Saturday, 24 October 2020

A WEEK OF OWN GOALS....Na Aduma-do-bodi


I was thinking this morning..... Last Sunday's Premier league fixture between Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United (WHU) started what later became a week of own goals. Everyone wanted to see how the Jose Mourinho led lads will build on the momentum having trashed Manchester United at the last match day. Sixteen minutes after the blast of the kick-off whistle, Tottenham had raced to a 3 goal lead. Wow! Everyone thought it was going to be another rout, but we were wrong. The opposition, WHU dug in after the third goal. Eight minutes to the end of regulation time, WHU pulled one goal back and three minutes later, Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham experienced every defender's nightmare when he scored an own goal. With five minutes left, the signs were ominous for Tottenham. Truly, at the 90th minute, WHU drew level and the match ended. Tottenham was the loser of the day, no thanks to the own goal. Wow!

An own goal is when one makes a serious mistake leading to a setback. In other words, it is shooting oneself on the foot or what we call 'aduma-do-bodi' in Warri. As I reflected on the impact of the own goal, my mind drifted to the #ENDSARS campaign that had peaked that Sunday with youths in many states registering their anger with what is going on in Nigeria. The Feminist Coalition (a group of young Nigerian feminists) formed in July 2020, was at the forefront of the organisation and mobilisation. Up until that day, support for the protest through the group was on the upward projectile. They raised over N74 million within 10 days and were doing a fantastic job in disbursing the funds and supporting protesters at the front line. Then late Sunday the group said their fight is also for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people (LGBTQ+). They had tweeted 'Our communal fight to #EndSARS is inclusive of the LGBTQ+ community who are also harassed, assaulted and killed by police.' Really? People started questioning if the group had a hidden agenda. By the time they deleted the tweet, it was too late. The group had lost a lot of goodwill from the now viral tweet. It was an own goal and own goals kill moral.

As the protest continued on Monday, sponsored hoodlums had infiltrated the group and became violent and States started declaring curfews. Lagos State, the centre of the protests was next to declare after Edo State. The curfew was announced by midday and commencement time set at 4pm. How is that possible? Just before 4pm, the government announced a change of time to 9pm, but it was too late. The military moved in to the protest ground zero, the Lekki Toll Gate and started shooting. Many were injured with some reported fatalities. How could our progressive governor, Sanwo-Olu of Lagos State, who has been doing a lot to show he understands the grievances of the protesters, impose this ill-advised curfew? Oh, it was an own goal, that got everyone including hoodlums angry leading to massive destruction of properties.

Is that the last own goal? No. Following the circulation of video evidence of cameras being removed and lights being switched off at the Lekki Toll Gate just before the arrival of the military men, everyone rightly or wrongly pointed to the Lion of Bourdillon. Spleens got burst and the investments of the Lion became targets. Chai! When a Lion who has worked so hard to take up residence in the Rock come 2023 becomes complicit in the events leading up to Black Tuesday, it is an own goal and the people will not forget.

As the violence intensified, what most protesters did not know was that 'own goal na aduma-do-bodi.' The youths and most of us the sympathisers are unanimous that the impunity at the centre must stop. We want a better Nigeria and not rhetoric. But when false narratives and fake news are continually being peddled on social media urging the miscreants to keep destroying and looting the properties of innocent Nigerians, it is an own goal. We wanted a better Nigeria, but to destroy the mass transit we use, malls we visit and what hardworking Nigerians that are not politicians have built? No, that na aduma-do-bodi.

It's been a crazy one week, which I believe everyone will look back and regret the avalanche of own goals because what most groups have achieved is take one step forward and another backward. Truly, own goal na aduma-do-bodi. My prayer is that we will be vigilant enough not to score own goals. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

Happy Sunday

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

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Yet Another Naming Ceremony


I was thinking this morning.... following the wave of #EndSARS protest last week, the government finally acceded to the demands of Nigerians on Sunday 12th October announcing the dissolution of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). While the protesters celebrated the modest achievement, they were still on the streets 48hrs later calling for deep reforms when the IG announced a new unit called 'Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team.' It was then it dawned on everyone that what just happened was a 'naming ceremony.' SARS was not ended but renamed.

As I took the 'Oshiomhole sticker' position (arms akimbo), saying 'You don't mean it!' Nigerians began doing what they know best, giving the acronyms SARS and SWAT a performance based interpretation. It started with my young wife saying SARS means 'Satanic Agents Rampaging Society' while someone else said SWAT means 'SARS With Another Title.' Hmm! No be lie. But wait o, how deep is the thinking that led to the creation of SWAT within 48hrs of disbanding the killer squad? How fundamental is this change? What Nigerians want is nothing but a complete turnaround. As I pondered, my wife concluded with this bombshell 'this SWAT is nothing but 'Spiritual Wickedness Against Turnaround (SWAT).'

But our leaders sha! Why are they so shallow and reactive in their problem solving response?' Cast your mind back. As the failure of NEPA became legendary, everyone interpreted NEPA to be 'Never Expect Power Always.' When the clamour by Nigerians for reform got louder, the government in 1999 scrapped NEPA and came up with PHCN after very cosmetic changes. When the hours of darkness did not abate years after, we knew that what happened was a naming ceremony rather a reform.

Twenty years down the line in 2019, it was the turn of Nigeria Prison Service (NPS). Rather than being reformatory and rehabilitative, Nigeria's penal system is punitive, degrading and dehumanising and leaves the prisoners with the least opportunity of re-entry into the society. What was the response of the government? Buhari approved a bill that changed the name of the Nigeria Prisons Service to Nigeria Correctional Service. With the change, questions were asked. 'Has the prisons been changed to amusement parks?' 'Will they no longer hold 150 prisoners in a room?' Nigeria Prison Service (NPS) to Nigeria Correctional Service (NCS), 'Okere High College' (as prison is called in Warri) remains the same. It is not reform but a naming ceremony.

We must learn from our failures as a nation. When things don't work in our business or other investments, just pause. Don't be in a hurry to rename or rebrand. Deconstruct the situation, examining the flaws and seek input from those that know better and have succeeded. Isaiah 1:18 - 'Come now, and let us reason together, Says the LORD.' Don't be cosmetic. Renaming or rebranding is not reform.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 10 October 2020

Ending the Killie-killie


I was thinking this morning..... while listening to the MOG in Abuja preach at the midweek service last week, he had summarised Matthew 19:27 thus, 'Then Peter said to Jesus, what do we get from our 'follow-follow?' As he spoke, I couldn't help but imagine how entrenched the Nigerian characteristic style of expressing emphasis is. While I am not sure how this practice became a part of pidgin English, what I know is that though many verbs in the English language can easily be converted into nouns with the addition of suffixes such as -ance, -ment and -tion, it is only in pidgin English that you repeat a word with hyphen in-between and it becomes a noun. For example, 'follow' is a verb, but 'follow-follow' (the person that follows) is a noun. Hmm! Warri!!!

I don't know how far back this has been, all I remember is that as a kid if I dare ask my brother for a piece of sweet, my elder ones will sneer at me and instead of calling me a beggar, they will say 'Hmm. Beggie-beggie.' I walk away in anger and by happenstance meet a scene of boys fighting, interested in knowing who will have the upper hand, I join to watch. This again puts me in trouble as I get the 'corner eye' look followed by the words 'Looku-looku.' You will think that will be all. I wish. When I came home 30 minutes after school closed because I had to join other boys to pluck ebelebo (almond fruit), I went through a series of FBI interrogation with the concluding statement always, 'Oya, get inside. Waka-waka.'

It is against this backdrop that I read the statement last Wednesday by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) expressing deep concerns that Nigeria's mounting debt profile has become unsustainable. They noted that statistics from Debt Management Office put public debt at N31 trillion at the end of the second quarter, 2020. Wow! So much debt. When others complained, I responded and said in our shibbolethic way, 'Not surprising. Nigeria na 'Borrow-borrow.'

The next day, Falz and Runtown alongside other Nigerian Celebrities, took to the streets protesting against the alleged illegal operations of SARS. The #EndSARS movement is gaining momentum across the country. But why? These are police men meant to protect us from robbers. But after reading the summary report by Amnesty International titled 'Time to End Impunity', that documented 82 cases of torture, ill treatment and extra-judicial executions by SARS between January 2017 and May 2020, I shook my head and agreed with others that there must be better ways of dealing with robbers and cyber criminals while protecting innocent Nigerians. For now, I can only pray 'Oh God save us from 'Killie-killie.'

Follow-follow, looku-looku, waka-waka, shitty-shitty, whatever applies to you, just ensure you are on the Lord's side (Exodus 32:26) and not a 'yahoo-yahoo'. If you must be a follow-follow, follow a good cause like Peter. Abeg let me end here before someone calls me 'Talkie-talkie' or 'thinkie-thinkie.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 3 October 2020

Sickly at Sixty


I was thinking this morning...... I walked into a private hospital recently for checkup. While waiting to see the doctor, I observed two obviously retired men walk in. One with his son and the other his daughter. They seem very much in good health and probably in the hospital for something insidious. They sat by quietly while their children registered them and made all the arrangements. As I sat there, I couldn't but admire the benefits of having great children. It sure makes retirement wonderful.

But then, while there, I also observed other patients, some younger, come in looking fragile than the retired men and I wondered why. Why would some be fit as fiddle at 60 and others 'weak like dodo' at 40? As I mused, I recalled the message of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his speech at a church service held to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence anniversary at the National Ecumenical Centre in Abuja last Sunday, where he insinuated that Nigeria is sick and ready to die except we focus and consistently pray.

Like some men, why is Nigeria sickly at sixty? Australia gained independence from UK in 1901 (119 years) and Canada in 1931 (89 years) and are still kicking strong, but Nigeria is just sixty and so sickly. Why? Could it be due to poor lifestyle choices or genetic? It seems Nigerians are poor managers of their national, corporate and personal health. Think about it. Apart from the nation being sickly at sixty, it seems businesses founded by Nigerians get sick and die before they turn sixty. I discovered that there is hardly any organisation or business empire founded by a Nigerian that has outlived its founders. Few exceptions being the Nigerian Tribune published in Ibadan and established in 1949 by Obafemi Awolowo and a few religious organisations like Redeemed Christian Church (1952). Hardly any other solely Nigeria Company is over 60 years old. They die before they turn 60. While companies like Concord Newspapers, Okada Airline, Igbinedion Motors and Crown Merchant Bank had gone under, many of the companies that colonisation built like UACN (since 1879), Unilever (since 1923), A.G Leventis (since 1937), Nigerian Breweries (since 1946), Berger Paints (since 1959) and Shell, formerly BP (since 1958) are still existing. Oh God, why is Nigeria so sickly at sixty?

Maybe it is genetic. Doctors say after age 60, the ability to hear high-frequency tones diminishes. Could it be why those in Aso rock seem deaf to our complaints? Nigerians have been whispering in low tones, shouting on top their voices that the country is sick, yet no response. Initially I thought they were thrusting their fingers in their ears, now I know better. The doctors also say that at 60, one might find it harder to see well in dim light. Hmm! No wonder our leaders cannot see that the security and economic situation is bad. Please God, why is Nigeria so sickly at sixty?

There are many lessons to learn from a sickly Nigeria at sixty. First, prepare for when you will be sixty and retired. Choose a healthy lifestyle and raise your children to take over from you. Shame your ignorance and go for periodic medicals. Above all, claim God's promise of long life in excellent health (Psalms 91:16). God will heal Nigeria and we shall live long to prosper in it.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 26 September 2020

Rather A Man Than A Fish



I was thinking this morning...... When I read the headlines 'Zambia’s President mourns death of 22-year-old fish,' my first impression was that 'Fish' is the name of someone in Zambia. I was wrong. The report revealed how Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu has joined the nation in mourning the death of a fish that lived in a pond at the country’s second-biggest university. Students at Copperbelt University (CBU) lit candles and marched around campus to mourn the big bream. The hashtag 'Mafishi,' as the fish was affectionately known, is trending on Twitter in the southern African state. Wow! There are 18.4 million people in Zambia with an average of 315 persons dying every day according the World bank. There was no national mourning for anyone neither did we read about the President mourning anyone of them but a fish?

But why? Why would the country be mourning a fish and not it's people? It is reported that for the last two decades, CBU students have believed the fish would bring them good luck in exams. Some students used to pay homage to the fish before exams, believing it brought them good luck while others saw it as a stress-reliever, says BBC Zambia reporter Kennedy Gondwe. Hmm!

Shortly after reading the story, the WhatsApp platform of my Class of 86 set of my secondary school was alight when a photo of a onetime classmate of ours was shared. Papa Sam, as was fondly called by everyone in our neighbourhood in Warri then, dropped out of school early to go into maintenance of gas and kerosene stoves and similar household equipment. Thirty years later, while most of us his classmates have taken up white collar jobs and moved to bigger cities in different nations of the world, Papa Sam remained true to his calling, helping the ordinary people in Warri to fix their faulty stoves. Yes, years of manual labour has made him weak, looking older than his mates, but with shoulders raised he continued to serve his customers. He seems content just solving the cooking problems of people without tearing their pockets.

'Mafishi' gave Zambian students hope for their exams while Papa Sam gave struggling families in the Ogboru and Obahor neighbourhood of Warri hope about their faulty stoves. Who is giving you hope and who are you giving hope? My hope is not in any fish or creation but on the creator. Psalm 146:5 'Blessed is he whose hope is in the Lord his God.' One lesson I have learnt is that the greater your service to mankind, the greater your honour. Things are tough in Nigeria and in the world today. People are hurting and barely making it daily. A smile, a call, a helping hand, a prayer partner can make a world of difference. Irrespective of whether you have a white, blue or black collar job, give someone hope today, so that, rather than a fish, you will be celebrated. I will rather a 'papa Sam than a 'Mafishi.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 19 September 2020

Rich As You Could Be


I was thinking this morning..... I realised early while growing up in a very difficult neighbourhood of Warri that you are as rich as your feeling of enjoyment of the simple things of life. Though the parameter for measuring riches changed over the years, but it has remained centred on my ability to enjoy the simple things of life.

When on Wednesday 16th September, news broke of how Nigerian tycoon, Femi Otedola had gifted his three daughters Tolani, Temi and Florence Ifeoluwa Otedola (DJ Cuppy) with brand new Ferraris for an estimated princely sum of $697,389 (N320 million), social media was set ablaze. Temi had tweeted 'Papa took us shopping and bought one of each!' People were still talking yesterday Saturday 19th September, when Nigerian blogger and entrepreneur, Linda Ikeji celebrated her 40th birthday and decided to gift herself 85 designer shoes and 35 handbags worth about N36 million. According to the former model, she intended to get herself 40 pairs of shoes for her 40th birthday celebration but she ended up getting 85 pairs because she couldn’t resist the beauty of the shoes. For the bags, she narrated she wanted 40 but had to stop at 35 because the bags were expensive. Na so!

It's okay to casually comment on the actions of both Otedola and Linda and even better to use them as point of contact to work harder and ask God for favour. But when many on social media reacted by comparing their dad to Otedola, I knew this generation has missed it. Many have failed to see how rich they are, despite the volume of their material possessions. Riches is not about a fat bank account but how you enjoy the simple things of life. If God has blessed you like Otedola and Linda Ikeji, thank God and enjoy. If not, make shakara with your wheelbarrow like the 'Ikorodu Bois' depicted. Only yesterday the number of lives lost to Covid-19 in the U.S. topped 200,000 and you are alive is the strongest indication yet that you are rich and worth more than a Ferrari or 100 pairs of designer shoes.

Country musician Dolly Parton knew this in 1968 when she sang 'Coat of Many Colours' and said in the last stanza

'But they didn't understand it

And I tried to make them see

That one is only poor

Only if they choose to be

Now I know we had no money

But I was rich as I could be

In my coat of many colors

My momma made for me

Made just for me'

Borrow sense and heed Luke 12:15 'Be careful to guard yourselves against every kind of greed, because a person's life doesn't consist of the amount of possessions he has.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 12 September 2020

Parable of My Five Wives


I was thinking this morning..... I am normally a man with very high fidelity but working from home (WFH) has made me somewhat polygamous. 'Haba Pastor, how can that be?' I can say that my demand for high speed Internet was average before WFH was activated by Covid-19 pandemic.

When I started WFH, my only 'wife' (WiFi) to offer me high speed Internet was the beloved MTN, which I love to call 'My Sunshine.' When she was wooing me, she promised to make me walk on sunshine. Being light complexion, she radiates in sunshine and I couldn't resist her appeal. She promised me unlimited flow of data (love) but shortly after marriage, I saw her true colour. The love was not unlimited and it was coming too slowly. I was getting frustrated and needed someone to lift me up.

One day, a friend introduced me to this very charming lady that calls herself 'Smile,' who I quickly gave the pet name 'My Smiling Queen (MSQ). Truly, her smile was captivating and her love (data) unlimited, or so I thought. I quickly divorced my sunshine (MTN) and got hooked to MSQ, my second wife. She moved into my home with so much promises. Things started great. Her response to my needs was very fast and truly, I started smiling again. Weeks after, the love dipped and what I thought was unlimited, had a cap. When I asked MSQ why, she answered 'Terms and Conditions apply.' I was disappointed as my smiles became frowns because I couldn't afford the terms and conditions. This greatly affected my effectiveness and I needed to regain my pride.

When I narrated my ordeal to another friend, he told me not to worry and said, 'there is this lady you need to meet. She will be perfect for you and will make you glow with pride.' When I met her, I was awestruck when she revealed the joy and productivity she will bring when I marry her. She promised very fast and unlimited love (data) and above all reliability. That's how I married my third wife, GLO, who I called 'My Pride that glows.' The first few weeks after she moved in, my colleagues noticed the glow in me and asked what my secret was. I told them of my third wife and how she has made my connectivity easy. As weeks turned to months, I started noticing changes in her behaviour. She was no longer as responsive as before, acting sickly and her love seems to be rationed. When I reminded her about the unlimited love she promised, she smiled and said I have a promo for you, pay for a new sim and my love will be renewed. Wow! Another disappointment of a wife.

I immediately started scouting for a new bride. As I watched TV one evening, I saw this beautiful bride adorned with red and white, the colour of love. She calls herself Airtel, saying data is life. I fell in love with her beauty and started calling her 'My life.' Her love songs like 'small doctor' and 'four meta is a metaphor' were so captivating that I divorced my third wife and married her, My Life. She showered me with love to the extent that I always wanted more and had to clone her (got a second MiFi modem). Then I noticed I was spending too much on her. I decided to cut back on my expenses and asked 'My Life' for more of her love. She caressed my neck and said softly, "the more you pay, the more love I give. With N36,000 monthly, I will give you 280gb of my love.' Wow! This wife will make me go bankrupt if I am not careful.

I needed a budget wife that will show me truly unlimited love. Where can I find one? Then my brother advised me to leave the city girls (Glo, MTN, Airtel etc) and go for the less sophisticated ladies. He introduced me to two modest ladies, Tizetti and NGCom. After further enquiries, only yesterday I got married to yet another wife, my fifth wife called NGCom, whom I will call NG-Love. NG-Love came with beautiful promises to change my life for good. She told me there was no love (data) cap, truly unlimited in her services for half of what I was spending monthly on my 4th wife. I was wowed and fell for her charm. Twenty four hours after moving into my house, I turned on Netflix and YouTube and invited NG-Love. She was dragging and spooling. When I asked my NG-Love what the problem was, she responded 'what you see is what you get. I don't live in pretence.' Just like that? Now I have to live with her, for better for worse. Thank God, I did not let go of my 4th wife.

As I thought about my internet love life and the number of wives (WiFi) I have had, I remembered John 4:18 that says 'For you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.' Therefore, don't be surprised if you hear that I have moved to wife number six. I have however learnt that changing wives is not the solution. Be true to one partner and sort out your differences. There is no perfect wife (WiFi) anywhere (at least in Nigeria for now). May God help us.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 5 September 2020

The Fever Is In Your Interest


I was thinking this morning...... I woke up this morning feeling a bit under pressure and slightly feverish but can't say why. As I sat quietly, digging deep into my subconscious to extract the reason for the unusual feeling, it suddenly surfaced like sweet crude from a newly dug oil well in Otumara field. For the last 14 years, my system has settled into the rhythm of paying school fees and seeing my children off to school by the first week in September. By this time last year, like every other year, I was telling someone happy school fees week. This year is different, thanks to the Covid-19 disruption.

As my mind and body was involuntarily responding to the School Fees Fever (SFF) or so I thought, I wondered why. But then, I recalled that Nigerians woke up on Tuesday 1st September to a 100% increase in electricity tariff. The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) had suddenly increased light bill AKA electricity tariff from 30.23 Naira for one kwh (kilowatt unit of energy per hour) to as much as 62.33 Naira per kwh. At this point, it started making sense that it was not SFF giving me the strange feeling but Electricity Tariff Fever (ETF).

Then on Thursday 3rd September, the reality of the news that the price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol is now hovering between N160 to N162 per litre dawned on us after filling stations and independent marketers adjusted their retail pump price from N148. In response, I exclaimed 'Oba-jor!' which in my native Itsekiri translates 'no wonder.' Petrol Price Fever (PPF) was also a probable cause of my strange feelings.

Meanwhile, our political benefactors are telling us that the fever is in our interest. Really? Fact is fever could be beneficial. I found out that fever turn on the body's immune system. They help the body fight infection. Normal fevers between 100° and 104° F (37.8° - 40°C) are good for sick children. However, fever with high temperature can trigger a seizure. This is the case with Nigerians. The temperature of Nigerians was almost bursting the thermometer when the prices of food shot up generating another fever called Food Price Fever (FPF) which when combined with ETF and PPF have triggered massive seizures in Nigerians.

Make no mistake, it is not over yet. That the school fees fever (SFF) is delayed does not mean it will not come. It will therefore be wise to prepare so that when schools eventually open, you will not experience another fever to add to FPF, ETF and PPF. While government is saying ETF and PPF are good for us and that FPF is caused by corrupt middle men, the average Nigerian is convulsing. Issorite! I am confident that this seizure that Nigerians are experiencing from multiple layers of fever will not kill us because Psalms 34:19 says 'Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the LORD delivers him out of them all.' Stay hopeful.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 29 August 2020

Accidental Accent


I was thinking this morning.... about how a car accident left a Jamaican woman left-handed and with British accent. 'How possible is that?' When I first read the report of how 33-year-old Deana-Rae Clayton, an all-Jamaican woman with a rich island accent was involved in a horrible car crash that claimed the life of a friend and left two others seriously injured, I was interested to know more. It was reported that when Clayton first awoke from a coma two days after the accident, she found herself speaking with an American accent, which gradually changed to a British accent months later. Doctors described the phenomenon as foreign accent syndrome – a speech disorder that has caused a sudden change to her native tongue.

Clayton had explained, 'the swelling that the brain damage caused is between my language and motor skills, so my accent has changed and I am now left-handed instead of right-handed. I am unable to speak the Jamaican accent now,' she told The Sunday Gleaner, adding that her life will never be the same again. Wow!!! The accident first turned the Jamaican into an American and then British. Are you thinking what I am thinking? May Nigerians not know the junction in the brain between the language and motor skills o, because they will self-induce the swelling so as to suffer from 'foreign accent syndrome.' You know how obsessed many Nigerians are with having the Yankee accent.

On the other hand, if a simple swelling can turn a right-handed person to become left-handed, won't it be possible for doctors to induce swelling in the brain that will change all the corrupt Nigerian politicians into saints? The kidnappers and killers into caregivers? Abeg which part of the brain can we press, so that Nigerians entrusted with leadership will never remember how to loot the treasury. I am sure doctors will call it 'Corruption Correction Syndrome.'

Deana-Rae Clayton had concluded that apart from her now being left-handed and having a British accent, the accident has affected her so much that her life will never be the same again. The good news is we need not be in an accident to become new. God has made provision to transform us to new creatures. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 says 'Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.' Do the right thing and have the right accent of life before a traumatic event forcefully make you change your dexterity and accent.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 22 August 2020

From MAGA King to MAFA King


I was thinking this morning.... One can rightly surmise that my Twitter presence is almost zero except for my connections to the news pages. I follow no one and no one is following me until last week when I decided to follow my brother. Days later, my page was filled with discussions on Donald Trump's reelection with the surprise being that my brother was very active exchanging comments and mobilising Americans for Trump even though he is in Nigeria. I called him up to understand why and his response was 'I am a Maga king.' Since I wasn't a keen follower of the US elections, the term 'Maga' sounded strange to me, so I did the reasonable thing. 'What is Maga king?' I asked. 'Make America Great Again (MAGA)' was his response. I laughed and asked 'But how can you be a Nigerian living in Nigeria and be a Maga king?'

Apart from my being titillated by the term 'MAGA King,' because it sounds like a pidgin English word, I thought about how someone who is not directly impacted by the American politics will become a champion of the cause of one of the political actors. As I thought about it, I recalled how an acquaintance of mine has dedicated a good portion of his Facebook posts to the Edo State election where he is pushing for Oshiomhole, not Ize-Iyamu, to unseat governor Obaseki, by fire by force. He is so passionate about this plot that one will wonder what his interest is in Edo politics since he is not an indigene. I would've concluded that he is a 'MEGA' king with 'MEGA' meaning 'Make Edo Great Again,' but that mantra has been taken up by Governor Obaseki (and his supporters), who unveiled a 12-point agenda tagged 'Making Edo Great Again, MEGA'.

Well, it is well within the rights of anyone to support any political interest anywhere in the world, but most people will expect charity to begin at home or at least close to home. That's why it is a surprise to me that no one is talking about the recent coup in Mali. Mali, our West African neighbour, is a vast country stretching into the Sahara Desert and is among the poorest countries in the world. It has experienced several military takeovers and is currently battling to contain a wave of jihadist attacks and ethnic violence. The ousted president, Mr Keïta won a second term in elections in 2018, but since June has faced huge street protests over corruption, the mismanagement of the economy and a dispute over legislative elections. Following the military coup, which we all thought had become history in Africa, I was really hoping that by this time, we should have lots of 'MMAFA' kings, but alas none. 'MMAFA meaning 'Make Mali Free Again.'

I don't understand why we are not interested in what is happening in Mali, but at least we should be interested in Africa. If you x-ray the challenges that led to the coup in Mali, you will see similar trends all over Africa including our beloved country Nigeria. If we must salvage our nation and continent then we will need hordes of MAFA Kings. 'MAFA' meaning 'Make Africa Free Again.' Free from corruption and mismanagement of our commonwealth. Please step down on being a MAGA king and focus on being a MAFA king. Matthew 7:5 says 'First take the beam out of your own eyes...'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 15 August 2020

This Life Ehn!


I was thinking this morning..... or rather flabbergasted this morning when I watched the video of an Israel-based jeweller, Orna and Isaac Levy, that designed and released pictures of what it claims to be the most expensive face mask in the world. The face mask costs a whooping 1.5 million USD (about 600 million naira). As per a report published by Associated Press, the 18-karat white gold face mask has been decorated with 3,600 white and black diamonds and fitted with top-rated N99 filters. Wow!

After watching the video, I picked up both my surgical and cloth face masks, took a good look at them, chuckled and then exclaimed 'This life ehn!' I should wear a mask that costs over half a billion naira? For what na? Will it protect everyone in my lineage up to the 20th generation? I imagined that someone may argue that it has an N99 filter. I know that the letter 'N' means the mask is non-resistant to oil-based particles such as solvents and pesticides, while the number '99' means the mask can filter out 99% of airborne particles. My response is 'And so? Will it filter corruption out of Nigeria?' Hian!!!

The report revealed that the mask was customised for an unknown Chinese billionaire who lives in the United States and wanted to own the world's most expensive face mask. Can you imagine? At a period when hundreds of thousands have died of Covid-19 and millions more impacted from COLIH-20, the priority of this Chinese billionaire is for vanity value. Issorite. All I can say is 'This life ehn!'

I can excuse when people spend obscene amounts of money on fashion or luxury items, but for face mask? Haba! Face mask should not be made a fashion item because it is a personal protective equipment (PPE). This NGN600 million mask does exactly the same thing as the NGN100 cloth mask, which is to protect one from Coronavirus. The only difference is the vanity value of the diamond mask. It even got more interesting when the designers made it clear that since the mask will weigh 270 grams, it won’t be comfortable to wear. So what is the point? This clearly is not an essential vanity. It is sad that at a crucial time as this when all attention should be focused on making face masks affordable and available to all, what is making the news is a single face mask which cost can buy face masks for everyone in Delta state. This life ehn!

Souls are perishing and millions hungry, so I beg you to focus on what is important. 1st Thessalonians 5:21 says 'But test everything; hold fast what is good.' I have considered the diamond mask, surgical mask, paper mask, cloth mask, N95 or N99 masks and can say that what is important is to wear a face mask, if you can't keep your distance from others.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 8 August 2020

Permit To Whack (PTW)


I was thinking this morning..... In the early days of my career, I worked with a company providing public health services to one of the Oil majors in Nigeria. We visited the company locations weekly to sample potable water and food contact surfaces to determine their hygiene status. One day in 1998, we set out on a day trip to a flow station in Delta State. After delays at the jetty, we set sail and eventually arrived at about 1pm. We got off the boat tired and hungry and headed for the office of the Superintendent for clearance before we commenced work. Having been directed to the cafeteria where everyone was having lunch, we met the Superintendent sweating over a scrumptious meal. The service we were providing allowed us to take swabs of the food to ensure it is safe, but we were not permitted to eat. The Superintendent, being aware of this clause, requested us, two tired and hungry souls, for our Permit to Work (PTW). I reached out and handed him the coloured piece of paper to sign. As he did in the midst of the noise from the clanging cutlery and people chatting as they enjoyed their lunch, my mind segued from work to 'whack.' I looked at the man and said smiling, 'Sir, we don't have a problem with permit to work (PTW), all we need right now is 'permit to whack (PTW).'

In the fastest growing organic language in the world, pidgin English, 'to whack' means to eat. But do we all have enough to eat? According to the National Bureau of Statistics, more than 82 million Nigerians live on less than $1 (N385) a day meaning they don't have enough to eat. While they were scrambling for food this past week, our political leaders were busy with Edo State politics and the Amaechi China loans, and millions of misguided Nigerian youths and adults were watching Big Brother Naija Season 5 also known as 'Big Brother Naija: Lockdown' on DSTV. Chai! As I considered it all, I remembered 1998 and imagined the 82 million Nigerians saying we don't care about politics and social media rave, all we need right now is permit to whack (PTW).

In a bit, my attention shifted to international news and I saw the Bloomberg headline 'Almost 30 Million in U.S. Didn’t Have Enough to Eat Last Week.' 'Really? Hunger in America?' I didn't see that coming because major discussions across America have been on the impact of Covid-19, politics of Donald Trump's response and the November election. But then as the news anchors were yapping away, I could imagine the 30 million hungry Americans saying 'we don't have a problem with politics and the fight against Coronavirus, all we need right now is permit to whack (PTW).

In the Oil and Gas industries, Permit to Work (PTW) could be a life saver for the average worker, but for the average Nigerian ranging from the hundreds of pilots sacked by Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to the millions in Niger Delta made poor by their thieving leaders and the corruption and looting going on in NDDC, the only life saver they know is permit to whack (PTW). The right to adequate food is a long-standing international human right to which many countries including Nigeria are committed, yet over 40% of Nigerians are hungry. Not to worry, Joel 2:26 says 'And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you: and my people shall never be ashamed.'

Your permit to whack has been approved. Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 1 August 2020

Mummy Calm Down

I was thinking this morning.... When I watched the viral video of the young boy crying while pleading with his mum to calm down, his plea did not get lost on me. Though my first impression was that of surprise that the mother will even consider recording this little boy and post it on social media, but watching the video left a strong message that is germane for all adults, particularly Nigerians to heed. He had said with tears in his eyes 'Mummy calm down. Mummy you must rest a little.'

But Nigerians sha, our blood too dey hot. I considered the Sahara Reporters headline 'Man Beats Pregnant Wife To Death In Ondo,' and took a deep breath. I imagined what Blessing would have done to her husband, 47 years old Olabode Oluwaseun, to warrant his hitting her on the abdomen, leading to her death and that of her unborn child. Wow! The UN has described the worldwide increase in domestic violence as a "shadow pandemic" alongside Covid-19 as it reports a 20% increase during the lockdown, as many people are trapped at home with their abuser. But why do we get so angry to the point of being violent? It is still a shock how Olabode got to the tipping point but if he had taken a minute to listen, he would've heard the words 'Honey calm down. Honey you must rest a little.'

If you still can't appreciate the importance and urgency of the little boy's message, then read the Daily Trust headline of last Thursday 'Soldier Kills Commander in Borno.' Why would the soldier kill his superior instead of Boko Haram? The soldier was said to have fired eight shots at his commander, a Lieutenant of the 202 Tank Battalion, killing him on the spot. It was reported the soldier was embittered because his allowances were withheld and account blocked. Haba! Is that enough to kill your oga? I may not understand why he took that extreme action, but I know that had he listened carefully, he would have heard that voice saying 'Bros calm down. Bros you must rest a little.'

Every where you turn, tempers are high, people are hungry and justifiably angry and flipping over due to a combination of economic and other factors. The pressure on people is unbearable and I can hear a typical Warri man exclaim 'Head don burn! Everywhere don cast!' But before you do anything you will regret, realise that at the verge of our tipping point to violence, whether verbal or physical, is always that calm little voice saying 'Bros/sist, calm down. Bros, you must rest a little.' The challenge is that we seldom hearken to that plea, a virtue we must all adopt. Having heard all of the above, if your blood still dey hot then listen to the ISV translation of Judges 6:23 that says 'Calm down! Don’t be afraid.'

Happy new month.

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

Saturday, 25 July 2020

The Chairman Has Spoken

Sshh!!! That's okay 

I was thinking this morning.... sshhh!!! Off the mic so I can think of the drama at the NDDC probe last Monday. Having been accused of benefiting from an NDDC contract and therefore bias, the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on the Niger Delta, Rep. Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC-Ondo) stepped aside as head of the panel investigating alleged corruption at the NDDC and handed over to the deputy chairman Hon Thomas Ereyitomi (PDP -Delta). At the resumed sitting, apart from the bizarre and shocking incident of the NDDC IMC chairman fainting on live TV, it was pure drama watching the Minister of Niger Delta, Godswill Akpabio respond to the panel members. The highlight of the session with the Minister was when he alleged that over 60% of NDDC contracts goes to the National assembly members. The session got rowdy with the panel members and Akpabio talking over themselves. The panel chairman became uncomfortable with the damning revelations and declared continuously 'Hon Minister, that's okay. That's okay! Off your mic! Off your mic!'

As I pondered on the attempt by the panel chairman to shush the Minister I saw the big picture of what Nigeria has become.
Think about it. We all saw the naked dance of the former head of National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Ayodele Oke in 2017 who stashed $43.45 million in a house at Ikoyi. The lid was blown open, questions were asked with everyone believing that the actual people behind it will be brought to book. The news was in the public domain until one chairman somewhere shouted 'Hon Minister, that's okay. That's okay! Off your mic! Off your mic!' The lights went out and that was the end.

Remember the $2.1 billion arms deal popularly called Dasukigate? Ex-national security adviser (NSA) Sambo Dasuki, along with many others were arrested in 2015 at the onset of the current administration. Sizzling revelations kept rolling out for years and everyone thought convictions will be made. Suddenly at about 9pm on Tuesday December 24th 2019, Sambo Dasuki walked out of prison a free man. Till date, no traction on the case and Nigerians have moved on because the chairman had said 'Hon Minister, that's okay. That's okay! Off your mic! Off your mic!'

Nigeria we hail thee. Ibrahim Magu of Magugate, shortly after his release from detention, had summed up the frequent episodes of corruption scandals in Nigeria as a case of dog eat dog. Every time one unsatisfied dog attacks another, the chairman will intervene. That's why when the Speaker of the lower chamber challenged Akpabio to make open the list of all those in the house that were given contracts within 48 hours, Akpabio denied the accusation. You know why? The chairman has intervened and the mic has been switched off. The good news is that some day the chairman will be overruled, the divine klieg light switched on and the trumpet, not just the mic, will sound to reveal all. Luke 8:17 'For nothing is hidden that will not become evident, nor anything secret that will not be known and come to light.'

Stay safe and when in public, you can off the mic but please wear a mask.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 18 July 2020

Cursing Covid-19

I was thinking this morning..... When I first saw the photo of a keke somewhere in Nigeria with the inscription 'God Punish Covid-19,' I immediately understood where the operator was coming from. He must have been personally affected by the impact of the pandemic. One obvious impact, I believe, is the increasing trend of activities going virtual. How will a keke operator make money when everyone is staying home and working from home (WFH)? If we really want to comply with 2m social distancing, who will enter keke?

To tell you how serious this virtual reality has become, I was on phone with my younger sister during the week, discussing coping strategies during this difficult time. She shocked me when she mentioned that she recently attended a virtual naming ceremony of her neighbour's child where the pastor officiated the ceremony from somewhere in the world. While she was yet musing on this change, she received an invite from a friend to a virtual burial ceremony via zoom. Wow! 'Obito,' like we call it in Warri, has gone virtual. Can you imagine all the opportunities for free food and souvenirs that area boys and non-area girls will lose from 'owanbes' becoming virtual? What about the Caterers cooking the party jollof rice? Bad business mehn!!! I am sure many are angry with the situation and cursing like the keke operator saying 'God Punish Covid-19.'

Then on Tuesday 14th July, the Nigeria Supreme Court struck out two suits by Lagos and Ekiti State governments challenging the validity and constitutionality of the Virtual Court Sittings procedure. While the suits did not reveal the real motive of their grouse, I know that 'charge and bail' lawyers and all the 'Court rats' that earn their living from the 'legal and illegal markets' around the courts will seriously be impacted if the court sittings go virtual. They will, like the Keke operator, be cursing 'God Punish Covid-19.'

It's only 6 weeks to the resumption of schools for the September (Fall) session and thank God the Federal government has announced September 5th as resumption date for schools in Nigeria. I have been waiting patiently to see how the school fees regime will comply with the Covid-19 protocols. I finally received the invoices from the schools of two of my kids. Wow! To my chagrin, the fees did not go virtual, even though classes will be virtual. There was absolutely no negative 'social distancing' between what we paid pre-covid and now. If anything, it was 'masked up.' But why? Don't they understand the impact of Covid-19 on the finances of parents?

Covid-19 has indeed been wicked to mankind with 14 million confirmed cases, over 600,000 dead and economies destroyed. As I remembered those I know that have died from Covid-19, I muttered in the voice of my younger brother 'Wicked! Very wicked!' But knowing very well that Proverbs 3:33 says 'The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked,' I can confidently join the keke operator to say that 'God will not only Punish Covid-19 but will kill it from its root.'

Wear a mask and stay safe because this too shall pass.

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

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Karma Na Shege

I was thinking this morning.... When I read the headline 'Dino Melaye debuts new song 'Karma na shege' for suspended EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu,' I didn't know what to think. The reason is because I have become numb, okay, indifferent more like it, to the political happenings in Nigeria. However, what I couldn't shake off my mind quickly enough was the phrase 'Karma na shege,' maybe because of the Warri patois. Before I open my thoughts on the phrase, I wish to establish three facts.

First, it is important to state that I am personally not a fan of Dino Melaye and his style of politics because I believe he is part of the problem of Nigeria. All the wealth he displays while recording his chart breaking singles are pointers that his ways are not pure. Secondly, I don't believe in Karma which in Hinduism and Buddhism, means the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences. This is because I believe that it is appointed unto man once to die and after that judgement. Thirdly, though 'Shege' in Hausa means 'illegitimate,' it is often used in pidgin English to express a damning surprise. 

Against that backdrop, when I read Dino's single title 'Karma na shege,' my interpretation is that a man shall reap what he sows whether good or evil and that retribution for someone's evil act can sometimes be sudden but saccharine. Imagine in a country where the government gave out peanuts to some citizens as Covid-19 palliative and nothing to most, the acting NDDC MD, Kemebradikumo Pondei telling the Senate committee investigating their financial recklessness that they used N1.5bn to take care of themselves as COVID-19 palliative. Choi! These people shared the monies meant for the masses among themselves, leaving the masses to die. The kind of money our politicians and their acolytes steal is simply slobbering. What I know is that it won't be long for payback because 'Karma na shege.'

In my foul mood, I decided to take a walk early that morning. With my headset on, listening to music, I made this turn along my usual path in my estate. Then I observed about 10 young men with very suggestive looks, leaving an apartment, most clutching a laptop and their phones. I need no Daniel for interpretation of the scene. The house they were coming from was a 'Hushpuppie Academy.' To evade the prying eyes of security agents, it seems the 'Hushpuppie Academies' have relocated to gated estates. They spend all day and night undergoing hands-on training on how to scam the rich, poor, sick, politicians, students and just about anyone. They throw their unfortunate victims into misery and send many to their early grave, while they display their ill-gotten wealth on social media. Some may be lucky to escape the claws of 'Fox Hunt,' but it won't be long before their end came because like Dino said 'Karma na shege.' 

The evil in our world is so pervasive that many people are cavalier about the repercussions. One thing is certain, Galatians 6:7-8 says 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.' 

Stay safe and stay true to man and God.
Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Kolobi Na Chokehold

I was thinking this morning...... It is interesting how the first half of 2020 has simply rolled by like a lazy truck on the Lekki-Epe Expressway. The last four months to many has been anything but copacetic, as the feeling was almost like one being strangulated. Many now understand what George Floyd meant when he said 'I can't breathe' and can appreciate all the fuss about banning chokehold. The nationwide outrage that followed George Floyd's death on May 25th has compelled many US States to ban the use of the controversial Chokehold technique by their police officers. But what is this chokehold technique?

I decided to consult Google on what exactly chokehold is. While searching, I also dug into my bag of Warri experience and discovered that chokehold is not a new technique and depending on the purpose, there are three variants from my perspective. The first is what we simply called 'kolobi' in those days in Warri. Kolobi (I have no idea where the word is from) is a friendly fire that follows a disagreement between friends. One friend wraps his arm around the neck of the other purely to immobilize him. The second variant of chokehold, also common in Warri, was known as 'Tie-neck.' Tie-neck, unlike Kolobi, was used by criminals to not only immobilize but also to inflict pain on the victim forcing him to surrender his possession. Since guns were not so easy to come by those days, the weapon of the Area boys (Jaguda and Boma) was 'tie-neck.' 

I never knew there was a third and most deadly form of chokehold until recent events started unfolding in the US. It is called Carotid neck restraint, also known as sleeper hold or a blood choke, which involve putting pressure on the sides of a person’s neck to restrict blood flow. Thank God the criminals in Warri back then had no idea about the Carotid arteries in the neck and their importance, otherwise 'yawa for gas o.'

Reflecting on the chokehold types opened my eyes to how brutal Covid-19 has been. First, through the lockdown, it 'kolobied' so many, keeping them immobilized both physically and financially for months. Then many others were 'tie-necked' when they became sick, struggling to breathe and had to spend their savings to stay alive. For some others, what they got was the 'Sleeper hold' and made worse by underlying medical conditions, they didn't make it. God rest their souls.

All put together the violence inflicted on mankind by Covid-19 is unprecedented. According to Worldometer, at the end of the first half of 2020, about 11 million people has been infected with over 500,000 deaths. Wahoo!! As we march on into the second half of the year, circumstances of life will attempt to kolobi, tie-neck or give you sleeper hold, do not give in because Job 22:29 says 'When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.'

2020 shall end well for us and our homes shall be festooned with balloons and flowers in celebration. 

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 27 June 2020


Dem Never Baff

I was thinking this morning.... There were so many news worthy events last Thursday 25th June 2020. The day started with political intrigues in the two major parties in Nigeria. The ruling party, APC, sacked the Adams Oshiomhole-led National Working Committee (NWC) two years, two days after it came into office. Governor Obaseki of Edo State finally clinched the PDP ticket for the September election after other strong contenders stepped down for him. Then news started shifting to the UAE, when the Dubai Police released a stunning video of 'Fox Hunt 2' showing how Nigeria internet fraudster Ramoni Igbalode AKA Hushpuppie, allegedly defrauded over 1.9 million victims to the tune of $435.6 million. Wahoo! Nigerians were still masticating on the depressing news when fresh news broke that Senator Abiola Ajimobi, the immediate past governor of Oyo State, had passed on at the age of 70 after battling Covid-19 related complications. So sad.

While all the news of the decadence of our politicians and youths dampened my mood that day, none got me thinking about life until another video surfaced late that evening of Senator Abiola Ajimobi revealing that he has always told God he wants to die at the age of 70. Ajimobi had stated this during an interview with Splash FM some weeks before he was hospitalized. He had only celebrated his 70th birthday about 6 months ago on 16 December 2019.

I went to bed wondering why anyone will choose to die at the lower limit of old age. Yes, I call it lower limit of old age because David in the bible, like Senator Ajimobi, specified his age on earth to be 70 years (Psalms 90:10) and he died at 70. The interesting thing is that at 70, the bible says David died at a ripe old age, full of years (Ist Chronicles 29:28). Hmm!! But why won't anyone prefer to die at the upper limit of old age (120 years) as specified by God in Genesis 6:3? Genesis 25:8 says Abraham died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years. He died at 175 while Moses died at 120 years. 

So, yes, everyone wants to die at a good old age, but whether you die at the lower limit of 70 years or upper limit of 120 years will depend on what you ask for. I remembered a friend of my aunt while I was in the University. It was the early 90s when Ibrahim Babangida was our Head of State. This man, in his mid life season, will always declare while discussing politics with his friends, that he has no reason to be alive to see the nonsense happening in Nigeria then. I always wondered why he should be making such strong statements. He died not long after while the nonsense in Nigeria continued. 

The nonsense in Nigeria has continued till this day so much so that our politicians have become 'Political Hushpuppies' scamming 200 million Nigerians from APC to PDP. But rather than their behaviours making you speak words that will entrap your destiny, pray for them, because like my young wife will say in pidgin English, 'Dem never baff (bath). How I take know? Because yeye dey smell follow dem.'

Speak life to stay alive and may God keep you to the good old age of 120, full of years and strength. 

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 20 June 2020


Pause and Play on the Remote control 

I was thinking this morning.....Yesterday, I sat lazily on the couch watching Live Premier league football when suddenly everyone on the pitch froze, or so I thought. I looked again, it was the transmission on cable TV that froze. 'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' I asked, turning to my son. 'Daddy, but the Remote is with you,' he responded. I checked around me and discovered that I had sat on the Remote Control and inadvertently pressed the 'Pause' button. I pressed 'Play' on the Remote Control and the transmission continued. Though I continued watching from where it stopped when the 'Pause' button was pressed, what was less obvious was that it was no longer real time. The match continued while I was looking for the Remote Control. It became obvious when one of the teams scored and I heard fans at the Viewing centre close by shout 'Goooaal' seconds before it happened on my screen.

'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' That question lingered as I went to bed. It's nine days to the end of the first half of the year and it seems like someone had pressed the 'Pause' button on the eternal Remote Control of time early in the year. What had happened to the months? How was it possible that as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses, careers, leisure, pleasure and other activities of humans could be paused for so long while other creatures on earth carried on living?

So many students are asking, 'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' Year 12 (SS3) students started 2020 with great expectations to take their WAEC and IGCSE exams in April/May 2020 which would've formed the basis of their gaining admission to the University within or outside of Nigeria in September. The months are rolling by and no one knows when the WAEC and IGCSE exams will take place. Will they be able to join their colleagues to resume University in September? How can they get visa to study abroad when the embassies have suspended visa issuance due to Covid-19? Who pressed the 'Pause' button?

'Who pressed my 'Pause' button?' That was the question on the mind of Cynthia Kudji, a native Ghana, who while she was 23 dreamt of being a medical doctor. She however mistakenly pressed the 'Pause' button on her dream when she got pregnant and gave birth to her daughter Jasmine. After so many years of being in the 'Pause' mode, Cynthia enrolled in the Family Medicine program at The University of Health and Sciences on the island of St. Kitts and Nevis in the Caribbean while the daughter Jasmine studied General Surgery at LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana. Mother and daughter graduated as Medical doctors in March 2020 and will begin their residency in July 2020 at the LSU Health New Orleans. Pregnancy placed her dream on 'Pause,' took her years, but couldn't take her dream.

You probably are looking through your aide-memoire for 2020 and it all but seem like your career, business and travel plans are on hold and you are asking 'Who pressed the 'Pause' button?' The answer could be simple or esoteric, but whatever it is, like Cynthia Kudji, pick up the Remote Control and press 'Play.' Philippians 3:13 'But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead.'

Just press 'Play,' and stay safe.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 13 June 2020

The Kilishi Advancement


I was thinking this morning..... about the progress we have made. The Punch Newspaper reported a mild drama at the Senate on Monday 8th June 2020 when the Director-General of the Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC), Professor Hussain Ibrahim, appeared before the Senate Committee on Science and Technology to brief the senators on the activities of his agency. The senate committee chairman had told Ibrahim, 'Just give us the synopsis of what you have developed or generated for local industries in the past 33 years the RMRDC has been in existence. Tell us about your breakthrough.' An elated Ibrahim had said, 'To be honest, we are making progress. We have developed technology to optimize Kilishi production.' Wow! Of all the challenges we have with raw materials in Nigeria, the breakthrough worthy of mention for 33 years of RMRDC was Kilishi technology. Nigeria, we hail thee!

Kilishi is the locally spiced roasted meat made of beef, and it is very popular in the northern part of Nigeria. I have been buying and eating Kilishi for many years and not aware that we now have different flavours or that the packaging now comes with food labels. All we see are vendors selling kilishi wrapped in brown envelopes or old newspapers. Where then is the breakthrough in Kilishi technology?

I have not eaten kilishi since this lockdown began, so in looking for a breakthrough early last week, I decided to check on how well some the investments I made years back are doing. Like the Senate Committee chairman, I asked my Stockbroker to give me a synopsis of all the equities I bought between 2004 and 2006. When the report dropped in my mailbox, I wasn't sure whether to cry or laugh like the Senators. 15 years after, many of the stocks had depreciated while a few gained a few kobos. As I reflected on whether that is a breakthrough, I agreed it is progress. Yes, Kilishi Progress.

So many Nigerians believe we haven't made significant progress as a nation since we gained independence in 1960. They are quick to point at our Aviation, Health and Educational sectors and shudder at how we have remained static, if not retrogressed. They are wrong. In our 21 years of uninterrupted democracy, politicians that fought godfatherism while in office have become Super-godfathers today. Is that not progress? I can hear someone say 'Yes, but it is Kilishi Progress.'

There are so many that have been saving for years to buy a car, buy or build a property or even travel abroad. Anytime they come close to meeting the target, inflation or naira devaluation chips away the value. In their frustration, some are wondering if they are making progress in life. The answer is 'Yes, you are making progress, but Kilishi Progress.' 

Kilishi Progress is one that is so insignificant or irrelevant that the person or institution's later state is either not different from or worse than the former. I have personally taken a stand against Kilishi progress and embrace Psalms 92:12 'The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.' I would rather a 'Palm Tree' than Kilishi progress. 

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Warri to Choba: A Journey of Life in Time

With fellow Corpers at Bonny in 1992

I was thinking this morning..... When last Sunday, my friend and former school mate wrote a beautiful piece titled 'The Road to Mogadishu' on our Hussey College Set of 86 WhatsApp Group chat, we were challenged to pen down our life's journey for the benefit of all. As I mused on the thousands of journeys I have embarked upon in life within and outside Nigeria, none came close to reflecting a portion of my life's journey like a journey I made from Warri to Choba in Port-Harcourt in 1992. It was during my NYSC programme when I was serving as a Biology teacher at Bonny National Grammer School (BNGS) on Bonny Island. I made frequent trips home to Warri despite the very parlous state of the road at that time. But this particular trip left an impression. Life is a journey. 

Though I was aware that the road was in a very bad shape, it wasn't difficult making the decision to embark on the journey confident that I will get to Choba before nightfall. That was exactly my mindset when I left Hussey College Warri ready to leave home for the first time for the University. I had no doubt whatsoever, that in this journey of life, I will be successful. Making the journey possible was not an easy one as sacrifices were made by my parents to raise the transport fare that will take me all the way to Bonny island. This mirrors my admission to Uniben in 1987 to study Microbiology. The joy of getting the admission was soon dampened by the lack of money for my school fees and upkeep. My parents did the only thing they know, sacrifice. I eventually set out to the University with two pairs of trousers and three shirts, because the school fees, like my transport fare to Choba, was all that mattered at the time. Life is journey. 

Back to the trip to Choba. We set out at about 9am with the journey between Warri and Ughelli being a smooth ride, reminding me of my first year at Uniben. As we journeyed towards Patani at the boundary between Delta and Bayelsa States, we encountered a diversion through one of the villages because a section of the road ahead had been cut off by flood. Juxtapose with my life's journey, this was my experience as I moved into the second year at Uniben. There was an opportunity for Science students that did well to transfer to Medical college. Since being a doctor had always been my childhood dream, I made the move from Microbiology to Medicine or should I say Macrobiology. After spending a month in medical school, we returned back to our departments when the transfer exercise failed. I soon realised it was a diversion. Life is a journey. 

My life progressed just like our journey to Choba. When we entered Bayelsa state, it was a chaotic scene around Sagbama. The road had been completely cut off with no alternative routes. Vehicles could not go across. Locals were carrying passengers on their backs through the flooded craters and muddy pits to join other vehicles at the other side of the road. Passengers in commercial vehicles where exchanged like currency transactions at a Bureau de change counter. This is a picture of how I survived my final year in 1991 and the 2 years I spent doing my MSc (1992 to 1994). My family had run into a financial roadblock after my dad had lost his job. It was a tough period that threatened the continuation of my education just like the crater at Bayelsa. Like the locals carrying passengers to the other side of the road, God sent a complete stranger my way who took me in and fed me for the rest of the stay in Uniben. The lifeline ensured that I continued on the journey of life.

We finally left Bayelsa going through the Mbiama bridge that separates Bayelsa and Rivers States. This is akin to how I completed my University education (BSc and MSc) and commenced my working career in 1995. The journey between Ahoada and Choba was mostly straight but with unsafe intersections with community roads and lots of police checkpoints that slowed down the journey. Navigating safely along this road until I got to my bus stop at Choba mirrors my journey in time between 1995 when I got my first job as a contractor personnel with SPDC and 2020, the year of rebooting and reflection. The details of that journey shall be subject of another of my musings.

Somewhere along that journey to Choba, in the midst of the chaos at Bayelsa, a miracle happened. While we were waiting to be carried to the other side of the road, we were tired, thirsty and unsure of what the rest of the journey holds. The villagers had set up small businesses selling cold water, edible worm and other snacks to weary passengers. While others munched, I watched because I couldn't afford it. Then came a helping hand who paid for me to enjoy with others, giving me a new lease of life. This was my experience a week after I left campus to commence my job search. I had walked into Word of Life Bible Church in December of 1994 unsure of what the future holds, but when the gift of life was offered me during the altar call, I accepted Christ that day and the path to my future became clear and assured. I was ordained a Pastor 14 years later in the same Port Harcourt that was the destination of this trip. Life is a journey. 

If I have learnt anything during this journey of my life (Warri to Choba), it is that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all (Ecclesiastes 9:11).

As the world reboots, we reflect. Life is a journey. 

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday, 30 May 2020

71 Days

Wrongful Imprisonment 

I was thinking this morning..... It was another weekend and I was reflecting on how fast the week has gone by. I never knew it will be possible for me to stay indoors for a full week and time will still jet by like everything was hunky-dory. Can you imagine that I have spent exactly 71 days indoors since the 'ojuju' called Covid-19 scared everyone indoors? Wow! During this period, I have only driven out 5 times for very short periods of time and have mostly been working from behind closed doors. Who had imagined that it was possible to incarcerate everyone; individuals, States and Nations for so long? As I thought about it, it seems clear in my mind that every one of us had been wrongfully imprisoned. 

71 days. That is how long I have been wrongfully imprisoned like Archie Charles Williams who spent more than 36 years of his life at Louisiana State Penitentiary for a crime he didn't commit until he was exonerated March 2019 due to advancement in evidence technology. 'Haba! How can you say that?' Someone may be thinking. One scientific study revealed that the Coronavirus may have originated in bats and then spread to humans via a snake or pangolin. Think about it. I neither eat bat, snake nor pangolin, but someone in China eats a live animal for the shock value and now I am the one that has been locked at home for 71 days.

71 days! Tomorrow June 1st will make it 72 and the windows to the summer season are opening. No one is talking about summer holiday when we have the new normal to adjust to. Kai! Who is responsible for this wrongful imprisonment? One conspiracy theory says the Coronavirus was created in a lab at Wuhan, China. I have never been to China neither am I a Lab scientist, yet they've kept me indoors for 71 days. Who will pay for the lost time, lost opportunities and lost finances from the wrongful imprisonment for 71 days? 

Many people feel like they and their businesses have been wrongfully imprisoned by Covid-19 but they are unsure if they will end up as Archie Williams or Tony Ugochukwu who was wrongfully imprisoned in the US for 15 years but walked out a free man last Tuesday with a $10 million compensation. While some impacted will never come out of the prison, many will be freed like Archie but without compensation. There are others that will not only be free but will be compensated like Ugochukwu. When Archie was asked 'How did you get through 37 years in prison for a crime you did not commit?' He answered, 'Freedom is of the mind. I went to prison, but I never let my mind go to prison.' The first step to overcoming all the challenges associated with this wrongful imprisonment by Covid-19 is to renew your mind. Romans 12:2 'Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.' My mind is renewed to profit from the past 71 days. 

Happy Sunday.

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