Sunday 3 March 2024

OUR GBOMO-GBOMO WORLD



I was thinking this morning.... Days ago, I had cause to travel by boat. As I dashed to the departure lounge, a lady stopped me by the entrance, requesting to talk to me. She said, "Please, can you help to check in one of my bags along with yours?' Without hesitation, I responded 'In present day Nigeria?' even as I walked away to board my boat.


It wasn't until we set sail that I had time to reflect on the encounter. I felt sad for the world we live in today. In the world I knew growing up, there was abundance of trust, but what do we have today? You can't assist anyone at the airport for fear of being framed for drugs.

Growing up as children in Warri, those days, we played under the moonlight. We played 'otori, ototo' which was local term for Hide and Seek. We would hide in our neighbours houses, backyards and even adjoining streets. There was no fear of being kidnapped. Even when we had 'gbomo-gbomo' (the local name for kidnappers), it was rare and almost like a myth parents used to instill fear in their children. We had security and communal life in abundance. Today, kidnappers and ritual killers have changed our world.

It's a scary world we live in today. For 24 years, three sons of Abia state reigned as governors. Umuahia and Aba were run down. Public infrastructures were non-existent. Less than a year after the current governor took over, the state has turned to a huge construction site. Someone asked why the other governors did not perform, I said they were political gbomo-gbomos.

Have you noticed how the banks charge you for everything? It's like they are not happy seeing money in your account. Chai! Economic gbomo-gbomos.

Many say the world today is a Gen-Z world where people care for no one but themselves, but to me, it is a gbomo-gbomo world. Too many people are looking for who to use or what to take from others rather than what to give. Acts 20:35 says 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.' May God deliver us from all forms of gbomo-gbomo.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 25 February 2024

What Is The Taste Of Your Truth?

 


I was thinking this morning..... Days ago, I walked into a heated conversation between two of my colleagues. I wasn't initially sure what the bone of contention was but as I listened to understand, one of them said 'I know you will not like what I am saying, because the truth is bitter.'

After calming both of them down, I left asking myself 'is the truth really bitter?' On the moral and ethical scale of life, Truth is good and Lie (Falsehood), bad. Just like Sweet is good and Bitter, bad. So, why would anyone infer that Truth is bitter? If we say truth is bitter, does it mean lie is sweet? What is the taste of lie, if truth is bitter? Who is giving Truth a bad name? So many questions running through my mind.

These questions kept popping in my head till yesterday as I prepared my morning 'concoction tea.' I had put a bag of my Twinings Lemon & Ginger tea in the cup and added a small cup of freshly blended garlic, ginger and lemon juice. When I tasted the combination, it was harsher than usual. I decided to add a little honey. To my surprise, despite the honey, my concoction still had the pungent and acidic taste of garlic and lemon. Then it dawned on me, it is not truth that is bitter but the receiving ground that is acerbic.

Truth is sweet irrespective of the taste of the receiving ground. However, the taste in the mouth of the receiver will vary. So, when next you are confronted with the truth and you feel this unease welling up within you, remember this write-up. Truth is not bitter, it is your heart that is acerbic.

Though Truth is bitter is a correct English phrase, it is a common aphorism meant to deceive, cajole, confuse, or outright play politics with people’s perception. Truth may challenge beliefs, hurt feelings or force one to face a harsh reality, it should not be cloaked with the garb of bitterness. Truth is always sweet, it is the human heart that is acerbic.

Relationships, within marriages, family, colleagues and society at large should find sweetness in truth. Should any truth start tasting sour or bitter, no need to doubt the taste of the truth, check your heart. If your heart is sweet, you will taste the sweetness of truth. John 8:32 - And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. What is the taste of your truth?

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 18 February 2024

The Gift of Men

 


I was thinking this morning.... I started my first year in the University with three shirts and two trousers. It was a very rough start for a Warri boy leaving the comfort of family to live alone for the very first time. For the next 12 months, I tried every combination of meal plan just to survive. 0-1-0, 0-0-1, 1-0-1, Water-1-Pawpaw, 0-Pawpaw-Water, etc. Life was hard but my dream of becoming a graduate drove me on.

I started my second year unsure of where to stay or how I will survive because I hadn't received my scholarship at the time. One morning, I walked into class and was told that the new lecturer had requested to see me. I was troubled, wondering what I had done wrong. I summoned up courage and went into her office. Contrary to my fears, she was friendly and asked how I was doing. My Itsekiri name was what caught her attention and brought the favour my way.

She subsequently welcomed me into her family marking the begining of my soft, or should I say biscuit bone life on campus. I never had to look for accommodation, as I move into her BQ in Staff quarters nor had to think of what to eat, as I got a seat on the family dinner table. She and her husband gave me every possible assistance till I was done with my second degree. I literally became their third child.

While my experience was a classic vignette of campus life, not everyone received the kind of help I got. This help is what the motivational speaker, Wintley Phipps called the HPLP gene, with HPLP meaning Helping People Live their Potential, but I call it the Gift of Men (GoM).

Since I left school, God had blessed my journey with other GoM bringing me to where I am today. Most people at one time or another in life had received the Gift of Men (GoM) to see them through a phase of life. Some may have been life changing and others, subtle. The GoM is not what you solicit or beg for, they just show up and offer to help on a platter. Most successful people today enjoyed the Gift of Men. Someone that just took interest in them and offered to help at no cost.

As I reflected on how difficult it is to survive in Nigeria today, I realise that we all need the Gift of Men to go through this fire. Gift of Men are sent by God to make you, help you live your potential and fulfil destiny (Matthew 4:19). Are you a GoM? Please don't turn down the opportunity to change a life today.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 11 February 2024

BRIDE UNDER REPAIR

 


I was thinking this morning...... Someone posted a photo of a caution sign on a bridge in Akure saying 'Bride Under Repair' instead of 'Bridge Under Repair,' and commented that if the Bride is under repair, then the Groom must be under construction. Savage response, right? While I initially scoffed in disbelief, a second thought made me sober.

Yesterday, I attended the inter-tribal wedding of the daughter of my Ibo neighbour and her yoruba groom. As the couple danced to the admiration of all, I considered how they will manage their political leanings in the face of the seriously fractured political environment in Nigeria. With our very diverse culture and upbringing, inter-tribal marriages demand additional work. It is on that basis that I posited that the most appropriate sign to put up here is 'Bride and Groom under construction.'

Many get into marriage believing they are finished products and have nothing more to learn. Only last week, news made the rounds of a lady in Onitsha that violently abused and brutalised her 11-year-old maid. When I saw the disturbing photos of the brutalised girl, I actually wondered if the madam was human. She will thereafter wake up, dress up and make up, acting like a wife and even a mother. Mtchew! There is only one thing for the husband to do, shut her down and put out the sign 'Wife Under Repair.'

Like buildings and other infrastructures, humans need regular maintenance and repair. Reseash revealed that the life expectancy of a modern building is 60 to 75 years but with can last much longer with repair and maintenance. Albi Cathedral in South Central France was built about 900 years ago but still standing because of regular repair and maintenance.

Truth is, even the best of us need regular repair and maintenance of our physical, mental and emotional being. Any man or woman that refuses to devote time and resources for repair or maintenance will eventually kaput. If you know your heart beats uncontrollably when Nigeria plays, please stay off and put out a sign 'Man under Repair.' There are ways to renew your body and mind (Romans 12:1-2). Take responsibility today.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 4 February 2024

LESSONS FROM 1995

 


I was thinking this morning.... a few days ago, my former boss, whom we called Oga Adoki (third from left), sent me this group photo we took sometime in 1995/96 at our SPDC office, Edjeba Housing Complex, Warri. Just looking at the faces of everyone brought both smiles and tears to my face. Sad because two persons in the photo had transitioned to glory and smiles from fond memories of my previous life working in Warri.

The longer I looked at the photo, the more I observed interesting features. The first thought that jumped at me was how cheap fabric must have been in those days. Did you observe the size of my trousers? My goodness! Where did all the fabric come from? Even the ladies, the way they were dressed will make a young girl of today wonder if they had skin disease that they were covering. Long and short, we no dey manage material those days.

I looked again and observe that all the men in the photo had flat stomach. Where there no pots in those days that men could have swallowed? What are we eating that is making us have pot belly today? We were all looking fit for the role. Natural and healthy meals and being active made the difference.

I peered at the ladies again and observed something that may indicate how stingy they must have been. What were they doing with all their money that they couldn't afford bone straight hair? What kind of 'alaroro' are they doing by perming their hair? Ordinary N1m they couldn’t spend to buy bone straight and Brazilian hair. Na wa o.

But wait o, what is it with the flowered neck ties, shirt and dress we had on? Is it because the vegetation then were green, colourful and luscious? A youngster today will think we were flower boys and girls.

Irrespective of what you think of the photo and our looks, it was the appropriate 'costume' at the time. Life is a stage and we are actors. The script of life is in Scenes and that was Scene 1 of my Working Script. Be deliberate about whose script you are acting and whether you are giving it your best. Your success and victory in life is dependent on how you played your role on the stage with the script you have in your hands. Let God's word be your script (Matthew 6:34).

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 28 January 2024

THE DOCTOR EVERYONE WANTED ME TO BE

 


I was thinking this morning.... I woke up this morning, a day after my birthday, thinking about how far I have come in my journey of life. In my reflection, I saw myself in the dark blue uniform of Mowoe Primary school Warri, clutching my school bag as I walked from our compound at 6 Ogboru Street. I meandered through 15B Father Healy Street, into Ometan Street, Ginuwa Road and finally into Robert Road where I branched into the gate of my beloved Mowoe Primary school. I recalled how my dad and uncles called me small doctor. I never understood why but that birthed my dream of becoming a doctor.

I then saw myself in the white shirt on sky blue shorts of Hussey college Warri. I was a day student and walked north from 6 Ogboru Street towards Obahor and into Upper Erejuwa where the sprawling compound of Hussey college is located. From Class 3 to Class 5, I was in the Sciences studying my way to becoming the doctor everyone wanted me to be. When my JAMB results were released, it fell short of the cutt-off mark to study medicine, marking the first setback in my journey to becoming the doctor everyone wanted me to be.

I was later admitted to the University of Benin to study Microbiology but was determined to switch to Medicine the following year. With good grades, the switch happened but was short-lived, as the interdepartmental transfer was cancelled after just 4 weeks, ending my dream of becoming the medical doctor everyone wanted me to be.

As I graduated with a B.Sc, I did not despair about my inability to become a medical doctor. I however took a slight detour and started studying to become an academic doctor. Afterall, doctor na doctor. Within a short period, I completed my M.Sc and started my PhD but 6 months later, I suspended the program to focus on building a career. It's been 28 years and my dream of becoming the doctor everyone wanted me to be, is still on hold.

In all my years on earth, many dreams have come to pass and many others fell through, but in all, I am on course with destiny. Along the way, I have learnt that not all dreams come to pass but that every sincere prayer and genuine effort you put into fulfilling that dream eventually leads you to destiny. Stay focused on life and not on dreams because it is the steps you take in life that fulfil dreams. I may not be the doctor everyone wanted me to be, but I am thankful that I am who God wants me to be (Romans 8:29).

Thanks to everyone that celebrated me yesterday.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 21 January 2024

WHO IS SHAKING THE JAR?

 


I was thinking this morning..... I recently read that if you put 100 black ants and 100 red (fire) ants in a jar, nothing will happen. But if you shake the jar hard, the ants start killing each other. The red ants consider the black ants their enemies, and the black ants consider the red ants their enemies. The true enemy is the one shaking the jar.

The same is true of our society. I started my career as a contract staff with one of the multinationals in Warri. Like most contract staff every where in Nigeria, we worked so hard but paid little, unlike the direct employees who we saw as living in a land flowing with milk and honey. We also believed the direct staff are selfish and borderline wicked and will never do right by us. We gossip about them and always looked at them with 'gbejoro eye,' like we say in Warri.

It's been about 30 years since I came to know about the staff versus contract staff divide and the battle is still raging. With me now on the other side, most contract staff still believe the direct staff does not wish them well and are their enemies, while many direct staff believe most contract staff are not pulling their weight. The question is not about who is right or wrong but rather, who is shaking the jar.

One of the fiercest battle is that between Mother-in-law (MIL) and Daughter-in-law (DIL). When your sweet family gets agitated and the DIL turns against the MIL, stay calm and find out who is shaking the jar. Are you currently in the middle of a battle between gender (men vs women), rich vs poor, North vs South, Christians vs Muslims or Yoruba vs Ibo? Before you judge, take sides or fight each other, we should pause and ask who is shaking the jar?

There is always a third force that benefits from the infighting. If God places you in 'a jar' with someone of a different gender, colour, language or belief, please don't find reason to make an enemy of him or her, instead collaborate. If the system gets agitated, don't turn against yourself, instead find out who is shaking the jar. Maintain a healthy relationship with your friends and colleagues. No gree for anyone shaking your friendship jar to make enemies of you. Romans 12:18 says 'Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.'

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 14 January 2024

THE MELTING MAN

 


I was thinking this morning..... In 2009, Brazilian artist Nele Azevedo carved 1,000 ‘Melting Men’ out of ice and placed them on a stairway in a Square of Berlin in order to bring awareness to Global Warming. She created the installation to visually remind people of the melting ice caps in Greenland and Antartica. With temperatures of 23 degress celsius, the ice figures began melting within half an hour after setup. With every passing moment an ice-man melts into water. Though the main message was on Global Warming, the display taught me another lesson that 'Life is like ice, make the best of it before it melts.'

It is estimated that about 117 billion humans have been born and lived on earth since creation, with only about 8 billion alive today. 109 billion people, like ice blocks, have melted into oblivion. Every human, like ice, starts melting the day one is born. How fast one melts will depend on the temperature one is exposed to. The higher the temperature, the faster one melts. Some are born into homes as hot as a village kitchen and melts away in a short time. Others make their homes hot by their bad behaviour. Life is like ice block, it melts with each passing moment.

In this year 2024, be intentional not to give yourself heat or put yourself under any condition that will heat you up or increase the temperature around you because every one degree rise in temperature makes you melt faster. Some are saying 'no gree for anyone this year.' That is a recipe for friction and friction produces heat which will make your ice to melt faster. Like we say in Warri, 'I no go gree, I no go gree, na im dey tear shirt o.' Life is like ice block, it melts with each passing moment.

With a worsening economic situation around the world, many bread winners are doubling up the time they spend at work, business and hustling leaving little or no time to unwind. This year 2024, take time out to unwind, relax, refresh and enjoy because life is like ice block, it melts with each passing moment. Psalms 103:15 says "Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die."

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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

Sunday 7 January 2024

Flight 2024

 


I was thinking this morning... I once had to fly Emirates Airline from Lagos to New York. I dreaded the trip because in my mind then it was a very long trip: 7 hrs to Dubai and then 15 unbroken hours to New York. After boarding, with a lot of entertainment and so much to eat, the trip became an easy ride.

I remember starting 2023 on a sad note following a major incident at work. That was quickly followed by waves of personal fears and challenges. As the year kept grinding like a locomotive train, one day at a time, I overcame. Today, the first Sunday of 2024, I woke up thinking, 'wow! it is one full year already.'

As I sat back appreciating God for my second child that just turned 20, I imagined the little me years ago at Hussey college Warri, dreaming and thinking of remaining a teenager forever. Today, my second child is no longer a teen. It all seemed like yesterday. Hmm!!! How did I get here so fast? I reflected on the three life journeys above as I fixed my gaze on my photo of almost 20 years ago. I couldn't but wonder how it all seemed like yesterday. Of a truth, it is wisdom to make the most of your time on planet earth, because it's only a short trip.

Have you ever looked forward to something or prayed for a bad spell to come to an end and it seems it will never happen? The waiting time seems like forever. When it eventually happens and you look back a while later, it will be like yesterday and the waiting time like a moment. That's the feeling. It is called life and it teaches us to make the most of our time on planet earth because it's only a short trip.

My Emirates flight taught me a great lesson to be deliberate about how I spend my time on a flight because it is like life. Think about what you do when you fly. Some read books, others just sleep or watch movies. Make the most of your time on the plane, sorry planet… it’s only a short trip.

We are still on the journey of life and have commenced flight 2024. In 359 days, you will look back and wonder how the year had gone by so fast. Create value and impact lives this year remembering 2nd Peter 3:8 "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Welcome on-board Flight 2024.

Stay hopeful. God's got our back.

Happy Sunday!

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