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.