Saturday 31 October 2020



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