Saturday 26 December 2020

Different Paths, Same Destination

 


I was thinking this morning..... last Sunday we had a mini-reunion of my University graduating class of 91. It was a momentous occasion because it was the first time many saw themselves 29 years after we graduated. As we caught up, reminisced and discussed our trajectories, life's lessons were dropping on my laps. 


First, I realised that though we started from the same terminal (Microbiology Department) and headed to the same destination (fulfilment and happiness), we did not all take-off at the same time. While most left after the first degree, some of us stayed back for our Masters degree and left 2 years later. Twenty nine (29) years after, we arrived at a common location on our way to fulfilling destiny. Different departure times but same destination.

Secondly, aside not leaving at the same time, we also did not board the same vehicle to take us to our destination. Of the 11 of us that showed up for the reunion, four took the flight of working in applied sector (Manufacturing, Oil & Gas etc.), another four went into business, two took the vehicle of banking and one ended up as a teacher. So, it didn't matter the vehicle we boarded, they are all taking us to our destination. We must not all work in an oil company or be bank managers, just do your thing and we will get there. Like they say 'just dey your dey make I dey my dey and we will be fine.'

As we interacted, I noticed that, yes we took different paths towards the pursuit of happiness (destiny), not everyone has achieved their goal. The different routes had their peculiarities. Some routes were smooth, others bumpy. Some achieved relative success very early in the journey, others later on, but a few others ran into serious potholes on their path that almost crashed their vehicle of life. For some the vehicles taking them broke down at some point setting them years back in marriage, finances or child bearing, while others had a smooth ride. One thing that is however true was that all 11 of us seem to have some form of fulfilment, not implying we do not wish for a lot more.

But how is it that we all had 4 years of same preparation but followed different paths to destiny? In life, there are different vehicles and paths to destiny. The path to take is at the discretion of each person. You may have looked back on the last 30 years, 10 years or even this year 2020 and it seems like the vehicle of your life has crashed. Please do not truncate the journey. Encourage yourself, fix the vehicle and stay the course. The journey might take longer but the destination is the same. It is not about who gets there first or whether you are full or empty when you arrive but rather about getting there. Stay the course and you will surely get there. With 4 days left to the end of 2020, look unto to Jesus so you could finish strong  (Hebrews 12:2).

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 19 December 2020

Uneasy Lies The Head

 


I was thinking this morning.... as I stepped out of the aircraft last Wednesday fully dressed and Covid protocols compliant. I was feeling a bit uneasy and decided to check why. My findings are, my head was covered with an Hausa cap (called Fula or Wagambari), my eyes with sunglasses, my nose and mouth with cloth mask and my ears plugged with ear piece. Haba!!! All these accessories for one head? For the first time, I had a unique understanding of the expression 'uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.' olboy, it wasn't easy for my head that day. Lol..


As I reflected on this head figuratively, I saw a correlation with the family. Consider this. The cap (your parents) are above and meeting their needs puts some pressure on the head from above. The sunglasses (your spouse) shield the eyes from direct sun rays, but their needs sometimes put pressure on the side of the head. The ear pieces signify your children. Hmm! They have your ears but without God and proper planning, they can give you headache. Finally, the face masks (your friends and relatives) which are very necessary if you must stay 'coro-free' could end up choking you (I can't breathe). Haba! Uneasy lies the head...

Just like my head, this is the season for heads of families to feel the pressure. This season, forty years ago, I can remember what my parents were going through. I will trouble them like Ekpan fly until Christmas clothes and shoes show up. But unlike those years, 2020 has been a year like no other and many family heads are struggling. So wives, please don't put pressure on your husbands and children don't trouble your parents like I did mine in those days. Relatives and friends, abeg make una dey calm down because uneasy lies the head...

It doesn't matter if the head is as big as 'Ozengbe's' or small, the pressure is real. Whether head of family, head of class/department, head of the unit/church or head of state, uneasy lies the head.
Please show some understanding, protect and pray for the head because the peace of the head is the peace of the whole body. No wonder Peter said in John 13:9 'Lord wash also my head.'

Merry Christmas.

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

Saturday 12 December 2020

SUPER WHAT?


was thinking this morning.... it's 18 days to the end of 2020 and what a year it has been. When I tried to think of a word to describe this year, what came to mind was 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.' Eh relax! I am not speaking gibberish. The word was popularised in the 1964 film Mary Poppins, in which it is used as the title of a song and defined as 'something to say when you have nothing to say'. Truly, concerning 2020, I have nothing to say.


The Oxford English Dictionary defines the word 'Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' as 'a nonsense word, originally used especially by children, and typically expressing excited approbation: fantastic, fabulous', while Dictionary.com says it is 'used as a nonsense word by children to express approval or to represent the longest word in English.' Actually, it is not a nonsense word but a compound word said by Richard Lederer in his book Crazy English to be made up of these words: super- 'above', cali- 'beauty', fragilistic- 'delicate', expiali- 'to atone', and -docious 'educable', with all of these parts combined meaning 'Atoning for educability through delicate beauty.' Hmm!

Many cannot wait to see the end of 2020 which has been aptly described as unprecedented. To most people, this year has been nothing but overwhelming and if asked to describe this year in one word considering their peculiar circumstances, many may not find the right words may create a new word.

I thought about the families of the 1.57 million people that have died from Covid-19 this year alone worldwide including 1,919 deaths in Nigeria. They entered 2020 with great expectations and never dreamt they will lose a loved one. Covid came and broke their hearts. If you hear them in their shock and sorrrow describing 2020 as  'Supercovidfatalityexpialidocious,' please do not conclude they are speaking nonsense. It's their way of saying something when there is nothing to say.

What about the millions that have lost their source of livelihood this year from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic? The International Labour Organisation (ILO) had estimated that about 25 million people will lose their jobs worldwide as a result of Covid-19. When asked, these people will probably describe 2020 as 'Supercovidmakemejoblessexpialidocious.'

Now it's the holiday season and many countries are battling the second wave of the pandemic. Despite the subdued celebrations, some had gone the whole mile to deck their homes and surrounding with boughs of holly, having wreath on their front door to give a warm welcome to guests and fill us with a sense of wonder and nostalgia. For these, they had made the conscious decision to subjugate the pain of Covid-19 and other negative experiences to the dustbin of oblivion and decided to showcase the beauty of the holiday season. As I walked through beautifully decorated houses and streets in my estate, all I could say was 'Supersantamerrychristmasexpialidocious.'

Whatever it is you have seen this year, you are better off than 1.6 million people that Covid-19 killed. Therefore make shakara and celebrate. Splash the colours and finish 2020 on a high. 1st Thessalonians 5:18 says 'In every thing give thanks.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 5 December 2020

Thankful for XIX

 


I was thinking this morning.... about nineteen (19) not just because of its significance of being the first two numbers of the year in which my young wife and I were born but also because this day 19 years ago, we had our traditional marriage. There are many reasons for me to be thankful everyday, but on this day I am thankful for nineteen (19) which is XIX in roman numeral.


Many will not want to think of 19 because it reminds them of Covid-19. Understandably so. To me I am thinking that just like the moon appears in the same exact position in the sky every 19th year and eclipses of the Sun tend to recur in periods of 19 years, we should be that predictable in giving thanks. Therefore, on this day, like in other years, I am thankful for 19 years (228 months) of marital bliss. Thankful for XIX.

For many, when they think 19, they are appreciative of the technological breakthroughs of the 1900’s which started with aeroplanes in 1903, bras in 1913, televisions in 1925, canned beer in 1935, microwave ovens in 1946, CDs in 1965 and finally Viagra in 1998. I'm not sure which is most important to you, to me it is 19 years (991 weeks) of countless memories of joy. Thankful for XIX.

Someone might be saying that I am talking '19 to the dozen' meaning I am talking very quickly, without stopping. Please don't blame me, afterall I did not receive '19 Propositions' like Charles I received from Parliament in 1642 to limit the power of the Crown. Rather, God has enlarged our coast in 19 years (6,935 days). Thankful for XIX.

Where do we go for the 19th anniversary? Thanks to Covid restrictions, we won't be able to take the longest non-stop flight in the world, scheduled by Singapore Airlines, that takes 19 hours from Singapore to Newark, New Jersey nor be like Internet personalities Gunnar Garfors and Pak Tay-yong that visited 19 countries in 24 hours, setting a new world record for the most countries visited in one day. However, we sure know that God is taking us somewhere better than 19 countries. Thankful for XIX.

Nineteen! A standard golf course has 18 holes, but golfers will often talk about going to the '19th hole', meaning the club house, where they can celebrate how they played. Unlike golfers, our 19th hole will not be the club house but the house of God to give God thanks for 19 years (166,550 hours and counting) of endless love. Why? Genesis 19:19 says 'Your servant has found favor in your eyes, and you have shown great kindness to us.' Thankful for XIX.

Happy bronze anniversary to us.

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

Saturday 28 November 2020

From Jerusalem to Jericho

 


I was thinking this morning..... Two weeks ago, we organised a Fit & Fabulous competition for female staff and spouses as part of our Family Safety campaign. The target was for the person with the most number of steps in seven consecutive days to win a fabulous prize. We were stunned by what the ladies achieved. The winner clocked over 350,000 steps in 7 days, meaning she averaged 50,000 steps per day. Wow!


The results challenged me to up the ante on my daily walk. I decided to literally walk from Jerusalem to Jericho (a distance of about 25km or about 35,000 steps). I started the journey at about 6.45am from my estate (Jerusalem) and headed north towards Epe along the Lekki-Epe expressway in Lagos (Jericho). As I crossed 20,000 steps, my body alarm went off and I understood the difference between chips and kpekere.

Though I couldn't meet my target of 35,000 steps, I learnt a lot along the way. First, there are a number of persons walking for short distances. They were either walking to the bus stop or running errands within the neighbourhood. You can tell by their dressing and footwear that they are not prepared for a long walk. I understood from them that your purpose will determine your preparation and your dressing.

When I got to Bethany, a point about 3.2km from my Jerusalem, I noticed a few people dressed in sports wear on running shoes. Though they were walking in opposite direction, we had the same purpose: walking to keep fit. Sometimes in life, that someone has a different approach or on a different path does not mean he is at cross purpose with you. Focus on purpose.

Then there are those trekking to sell their wares, the hawkers. Omo, these guys are true Israelites. I noticed one particular guy selling toothbrushes arranged in a basin comfortably seating on his head. As we walked in the same direction, I did all I could to keep pace with him. When I eventually dropped off, he just continued going, making me wonder. When these hawkers trek the stretch of the road all the way to Jericho, do they take a taxi back home? How is it that they are so motivated for such long arduous walks? As I thought long and deep, I understood that it was for survival. Survival is the highest purpose in life. The will to survive can make a man walk 1000 miles and do things he never thought possible. I once scaled a 7 feet fence running away from armed robbers.

Though I couldn't make it to Jericho (25km) as planned, I am sure glad that I now have a better understanding of life and purpose. What's your purpose in this walk of life we are all in? Do you see life as a short and casual walk or you are breezing through as sport? Life is a long walk and without the right purpose and preparation, it will turn out to be serious trekking. But the presence of God trumps all other motivation and will make life be a walk in the park. Micah 6:8 ' Walk humbly in the company of God.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 21 November 2020

FIRST CLASS JOKE

 


I was thinking this morning..... Early last week, news broke of how the Federal government, through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echonu said that only professional teachers with First Class certificates will be employed beginning from next year, 2021. As the news trended for days, I was overjoyed that for the first time our policy makers are thinking. I have always wondered why the government will be allowing lower second and third class graduates to be enjoying the excellent package they have for teachers in Nigeria. For once these first class graduates will enjoy what they truly deserve.

The enjoyment starts on the first day of work as a teacher. While personnel in multinational companies and banks join air-conditioned staff buses to work, the first class teacher will have to enjoy as he rides keke or Danfo to work. If he is broke, he will have to do first class trekking. To give you a flavour, only last week, a family member that has put in close to 30 years as a teacher was involved in an accident that dislocated her bones, while commuting to work. Why? She boarded a first class transportation, okada.

On getting to work, the first class teacher meets unbeatable first class facilities. First, chalk and blackboards are available instead of the electronic boards. To prepare lesson notes, he would've to rely on books bought 10 years ago, which are first class materials compared to a computer with high speed Internet.

At the end of the month, he will receive first class salary, which on average is between N15,000 and N70,000 per month for a public school teacher. Graduates who are placed at Level 8 and are teachers at Federal schools collect an average salary of N46,000 to N66,000, equivalent to what cleaners are paid in many multinational companies. Truly first class indeed.

The enjoyment doesn't end there. The first class teacher will be well compensated with an average accommodation allowance of about N7,000 per month. This will be more than enough to rent a house in first class residential areas like Ikoyi in Lagos or even outrightly purchase one if he saves it up for a year. It's very possible because a good three bedroom apartment in Ikoyi goes for about N150 million only. See groove for first class teachers.

After 30 to 40 years, they will be given first class treatment while queuing for their pensions. Unlike others that will have to queue in the sun, retired first class teachers will only queue in shaded areas. Isn't that wonderful?

No gain saying that the Nigeria educational system needs the best hands to improve the quality of our leaders of tomorrow, but if the conditions of service for teachers don't improve, they cannot attract the best hands. Employing first class graduates will only exposed them to first class suffering. Galatians 6:7 says 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' You cannot make third class investment in education and expect to attract first class graduates. Warri man will say 'Odio-di' meaning 'nothing for you.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 14 November 2020

Oh Lord Please Promote Me

 


I was thinking this morning...... after a very hectic week, I decided to take up my wife's offer to accompany her for what the aje-butter will call grocery shopping. To me it was an opportunity to receive fresh air having stayed indoors all week. I couldn't believe my experience. Yes, 'e shock me.'

It's like there has been mass promotion in the commodities market. While some food products got double promotion, others tripled. You still don't know what I am talking about? Yoruba man will say 'farabale.' As my wife and I moved from one counter to another, I remembered the words of Shehu Sani who had tweeted earlier that bread has been promoted to join the esteemed class of rice and onions in Kogi.'

I picked up a few tangerines, handed it over to be weighed and 'whoa!' was my exclamation when I saw the price tag. Six medium sized tangerines priced over N3k (meaning one cost over N500). For what na? Does it cure hunger permanently? Please don't mind me, just surprised by the sudden jump in price. In a year when the earning power of many has seriously depreciated due to the impact of Covid-19, the price of tangerines increased by over 200%. God, please promote me like tangerine.

I thought the promotion was only for food products, only for me to stop by the fuel station and observed that pump price of petrol has been adjusted to N168 per litre. The Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had announced the ex-depot price of petrol has been increased from N147.67 per litre to N155.17, effectively promoting the pump price of petrol from N152 to between N168 to N170 per litre. Wow! Isn't that wonderful? Petrol price has increased 17% this year alone. Oh God, please promote me like petrol.

Currenries were not left out in the mass promotion, but sorry not the naira. During the week, the US dollar had been promoted at the expense of the naira. Parallel market rate for one USD today is now N470 compared to N360 same time last year, giving an impressive 30% increase. God, please promote me like the US dollars.

The good news is that there are two ways God can promote you in a depressed economy. He can either reduce your expenses or multiply your finances. My prayer is that you enjoy both. Therefore, despair not 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.' Humble yourself because your promotion is on the way.

Happy Sunday.

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


Saturday 7 November 2020

Politicians Cry, Onions Scarce

 


I was thinking this morning.... when I read the Channels TV headline on Thursday 'I Nearly Shed Tears Seeing The Destruction Of Properties In Lagos – El-Rufai' I wondered what is making everyone shed tears these days. The last time I shed tears was while slicing onions. Why does chopping an onion make one cry? Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes’ lachrymal glands so they release tears. 


This new trend of our politicians shedding tears very cheaply is coinciding with a serious scarcity of onions in Nigeria, so much so that many now call onions the new gold. I am beginning to suspect that there might be a connection. Politicians that are soulless and hardly moved by the hunger and killing in their domain, suddenly shedding tears because of material loss? Naa! It is not from empathy, they are using our onions.

First, it was Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State. Some months ago while inaugurating the State Anti-Tax Agency, he got into an emotional fit, and wept over the level of poverty in the state. He had said amidst tears 'I really wish I can help.' Really? You've been governor for 5 years, na now you know say poverty dey abi? It's an onionic tears. Give us our onions.

Then on Wednesday 28th October, the Kogi State Commissioner for Health Dr Saka Audu while speaking on national TV on how looting affected the State, suddenly started crying. What's going on here? You couldn't find tears, when several people died from election related violence in 2019, neither did we see tears when workers were owed salaries for months. Now the tears are flowing at the same time onions became scarce. Abegi! It's an 'onionic tears.'

I thought I had seen enough tears. Later that day of 28th October, Lagos actor, turned lawmaker, Desmond Elliot was on Arise TV after being dragged to filth by Nigerians over his comment on the regulation of social media. He was still speaking when he broke down in tears. Haba! Just like that? You shed tears in the evening, onions became scarce in the morning.

Why won't onion be scarce when politicians are using it to stimulate tears to show they are empathetic. We don't need tears but good governance. You were not voted in to cry for us but to deliver the dividend of democracy. James 2:14-16 says 'If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 31 October 2020

WHERE IS MY PALLIATIVE?

 


I was thinking this morning..... the most popular word in Nigeria in the last one week is undoubtedly 'Palliative.' According to the Cambridge dictionary, Palliative means something that makes a problem seem less serious but does not solve the problem or makes it disappear. And of medicine or medical care, it means relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the condition.

There is no doubt that successive governments have failed this nation and that there is hunger in the land. And with Covid-19, it became clear that without some form of palliative, 'everywhere go cast' (speaking in my waffi patois). Following days of protest, things got out of hand with wanton looting and carting away of government and private properties under the reign of mobocracy (the rule or domination by the masses) which was interpreted as '#FreePalliative.' Many people tacitly supported the #FreePalliative movement after watching videos of Cacovid sponsored bags of garri and other perishable food items being 'liberated' from government warehouses across the country by thousands of hungry Nigerians.

As I juxtaposed these incidents against the definition of palliative, I realised palliative means different things to different people in a mobocracy. To the hungry, any foodstuff such as rice, garri, noodles and even poisoned beans, is a palliative. To those who looted vaccine stores and Covid-19 isolation centres in Taraba State, drugs and hospital beds are their palliatives. And to the 'deprived farmers' that looted brand new tractors in Adamawa State, farming equipment is their palliative.

I thought I had seen it all about palliative but got the shock of my life when I read of how someone with bad eyesight needed a palliative of reading/medicated glasses. He saw an opportunity and looted Obafemi Awolowo's glasses from his statue in Lagos. That was his palliative.

I believe that every well meaning Nigerian should condemn the mobocracy that we call #FreePalliative, but when our politicians come on air to shamelessly do same, I sneered at their hypocrisy. For 16 years since the commencement of the 4th Republic, the political mob called politicians has been going round the country looting the treasury. To them, the trillions of naira meant for good governance are their palliatives. Worse still, after looting the treasury, some even looted the palliatives meant for the masses for use as birthday gifts. Chai!

While the scramble for palliative continues, the question is 'what are you hungry for? In order words, what is your palliative?' Matthew 5:6 says 'Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled.' Aim for a palliative that will truly satisfy the longing of your soul.

Happy Sunday.

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


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

 

Mafishi

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