Sunday 28 October 2018

His Royal Youthfulness

Originating Honorifics
I was thinking this morning...... about originating honorifics. As I pulled out of my street onto the main road that early Thursday morning heading to the office, I turned on the radio to apprise myself of the day's news. There was a commercial break and the student wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo Rivers State was congratulating one of their own that has been appointed leader of the group. It sounded like the usual Nigerian notice-me, favour-seeking advert which I gave no attention until they announced, 'This is signed by His Royal Youthfulness blablabah.' I was like, seriously? Royal Youthfulness?

I smiled in disbelief, wondering how these young men could just formulate a new honorific and start using it on air without approval. Do they really understand what the 'Royal Highness' they have adapted to 'Royal Youthfulness' mean? In order to truly establish the emptiness of their action, I needed to first establish the origin of 'His Royal Highness (HRH).' I found out the term 'Royal Highness' was first used by the Archduke Ferdinand of Austria in 1633 while traveling through Italy on his way to the Low Countries. On meeting Victor Amadeus I, Duke of Savoy, he refused to address him as Highness until the Duke addressed him as 'Royal Highness.' Thus the first use of the style 'Royal Highness.' I was actually humbled by the finding and thought that if a mere mortal like Archduke Ferdinand of Austria could coin the term 'His Royal Highness,' what stops the youth wing of Ohaneze Ndigbo from instituting 'His Royal Youthfulness?'

As I paused to let the point sink in, I noticed an overflow of my mental juices and needed to savour it in order not to lose the value. With the first drop came the thought that we may have missed out on opportunities to put our names in the Encyclopedia or Wikipedia of Titles like Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. Think about it; There are men's association in some villages where the strongest man is chosen as leader. Tell me, why can't the leader be addressed as 'His Royal Manliness?' See my point? There was another drop that reminded me of a group of unemployed job seekers that formed an association and selected a leader. Shouldn't the leader be addressed as 'His Royal Joblessness?'

The drops were coming faster now. I recalled the popular Palmwine Drinkers Club also known as Kegites Club in Nigerian Universities. I wondered why the head of any Ilya (branch) will be addressed as 'Chiefo' instead of the more honorable 'His Royal Drunkenness.' Sounded funny to me, but the smile on my lips soon disappeared when I thought about Nigeria political leaders. They embezzle the funds meant to build roads and hospitals for the masses, while they and their families go on vacation and medical tourism abroad, yet we address them as 'His or Her Excellence.' How misplaced. They should henceforth be addressed as 'His Royal Wickedness.'

As I made the final turn into the car park at my office complex, I imagined how I should be addressed since I am neither a politician nor a chairman of any association. A gentle smile returned as I remembered 1st Peter 2:9 that says 'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people.' On that strength, I concluded I should be addressed henceforth as 'His Royal Priestliness.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 21 October 2018

The Originality of Fakes

The originality of Fakes
I was thinking this morning...... about the originality of fakes. While having lunch midweek with some colleagues, fulfilling the parody of Matthew 18:20; Where two or three Nigerians are gathered discussing, politics is at the centre; a colleague of mine asked, 'Has anyone wondered how PMB has suddenly become healthy?' Of course I have no reason to have considered it, so I offered her a penny for her thoughts. And she dropped the bombshell, 'Are you sure the PMB we are seeing is the original?' Really? Are you implying he was cloned the last time he visited the UK for medical checkup? I have never heard anything so ridiculous, but it got me thinking. If her hypothesis is true, then I must commend the originality of the fake PMB. I immediately recalled the quote, 'Some people are real. Some people are good. Some people are fake, but some people are really good at being fake.'

As I thought on this, I recalled the viral videos of the Governor of Kano State Abdullahi Ganduje allegedly receiving bribes to the tune of $5 million from contractors in the State. When he was confronted with the videos of the sting operation, he denied it saying that it was a set up and like my colleague, implied that the person in the video was not the original. Some people are fake, but some people are really good at being fake. But in this case, that was a poor attempt at 'forming' fake.

You would have noticed that it is that season again when Nigeria politicians display their fakeness in very amusing ways. In this season, they stop by the road side to eat roasted corn with the masses, they dress in the traditional wears of the people they dislike the most and some will even enter the public transportation they've never used all their lives, just to show they are part of us. Really, Are they part of us? Abeg if you do run into any of these actors, ask them just one question, 'Are you the original?' Though some people are fake and some are really good at being fake, these ones have failed in 'forming' fake. We know their true nature.

Generally, we live in a world of fakers, doing one thing before everyone and another privately. But you know what? There is nothing good about being fake and there is a limit to which your fake life can take you. At the end of the day, there is a price to pay for being fake. Even Jesus cursed the fig tree for being fake - Matt 21:19. Truth is, there is no need being fake or being very good at being fake. Be real and many will love you as you are, warts and all, because even if you hide your real self from men, you cannot hide from God.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 14 October 2018

Who Dash Monkey Banana?

Who dash monkey banana?

I was thinking this morning...... about 2019 and why we are settling for less. As I was returning from church last Sunday, I stopped to buy a bunch of banana which was to partner jollof rice in an epic battle with my appetite. As I brought out N400 to make payment, wondering why it wasn't free, I recalled the made-in-Nigeria rhetorical question 'who dash monkey banana?' But where did that question come from? Why should anyone assume that if you saw a monkey with banana, it was a gift and the monkey didn't work for it? I wondered. I had read one explanation on social media where it was said that the Banana tree is the only tree the monkey cannot climb. As such, for any banana you see with a monkey, it didn't take its personal effort to get, it was given to it. Hence the saying 'who dash monkey banana?' Hmm!!! Though the position sounds so plausible, I was curious and decided to confirm if it was true.

I confirmed it is not true monkeys can't climb Banana trees. Banana tree is not as slippery as it has been made out. The pseudostem of a Banana plant will always have some dry sheaths which will act as non-slippery hold. Moreso, monkeys can hold with their toes, because their soles are more flexible like those of some birds who use them to hold branches. So monkeys can climb Banana trees and pick the fruits itself, and don't need anyone to 'dash' it. Why do we accept just any statement or report as true or accept whatever token handed us, when we can work to get something better? Intellectual laziness or I guess we are thinking, 'who dash monkey banana?'

I also wondered why most people believe banana is the fruit the monkey love best.  Why can't we ask 'who dash monkey grapes?' or 'who dash monkey chin-chin?' or even 'who dash monkey kpekere?' We have grown up believing the only food monkeys eat is banana, but is it true? It's a myth. I found out the entire wild monkey-banana connection is a total fabrication. Scientific studies of the diets of primates revealed wild monkeys never encounter bananas at all ever unless they are around human habitation where bananas are or have been planted. Another study revealed that monkeys prefer grapes to banana. So, there goes the saying 'who dash monkey banana?' Bursted!!!

To me 'who dash monkey banana?' is a derogatory slang meaning you can't get the best you deserve. You resign yourself to fate, expecting a 'dash' because you are telling yourself you can't make it, thinking 'who dash monkey banana?' it is exactly this mindset most Nigerians have regarding the forth coming 2019 presidential election. In spite of the fact that we have a field of very competent aspirants, most people, especially the e-rats of the elite-dominated two major political parties have been fighting over who amongst the two worst candidates will be president in 2019. Why can't we see beyond the old non-performing or corruption-tainted aspirants and stand up for any of the other competent hands that we know can take Nigeria out of the woods? No, we will not, because we are thinking 'who dash monkey banana?' Truth is, if the monkey can climb a Banana tree to pick the fruit and not wait for a 'dash,' you too can get the best you deserve. No wonder Philippians 4:13 says 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.' So, yes, we can get the best and if you must ask the rhetorical question, ask 'who dash monkey grapes?' or who dash monkey kpekere?'

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

Sunday 7 October 2018

Herpes and Dyslexia

Dyslexia Awareness Month
I was thinking this morning...... about Herpes (pronounced as 'hur-peez') and Dyslexia. It's been over 25 years since I left the university where I studied Microbiology. So you will pardon me when I had to ask Google for information about Herpes. I was reminded that Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) caused by a common virus that causes sores on your genitals and/or mouth. Herpes can be annoying and painful, but it usually doesn't lead to serious health problems. Herpes is a super-common infection that stays in your body for life and the chances are a few people you know are living with Herpes.

But why this research about Herpes? When all the news about Nigeria centered around politics and killing in Jos, I decided to go watch a movie this past weekend and settled for the American comedy 'Night School' starring Kevin Hart as Teddy Walker. In the movie, Teddy was assessed to be suffering from a number of learning disorders including dyslexia, dyscalculia and various processing issues. In shock, Teddy Walker exclaimed that he has 'Learning Herpes.' Why he decided to compare his disability with Herpes is still unclear to me, but I suspect it is because the condition will stay with him for life just like Herpes. Hmm!!!

After the movie, I couldn't help but reflect on the term 'Learning Herpes' and how we treat kids with this disability in Nigeria. Children with dyslexia have trouble reading accurately and fluently. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing. Dyscalculia on the other hand means the child has difficulty in learning or comprehending arithmetic or numbers. Such a child in Nigeria will be called dumb and 'olodo.' If the parents are rich, they will engage seven extramural teachers to 'force' the book into his head, but if he is from a poor home, too bad. They will 'flog' the book into his head. Oh how we torture our kids because we do not understand their learning disability. God will help us.

As I dug deeper, I fished out a parallel with recent happenings. This past week was a festival of political primaries, which turned out to be nothing but a sad reflection of our democracy. Votes buying, imposition of candidates, the reign of god-fatherism and violence. When I recalled that this has been our lot since independence, the only prognosis I could come up with is that we may be suffering from 'Political Herpes' that is causing painful sores in our body polity.

Carry out further physical tests of marriages around you, with symptoms such as infidelity, domestic violence, trust-deficiency and you will diagnose 'Marital Herpes.' Send for laboratory analyses of our economy with foreign reserves dropping, bearish run of the stock market and a weak naira. The prognosis is nothing but 'Economic Herpes.'

Though these malaise are annoying and painful like Herpes, looking like it's going to kill us, I am confident that we will overcome them because the Bible says in John 11:4 'This sickness will not end in death.' But should your child be struggling with reading, spelling or numbers, do not call him names or make him the joke of the family. Assess him for learning disability and support him to overcome. As we celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month this October, please help a child overcome the challenge of dyslexia and dyscalculia today.

Happy Sunday.

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