Saturday 30 October 2021



I was thinking this morning..... about the Benjamins. No, I am not talking about the Benji you know. I was having a casual conversation with a fellow Waffarian days ago about how tough it has become for breadwinners to meet their obligations and how it is now imperative to do everything legally possible to earn more money. As we wrapped up, my friend said 'It's all about the Benjamins' like they say in Warri.' 'Who are the Bejamins?' I asked ignorantly. He giggled and said 'it means it's all about the money.'

Warri! Warri!! Warri!!! I hailed. When I got home, I consulted Google to understand the origin of the phrase. I found out that 'It’s all about the Benjamins' is an american expression which means “it’s all about money” coined from the portrait of Benjamin Franklin seen on the $100 bill, the highest US currency denomination.

But why would waffi people be using an expression that is based on the US dollar? Why can't they rather say 'it's all about Mai-Bornu and Isong,' whose faces are on the highest denomination of Nigeria currency, the N1000 note? While Mallam Aliyu Mai-Bornu was the first indigenous governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Clement Isong was his successor. I was almost given to the idea of 'It's all about Mai-Bornu and Isong' but when I remembered that $1 is worth over N550, I aligned with my waffi brothers that 'It’s all about the Benjamins.'

I still had doubts whether we should not change the narrative to being about Mai-Bornu and Isong when I ran into a former colleague. When I asked how he was doing at work, he responded that he resigned. 'Why on earth would you do that?' I asked in disbelief. He smiled and told me that he got a new job where he is being paid in dollars. In the voice of my mum, I could hear myself saying 'Obajor' translated  'no wonder' in Itsekiri. Would you blame him for abandoning Mai-Bornu and Isong for the Benjamins? $10k monthly salary amounts to almost N6m per month. Where in Naija will you earn N6m per month? Truly, it's all about the Benjamins.

Yesterday at the NLNG sponsored Nigeria Prize for Literature, when Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia novel 'The Son of the House' was announced as winner, her joy knew no bound. She was happy with the prestige the award brings but when I looked at her face when the dummy cheque of $100,000 was presented to her, I knew 'It's all about the Benjamins.'

In Nigeria of today, it's a major challenge to stack up 'Mai-Bornu and Isong' and even more so the Benjamins. But Deuteronomy 33:12 says 'About Benjamin he said: “Let the beloved of the LORD rest secure in him.' It is on this basis that I am confident that it doesn’t matter what I am up against, God no go shame me because I am resting secured in Him and not on the Benjamins.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 23 October 2021


I was thinking this morning.... about necklaces. Do you know that there are different types of necklaces in the world?

To the rich and famous, the mention of necklace will remind them of L’Incomparable. Boasting a rose gold setting, 90 white diamonds and one of the largest internally flawless yellow gemstones ever seen, L’Incomparable is the most expensive necklace in the world, and it can be yours for a hefty US $60 million.

To the mob and those we call 'Jaguda' or 'Boma' in Warri, necklace is the rubber tyre filled with petrol they put around a victim's chest and arms, when they want to carry out extra-judicial executions.This is one necklace no one should wear.

Last week, when I read the story of how an elk (of the deer family) in Colorado USA was freed from a car tyre stuck around its neck for two years, it dawned on me that some necklaces may be worn inadvertently. It is believed that the animal may have worn this 'tyre necklace' while trying to reach for food to survive by putting its head in a tall stack of tyres left abandoned somewhere and picked one up by accident. The poor animal moved around with the 16kg weight on its neck for two years. Wow!

As I thought about it, I observed a parallel with many. The economy collapsed, things got tough and prices of food shot up including beans, ordinary beans (can you imagine?). In order to survive, many have gone borrowing, not realising that debt is like a tyre necklace. It is heavy, ugly and uncomfortable.

There are others who their survival instincts drove to join a cult group. Now, they are stuck with a tyre necklace weighing down their necks. Man must wack, man must survive, I know but a tyre necklace is too expensive a price to pay. It only takes a small fire from a match stick to light up the tyre and consume your life. If you must wear an expensive necklace, please wear L’Incomparable.

Like the elk, please get restless and break that yoke, the tyre necklace, from your neck (Genesis 27:40).

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Sunday 17 October 2021



I was thinking this morning...... about the 'Bestie Syndrome'. I am sure many of you are wondering what this is. By definition,  'Bestie' means best friend or BFF. We call it 'pally' or paddy-paddy in Warri. A syndrome on the other hand is a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms. The 'Bestie Syndrome' is a psychosocial disease that makes a man to drop his guard when with someone he regards as his best friend.

A man's bestie can be from his social circle, office, religious group or even his family. Some of the symptoms of 'Bestie Syndrome' include unbridled trust, revealing your secrets and never judging. It's a lovely thing to have a bestie but a dangerous thing to suffer from 'Bestie Syndrome.'

Days ago, news broke of a guy that went out with his bestie to an eatery at a mall. Mid way, he left his drink he had ordered to go use the washroom. As he left, his bestie was seen poisoning the drink. A good Samaritan observed it and told the lucky guy not to drink from it. The bestie was then asked to drink from the same drink he had poisoned, he refused and started begging for forgiveness. Why would the friend leave his drink in the company of another? It is because he trust him as his bestie. He almost died not because he had a bestie but because he was suffering from 'Bestie Syndrome.'

In September 2021, news broke of a young Nigerian, Toritseju Emmanuel Jackson, a law graduate of Buckingham University UK, that had returned to Nigeria for the mandatory one year call to bar programme at Law School. Toritseju was found stabbed to death by yet to be identified persons in the early hours of Sunday, September 12, 2021, in Wuse Zone 4, Abuja, after he was lured out by his friend. Why would Toritseju step out of his home that night to the location where he was murdered? It was because someone he trusted, a bestie, had invited him. He did not die because he had a bestie, he died because he suffered from 'Bestie Syndrome.'

It is great to have a bestie but please look at everyone with 'gbejoro eye,' meaning everyone is a suspect until proven otherwise. Do not be careless with your life because the hustle is real. The rat race we are in can make people do anything to anyone. I can understand the motive when someone kills his brother because he wants to inherit his property, but will never understand why people kill their besties knowing fully well they can't inherit their wealth, wife or years.

Hmm! After reading Psalms 41:9 that says 'Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me,' I understood that 'Bestie Syndrome' is a sibling of '419 disease' or 'Judas Effect.'

Do not let down your guard or be a victim of 'Bestie Syndrome.' God no go shame us.

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 9 October 2021



I was thinking this morning.... as we commenced the departmental meeting last Wednesday, a colleague stepped up to give the Safety Moment. He narrated how the rain of Tuesday 21st September in Port-Harcourt had brought devastation his way. His home in one of top estates in the city had been completely flooded with water levels above his knees. His properties including his cars were badly damaged. As he narrated, I recalled that he lives on the same close with another colleague of ours. When I called this other colleague later to find out if he was affected, he said 'Thank God o! The water flooded every  house on the left of the close and some on the right but not mine.'

I was thinking, the two colleagues of mine were both transferred at the same time, both did their due diligence in searching out a safe and comfortable accommodation in the same estate and same close. Both are Christians and had prayed before settling in, yet when misfortune came, it hit one and spared the other. What made one deserving of misfortune and not the other?

As I pondered, I recalled a young friend of mine seeking to start his career as an engineer. He had opportunities from two promising organisations at a time and needed to make an informed choice. He went with the one that sent him abroad and ignore the other. Five years later, there was problem in the organisation he chose and he was sacked. Those that chose the other organisation are having the time of their lives. How could he have discerned the path to misfortune and avoided it?

We all at some point will find ourselves at a fork in the road of life and have to decide what path to take. How can one tell the path to misfortune so it can be avoided? While some will consult a prophet, the non-believer will want to look into the crystal ball. For many others, it is a Catch-22 situation, unable to choose which way to go. What I know is that no one will deliberately choose the path to misfortune.

To those on this path, it's not all bad news. Yes, we find it difficult to endure misfortunes that come our way. However, if you are able to stand firm and manage very well such misfortunes, they will surely become blessings in the end. With endurance and fortitude, no matter how frightening the misfortune may be, one can overcome it; turning it into a blessing in the end.

Whenever you find yourself at the fork in the road of life, remember Proverbs 3:5-6 that says 'Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; And lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, And he shall direct thy paths.'

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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

Saturday 2 October 2021


I was thinking this morning...... Many years ago, an uncle told a story of the experience a young man had while being interviewed for a job position in the defunct Nigeria Airways. To test his knowledge of current affairs, he was asked, 'what happened in the year 1959?' expecting him to know that was when the new Nigerian currency was introduced. The young man responded, 'In 1959, my younger brother was born.' Surprised by his response, they followed up with a simpler question, 'what happened in the year 1960?' Surely, he must know that was when Nigeria gained independence, they thought. He shocked the panel when he answered, 'in 1960, my younger brother was 1year old.' As far as the young man was concerned, the birthday of his younger brother was of more significance than any national event.

That was my situation last Friday October 1st. As many talked about Nigeria 61st independence anniversary, I remembered the 22nd wedding anniversary of my brother and the 5th anniversary of our Benin Invasion when our friend Dagogo Buowari-Brown got married. These two events were more celebratory than the 61st independence anniversary of Nigeria. With standard of living decreasing and insecurity increasing, you will please excuse me if the 61st Independence celebration ranks very low in my 'Significance pecking order.'

China gained independence on 1st October 1949 meaning they are 11 years older than Nigeria. When I considered how much more developed China is compared to Nigeria, you will forgive me when I'd rather celebrate the wedding anniversaries of my brother and friend than our 61st Independence anniversary.

Last Friday October 1st, I visited my dad who is in his eighties, to spend time with him. That day also happened to be International Day of Older Persons, so please forgive me if Nigeria's 61st Independence anniversary did not make my thought list.

What influences the event you will celebrate is how much positive impact it makes on you. I have decided to fill my mind with positive thoughts and dispense with negative energies. Regressive politicis, hunger, death and gloom have become the regulars in our discourse about Nigeria and I am tired of bad report. I believe and hope in Nigeria but for now, I just want to fulfil Philippians 4:8 that says 'Finally, brethren... whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report...think on these things.'

Stay hopeful. God's got your back.

Happy Sunday.

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