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.