Saturday 26 September 2020

Rather A Man Than A Fish



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

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

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

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

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 19 September 2020

Rich As You Could Be


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

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

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

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

'But they didn't understand it

And I tried to make them see

That one is only poor

Only if they choose to be

Now I know we had no money

But I was rich as I could be

In my coat of many colors

My momma made for me

Made just for me'

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

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 12 September 2020

Parable of My Five Wives


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 5 September 2020

The Fever Is In Your Interest


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

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

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

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

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

Happy Sunday.

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