Sunday 8 July 2018

The Value of a Penny

It Begins with Just A Penny
I was thinking this morning....about the value of a penny. One of the most simple but profound message I have gotten from any promo on TV is from the Richard Quest promo of his programme 'Quest Means Business' on CNN. In the promo, he was walking into a bank behind a lady and she dropped a penny. Richard picked up the penny and attempted to hand it back to the lady, but she waved it off, saying 'oh, it is just a penny.' In shock, Richard Quest exclaimed 'Just a Penny?' He ended the promo by explaining that whether you are writing your first cheque or cashing a big cheque, it all begins with a humble penny.

It got me thinking of how true that is in life. About 10 years ago, my wife and I started observing that when our little boy of 6 years is angry, he clenches his teeth, roars and want to slam the door. This was strange and we were worried. Initially, we were tempted to say, oh, he is just a child and will outgrow it,' but being 'men of the Spirit,' we immediately dealt with it with the help of God and we never saw that trait again. Many times we ignore the little errors we observe and regard them as nothingness, until they become big problems. Oh, in the words of Richard Quest, 'It all begins with just a penny.'

In 2006, when political kidnapping was introduced by the Niger Delta militants, targeting foreigners mainly to draw attention to their plight, the world bought it and gave them prime time. While many justified this crime in their hearts as good for these oyinbo people that came to take our jobs, others gave it the 'Ewolokanmi attitude.' The government saw it as nothing to worry about as it was 'just a penny.' The kidnapping trend didn't take long to spread throughout the country extending to places as far as Kano and Kaduna. South-East and South-South Nigeria became known as the kidnappers' playgrounds of Nigeria. Today everyone is a target, traditional rulers, politicians, men of God, students, unemployed and even babies. It is so bad that while Mikel Obi was on his way to the stadium in far away Russia, for our decisive match against Argentina, to represent his fatherland, his father was being kidnapped back home. Yes, it is that bad, but 'it all begins with just a penny.'

In the Nigeria of the seventies, national issues were tackled with little or no colouration. Every challenge was in black and white. We lived and did business peacefully in whatever State we chose. Suddenly, at the slightest provocation, the 'foreigners' in our midst are attacked and their goods plundered. When a few spoke out, they were ignored and the attack explained as just a little disagreement. Really? Just a little disagreement? Nothing was done to address the root cause. Today, whole indigenous communities are destroyed in one night, their villages occupied and no one is brought to book. Believe me, 'it all begins with just a penny.'

We all regularly say, 'oh, it is just a penny' in different ways. At home, in the office or even in church, we wave off that subtle signal that something is wrong, and keep doing so until it is time for what we call 'yawa race' in Warri. Songs of Solomon 2:15 says 'Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.' So, like Richard Quest, I urge you to mean business by focusing on and dealing with the little problem before they spoil your vines.

Happy Sunday.

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

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