A PROMISING DAY INDEED

A PROMISING DAY INDEEDby AYOBAMI OLABISI ODUNOWO fromEDIDOT COLLEGE

Oh! I cried as the black wooden door in the classroom was slammed on my little finger.

Good for stubborn ones like you, he retorted.

It all started on a Monday morning when the music teacher, Mr. Johnson Bobo made an announcement that the students in primary five must all look their best the next day because there was going to be a special music lesson featuring two popular music directors: Mr. J.K Amope and Mr. Emmanuel Ojo.

The following day, the atmosphere in the hall of utmost excitement; the bobbling scent of perfumes, overpolished black shoes through which one’s reflection could be seen and well-ironed uniforms of most students explained it all.

Those of us without electricity supply placed our uniforms under our pillows as though they were priceless gems so as not to look odd. Some students went as far as changing their accent into American, British and other unidentified oyinbos.

When the music directors mounted the stage, it was like the world had come to an end. There were cheers from every angle of the hall. In the end, all the female students were told to be in school on Saturday for a special voice training. We were told not to bring in any gadgets.

Saturday morning featured a golden glow spread across the sky as the sun closed the dark clouds and the palm trees in the next compound swayed gracefully. A sight to behold, it posed to be a promising day.

At exactly eleven o’clock in the morning, the school bus dropped all thirty-two girls in school but the bus drivers were told to return only when called.

Mr. Bobo who could not make it that day was replaced by two music directors: Mr. Olaseun and Mr. Bueni Nwafor.

All thirty-two of us girls were divided into groups of eight. We were told to stay in specific classrooms. Myself, Debbie(my best friend)and six other girls were led into a class by Mr. Seun.

When we arrived in the class, it was stuffy and dark but as I tried to lighten up the room, Mr. Seun barked loudly, sit down. Sir, its not conducive in here I replied. Conducive! he chuckled. Pele o Iya conducive, he answered. As he was about to leave, he wanted to remove the key and shut the door permanently so I tried to stop him but he slammed the door on my little finger. Oo!, I.

The Classroom was so dusty that it made me sneeze periodically. Achew, Achew. When Mr. Seun returned, his black shirt was soaked with sweat and in the dark, one could almost not be able to differentiate him from his shirt. He dragged in Pamilerin, my seatmate along like an old rag.

I examined her and noticed she was bleeding profusely. This time, Mr. Seun forcefully took two girls out of the room and when they were out, I asked Pamilerin, What is going on?

Oyin, he raped me. What?, I shouted. Shaking my head regretfully, I handed her a piece of tissue to clean up.

The room was strange. We had slept off and were dragged to a different room. Mr. Buchi was raping Rhoda, my neighbor. She screamed and shouted for help but I thought very useful

Mr. Buchi slapped her twice and shouted keep quiet my friend, An-u-ofia. The Igbo accent with which he spoke infuriated me. Then Debbie signaled for me to see that the back door was open.

We quietly walked out leaving Rhoda behind and split ourselves to avoid being caught.

I ran as fast as a cheetah and as I imagined being molested by Mr. Seun, who was as black as charcoal and Mr. Buchi who was obese, I accelerated. Just then, I sighted Mustapha as the gatekeeper who had just returned from the mosque. Walking cautiously toward him, I whispered into his ears Oga Mustapha dem dey rape all the girls. Bang, bang, the bullet flew over my head. Down went Mustapha.

There was a hole in his head and blood gushed out. I froze for a second but thought he has a phone. I walked slowly towards him and stylishly picked up his phone but when Mr. Amope got to the spot, he took me by the arm and dragged me along to the nearest classroom leaving me alone. I dialed my Mums number and as I narrated my whole experience, my mum kept on lamenting Jesu Mo gbe, Ha! Ye, Jesu The worries of a mother, I thought.

Mr. Amope returned to the class looking ferocious and as he moseyed towards me, I moved backward.

In no time, he held the hem of my skirt and split it in two. Help! I shouted. He hit me on the nose and blood spilled on the floor creating a pattern I could not understand,

By the time he was about to rape me, hands on your head My Mum arrived with the policemen. I stuck out my tongue at him Imee as I stood behind my Mum.

Oyin would you answer me? said Mrs. Onuka, my biology teacher. No, ma, I have never been raped, I replied. Next time wait till you sleep before you dream because it took you an hour to answer a question.

The teacher said hissing away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A LETTER FROM A CHIBOK GIRL

A LETTER FROM A CHIBOK GIRL by OKOYE ERIOBU STEPHANIE CHISOM from MARYLAND COMPREHENSIVE SECONDARY SCHOOL

 

My name is Mariam Nurudeen and while that might be the only thing I am still sure of, it is also the only thing that has not been taken away from me. I had always dreamt of being an activist, a career no Nigeria youth will ever think of let alone consider . My passion for this had begun, the day I confronted my father about furthering my education and he had scolded me out of the sitting room. The incident had fueled me up with so much rebelliousness, that I had stood up for my right. I had managed to convince my father that day that his notion about women belonging in the kitchen is not only wrong but very unfair. it had not been easy since my father is a difficult man who never accepts that he is wrong.

Now, I simply wish I had saved myself the stress and stuck to my father’s beliefs. However, my mother had been indifferent about the whole situation since she herself like many of uncivilized Northern women was comfortable being a housewife. I am the only girl and last child of the family hardly by choice but entirely because my mother had complications and could not go further manufacturing babies. Finally, my dreams had come true and I had been admitted into Chibok High School, Borno State. The first day I had entered the school as a boarder my fathers face held no expression I was not sure then if it was because he would miss me or because he felt I was wasting both my time and his money, but now I realize he might have perceived that no good would come out of it .

While my story in Chibok High School gave me the best, it equally gave me the worst. I had gotten the exposure and education I craved for and although I could not wait to explore the world further. I had discovered so many things in the course of going to school; critical mishaps in Nigeria like the abuse of FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT of citizens, the high rate of injustice in Nigeria, the bribery and corruption among our so-called leaders , the abuse of power , the countless rigging of elections, the vast spread of poverty and most especially the terrorism by the Boko Haram sect . After finding out about all these, I had been determined more than ever to be an activist and set many wrongs right. Maybe it is impossible, but I had it all planned in my diary . in my own little world, I had an escape plan for Nigeria.

Unfortunately, Nigeria did not have an escape plan for me. The BOKO HARAM sect attacked and I was one of the girls taken away.If I was given a second chance I would have allowed my father have his way because now; In the agonizing comfort of a congested space I call my room along with my schoolmates, I dream of what would have been. True, it may not have been a bed of roses but it sure as hell would not be worse than a bed of thorns. In my anguish, I have lost track of time. Praying endlessly for death to come, I can hardly feel anything now because to me life no longer holds any value. Here, we are made to understand that our bodies are not our own if you are forced to be a sex tool ten times a day you are lucky. Food is a different case entirely, sometimes you get a beggars portion most times you get none. In this hell hole of a camp, you are forced to recite the Quran until your lips get numb. You act funny, you are killed that instant. Here, sparing a smile is a luxury no one can afford, one thing is for sure, I will never understand why I had to be so unlucky.

I, however, wonder how a bunch of unemployed illiterates who call themselves the Boko-Haram sect are able to plan strategic missions and get away with it. I may not be a Muslim, but I know that no religion accepts murder, no religion accepts sexual abuse, no religion accepts force and terror because that is what they do. Every day, I see them with more sophisticated weapons and I wonder if these are also manna from heaven. It all started as a joke and while everyone was still laughing, they grew from thugs to terrorists. Education is not a sin in fact education for girls is a blessing. So, these paranoid, delinquent and notorious psychopaths should be stopped because everything they believe in is wrong.

I will not deny though, that I have cursed the government a million times for ignoring their responsibilities and leaving us to rot here, but now I simply do not care because I have waited for so long and I have suffered immeasurably that I do not even wish to be rescued anymore. Myself worth now is zero and I see myself as a damaged good that cannot be restored. Hmmm! This is because I keep nursing this question what even if released from this hell of a place, won’t stigmatization steer me on the face publicly? of course, your guess is as good as mine. Hmmm, what a pity!

Well, I just ask that whoever is reading this letter would do me a favor of telling my father that I am deeply sorry for the pain I might have caused him. In my next word, I still hope to be an activist because I am yet to fulfill my escape plan for Nigeria. I also beg the government to think less of themselves and more of the masses and put an end to this terrorism because nobody deserves to go through such misery not only because it is wrong but because it is also unfair.

 

BEYOND THE SURFACE

BEYOND THE SURFACE by OJO GLORY from METHODIST GIRL’S HIGH SCHOOL

 

Fear hung in the air as I awaited my fate.

This got me thinking about the beginning of all my misery.

I sat down watching the television like any other day, for the first time I watched the news. The Newscaster was talking about the latest attack of the Boko Haram in Borno State. I was shaken to my bones to see how much harm they had caused in Nigeria. I was blinded by the comfort and safety I felt in Lagos which made me so oblivious to the fact that terrorism had caused so much harm and damage in another part of the country. I decided to research further, I read on terrorist groups like Taliban, Isis, Al-Queda and Boko Haram. It was horrific.

Boko Haram, the worst of all, left millions of Nigeria internally displaced and so thinking of being in the situation of those people affected by Boko Haram scared me. I reassured myself believing that no harm could come to me. My father worked in an insurance company and was very wealthy; nobody could go through the security of my estate: I thought.

Weeks later, my father got transferred to the North to head the branch there. I wondered why an insurance company will be needed in the North when the only thing to be gained were losses because of the deaths. I thought back to the statement I made, Nobody could go through the security of my estate, and I had to rephrase it, I could go out of this security and get myself killed I said, and I was only sixteen, I was just too young to die.

My family relocated so fast I was still in shock, I did not even pack my suitcase myself, I was literally bundled and taken away. The worst aspect of it all was that my father did not reveal the state we were going to in the North. To top it all up, we took a road trip.

Halfway the journey, my father spilled the beans, on the state which we were going to stay and this made me panic more. He said we were going to stay in Borno state. I wondered what the point of driving a distance of 6,379km, a total of ninety-two hours just to get ourselves killed. I cried and begged thinking I could weaken his resolve but all to no avail he was blinded by the monetary gain.

We finally got to Borno State, everything was alright until we got to the town where we were to stay. We were welcomed by chaos. As we drove into the town, there was a stampede. We did not understand what happened until we saw some men dressed like Army Officers, a memory clicked in my numerous research on Boko Haram, they always dress like Army Officers. Fear set in as I felt drenched in sweat. My parent was also terrified, we tried to escape by reversing but they shot at us. My mum was hit by a bullet and died on the spot. My father sustained an injury and that was the last I heard of him. I was untouched because I dodged for cover. I trembled with fear, before I could digest what had happened I was dragged out of the car by them. I was put in a van and taken to one of their camps. I was taken to a well-furnished room, I wondered why I was given such a special treatment.

Two men walked into the room, the first man stared at me weirdly and signaled the others to leave, he took strides towards me and slapped me, I fell down crying in paying. He pulled me up by my hair, dragging me towards the bed, I knew the end result of it. I was raped, I had so many dreams but they were all shattered, My life was ruined.

They moved her from place to place, I watched women become widows, men widowers, children become orphan peoples houses being set on fire, leaving them homeless without any food. Where was the love? these are the effect of terrorism in the world, wonderful dreams were destroyed, innocent blood was spilled on this very soil that ones used to be peaceful.

I asked myself what where these terrorist motives were for doing all they did. I wondered if it was all a state-sponsored violence, or because of the different ethnicity, religion or linguistic groups or even education. I drew the conclusion there were no justifications for their actions. Their craving for power drives their motive to kill.

My fate has been decided, I am to be used as a suicide bomber. I have no concern about dying I am only concerned about the innocent lives I would be taking with me. I used to wonder why those suicide bombers would just volunteer to kill themselves, but now I do, because this is hell.

The day is here, the day when I say goodbye to this earth the bomb is attached to me and I am dressed in a Burqua and taken to a local market in Maiduguri where I was to take people with me either to heaven or hell, the bomb time reads one minute, my heart starts to race fast, and my life just hanging by a thread . My brain begins to calculate. I just cannot let all these innocent people die. I spot a canal and act instinctively, I have just ten seconds left to live and my last thought is that terrorism is beyond the surface. It is much deeper. I dive into the canal ending my life even before the bomb does.

THE MELON BABY

THE MELON BABY by Tejumola Opeyemi from Eko Junior College Orile Agege.

Long time ago, there lived an old man and his wife. the name of the man was Basur and his wife name was Taiba . they were very poor and they had to work hard to earn their daily living . Mr Basur was a farmer ,he always went out hunting for bushmeat and to sell in the market.

One day , Taiba took some clothes to the river to wash .she took out the clothes one by one out of the bucket and washed them scrubbing them on the stones , as she was busy washing her clothes a big large watermelon came rushing down the stream , she looked up far from where she was working and saw big large watermelon .
She was amazed because in all her life she had never seen such a big watermelon as this . How delicious that watermelon must be she said to herself. I must certainly get it and take it home to my old man. She said, she stretched out her arms to try and get it, but it was far from her reach she looked around for a stick but she couldn’t find one and if she went to look for one she would lose the water melon .

She stops at a moment to think of what she would do, she remembered an old chanting song she began to clap her hands in rhythm to think of the rolling watermelon as it floated down the stream. And while she clapped her hands , she sang the song;
Far away water is bitter
The nearer water is sweet
Pass by the far away water
And come to the sweet water
Strangely, as soon as she began to sing the little song the watermelon came nearer and nearer to the bank of the river where she was standing. At last, it stopped just in front of her so that she was able to take it up in her hands.
Taiba was very happy. She couldnt continue with her washing, she was so happy and excited, she put all the clothes back in her bucket. And with the watermelon in her hand and the bucket on her head she hurried home.
When she got home, her husband was not yet back from the farm. It was at the setting of the sun that he came back with a bundle of grass on his back.
Basur looked very tired, and as soon as Taiba saw him she called out. I have been waiting for you to come home for such a long time today.

What is the matter? Why are you so impatient? asked Basur as he wondered at his wife’s eagerness Has anything happened while I have been away ?. Oh, no! she answered, nothing has happened, I have only found a nice present for you !. That is good, said Basur as he quickly washed his feet and stepped into the house.

Taiba now ran into the little room and brought out the big watermelon. It felt even heavier than before she held it up to him, saying just look at this! Have you ever seen such a large watermelon in all your life?
When he saw the water melon he was really surprised and said : this indeed is the largest watermelon I have ever seen ! Where did you buy it? I did not buy it? She answered, I found it in the river where I was washing and she narrated the whole story to him.

I am very glad that you found it ,let us eat it now I am really hungry :Said Basur he brought out the kitchen knife and placed the watermelon on a board ,he was about to cut it when suddenly , the watermelon split into two by itself and a clear voice said wait for a moment ,old man and out from the water melon stepped a beautiful little child. They were both shocked at what they saw, they both fell to the ground and the child spoke again `dont be afraid, I am not going to harm you. I will tell you my purpose of coming to you today. Heaven has decided to have mercy on you, every day and every night you have lamented that you had no child. Your cry has been heard and I am sent to be your son in your old age !

On hearing this Basur and Taiba became very happy. They had cried night and day for a child of their own even in their lonely age. And now their prayer was answered , they were lost with joy that they did not know what to do with the child. Basur took the child up in his arms ,and then Taiba did the same. They named him Omoagbe, the watermelon baby because he had come out of a watermelon.

The years passed quickly and the child grew. He was taller and far stronger than other boys of his age. He was very handsome, courageous ,and very wise for his age, Basur and his wife’s pleasure were very high anytime they looked at him. He was just what they thought a hero should be like.

One day Omoagbe the melon baby came to his father and gently said father,by divine means we have become father and son. Your goodness to me has been great and deeper than the largest ruler in the world. I do not know how to thank you enough. Why, it is of a father to bring up his son. When you are older it will be your turn to take care of us, so after all there will be no loss. All will be equal. I am surprised at your speech!? Answered Basur looking worried . I hope you will be patient with me. But before I begin to pay back your goodness to me, I have a request to make which I hope you will grant me above everything else said Omoagbe I wish allow you do whatever you wish ,for you are different and special from all other boys.

Then let me go away at once! said Omoagbe what are you saying? Do you want to leave your old father and mother and go away from your home? I will surely come back again if you let me go now where are you going asked? Asked Basur his father . You must be thinking its strange for me to say that I want to go away, because I have not yet told you my reason for leaving said Omoagbe. Far away from here there is an island in the great river, this island is the home of the evil spirits. I often heard how they invade this land, kill and rob the people and carry off all they can find. These evil spirit hate every human being I must go and conquer them and bring back all they have robbed this land that is why I want to go away for a short time!

Basur was most surprised hearing all this from a little boy of what himself had not known. He thought it is the best time to let the boy go and fight for his land. He was strong and fearless and besides all this, Basur knew he was not an ordinary child he believes that the child was sent to them as a special gift from God. He felt very sure that the evil spirit will be powerless against him . I will not hinder you in your determination . Go to the island as soon as possible and conquer the evil. bring peace back to your fathers land . The next day, Omoagbe set out for his journey he was very sorry to leave his old parents he thought how lonely they will be while he was away. He warned them and matched out of the house and of the city.

Omoagbe went to the evil land and fought with them and triumphantly brought home with him the evil chief as a prisoner and the daughters of the king and others when the wicked evil spirit had carried off to be his slaves, were taken safely to their homes and delivered to their parents.

The whole country made a hero of Omoagbe the melon baby on his victorious return, rejoicing that the country was now free from the evil spirits who had been terror to the land for a long time.

The old couples joy was greater than ever and the treasure Omoagbe the melon baby had brought home with him enabled them to live in prosperity to the end of their lives.

ACTS OF THE UNFAITHFUL

ACTS OF THE UNTOLD by RICHARDS FAITH IYANUOLUWA fromVETLAND SENIOR GRAMMAR SCHOOL

The story I am about to tell is rather a pathetic one but I know anyone that hear it would learn a lot. Its a story of greed, lust and murder. Its a story about my aunt and her family including me as well.

I could still remember how it all began that afternoon. My cousin Tola and I returned from school looking very famished and tired. My uncle had only a day before asked us to stay till 4:pm in school .he had insisted that we must partake in the extra two and half hour lessons that still defied my reasoning. Tola and I had aunty Maria who usually helped us with our assignments and also taught us at home. Did we still need any extra lessons in school? The answer to me was No.

That afternoon, Tola and I returned in the school bus and hurried and hurried at once into the house. Aunty Maria had gone out with the driver to God- knew- where. That was what Adamu , the security man had told us.They must have gone to the market, Tola reasoned. I could see his face crumpled into a frown.
What about mummy ? I echoed , turning to Adamu . Hasnt she returned? . Adamu shook his head in negation but quickly said , she came house and go now now again.
I knew what he meant by that, because all my life I d always known Adamu as the security man. I have been living with them as a very small girl and Tola was just seven while I was sixteen . you mean Mummy came home and left almost immediately ? I reechoed, staring woodenly at the security man , I was surprised because it was unlike Mummy to return home at that time. Why did she come home? Did she forget something? I shrugged and led Tola into the house. We hurried upstairs and kicked off our shoes and uniforms on our beds .

I am hungry, Tola cried incessantly. Hed said that more than a hundred times that day. Mummy said he was like his father who liked food so much. I opened my lunch box, his face turned again into disappointing grin. He grunted and turned away. What is it? I asked him.
I said I am hungry, he cried again. I didnt say I was thirsty. What do you mean? My eyes were searching. He pointed at the food and quickly exit the room. I sensed at once that he thought what Id offer him wasnt large enough to satisfy him. Why dont you manage this first and wait for Aunty Maria? My voice trailed him as he went down the stairs. He didnt reply me. Obviously, he was angry I angry because he was hungry. My cousin was always like that .I ignored him and began to wear my clothes .When I got back downstairs, I was shocked to see him busy eating daddys meal at the dinning table.

Thats daddys food ; I screamed you cant . Youmustnt eat daddys food he said nothing .he simply went on eating away the food. I also said nothing and just reclined in the sofa to watch T.V. about six minutes later mummys car roared to a halt in the compound . I drew the curtain and grimmed mummys back ! I screamed . Tola said nothing as he simply went on eating the food.
The main door swung open quickly, and mummy came into the room. Esther! she screamed. Are you back? Her voice was full of fear and I could see that she was worried about something. Where is your brother? she asked quickly, I pointed towards the dinning table. Oh my God! she cried. Hey, this boy has killed me, Tole! she cried, Tola who was still licking his fingers was shocked at his mothers strange attitude. I was shocked too, she ran into the toilet in the guest room and pour the remaining food into the toilet after coming back into the sitting room she took Tolas hand and dragged him into her room upstairs asking why he had to eat his fathers food. The food was meant for your father not you, son, she said still crying. While facing her fore-inger down Tolas throat. He yelled painfully and began to vomit. Why didnt you wait for Maria or me? She crieds. I must take you at once to the hospital. suddenly mummys phone ranged. Fred, please call me back later, Im in a middle of something now, She said hurriedly and put down the phone. More she put her finger in his throat and again more than before Tola Vomit and spat into the sink. I couldnt help just looking anymore so I asked Mummy Mummy is it bad to eat what was meant for Daddy? Shut up! she snapped angrily and sent me a hot blazing look. Just then daddys car screeched to a halt in the compound.

Palm Oil! She screamed and ran down stairs to get it, on her way she met with daddy, who asked her of his food, she said shed set the table now. Daddy went to his room and came down some minute later freshened up and went straight to the dining table, she set the food and he started eating. To say I was shocked at her behavior could be an understatement because she sat beside him at the table and covered her face with an old fashion magazine, she seems to have forget everything about Tola.

Just then, Aunty Maria came in with some bags they must be food items I thought, last why did mummy send Aunty Maria this time? Was the question in my head. Here is the change ma aunty Maria said. Go to my room and bring my bag. Its on the bed. Mummy told her, just then my uncle asked about Tola, he is upstairs I said and turned back to the tv. It was that instant that it happened, aunty Marias cry rang out and took the whole building.
My uncle and his wife ran upstairs only to find aunty Maria weeping like a baby. what happened? they asked, she said nothing but only pointed at the door, we all went inside only to find Tolas body lying lifelessly on the floor. He was dead. My uncle said and wept bitterly as we all do.

Mourners suddenly began to come in their hundreds. Tolas body was taken immediately to the mortuary. The next day, all in black we headed to the cemetery for the burial.A week after Tolas death I resumed school again alone. The mystery surrounding Tolass death disturbed me even the more. He died after eating the food my aunt had kept for my uncle. Was the food poisoned? Who poisoned it? My aunt? Was she trying to kill my uncle? The more I thought about it, the more difficult it was for me to imagine that my aunt could kill my uncle. Why would she want to do that? I shook off the idea. My uncle wasnt a poor man. He is rich and lacked nothing. Why then would my aunt think of harming him? But why did she behave the way she did the day Tola had died? Why did she try to force him to vomit the food? Was it because she knew it was poisoned? Was that what really killed Tola? These are all the unanswerable questions that came to my head.
It was painful and hurting me inside and seems to be killing me, the more I tried to stop thinking about it, the more it remained in my head. you cant turn yourself into a hermit, aunty Tosin my uncles younger sister tried to console me. She cheered me up and made sure I had anything I asked of. Aunty Tosin had just finished her youth service and was billed to travel soon to Germany to join her husband. She was a very nice person who made sure I was happy all the time.
I was already used to aunty Tosin and always wanted to be with her when the message came that month ,that her visa was ready and was going to travel by the end of the month. I wish I could go with her.I said tearfully. I tried all I could to stop her from going but all to no avail. Now it was only a week remaining for her to travel and while I was still wishing that there was anything I can do to stop her.
But something strange happened that week; something that was going to keep aunty Tosin longer than I expected. Although it was what I prayed for that she should stay longer, but it left bitter pills for us to swallow in its trails. Tragedy struck like a brutal demon.

Aunty Tosin had gone to the salon to braid her hair in preparation for her trip which was only two days away. She had thought she would finish on time and come over to my school as usual to take me home. She couldnt make it so, when it was closing, I went to the waiting room to wait for her .The school bus had left and parents were coming in ones and twos to pick their wards patiently, I waited staring at my wrist watch.
Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder, I turned and was disappointed to see my aunt staring at me. Aunty Tosin couldnt make it, she said , she called me a while ago. I hissed and followed her to the car. you look tired, she winked. Hop into the back sit and catch some sleep. I thought it was not a bad idea as I was not in the mood for any form of discussion with her. Sitting in front could create that opportunity. I opened the back door and flung myself in. she drove the car out of the school premises and ran into the terrible traffic. I shot my eyes and tried to force myself to catch some sleep.

Then I heard a voice saying Fred, it was my aunts voice. please give me some more time. I dont want to make another mistake again the last one claimed the life of my only son. My aunt was talking on the phone. Because she was driving and thought I was sleeping, she had the phone on speaker. I cant wait any longer Mary, it was the voice of the man from the other end. I heard it clearly from my aunts phone. I think you should let me handle it. Fred my aunts voice was shrill and piercing. she just lost her only child . i suggest we hold on for a while. thats silly replied Fred from the other end. I cant believe this is coming from you. You are the one that had always wanted him dead. Sometimes you talk as if you dont love me anymore. Dont go there Fred she snagged you know thats not true . you knew deep inside that I love you more than anyone.

 

Then lets do this thing and get out of the country as we planned earlier. ButI can handle it . just trust me the conversation ended soon . my head was pounding now .it was obvious now that my aunt had killed Tola with the initial intention of poisoning my uncle . a nagging headache was talking if toil on me by the time we reached home . I went upstairs to my room and threw myself on the bed I couldnt take my mind off what my aunt and the faceless man called Fred had discussed on the phone that day .my body was now on fire . I was shivering and cold , with trembling hands ,I covered myself up with blanket .I was still in my school uniform . I didnt know how long it took before my uncle arrival.
I felt his hand touch my fore head . Esther , he said softly , you are ill and I must take you at once to see the doctor .soon I was driving with him to the hospital . my heart was burning. I wanted to tell him about the conversation I heard that afternoon but the more I thought about it, the more difficult it was to tell him .i seemed I was standing before the devil and the deep blue sea .after seeing the doctor ,my uncle took me back home . Id totally forgotten when I meet aunty Tosin at home . later that day my uncle drove his car out of the compound never to return again to us .

He was shot in the head and chest by unknown gunmen that night he was taken to the home town for burial , it was like a dream six month later we were all back in the city after aunt was through mourning my uncle . later that year my aunt want to celebrate her birthday and use the opportunity to bring the so called man Fred but now introducing him to me as an uncle ,I greeted him and the lady with him whom he claimed to be his wife to him , they all went inside , while I withdrew to the room to make some call s, I called the inspector who came together with the police later in the afternoon for his usual investigation . we have later invited him also to the party that night .so that I can use the opportunity to open up to him.
He had arrived and I took him to my room and explained everything to him with the evidence of audio record which I took from the conversation of Uncle Fred and my aunt later that evening before the party began. The inspector was very happy about the information.

Two days later, three policemen came to the house to arrest my aunt in connection with my uncles death. Somehow, they tracked down her boyfriend and when they were interrogated, the police were amazed at the revelations. From the two love birds. They were subsequently charged to court. The police needed me to testify. I was willing to tell what I knew, that she killed Tola my cousin and my uncle who knows? I might be the next victim.

I appeared in court and said what I knew. My aunt was sentenced for life while Fred who pleaded guilty for my uncles murder got a death sentence.

TCLI 2017 Report: 5th Teecoks writing competition

 

The award ceremony of 5th Teecoks Writing Competition among Secondary School Students in Lagos State organised by Towunmi Coker Literary Initiative took place on Thursday 15th February, 2018 at Agege Stadium, Agege.

In attendance were: Head of Service, Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adesoye (represented by Mrs. Fiyinfoluwa Ogunbanke; Permanent Secretary, Office of HOS); Tutor General/Permanent Secretary Education District I, Dr(Mrs)Olufolaymika Ayandele (represented by Mrs.F. Alabi);Tutor General/Permanent Secretary Education District IV, Mrs. O.O. Onadipe (represented by Mr.A.J.Akinyemi); Pastor (Dr) Lolu Awoliyi, Dr. Mike Aderohunmu, Mr. Raphael, (representative of Viju Industries), Mrs.Azafi Omoluabi (Co Founder, Parresia Publishing Limited), Pastor Peter Alabi, Mrs. Adaeze Umeh (representative of Diamond Bank), Principals, Teachers, students (of 87 schools, private and public), writers, gentlemen of the press and other invited guests.

The event was anchored by Mr. Richmond Osuji, renowned Master of Ceremony and started at 10.25am.

Programme of Events:

  1. Invitation to the High Table.
  2. National Anthem.
  3. Words of Exaltation by Pastor Alabi.
  4. Chairmans Speech by Dr. Awoliyi.
  5. Lecture by Guest Speaker by Azafi Omoluabi.
  6. Short debate among 40 schools.
  7. Music.
  8. Motivational talk by Dr. Mike Aderohunmu.
  9. Speech by Dr. Towunmi Coker, founder Towunmi Coker Literary Initiative.
  10. Presentation of Awards.
  11. Financial Gameboard and cash prizes presentation by Diamond Bank.
  12. The presentation of cash prizes to 3 winners in the debate and their teachers.
  13. Music Interlude.
  14. Till the next edition.

The theme of the Writing Competition was FLIPPING THE SCRIPT: AN UNEMPLOYMENT STORY. The students submitted a fictional piece of not more than 1000 words or poetry of not more than 30 lines. 147 schools, both public and private participated and 2574 entries received.

The following are the winners for the 5th Teecoks writing competition (Young Lagos Writers 2017):

FICTION

  • 1st Prize/Overall Winner: Osumah Katherine from Maryland Comprehensive School, Maryland.
  • 2nd Prize winner: Adesanya Oluwapelumi from Oke-Odo Senior High School, Alimosho.
  • 3rd Prize winner: Obidi Eunice from International School, Lagos.
  • 4th Prize winner: Okim Itohowo from Babs Fafunwa Millennium Grammar School, Ojodu.
  • 5th Prize winner:Ezeunala Ekene Franklin from Meiran Community Senior High School.
  • 6th Prize winner: Afunmilayo Priscilla from Christ The King School, Gbagada.
  • 7th Prize winner: Odumosu Godsfavour from Oriwu Senior Model College, Ikorodu.
  • 8th Prize winner: Chinchem Oluchi from Ajao Estate Senior Grammar School, Ajao Estate.
  • 9th Prize winner: Olaonipekun Tomiwa from Babs Fafunwa Millenium Grammar School, Ojodu.
  • 10th Prize winner: Nze Amanda fromMaryland Comprehensive School, Maryland.

POETRY

  • 1st Prize winner: Omotayo Tomiwa from Maryland Comprehensive School, Maryland.
  • 2nd Prize winner: Atoda Akpezi Blessing from Diary Farm Senior Secondary School, Agege.
  • 3rd Prize winner: Ezeokeh Chelsea from Holy Child College,Ikoyi.

 

Three students were awarded for poetry although the initiative aimed to award the best five, but based on the quality of entries, the judges found only three worthy of the prizes.

 

Towunmi Coker Literary Initiative highly appreciates the contribution of Lagos State Government, Head of Service Lagos State, Permanent Secretary Lagos State Ministry of Education, Tutor Generals/Permanent Secretaries of Education Districts I, II, IV&VI, Parresia Publishers Limited, Diamond Bank, Teo Inspiro, SparkleWriters, Viju Industries, YS, Our wonderful Judges and 7up in making this event a huge success.

 

 

Writing Competition: 5th Teecoks Writing Competition

The annual Teecoks Creative writing competition is here. The theme for this year is ‘Flipping the script: An Unemployment story’

Towunmi Coker Literary Initiative is dedicated to effecting needed societal changes through literature, arts and culture. Part of our program includes the Yearly Teecoks creative writing competition among high school students in Lagos state, Nigeria. Call for entries for this year which is the fifth has now begun.

Students are expected to submit entries on fiction where they are to write a creative story of not more than 1000 words in line with the theme. Or submit a work of poetry of not more than 30lines in line with the theme. We are open to submission from now (September 2017) till Friday 10th November 2017. Entries would not be received after the deadline.

TCLI expects students to submit purely original works as pliagarised works will be penalised. Schools authorities and teachers should ensure that all rules are adhered to and imbibe discipline in their students.

 

The writing competition is among students in secondary schools in Lagos state. Schools that are willing to participate and have not received any letter from us should please not hesitate to reach out to us. It will be a great delight to have you participate and we would not hesitate to send the requirement for participation to interested schools.

Past winners of the the competition include:

Fiction

– Sadiku Feyipitan Maryland Comprehensive school 2013

Ejikeme  Chidimma Anglican Comprehensive High School 2014

Abdulfattah  Nusaybah International School Lagos 2015

– Ibukunoluwa Addy Chrisland College Idimu 2016

Poetry

Which commenced in 2016.

– Adebogun Oluwatosin Ansarudeen College Isolo 2016

Homecoming

Sixth Prize winner 2015 Teecoks writing competition; LONG ABRAHAM from IGBOBI COLLEGE YABA

 

Homecoming.

The light turned red and the taxi came to a screeching halt. I rested my head on the steering wheel with every bit of tiredness. The old man, I had picked up a while ago complained, slow down boy. I am not ready to die. I ignored him, turning up the volume of the battered and ancient radio. This seemed to make the old man even crankier, as he wiggled uncomfortably at the back seat. Listening to it was as essential as breathing to me. Some would render this exaggeration, I thought otherwise. I remained glued to the radio, every minute of the day, desperately praying for a miracle. Hoping that plateau would once again be the free city it once was.

The fatal explosions had never once failed to send a deafening pulse through my ears. My heart could never stop pounding against my chest. I would hastily pick up Amina and along with Halima, hurry towards the underground shelter. Terror-stricken, we would sit there silently for hours. Putting my arms around them, I would pray because praying was all I was capable of. This feeling of helplessness ate me from within, so when my brother suggested we migrate to Lagos, I agreed reluctantly.

After coming to Lagos, I was forced to work as a taxi driver because no matter how hard I tried, every job application was rejected. In Plateau, I was employed as a Secretary for a lawyer. It was not much but we led a comfortable life. Not rich nonetheless, content.

The blaring horn of the car behind brought me back to the harsh reality. After dropping the old man at his destination, I drove around. My mind nowadays was always distorted. Casual drives like this one were the least I could do to settle down a bit. Driving around, I could feel these people looking at me their demeanor inhospitable, their tone condescending. They never tried to imagine what it was like to leave our motherland and try to make a life for ourselves on a new soil.

I parked the taxi in a corner, waiting for customers. A man was unloading fruits and vegetables from a truck. Tempted by the apples, I reached into my pocket, but then realized that I did not have enough money. It dawned on me that I would be saddled with these unfulfilled desires, probably for the rest of my life.

I bought some wrapped biscuits for lunch and headed home. I was greeted by complete and utter chaos. Children were fighting, screaming incessantly and pulling each others hair. I handed the biscuits to Halima and she served me food. Irritated, I went outside. I was fed up of this constant yelling and shouting. We lived in one room; my family, my brothers and my uncle. This was one of the many reasons I grew fond of the solitude.

Following lunch, I went back to the taxi station, turned up the radio and drove around looking for customers. When nobody showed up, I got out of the taxi and walked on the stone paved path. As I walked pass the fishmongers shop plain whiffs of blood and the putrid smell of decomposed fish assaulted my nostrils. I felt like my lunch was coming back up. I instantly changed my direction. Standing before an electric shop, I stared across the glass wall at the TV screen, listening to the news. The shop keeper rudely told me to leave. I turned around to go when I heard it. The Nigerian Army has just successful finished rounding up the remaining terrorists from infamous Boko Haram sect. The streets have never been safer now.

It felt like a dream. In a fleeting moment everything changed. Words could not describe how I felt. I raced home, the taxi all but forgotten. Halima was at the doorstep. Her eyes glistering but these were tears of joy. I hugged her tight and whispered in her ears. You know what this means right. Home she replied.

My brother and I made arrangement and within a week we were in Plateau. After entering the city, I fell on the ground and kissed it, felt the soil in my hands, I was finally home. We made our way towards our old house and even though it was in ruins, we decided to stay there. I sat outside a broken wall of the house, gazing at the sky, the night was unusually starry. Everybody was sound asleep. When I was finally alone, I felt surprisingly happy, a feeling unknown to me for quite some time.

 

 

Homecoming! Homecoming!! Homecoming!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo credit: Google

 

Passion and Education: TCLI Ambassador

Passion is prestigious, benevolent, and all consuming. One can decide to forfeit all in a crave to satisfy this urge. Many a mistake is to think this is ultimate, how about a mix? A combination. A larger crave to be better. A blending of passion and education.

It is no news that Towunmi Coker Literary Initiative (TCLI) was born out of the quest to promote passion while still pursing education and of course it gives TCLI no greater joy than to have an ambassador such as Nkechi Chidi-Ogbolu.

Graduating magna cum laude with a bachelor degree in chemical engineering is no small feat. But when you graduate at the age of 18 from an Ivy League school, then that’s ground breaking.

Nkechinyere Chidi Ogbolu who graduated from Howard University at the age of 18, was raised in Nigeria and gained admission when she was 14 years old. This is quite an extraordinary milestone because in Nigeria, most of her contemporaries are just midway through secondary school.

The young lady who studied chemical engineering because she wanted a really broad field and liked the idea of engineering, because it solves problems, also has an interest in music and loves to write.

‘I almost took a gap year to go into music and just sing. People have told me that I am a really good singer. I wanted to drop the school thing and sing for a year. Then my mum and I talked about Falz who is a lawyer and a musician. He did not drop out of school. The music thing has not died. I still make music videos.’

Age has never been a deterrent factor in her academic pursuits as she plans to continue her studies in California for her doctorate degree in Biomedical Engineering. Diligence remains the hallmark of this outstanding young woman who will never settle for mediocrity and anything less than excellence.

Her book, Tales of an Uber Minor in College is a diary on how her life has been in the last four years; written to inspire people to do great things and let them know that opportunities abound. Also, to show that even when people doubt in themselves they can rise above it.

Chidi Ogbolu emphasized the importance of mentoring and encouraged parents to be mentors to their kids and be people that children can unburden to rather than just authority figures that require perfection and nothing less than that.

The Towunmi Coker Literary Initiative (TCLI) Ambassador is a sterling example of how to build a solid bedrock for education and still follow your passion. Nkechinyere has a burning passion for music, and writes also, as seen in her recently published book.

The young lady who almost took a gap year to sing is still making musical videos as a graduate. Showing the possibility of having an education and still chasing your passion. With a further advancement to publish a book. An example that one can do anything and education is a plus. Passion has not been buried. Education is thriving. The making of a happy human; perfect model of the total child.

Nkechi would like to change the perception that you have to drop your education or your passion like she almost did. Furthermore, to change the notion that you cannot achieve success unless you are wealthy.

Part of her plan is to engage in medical research and improve on the treatments and methodologies currently at our disposal. She is also interested in reaching out to Youths.

 

 

 

 

 

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