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.