Sunday 30 September 2018


I was thinking this morning.... about drowning. God forbid (with my right hand making a circle round my head and my fingers snapping in front), I am not thinking of drowning myself, I am only thinking about the incident of drowning, and for good reason too. This was so when I read the screaming headline in the Vanguard Newspaper, 'Lamentations as flood hits 400 communities, 44 dead.' As I read the details of how communities in Anambra, Delta, Bayelsa, Niger and Kogi were devastated by floods, I shook my head in sorrow wondering why there should be so many lives lost to flooding, not hurricane or tsunami. As I got lost in hypnotic trance wondering how the warning to Nigerians living by the banks of River Niger and its floodplains to relocate was not heeded, I was jolted back by the words of an affected resident in Rivers State that he wasn't going to vacate his flooded house because he is afraid that his properties will be looted by hoodlums before he returns. Oh, at this point I remembered the words of Dr Zig Ziglar that 'You don't drown by falling into water; you only drown if you stay there.'

But why will anyone remain in the flood until they drown? Why can't they take themselves out? When I read that the flood also took toll on the dead as copses were washed up from graves in Ofu local government area of Kogi State, I can understand because a copse cannot run from flood but why will a living man remain in the flood until he is drowned? Oh Zig Ziglar is so spot on when he said 'You don't drown by falling into water; you only drown if you stay there.'

Someone might argue that our national emergency preparedness is appalling, saying 'I tire for Nigeria. If we have emergency responders in those villages, the deaths could have been avoided.' Well maybe so, or so I thought until I read how 31-year-old Jerome Moody died in a pool party organized by lifeguards in New Orleans, Louisiana to celebrate a summer where no one had drowned at any of the city's pool. How can anyone drown in a party organized by lifeguards? Some will say it is home trouble, but I know he did not drown by falling into water, he drowned because he remained under.

Please don't say those involved are suicidal. You are a loving husband and father and father and will never deliberately want to hurt your loved ones. You traveled out of town with some colleagues and in the evening after the meeting, your friend and colleague organized a party where 'comfort battalion' were invited without your knowledge. You were persuaded to attend and you oblige in the innocency of your heart. Before you knew it, the flesh failed you, you found yourself in the laps of a strange woman. You have fallen into water. If after the 'flood' you decided to give that colleague of yours 'diplomatic space,' you would have done well, but if you remain hand-in-glove with him, then I can only remind you that 'You don't drown by falling into water; you only drown if you stay there.'

We have been experiencing a flood of electoral manipulation for so many years. The ruling party since independence has always been accused of manipulating the electoral umpire and security agencies. Everyone knew we will drown unless we swim our way out and the Ekiti and Osun elections were like lifeboats. Instead of saving ourselves, we chose to remain in the flood of electoral manipulation and it is drowning us as a nation. Proverbs 24:16 says 'For a just man falls seven times and rises up again.' As we celebrate our 58 Independence Anniversary tomorrow, we need to rise up from the flood before we drown as a nation.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 23 September 2018

This Man Was Born There

This man was born there
I was thinking this morning.... about your place of birth. Were you born here or there? While you can't determine where you are born, you can influence where your children are born. It is a widely held view that the prayer point of most Nigerian parents is for God to bless them enough to have their children in America, Europe or Canada because, apart from the very high chance of the child surviving due to advanced medical care, the baby will be registered as a citizen of that nation, particularly for USA. Most parents want their children to have the green card because the US government will go to any length to protect its citizens all over the world. No wonder, as at 2016 there were over 360,000 Nigerian Americans living in the US. But hang on, before you start planning to have another baby, be aware that it cost between $10,000 and $30,000 or even more depending on whether there are birth complications, for a Nigerian resident to have her child in the US. In spite of that, many couples are saving for this option because they want their child 'to be born there.'

I have realized that where your child is born could influence the success of that child tomorrow. I have so many friends and relatives that their children are studying in some of the best schools in America and Europe because 'they were born there' and therefore do not have to pay the cut-throat fees stipulated for international students. Also, because they have dual nationality, they have double opportunity and can compete for jobs in both countries, just because 'they were born there.'

Okay, I can understand why 'being born there' is pivotal to influencing opportunities outside Nigeria, but can't understand how we have taken the concept of 'being born there' to a whole new level in Nigeria. Until recently, when appointments are made in Nigeria, many people will give a perfunctory consideration to the state of origin of the appointee but now, if there is any federal appointment, it is followed by a vibrant debate about where that person was born.

Following the sack of the erstwhile DSS DG, Lawal Daura, President Buhari on the 13th of September approved the appointment of Yusuf Magaji Bichi as new Director-General of DSS. Immediately, there was fierce attack on PMB, that he had removed the acting DG, who is from Bayelsa State and replaced him with someone from Kano State. The narrative was not about career nor competence but that 'this man was born there.' Then a couple of days later, Kemi Adeosun resigned as a result of the NYSC-gate and a new Finance Minster in the person of Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed was appointed sparking another round of debate that 'this woman was born there.'

It got me thinking that the way we are going, some people will start strategizing for their children to be born in the section of Nigeria where they think they will have an advantage. How can we be one people and be focusing on 'this man or this woman was born there?' Why should any government be feeding the narrative of sectionalism or ethnicity? Why can't we appoint people irrespective of where they were born in Nigeria? We are short changing ourselves.

To me, it is least important where on this planet my children are born. What matters is to whom they are born. Your son may have been born in Hangzhou, in one corner of China and end up being a great entrepreneur and the richest man in China like Jack Ma (Founder of Alibaba.) Or your daughter could be born in a coal city like Enugu, but yet grow up to be a very successful and sought-after woman like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who is making Nigeria proud on the global scene. It is what God puts in your child and what you, as a parent grow in them that matters and not because 'they were born there.' No wonder Psalms 87:4c & 5 says '...This man was born there. And of Zion, it shall be said, This and that man was born in her.' I am certain that our making is in the kingdom and not because 'we were born there.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 16 September 2018

Couples, Closeness and the 'and-co' look

And-co Dressing
I was thinking this morning.....about couples, closeness and the 'and-co' look. While chatting with a friend on our way back from lunch last Monday, he mentioned that the wife was taking him out that evening in celebration of their 25th wedding anniversary. being together for 25 years is no mean feat. As my friend spoke, my mind played back and recalled the gist of past conversations I have had with him about his social outings and connecting the dots revealed he was most times with the wife at these outings. It was obvious that you hardly can separate my friend from his wife in the social space.

As I smiled at their time-tested relationship, I remembered an incident that occurred in my early years of working as a contractor personnel in one of the Multinational Oil Companies in Warri. I had this boss then that work so late that real work, for him, starts after 5pm. he was feared by everyone for his bullish approach to work. he will work till about 10pm before closing for the day. One evening, a colleague of mine, named Wale, had to leave at about 6pm. Not long after, the boss came out from his closed office looking for Wale and hoping to get a vital information from him. Wale, unfortunately had closed for the day. He screamed, 'Where is Wale? Get Wale for me. Look for him everywhere. If you can't get him, get his wife. If the wife shows up, he will show up.' We all were like, albeit in hushed tones, 'Really? Does his wife now work for you?

Funny though, but my boss probably knew that outside the office, if you see Wale's wife, then Wale is not far off. The whole episode got me thinking about how close I am to 'my young wife.' How much time do I spend with her? Can someone assume that if you have seen me, you have seen my wife? Hmm!!! It seems couples are more and more drifting from being hand-in-hand to individuality, and many reasons can be adduced. But ask yourself, when last did you wear 'and-co' with your spouse? In Warri, when a couple dresses in matching outfits, it is called 'and-co.' By the way, 'and-co' means 'And Company.' While 'Aso-ebi' is for a group, 'and-co' is for a couple. In South Korea it is called Kou-peul look. If you ask me sha, I would rather favour a coordinating outfit rather than 'and-co' because matching outfit makes you look like two members of a sports team or traditional choir group.

The question is, when you are out with your spouse for an occasion , do you dress 'and-co' or in a coordinating outfit, go in the same car and lock hands while walking? While for some, the score will be one or two out of three, for many it is zero, because they love their individuality and enjoy the company of themselves.

It may seem that those that scored zero are not proud of their spouses. Maybe and maybe not. For some couples, they are at their best when away from their spouses. They like to fly solo both socially and spiritually. I know of a man and woman in church that for years I never knew were a couple. They come to church in different cars and at different times and sit in different section of the auditorium. Don't get me wrong, their relationship is stable but just that they like doing their own things. Their individuality when in public is deep and I wonder why.

I have realized that many couples, rather than spend more time with their spouses, are now living in splendid isolation. From experience, I know it is bliss to be closely connected with your spouse to the point where, like my former boss thought, wherever and whenever you appear, your spouse is by your side or not far away. No wonder Jesus said in John 14:9, 'Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, show us the Father?' Please, to every 'Philip' around me, be informed that if you have seen me, you have seen my wife and vice versa. For now, it's time to head to church with my wife in the same car not dressed in 'and-co' but in a coordinating outfit.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 9 September 2018

Happy School Fees Week

Happy School Fees Week
was thinking this morning..... about school fees. For the better part of last week, the most common greeting was 'Happy New Month.' Some time ago, a colleague of mine had expressed worry about this current fad of wishing people 'Happy New Month.' He considered it an unwelcome extension of the 'Happy New Year' greetings. He is worried that soon, it will extend to 'Happy New Week' and 'Happy New Day.' Since I have been ending my weekly write ups with 'Happy Sunday,' it should be obvious to all that I will have no problem with whichever way anyone choses to greet, as long as it stays positive. However, one emerging greeting that I still can't wrap my head around is 'Happy School Fees Week.'

Tomorrow, our children of school age will be returning to school after about two months of being at home for summer holiday. For some, these past two months have been very difficult because they have had to manage the excesses of the kids, a role that they are very happy to hand over to teachers and house parents in boarding houses from tomorrow. While many are happy that schools are resuming, they are, on the flip side, wondering how to raise the money to pay the school fees of their children. Someone might say, 'why should anyone struggle to pay the school fees of his children, afterall, it is not an emergency? They should cut their coat according to their material.' Hmm!!! You might be right.

While it is true that some can afford to send their children to Children's International School (CIS), Lekki Lagos, where you have to pay an acceptance fee of N2 million and yearly tuition of N2.5 million for nursery and N3 million for primary school, there are many who can't afford the N10,000 for some private schools. Yes, there are many that have no stress whatsoever to pay between N5 million and N7.5 million per year for their son or daughter to attend college at CIS or BIS (British International School) Lagos, yet some can't afford to buy school bags or books required for their kids to attend the free public schools.
Don't kid yourself, not everyone with children in public schools will be able to afford what is required to send the children back to school tomorrow. It is not about the fees but about your financial condition and consioucs planning. Only yesterday, Iread about the youthful looking traditional ruler of  Oke Ila Orangun, Osun State, Oba Adedokun Abolarin saying, 'The fear of children school fees has made me not to seek more Oloris.' Think about it, if the rich are afraid of school fees, why does the less privileged care less by having too many children than they can afford to train? Your guess is as good as mine.

Tell someone that can afford it, 'Happy School fees Week,' and he will say 'thank you,' but tell a parent that is yet to pay the fees of his children same and he will give you that look that the lame man gave to Peter and John in Acts 3:5. I imagined whether it really will be happy for many parents. According to UNICEF, Nigeria still has 10.5 million out-of-school children (the highest in the world), with 60% of that number in the north. While UNICEF acknowledged that Primary school enrolment has increased in recent years, they also said that many of those that enrolled will drop out of school early. Why do you think that is? Methinks, it is because many parents do not plan for the next tranche of school fees and some gamble with it. They wait until it has become an emergency. Imagine the new yesterday of one William Williams that won N9.7 million on sports betting platform BetKing. While celebrating, he said 'BetKing has contributed to paying my children school fees this session.' really? So you have to gamble to pay school fees? Hmm!!!

However, there are many that don't gamble and believe me, they planned, but hings did not just add up and they are in a dilemma. Their kids may drop ouot of school because they can't afford the school fees. Hence I see 'Happy School Fees Week' as a soothing prayer for all those sending their children back to school tomorrow. 

If you have no issues with school fees this season, wish someone Happy School Fees Week. But as you do so, take it one step further by really helping a struggling parent to be happy by paying the fees of his/her child or buy a school bag or books for a child. Or as a minimum, you can buy a pack of pencils and give to indigent children. Whatever it is, just make the week a happy one for parents sending their children back to school tomorrow. Psalm 41:1 says 'Blessed is he who considers the poor; The Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.'

Happy Sunday and Happy School Fees Week.

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

Sunday 2 September 2018

The Smell of Pride

I was thinking this morning..... about the smell of pride. If asked to describe the smell of pride in one word, what would it be? While most people would think of words like noxious, purulent, putrid, sour, stale and even mephitic, I doubt if anyone will associate pride with fragrance.

Well, last week as I tried to update myself on what is happening politically, I read the statement of ex-President Obasanjo where he had tweeted 'In the past few days, I have received several politicians in my home including the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Ibrahim Dankwanbo regarding how to take Nigeria back to the path of greatness in 2019. Even though some people think I am no longer relevant, 'na dem dey rush us'" Then, a few days ago following the visits of UK Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Bayo Omoboriowo (the chief official photographer of President Muhammad Buhari) had sad on BBC News Pidgin 'Lifeless, lifeless, but na dem dey rush Buhari.'

It immediately occurred to me that, that wasn't the first time I was reading the phrase 'Na dem dey rush us.' As a matter of fact, I have been seeing it in social media of recent but never bothered to dig until now. Where exactly did that phrase come from? I found out that 'Na dem dey rush us' was a phrase used by Charles Onojie (popularly known as Lucky Johnson of The Johnsons comedy soap) in a movie. He had said while hitting on a lady, 'Fine boys like us, we no dey too follow women like that. Na dem dey rush us.' Since then, 'Na dem dey rush us' has gone viral. Trust Nigerians in the social media space.

While pondering on why OBJ will use a social media slang to make a serious political point, I realized that any time I am tempted to jokingly say 'Na dem dey rush us,' something reminds me to think again. Why? The phrase to me looks like pride soaked in fragrance. Dem dey rush you today, what about tomorrow? 

Think about it. We say this regularly, but maybe not with the same words. You are young, enterprising and savvy and employers are falling over themselves to head-hunt you. On one occasion, you received offer letters from four different multinational companies. You went to church to testify and you were tempted to say, albeit in your own words 'Na dem dey rush me.' Selah (pause and think), it might be pride masked with fragrance.

Your child is done with secondary school and after taking the final exams, many Ivy League universities within and outside Nigeria have granted him admission. You are so proud of his performance that while speaking to your friends, you are tempted to say 'Na dem dey rush us.' Hold back and think again, it might be pride covered with fragrance. Just be humble and be thankful.

Before you use the phrase 'Na dem dey rush us' remember that there are many that are not being rushed, not because they are any less than you are but because they have not been so favoured. So, why don't you see yourself as a receiver rather than an achiever. 1st John 2:16 says '
For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.' My prayer is that we shall not fall into the error of pride that is masked with fragrance. For now, let me start going before someone will call me 'lifeless.'
Happy Sunday.

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