Saturday 12 June 2021


I was thinking this morning.... during my final year at the University, we worked so hard at our final exams and had very little sleep. By our beds, you will find sticky notes saying 'Wake me up at 2am', 'Wake me up at midnight' etc. just to ensure we were up on time to read. But immediately after our last paper, I returned to the room to find a sticker by the bed where one of my roommate was sleeping, saying 'Please don't wake me up, as my slap may offend you.' Hmm! This story came to mind after I watched the video where French President Emmanuel Macron was slapped in the face Tuesday by one Damien Tarel while greeting the public waiting for him behind barriers in the small town of Tain-l'Hermitage, southeastern France. As I watched the slap again and again, I tried to rationalise the motivation.

Damien Tarel had told the Court the reason for his action was because the president embodied France's decay. But why resort to violence? Why didn't he respond in a more civilised manner? My take is that he probably has heard scientists say that it takes 43 muscles to frown, 17 muscles to smile and 4 muscles to reach out and slap an offender. He was definitely not ready to use 43 muscles but 4.

A keen follower of the trajectory of Nigeria would've observed a reduction in our muscle application. First, as things degenerated and cost of living soared, people frowned utilising 43 muscles. As the problems persisted, wrinkles were developing and some having facial muscle pull due to persistent frowning. It's time to change strategy. Smiling engages fewer muscles, just 17, they reasoned. Then entered the era of 'suffering and smiling' with one poll describing Nigerians as the most optimistic in the world in 2011. 'Bohboh!' We were not happy but simply exercising fewer muscles by smiling with 17 muscles instead of frowning with 43 muscles.

Ten years down the line, Nigerians are tired of using 17 muscles and have sadly chosen to use 4 muscles like Damien Tarel of France. Little wonder for the escalating violence across the country. This is the wrong application of muscles. It is better to exercise 17 muscles smiling than 4 muscles in violence. As we celebrate another June 12 (Democracy Day), we must ensure that the labours of our heroes past are not in vain by working together to put genuine smiles on the faces of Nigerians. But, should you be faced with the myriads of problems in Nigeria, please choose to exercise 17 muscles by smiling at the future (Proverbs 31:25).

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday and Democracy Day.

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

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