Saturday 28 November 2020

From Jerusalem to Jericho


I was thinking this morning..... Two weeks ago, we organised a Fit & Fabulous competition for female staff and spouses as part of our Family Safety campaign. The target was for the person with the most number of steps in seven consecutive days to win a fabulous prize. We were stunned by what the ladies achieved. The winner clocked over 350,000 steps in 7 days, meaning she averaged 50,000 steps per day. Wow!

The results challenged me to up the ante on my daily walk. I decided to literally walk from Jerusalem to Jericho (a distance of about 25km or about 35,000 steps). I started the journey at about 6.45am from my estate (Jerusalem) and headed north towards Epe along the Lekki-Epe expressway in Lagos (Jericho). As I crossed 20,000 steps, my body alarm went off and I understood the difference between chips and kpekere.

Though I couldn't meet my target of 35,000 steps, I learnt a lot along the way. First, there are a number of persons walking for short distances. They were either walking to the bus stop or running errands within the neighbourhood. You can tell by their dressing and footwear that they are not prepared for a long walk. I understood from them that your purpose will determine your preparation and your dressing.

When I got to Bethany, a point about 3.2km from my Jerusalem, I noticed a few people dressed in sports wear on running shoes. Though they were walking in opposite direction, we had the same purpose: walking to keep fit. Sometimes in life, that someone has a different approach or on a different path does not mean he is at cross purpose with you. Focus on purpose.

Then there are those trekking to sell their wares, the hawkers. Omo, these guys are true Israelites. I noticed one particular guy selling toothbrushes arranged in a basin comfortably seating on his head. As we walked in the same direction, I did all I could to keep pace with him. When I eventually dropped off, he just continued going, making me wonder. When these hawkers trek the stretch of the road all the way to Jericho, do they take a taxi back home? How is it that they are so motivated for such long arduous walks? As I thought long and deep, I understood that it was for survival. Survival is the highest purpose in life. The will to survive can make a man walk 1000 miles and do things he never thought possible. I once scaled a 7 feet fence running away from armed robbers.

Though I couldn't make it to Jericho (25km) as planned, I am sure glad that I now have a better understanding of life and purpose. What's your purpose in this walk of life we are all in? Do you see life as a short and casual walk or you are breezing through as sport? Life is a long walk and without the right purpose and preparation, it will turn out to be serious trekking. But the presence of God trumps all other motivation and will make life be a walk in the park. Micah 6:8 ' Walk humbly in the company of God.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 21 November 2020



I was thinking this morning..... Early last week, news broke of how the Federal government, through the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Arc. Sonny Echonu said that only professional teachers with First Class certificates will be employed beginning from next year, 2021. As the news trended for days, I was overjoyed that for the first time our policy makers are thinking. I have always wondered why the government will be allowing lower second and third class graduates to be enjoying the excellent package they have for teachers in Nigeria. For once these first class graduates will enjoy what they truly deserve.

The enjoyment starts on the first day of work as a teacher. While personnel in multinational companies and banks join air-conditioned staff buses to work, the first class teacher will have to enjoy as he rides keke or Danfo to work. If he is broke, he will have to do first class trekking. To give you a flavour, only last week, a family member that has put in close to 30 years as a teacher was involved in an accident that dislocated her bones, while commuting to work. Why? She boarded a first class transportation, okada.

On getting to work, the first class teacher meets unbeatable first class facilities. First, chalk and blackboards are available instead of the electronic boards. To prepare lesson notes, he would've to rely on books bought 10 years ago, which are first class materials compared to a computer with high speed Internet.

At the end of the month, he will receive first class salary, which on average is between N15,000 and N70,000 per month for a public school teacher. Graduates who are placed at Level 8 and are teachers at Federal schools collect an average salary of N46,000 to N66,000, equivalent to what cleaners are paid in many multinational companies. Truly first class indeed.

The enjoyment doesn't end there. The first class teacher will be well compensated with an average accommodation allowance of about N7,000 per month. This will be more than enough to rent a house in first class residential areas like Ikoyi in Lagos or even outrightly purchase one if he saves it up for a year. It's very possible because a good three bedroom apartment in Ikoyi goes for about N150 million only. See groove for first class teachers.

After 30 to 40 years, they will be given first class treatment while queuing for their pensions. Unlike others that will have to queue in the sun, retired first class teachers will only queue in shaded areas. Isn't that wonderful?

No gain saying that the Nigeria educational system needs the best hands to improve the quality of our leaders of tomorrow, but if the conditions of service for teachers don't improve, they cannot attract the best hands. Employing first class graduates will only exposed them to first class suffering. Galatians 6:7 says 'Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.' You cannot make third class investment in education and expect to attract first class graduates. Warri man will say 'Odio-di' meaning 'nothing for you.'

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 14 November 2020

Oh Lord Please Promote Me


I was thinking this morning...... after a very hectic week, I decided to take up my wife's offer to accompany her for what the aje-butter will call grocery shopping. To me it was an opportunity to receive fresh air having stayed indoors all week. I couldn't believe my experience. Yes, 'e shock me.'

It's like there has been mass promotion in the commodities market. While some food products got double promotion, others tripled. You still don't know what I am talking about? Yoruba man will say 'farabale.' As my wife and I moved from one counter to another, I remembered the words of Shehu Sani who had tweeted earlier that bread has been promoted to join the esteemed class of rice and onions in Kogi.'

I picked up a few tangerines, handed it over to be weighed and 'whoa!' was my exclamation when I saw the price tag. Six medium sized tangerines priced over N3k (meaning one cost over N500). For what na? Does it cure hunger permanently? Please don't mind me, just surprised by the sudden jump in price. In a year when the earning power of many has seriously depreciated due to the impact of Covid-19, the price of tangerines increased by over 200%. God, please promote me like tangerine.

I thought the promotion was only for food products, only for me to stop by the fuel station and observed that pump price of petrol has been adjusted to N168 per litre. The Petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), had announced the ex-depot price of petrol has been increased from N147.67 per litre to N155.17, effectively promoting the pump price of petrol from N152 to between N168 to N170 per litre. Wow! Isn't that wonderful? Petrol price has increased 17% this year alone. Oh God, please promote me like petrol.

Currenries were not left out in the mass promotion, but sorry not the naira. During the week, the US dollar had been promoted at the expense of the naira. Parallel market rate for one USD today is now N470 compared to N360 same time last year, giving an impressive 30% increase. God, please promote me like the US dollars.

The good news is that there are two ways God can promote you in a depressed economy. He can either reduce your expenses or multiply your finances. My prayer is that you enjoy both. Therefore, despair not 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.' Humble yourself because your promotion is on the way.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 7 November 2020

Politicians Cry, Onions Scarce


I was thinking this morning.... when I read the Channels TV headline on Thursday 'I Nearly Shed Tears Seeing The Destruction Of Properties In Lagos – El-Rufai' I wondered what is making everyone shed tears these days. The last time I shed tears was while slicing onions. Why does chopping an onion make one cry? Onions produce the chemical irritant known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. It stimulates the eyes’ lachrymal glands so they release tears. 

This new trend of our politicians shedding tears very cheaply is coinciding with a serious scarcity of onions in Nigeria, so much so that many now call onions the new gold. I am beginning to suspect that there might be a connection. Politicians that are soulless and hardly moved by the hunger and killing in their domain, suddenly shedding tears because of material loss? Naa! It is not from empathy, they are using our onions.

First, it was Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State. Some months ago while inaugurating the State Anti-Tax Agency, he got into an emotional fit, and wept over the level of poverty in the state. He had said amidst tears 'I really wish I can help.' Really? You've been governor for 5 years, na now you know say poverty dey abi? It's an onionic tears. Give us our onions.

Then on Wednesday 28th October, the Kogi State Commissioner for Health Dr Saka Audu while speaking on national TV on how looting affected the State, suddenly started crying. What's going on here? You couldn't find tears, when several people died from election related violence in 2019, neither did we see tears when workers were owed salaries for months. Now the tears are flowing at the same time onions became scarce. Abegi! It's an 'onionic tears.'

I thought I had seen enough tears. Later that day of 28th October, Lagos actor, turned lawmaker, Desmond Elliot was on Arise TV after being dragged to filth by Nigerians over his comment on the regulation of social media. He was still speaking when he broke down in tears. Haba! Just like that? You shed tears in the evening, onions became scarce in the morning.

Why won't onion be scarce when politicians are using it to stimulate tears to show they are empathetic. We don't need tears but good governance. You were not voted in to cry for us but to deliver the dividend of democracy. James 2:14-16 says 'If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?'

Happy Sunday.

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