish team at the mundial. We had won the World Cup fashion parade. Their first crossroad was against Croatia and they were expected to turn right. But then a psychic pig had predicted that Nigeria was going to be among the last four teams in the tournament and the players probably believed and decided to relax. Therefore, we wobbled like Iwobi, fell like Moses and chose to make a left turn when we scored an own goal. At the end of the first round of matches, the Super eagles had crashed and were rated third worst after Saudi Arabia and Panama. Ouch!!! The psychic pig was virtually slaughtered as the Super Eagles approached the next crossroad against Iceland. This time they turned right and the ice melted. I wondered, if UPS drivers never turn left, why should we?

You have been a faithful spouse for 15 years and God has blessed your marriage with 3 lovely girls. You think you are at a crossroad, and you chose to turn left, a seemingly unexpected turn, by engaging in an adulterous relationship because you think it could be a shorter distance to the destination of having a male child. Left turns are prone to accident, hence UPS drivers never turn left. You are a firm believer in God and has been faithful in service, until recently when you decided to take a left turn by falling for a strange doctrine. Now no one understands what you believe in anymore. UPS drivers never turn left, neither should you.

Truth is, as you coast on in life and make right turns, there will be many 'psychic pigs' and 'broken GPS' that will come along to convince you to make a left turn and crash your vehicle of life. I beg you, like the UPS driver, never turn left because Matthew 24:11 says, 'And many false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many.' Do not be deceived and never turn left.

Happy Sunday.

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

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.