Monday, August 18, 2008

August and September Shout-Outs: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

Gbenga Ijishakin August 2nd
Kemi Ariyo August 4th
Dr Femi Omotosho August 5th
Akin Ogunaiki August 8th
Boluwatife Awofadeju August 9th
Femi Coker August 13th
Ife Ogunkanmi August 13th
Temi Kumapayi August 15th
Bola Kushimo August 18th
Yomi Adesina August 22nd
Victor Momoh August 25th
Temitope Dada August 30th
Arch Tokunbo Freeman September 1st
Funmi Afolayan September 1st
Tosin Oni-Orisan September 4th
Seun Akinyede September 9th
Oluwatoni Adigun September 13th
Angela Okorie September 14th
Abigail Aderonmu September 19th
Jola Akinwande September 20th
Joyin Akinwande September 20th
Pastor Tunji Adigun September 26th
Dade Akinwande September 26th
Bukola Ajisafe September 27th

Novella: Choices (Chapter 5)

LAGOS (SATURDAY 28TH APRIL, 2007)
The applause was loud and deafening. The 6th Annual National Secondary Schools’ Bible Quiz Competition was at its peak. The 12 competing schools had now been reduced to the final two; Royal College, the host school and Kristos High School, the new comers from Imo State. It had been an exciting competition so far with no dull moments.
They were on the last round, with one more question for each school.
“Royal College, pick your question. You only have questions 17 and 83 left.” The Quiz Arbiter announced.
“Question 83” Pearl said.
“Question 83”, the arbiter repeated. “Who was the father of all who live in tents and raise livestock?”
Moni and Pearl whispered to each other and Moni voiced up. “Jabal”
“Spell it” he said.”
“J-a-b-a-l”
“Correct!” he announced. There was a thundering applause from the audience. “And Kristos High School, you don’t have a choice about your question. Question 17. Who was David’s mighty man who fought until the sword stuck to his arm?”
Ifeoma looked at Chuba who was already staring at her in disbelief. “I told you it would be asked” she said, smiling. He motioned her to say it out.
“Eleazar, son of Dodo.”
The hall was dead silent waiting for the arbiter. He took a moment to look at his notes, for no other reason than to heighten the suspense. He looked up at the Kristos students and frowned, then smiled. “Correct”. There was another loud cheer.
“Now, since we’ve gotten to this point, we are going to ask both of you a joint question. You’ll write down your answer and the Timekeeper would come collect from you after thirty seconds.” The Quiz Arbiter looked in both directions. “Royal and Kristos are you already?”
“Yes sir” the four contestants replied, now terribly nervous.
“In the sheet of paper given to you, quote Psalms 68:5”
Moni screamed and reached out to hug Pearl. “This is unbelievable” she mouthed. She looked at Pearl and saw her eyes fill and the tears spill over. She wondered why Pearl was being so emotional but guessed that was her way of expressing this joy they both felt. “You’re da bom, girl! Write it down, Pearl” she said, giving her best friend the pen.
On the other side, two heads stared at each other in disbelief. “You must be a prophet, Ifeoma. I forgot entirely and didn’t learn it but I believe you did.” He said, smiling at her.
“I didn’t either” she said and hung her head.
“I can’t believe this” he said. He looked over at his opponents and saw they were beaming. He hung his head too. Turning, he faced her. “Just write something; at least you have an idea.”
“Okay” she said raising her head and he saw tears on her cheek. They had worked so hard for this.
The Timekeeper came on cue and collected their sheets. After the arbiter read through, he asked the contestants to quote it verbally, starting with Royal College.
Pearl stood and quoted it; Ifeoma stood and did same. The arbiter showed no emotion when either quoted. Only those who knew the verse had any idea as to who had won.
The Quiz Arbiter cleared his throat and announced. “All contestants have done beautifully well, especially our last four contestants, representing Royal College and Kristos High School. I actually enjoyed myself as they all showed the stuff they’re made of. They all spoke with confidence and –” He saw the audience was getting restless, waiting for the answer. That’s exactly what he wanted. “Okay, straight to the point,” he said, smiling and walked to the center of the podium.
“The winner of the 6th Annual National Secondary Schools’ Bible Quiz Competition is…” he paused, relishing the moment. “Royal College, Lagos” The screaming, hooting, and shouting was in itself exciting. The members of the audience were on their feet and it took some screaming from the arbiter to quiet everyone down.
“The last four contestants,” he looked at his notes. “Moni, Pearl, Chuba and Ifeoma would represent Nigeria in this year’s African Christian Students’ Conference in Cape Town, South Africa in August this year; all expenses paid. The audience cheered. “The champions of this year, Moni and Pearl would be giving full scholarship for their first year in any Federal University in Nigeria.” Another applause welcomed that news.
“I now call on Bayo and Sunbo, the outgoing champions from La Ville Academy to congratulate the runners-up and decorate the new champions.” Bayo walked up the podium with Sunbo by his side. They went over to congratulate Chuba and Ifeoma. They then moved over with wreaths to decorate Moni and Pearl. Bayo shook Pearl and moved over to shake Moni. When he did, he lingered a little and bent slightly forward and whispered, for her ears only, “Baby, I am proud of you”. Moni’s knees buckled at his nearness and at those words he spoke.
Bayo stepped back and allowed Sunbo shake Moni’s hand. Moni noticed however that there was something different in Sunbo’s eyes, compared to the high school arrogance and disdain that used to be there. It seemed more like an inner glow finding expression through her eyes. “Congratulations Moni” she said and stepped away.
“Thanks” Moni said disarmed by the look in Sunbo’s face. She had initially planned to spite the girl if they won the competition but that seemed uncalled-for now.
“Thank you Bayo and Sunbo” the arbiter said. “We believe you all had fun. Keep reading your bibles. God bless us all and God bless Nigeria. See you next year!” The hooting was back again as school mates congratulated each other and exchanged contacts with the new friends they had made from other schools.
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Bayo waited for Moni at the last stair from the podium. “May I have the honour of walking with you?”
“As the outgoing Champion, yes!” she said, trying to seem as unaffected by his presence as possible.
“Can I have a few moments with you?” he asked.
“Okay” she said, facing him.
“Alone” he then added.
“For five minutes” she said, and then added with a smile “My fans are waiting for me.”
“You bet. Where can we go?” he asked.
“The laboratory block. It’s two blocks behind this one” she said pointing to the block ahead of them.
“Okay, then.”
They walked silently for the few minutes it took them to get to the laboratory block. Bayo intentionally didn’t say again. He allowed Moni’s mind do all the thinking. He’d done this several times, it wasn’t going to be hard for him. And it was working. Moni’s hands were getting wet and sweaty, and her mind raced in different directions. When they got to the laboratory block, with no one in sight, Bayo knelt down in front of Moni, took her right hand in both of his and looked straight into her eyes with those pleading eyes of his.
Moni’s heart was stuck in her throat. She couldn’t breath.
----------------------------------
“Moni!” Pearl screamed in the hall. ‘Where is this girl’, she asked herself. She had been talking with Ifeoma and Chuba on the podium. When she turned, her best friend was nowhere in sight. She ran out and saw two figures walking alone toward the laboratory block. ‘Moni, please don’t be stupid!’ she pleaded in her heart. She wanted to share with Moni what had happened to her that made her cry on the podium.
After her first meeting with the Maranatha girls, she had felt free and alive. She had rededicated her life to Jesus. She had opened up to them about her life. They had told her to tell her step-father off; that she couldn’t play along anymore, they had prayed with her and told her she had to forgive both her step-father and her biological father who ran away from home. She struggled with those thoughts all night, and as she was about to sleep, she made a request of God. “If you’re truly now my Father as You stated in Psalms 68:5 and You want me to forgive my earthly fathers for what they have done to me, please let us be asked to quote this same scripture in the quiz on Saturday.” That had been her prayer.
When the arbiter had asked that final question, she couldn’t explain the feeling in her heart. She was awed by God’s love and concern for her and the tears came naturally. Now, she wondered how she would go about the forgiving business. The next day was ‘Visiting Day’; the last Sunday of the month and her step-father was going to come. She thought, ‘How am I going to tell him that I’m not doing again and I’ve forgiven him for defiling me so far? Would it jeopardize his marriage with mummy? If it does, how would my mum, my brother and I survive? If anything goes wrong, mum would never forgive me!’
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Moni wasn’t the only one who noticed the duo walk away from the hall. Sunbo saw them too. She had known Bayo was trying to get Moni back right from the time they were seated together on the front row, honored as outgoing champions. He kept looking at her; hardly did he pay attention to anything or anyone else. He seemed hungry for the girl. She only wondered why.
Her own thoughts too were plaguing her. She was still asking herself why she had agreed to having Bayo come stay in her house. Then, she had thought she had good and strong reasons, but now, seeing him again after nine months, she wondered if it was such a good idea. He still had this hold over her, and he knew it. He was her first and her only, in fact. She had dated only one guy after Bayo but never slept with him, for reasons known to her.
She looked at him again, as he walked away with Moni by his side. ‘How am I going to tell him what happened to me after he left, what I did, and what I have become now? I can’t imagine what the look on his face would be when I tell him. Worse still, I hope I won’t still fall flat for this guy I know very well to be a player. One night under the same roof with Bayo is enough to do the magic’.
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“We tried. I’m sure God is proud of us though He might have wanted us to be a little painstaking by checking out that verse that we forgot” Ifeoma said as they waited for their driver who was nowhere in sight.
“You’re right. It’s painful though. And I blame myself for it” Chuba said.
“Don’t. It was my fault. You were tired and deserved to sleep. I was just bored and chose to look out at grasses. Can you imagine? I should be spanked” she said smiling.
Chuba was happy to see Ifeoma smiling again. She had been quite down immediately after losing the competition. The South Africa trip was a good compensation; something to look forward to.
“I heard that Pastor Franklin Jentezen from Gainesville, USA usually comes around for the African Christian Students’ Conference”
“The guy of ‘Keep your underwear on’?”
“Yes! The same guy”
“Wow! I’m glad we would be there”
Chuba was taken aback. ‘We’? She was thinking of both of them. If it were him, he would have personalized it. He was getting to know Ifeoma more, and he had just discovered something new; she was selfless. He stole a look at her when she was not looking. ‘Father, I know I don’t deserve this kind of girl but how I wish You would bless me with someone just like her when I’m ripe for marriage’ he prayed silently.
As if she had heard him, she looked at him and smiled. Chuba missed a heartbeat. She reminded him of the Proverbs 31 woman, just that Ifeoma was still a girl, not to be barged with emotional commitments. He could see she respected him, or was it admiration he saw in her eyes, he couldn’t tell. ‘Only if you know who I really am; how messed up I really am, the things I struggle with, you would never want to see me again’ he thought.
And again, as if reading his mind, she looked at him. “I’m proud of you, Chuba; any day, anytime.” She smiled as she looked at her friend. He was so strong, mature and godly; he acted far older than his age. ‘God, I’m so insecure, shy and afraid of the future, while this guy is so strong, intelligent and mature in You. I know I’m not good enough for him but I think I need him. And I might never have him if I don’t do something quick. Is it okay Lord if I ask him out?’ she asked God silently, feeling silly about the request but waiting for an answer.
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ROAD ONE, OAU, ILE-IFE (SATURDAY 28TH APRIL, 2007)
Few motorists and bike riders noticed the girl standing on the mini-bridge overlooking a pond. Anyone would have assumed she was relaxing, enjoying the scenery under the bridge. But only Shola Bankole knew her reason for being on that bridge. She was tired of life and was ready to end it all. She kept analyzing the water below, she either needed it to be very deep; deep enough to drown her or very shallow, shallow enough for her to break her neck when she dived.
She mentally sought for one reason to stay alive but she couldn’t find any. She’d lost all her true friends; there wasn’t anybody to fall back to. Her parents had given up on her when they heard about her activities on campus. The only person she knew she could run to and won’t turn her back was Thomas Baderin. He had preached to her in her first year on campus and got in touch once in a while but she had never been nice to him. She knew he wouldn’t turn her back but she couldn’t bear the shame of going to him, tail between legs.
‘Let me relieve myself of this pain once and for all. I’ve come too far to turn back now. I only wish I had made better choices.’ Different memories flashed through her mind; the good, bad and the ugly. She lifted her left leg to the top of the bridge’s slab. She looked back and saw no one was looking. With final, resolve, she lifted her right leg, the tears flowing down her beautiful face unabated.

Written By Timilehin Adigun.

…TO BE CONTINUED NEXT EDITION. (Please remember to subscribe if you haven’t, so you could receive the next edition. Only subscribers would be receiving editions on a regular basis. Don’t forget either that subscription for this magazine is free. All it costs you is either browsing time or a postage stamp!!! See ‘Free Subscription’ for details.)
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Novella: Choices (Chapter 4)

IMO STATE (THURSDAY, 26TH APRIL, 2007)
The excitement was palpable as it always was when the students of Kristos High School were going for a competition or traveling on an excursion. This seemed like a combination of both. Chuba, Ifeoma, three student supporters and a staff were about to leave the school premises for the 6th Annual National Secondary Schools’ Bible Quiz Competition, hosted this year by Royal College, Lagos.
The principal had asked them to leave two days earlier, so as to get to Lagos on time on Friday morning and have a whole day to relax and prepare. Getting to Lagos on the same day of the competition, she felt, would be stressful for the participating students. A staff, who once lived in Lagos, recommended that the crew check into Excellence hotel at Ogba for the night, stating that it was quite affordable and decent.
Most students were in class having lectures but a few were in front of their classes, watching the school bus which was parked in front of the principal’s office, waiting for their colleagues to leave. The principal stood beside the bus. She prayed with the students and asked them to leave. “I believe in you dears. Go, make your school proud. God help you” She said as she stepped back from the bus.
“Amen. Thank you ma” the students replied.
As the bus eased out of the school, Chuba felt a knot in his stomach, a combination of emotions; excitement and anxiety over the competition. Ifeoma, on the other hand had butterflies in the stomach but for all too different reasons.
The accompanying staff sat with the driver in front of the 14-seater bus. The three supporting students sat at the far back, while the two contestants sat in the middle row.
“This is a dream come true. I almost can’t believe it’s happening” Chuba said, beaming.
“Same here.” Ifeoma replied.
They talked a while about what they expected to see and experience at the competition. Their friends joined in the gist. When they seemed out of gist, after about two hours of traveling, Chuba faced Ifeoma. “I think we should look through our notes again.”
“In the bus, can’t it wait?” she asked, smiling.
“It’s not my fault; I just want to be super ready.”
“That’s okay.” She pulled out her note book, put it on her lap and opened it. Chuba pulled it a little to his side and held the end of the book closer to him, while she held the other end. They read silently through their joint jottings in the book. As Ifeoma read trough, she couldn’t help admiring her own hand writing. Many people had appreciated her writing, many but Chuba. She knew he liked her writing, because the few times he was either sick or representing the school, making him absent from classes, he had always told her to help him copy his notes. Those were moments she cherished; writing in Chuba’s book. But why he never passed a comment or compliment, she did not know.
Now, this was another moment she was going to live to remember. She and Chuba having as much as 72 hours together, at least, except for moments when they would sleep in different rooms at the hotel. It was more than she could ask.
“I had even forgotten that story about Eleazar, the Son of Dodo. Why did you underline that part?” He said tracing a line she’d ruled under a phrase and in the process, his fingers touched hers slightly and rested there awhile, at the end of the drawn line. She could hardly breathe; she wished the moment would last longer. She noticed Chuba wasn’t talking again. ‘Could he be feeling this God-blessed attraction too?’ she thought to herself. She looked up at him and saw he had a questioning look, not a ‘lost-in-your-eyes’ look she had hoped to see. ‘Oh Silly me! He’s waiting for the answer to his question’. She was disappointed.
He repeated himself. “The reason for this line?” he said, now tracing the line back to the beginning. At least, now she could think clearly without his fingers touching hers.
“I just had this feeling it was going to be asked.” She finally said.
“Yeah?”
She nodded. “I also think there’s a new verse we should memorize.”
Chuba yawned. “Guess I need to sleep a while, my eyes are heavy.”
“How many hours did you sleep last night?”
“Barely three.”
“Then, you really need to close those eyes.” She said sincerely concerned for him, content to have him close by even if they weren’t talking.
“We’ll memorize it later. Okay?”
“Sure”
“What’s the scripture, by the way?” he asked, eyes already closed.
“Psalms 68:5”
“Okay” he said and slouched on the seat. Ifeoma, on the other hand, closed her book and stared out the window. She was never one to sleep on a journey. And they forgot all about Psalms 68:5.
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QUARTERS, OAU, ILE-IFE (FRIDAY 27TH APRIL, 2007)
Shola stirred in bed. She sat up and stretched.
“Good morning, sugar! Hope you slept well?” Professor Toriola asked, looking at her through the mirror of his wife’s dressing table, which he had converted to his reading table.
“As well as you allowed me to” she said, yawning. She wondered how the man could sleep at 2am and be awake, reading at 5am. He was a very intelligent and hardworking academician. But in morals and manners, he was messed up. She couldn’t wait to be out of the mess she had gotten herself into.
She became his girl in 200-level when she had problems with her Law of Contract, JPL 201, course. He helped her after she agreed to his terms. Her grades had never been bad after that. It had been one year running and she could see he was already tiring of her, which for her was good news. She had heard that he now slept with other students. She had been the only one for a while; that was a good sign of exit – she wanted to have a life.
She didn’t know that a blow was coming straight for her face in a few seconds.
“I have a friend I want you to meet” he said, now turning to face her.
She smiled tiredly. “I’m not in the mood for friend-making, Prof”
“I’m sorry Shola, you don’t have a choice”
“I don’t?” She looked confused. “You’ve never forced me to meet any of your friends before. Rather, you shield them away from me, so they don’t bother me.”
“Life dear!” He said smiling. “Life is change. Change is life. The rules have changed.”
She didn’t like the direction of the conversation.
“It’s a personal favour you’ll be doing me dear.”
She was getting uncomfortable. ‘And who wants to do you a favour?’ she thought.
“I need a large loan from him for my next research. And he needs collateral”
“Meaning?” She was afraid of what she would hear.
“He asked to have you as collateral till I repay.”
“And you agreed?” She couldn’t believe she was having this conversion. She had become an item to be tossed about.
“Yes I did. I had no choice!”
“Oh yes! You had a choice. What has gone wrong with you Prof?” she shouted at him.
He smiled. “Easy now Shola. That is not going to help matters. I would repay and you’ll be back to daddy”
“You must be out of your mind sir. Have you had a drink already?” she asked, visibly shaking. He only smiled without responding to her questions. That was another thing that drove her mad about him. He never seemed to flinch; like nothing ever hurt him, but he was hurting her terribly.
“How can you sell me so cheaply?”
“Twenty-five million naira is not cheap my dear.”
“That’s how much you’re asking for?” the thought of that large sum of money immobilized her.
“Hm-mm”
“What if you can’t pay back?” she asked, not sure if she was asking for her own benefit or his.
“I would repay, trust me!”
“What if you can’t!” he screamed through her gritted teeth.
“The question should be ‘what if I can’t repay all?’ because I definitely will repay most of it.” He looked at her but she was staring angrily at him. “Okay, if you won’t ask, I’ll answer you anyway.” He walked over to the bed, put his arm on her. She flinched, but he persisted all the same. “Then, I would really miss you dear because you would have become Alhaji Musa’s girl” He said, pecked her on the cheek and returning to his reading.
She was too stunned to speak a word. Two thoughts numbed her; One, she was going to become another man’s pet; starting all over again. And two, she was now moving from an adulterous intellectual with family abroad to a polygamist billionaire with family most likely in Nigeria.
She got up, dressed up and made her way towards the door without saying a word.
“You’ll be meeting him tomorrow night at the Mauline Resort. You know the consequences of your failure to do that, right?” Professor said without looking away from the book he was reading.
Shola sighed, knowing fully well what he meant and walked out.
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FAJUYI HALL, OAU, ILE-IFE (FRIDAY 27TH APRIL, 2007)
Bayo was seated on his bed, with Amaka’s head on his lap. Such was the case when Thomas Baderin was around. They could never do anything inappropriate in his presence. ‘Pastor T’, as they usually called him was an exco member in his campus fellowship, Evangelical Christian Union. He had embarrassed Bayo and Amaka a couple of times when he caught them doing their stuff. The only times they were comfortable where on Mondays and Thursdays when he had exco meetings very late into the night. He had won their respect however, by the way he lived. He was reading on his bed, so they kept their voices low.
“Thanks for the pounded yam yesterday.” Amaka said without looking up.
“You have no doubts about my culinary skills now, do you?” Bayo said looking down at her.
“No. What are you going to cook for me today?”
“You see! You’re now getting spoilt. Have I become your cook?” he said, pulling her nose.
“I like it when you pull my nose”
“There are many things you like me doing to you” he said, smiling and was about to touch her but a quick glance in Thomas’ direction and he changed his mind.
Amaka turned her head and scowled at Thomas, without speaking a word. Bayo saw her expression and smiled. ‘See the power I have over her. If she hadn’t given-in to my demand for sex, I won’t have this power. Now, she needs me for that pleasure and can’t do without me. Na wa for desperate-love-seeking naïve girls!’
“I would be traveling to Lagos tomorrow” he said stroking her hair.
That got her rapt attention and she looked up. “Why?”
“I have to be at a Bible quiz competition?”
She let out a mock laugh. “You! Bible competition?”
“I’m not participating, I’m going as the outgoing National Champion” Amaka was still smiling. “It might be hard for you to believe but I won it last year.”
“You must have bribed the judges,” she said, turning her head back.
“I didn’t need to. I was really good. In fact, I’m still good! I was brought up in a strict and loving Christian family. I was always winning sword drills and bible quizzes in primary school and Sunday school. It continued to my secondary schools until I started trying out some stuffs in Senior school.” He smiled. “Baby, you know what I’m talking about?”
“Leave me jo!” she giggled.
“But the knowledge was still there and I brought my school many awards. The biggest one I ever got was this one I just told you about, which I won this time last year.”
“Interesting story”
“You could say that again!”
“You’re coming back tomorrow, right?”
He smiled again, knowing what she was thinking. He had slept with her the same day he met her. He had met her crying at the main bowl of the Sports Complex. He comforted her, cheered her up, psyched her and in a matter of hours, she was in his arms, believing his love story, which he had told several other damsels-in-distress. They had made out everyday since then for the twelfth day running. Now, he was about to travel. He could imagine her fear.
“No. I would be coming back on Monday.” It was an intentional act on his part. He wanted her to become desperately and madly in need of him. That was absolute power.
“Where are you going to stay?” she asked, now in a low tone.
“At a friend’s place”
“Who’s this friend?” He could see fear in her eyes. She was actually asking ‘Is this friend a guy or girl?’
“Sunday, one of my old school buddies.” He lied but saw the relief she felt as he said that. He was going to stay over in Sunbo’s place; his former class mate and bed mate. She was his partner in the quiz last year and they were both going to decorate the new winners at the competition the next day. He had called her and told her he was coming over. As the first born of the family, and with her parents abroad, she didn’t need to get permission from anybody before she approved.
Bayo looked forward to seeing her again. It had been about nine months since they last saw each other; when he had ditched her. She was the second girl he ever dated, after Moni, but she was the first girl he slept with. He knew he would have to beg her for forgiveness when he saw her but that could be arranged. He was sure that with a few of his smooth words, he would have her for the two nights before coming back. ‘This is going to be a great weekend indeed. Reunion with Moni and Sunbo’ he thought to himself, proud of his exploits.
“Bayo!” Amaka tapped him. “I’m talking to you” He had forgotten all about the girl whose head was on his lap.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I was thinking of something.”
“What?” she demanded, frowning.
“How I’d miss you. Men! I hope I don’t die there O! Can’t think of being without you for two days” he lied again.
She smiled, showing her perfect white teeth. She was a pure dove before he soiled her. A sad smile curved his lips. ‘It was bound to happen someday’ he convinced himself.
“I was just telling you the same thing though you didn’t hear me because you were thinking the same thing. How sweet!” she said, smiling up at him.
“So, I guess we should make this night a special one, abi?”
“Hm-mm”
“Let’s take a walk to Spices, have a good meal and then we go to my friend’s place at quarters”
“Bayo!” she said, smiling as she sat up.
“That’s my girl.”
Bayo got his purse and wore a shirt over the singlet he had been wearing. As they made their way out, Amaka said bye to Thomas, who responded with a slight nod. After that night, another chunk of Amaka’s heart would automatically be lost to Bayo as is always the case when man and woman come together.

Novella: Choices (Chapter 3)

FAJUYI HALL, OAU, ILE-IFE (THURSDAY 26TH APRIL, 2007)
On the bed at the corner of the room lay two figures cuddled up. Roommates had excused their pal for his usual. The guy looked at the girl lying next to him, and whispered in her ears. “Thanks sweet, you were great. You make me happy every time we do this. I can’t live one day without holding you; I’ll die!”
“I’m flattered. I would do anything for you, Bayo”
“That’s my girl. Would you want something to eat?”
“How won’t I? I’m exhausted”
He smiled “No going to Spices today o!”
“Why?” she said smiling back, facing him.
“Because Bayo wants to cook for you himself.” He said, rising from the bed and walking towards the back door, leading to the kitchenette. He put on the lights.
She squinted, allowing her eyes get use to the light. “What’s for dinner?”
“My cupboard is stocked up; just make your request and I’ll cook it”
“You can’t make what I want.”
“Oh Amaka, you belittle me. Name it!” He said, standing at the back door with hands crossed.
“Pounded yam!” she said and smiled at him. He looked at her, not moving, looking thoughtful.
“You see; I told you.”
He smiled, relishing the moment. “Pounded yam? Then, it’s pounded yam we’ll have.” He walked back to the kitchenette and brought out a tuber of yam, a portable, student-size mortal and pestle and set to work.
When Amaka heard the sound of something quite heavy hitting the ground, she went to see. “You’re impossible Bayo!” she said as she saw him place the pestle in the mortar and bend to start cutting the yam.
“Would you be able to get us some vegetable from Aluta market?”
She was still stunned. “I was only joking, Bayo.”
“That’s too late now”
“Okay then” she smiled. “How much vegetable should I buy?”
“You are the female here; do the calculation and buy a kilo of chicken and anything else we’ll need also.”
“I hope they’ll still be there.” She looked up at the wall clock. “It’s 7:30”
“You had better hurry. My purse is under the pillow.”
She was soon out and Bayo continued with his cooking. Amaka was the first girl he was dating in the eleven-day old semester, and the third girl in the session, his first year in school. He preferred her to the previous two because she was a ‘good girl’, naïve, didn’t party or drink, and was faithful to him. He could see that she was madly in love with him and that gave him power over her. She was 18 years old, a year older than him, but she didn’t mind. Neither did he as far as he got all he wanted whenever he wanted. He knew he would break her heart eventually but was going to be satisfied with her before he let go of her. Apart from her age, she was just as beautiful and naïve as his first high school chic, Moni Williams.
He had written Moni a letter two weeks back. He wondered if she had gotten the letter. If she had, he hoped his words were already doing the magic they were supposed to be doing. If she hadn’t gotten the letter, then he would do the work in person when he saw her in three days time.
Every time he made out with his girl friends, he always remembered that he hadn’t had the guts to ask Moni for sex then when he was much younger and it annoyed him. She was a fertile ground that the great player hadn’t cultivated yet. ‘Moni dear, I’m coming for you. I must be the first to have you. I had your heart first; I must also have your body first. Anybody else can plow after me’, he thought and smiled.
------------------------------------------
LAGOS (THURSDAY 26TH APRIL, 2007)
‘I’m sure Bayo is thinking of me now wherever he is, rehearsing how he’s going to beg me, ask for my forgiveness on his knees, and promise to love me with every breath he breathes. I’ll front for him small but quickly accept before he changes his mind’. Moni was lost in thought after reading for only about 45 minutes in Prep. She had spent about half hour thinking about her re-union with Bayo. She knew that Pearl would soon come to call her for their quiz preparation. They had agreed to sacrifice one hour out of their night prep for their preparation and promised to catch up on reading for WAEC immediately after.
It did not take long before Pearl came and they both went to the chapel and started revising their previous jottings.
“Do you need to learn new things or we’re okay with what we have?” Moni asked.
“If we want to do better than we did last year, we had better learn new things and memorize new scriptures” Pearl said.
“That was the strength of La Ville Academy last year; memorized scriptures.”
“Yeah. Bayo and his partner …”
“Sunbo” Moni said with disgust.
“Yes. They just seemed to know every verse they were asked to quote.” Looking at her friend’s face, she frowned. “Why that look?” She remembered. “Oh, she was the one rumour had was dating Bayo at that time, right?”
“Yes. I didn’t even talk to Bayo throughout that day or even look at him; I was so preoccupied with my hatred for the girl. And I kept asking myself what it was she had that I didn’t that made Bayo ditch me for her.”
“That’s in the past now, Moni. If we start the Bayo thingy now, we won’t do anything again today. Let’s learn some scriptures.”
“Which should we start with?” Moni asked reluctantly.
“Psalms 68:5”
“So quick? You already had it in mind, why?”
“Because the chaplain quotes it often in his sermons and I’ve grown to love it ‘cos God wrote that verse in the bible for me.”
“How’s that, Pearl?”
“Let me quote it for you. ‘A father of the fatherless, and a defender of the widows, is God in his holy habitation’” Pearl’s eyes filled and she looked down.
Moni reached out and put her arm around her. “You never told me your dad was late. In fact, you haven’t ever told me much about your family.”
“I hardly ever want to talk about it. My dad is not dead physically but he is as good as dead.”
“Why do you say that?”
“He walked away from my mother when I was five and my brother, three and we haven’t seen him since then.” The tears started trickling down.
“What happened?”
“We were too small to know and mummy has never talked about it.”
“I’m so sorry. That’s so sad.”
“Don’t be sorry yet. A year after, when mummy could not cope with the financial burden alone, she remarried.” Pearl wiped at her tears. “She married a rich alcoholic; he had, and still has, money but no brains; drinks all his brains away”
Moni looked bemused. “Pearl, you’re abusing the man!”
“He deserves worse. He sexually abuses me. Started immediately he noticed my adolescent developments in JS3. It’s been four years running now and I have never been able to tell anyone, not even my mother. She would believe me but it would only hurt her more, ‘cos she doesn’t have a choice about him – he’s our bread winner. This fact as alienated me from my mother, ‘cos I fear that if I get very close to her, as it should be, I would spill out all the beans.”
Moni was speechless now, she only held Pearl tighter.
“The two fathers I have ever known have hurt me in despicable ways. You see why I don’t even give guys a second look though they are so many disturbing me?”
Moni nodded, unable to speak past the lump in her throat.
“That’s why you’ll notice I never use my Igbo name, Ada. I always want to be called Pearl. My life is far from being a gem or a precious stone and rather shameful but I desperately want to see good in myself. The more people call me Pearl, the more hope of a beautiful life is stirred up in me.” She hugged Moni a little tighter. “Thanks for being the only true friend I have ever heard”.
Now, it was Moni’s turn to let out the tears as they cried together for a few precious moments. Pearl tapped Moni and the disentangled. Pearl straightened up. “I feel much lighter now with this load off my chest.” She said, sniffing.
“I’m glad I was here. Thanks for sharing these with me” Moni replied, wiping her face.
“One more thing” Pearl said. “The Chaplain’s message two Sundays back got at me, like I told you. I want to get serious with God. I feel He can make me a pearl indeed if I allow Him. I have played church too long; I need to get a life – a real life”
“I’m happy for you dear.”
“What about you Moni?”
“I’m born-again, what more?”
“We both know that’s not what I’m talking about. If Jesus comes now, we would definitely be left behind. We know the bible, yes. We’ve gone for altar calls before, I’m in the choir and we’ve both been representing the school in bible competitions but our lives are messed up. We honour God will our mouths but our hearts are far from Him.”
“I’m not sure about that.” Moni said.
“I’m sure and I know you are too. But it’s a decision you have to make for yourself.”
“Aight. I’ll think about it.”
“Please do. On that basis, I’ll be joining the ‘Maranatha girls’” Pearl said, beaming.
Moni was shocked. “You can’t be serious! We’ve always laughed at them and criticized their speaking in tongues thingy”
“That’s exactly why I’m so excited myself. I would first apologize to them, ask them to lead me in the sinner’s prayer and I’ll join them. They meet on Wednesdays and Sundays.”
“How did you know that?”
“I found out. Today’s meeting is at 9:30pm immediately after prep, here in the chapel. They’ll be here any minute from now,” Pearl said looking at her wristwatch.
“We’d better round this up. What was that scripture again?” Moni asked.
“Psalms 68:5”
“Aight. I’ll memorize it when I get to the hostel and I’ll try to learn some more” She said as she packed up her notes.
“Don’t miss me” Pearl teased, eyes sunken from the tears she’d shed.
“I will but I can manage”. Glancing briefly at two girls walking into the Chapel with their bibles, she added. “I hope they don’t bore you”
“I don’t think they will.” Taking another look at her best friend, she asked, “I hope you’ll recognize me when I’m back in the room?”
“Why?” Moni asked, smiling at the absurd question.
“Because I would have become a new creature.” Pearl winked.
“Yeah right!” Moni smirked and walked out of the Chapel.

Novella: Choices (Chapter 2)

IMO STATE (SUNDAY, 15TH APRIL, 2007)
“What would you do if a guy or girl who has hurt you before wants to come back into your life”, Chuba asked, looking at his Sunday school students’ faces.
“I’ll forgive him but I’ll not give away my heart a second time” a girl at the back row said.
“I won’t even allow her say a word; it’s simply unacceptable” said a boy sitting directly in front of Chuba.
“Any other opinions?” he asked. No one responded. “Thank you Ifeoma and Chuks for your sincere comments. However, if we truly want to be like Christ, we need to incline ourselves towards Ifeoma’s position. You forgive the fellow but guard your heart carefully, so you don’t get hurt unnecessarily again.”
“How’s that possible. You shouldn’t talk to the person anymore?” A student whose name Chuba could not place asked.
“No! You should in fact talk to the person but make sure it remains on safe basis; platonic, not emotional basis.”
“How could you possibly achieve that with someone you were that close to before?” the same student asked.
“It’s not so easy; to be sincere but it can be worked out. You talk with the person in public places. You avoid talking about personal issues and you make your conversations as brief and straight-to-the-point as possible. And when you don’t need to see the guy or the girl, stay away from him or her.”
“That’ll be hard!” a JS3 girl said.
“You’re right, Favour.” As Kristos High School’s Chapel prefect and a well-respected student, Chuba had many students come to him for advice and Favour was one of those. He knew her story well and could only understand why she made such a comment. “It would be hard but as we put our hearts to doing what Jesus would do if He were to be in our shoes, He releases strength and grace to us and it becomes quite easier to do.”
The class ended shortly after and they proceeded to the service. At the close of the service, it was the fellowship secretary, Ifeoma’s responsibility to read out the announcements. The only announcement that caught everyone’s attention was the last one; that was why Ifeoma made sure it was the last one. “Our school has qualified for the first time for the National Secondary Schools’ Bible Quiz Competition.” The news was welcomed with a loud applause. “Master Chuba Onwudiwe and Miss Ifeoma Soludo would be representing Imo State, being the winners of the State Competition.” There was a loud applause. As the students quieted, she read on. “It talks place on Saturday, 28th April 2007 at Royal College, Lagos.” Looking up, she added. “That’s just two weeks away.”
----------------------------------------------------
LAGOS (SUNDAY 15TH APRIL, 2007)
Moni could barely get to listen to what the Chaplain was saying. Bayo’s letter had sent her hormones on a wild chase. The moment she had seen his handwriting on the envelope, she had practically stopped breathing. She had gingerly opened the envelope, and pulled out the paper. She still remembered that aroma – Bayo’s perfume. She had been full of mixed emotions as she read. His words had been few but his meaning clear. She looked up when she heard girls giggle. She saw the Chaplain was trying to swing as a girl would; demonstrating a point. He was a humorous man!
She looked down at her knapsack and pulled out the letter again.

Sweetie,
I know you must really hate me now. I really hope you’re reading this letter. I have missed you like hell. I dream of you every night. I cannot get you off my mind. I was a fool to cheat on you; I’m very sorry love, please forgive me and give me a second chance. I cannot live without you.
And guess what? As the 2006 NBQC champion, I would be coming over to your school to give the trophy to this year’s winner. Are you still representing Royal? See you soon, sugarpie!
I love you, my heart!
Bahyor.

She read the letter one more time and slipped it back into her knapsack. He had succeeded in destroying all her defenses with those few words. She had actually forgotten all about the competition. She had been preoccupied with preparations for WAEC and the homecoming. She had a lot of revising of her bible notes to do. ‘Bayo is coming! How on earth will I… Oh! This is so…’ Her thoughts were all jumbled. Pearl had told her to take it easy and put the guy in his place.
“He’ll take you for a cheap girl if you just fall for his words again,” Pearl had said.
“But he sounds sincere”
“As they always do. Don’t fall for this dear”
Pearl’s words came back. How wasn’t she supposed to fall for this? ‘Pearl doesn’t understand. How can she? She’s never even fallen a guy before. I have always hoped he would come back and here he is begging me, actually begging me to come back. I’ll be a slacker if I don’t make the best of this opportunity’ she thought to herself. ‘What do I have to lose, at least – ’
“…Moni Williams and Pearl Okposu will be representing us” the Chaplain was saying, interrupting her thoughts. “We’ll be hosting 11 schools from around the country, so I expect we’ll put up our best behavior. It’s two Saturdays from today and a lot of preparations are already in gear with more to follow.” He took a pause and looked at Pearl who was at the choir stand and then at Moni in the congregation. “I’m sure this competition would not affect your reading for your exams, right?” They both nodded.
After the service, Moni waited for Pearl to be through with her fellow choristers. When she was done, they walked to the dining hall together.
“It was as if the Chaplain was in our room when we talked yesterday” Pearl said.
“How’s that?” Moni asked.
Pearl frowned. “You obviously weren’t listening. Na wa o! Is it because of this Bayo boy?”
“Leave that one. What did the Chaplain talk about? I saw you guys laughing.”
“Was talking about how the media as influenced us. Saying it has even gone past affecting how we dress and talk to how we walk and even eat. Sounded ridiculous but I’m beginning to agree with him.”
“So, what’s bad in that?”
“He said we’re learning from people who are themselves very confused.”
“What else will a Chaplain say? I beg, let’s talk of something else”
“Wait” Pearl said, sounding rather serious. “I saw light today o! You might have been convinced if you listened yourself. Why is it that with all their sexy dresses and trim figures, they cannot keep their husbands? Why do they sing of love and happiness and end their nights in depression, resorting to cigarettes and alcohol?”
“That makes some sense” Moni agreed.
“A lot of sense in fact. Their lives are not as smooth as they paint to us. We had better not be fools like some have been. I actually cried in service, I wasn’t the only one sha!”
“You, Pearl of all people, cry?”
“Oh yeah!”
“What happened? Was I that distracted?”
“I bet you were. Chaplain told the story of a girl who decided to live out what she was watching…” Pearl’s eyes filled. “The summary is that she ended very terribly.”
There was a moment of quiet between the two of them as they entered into the dinning hall. Some girls were chattering, but most seemed quite introspective. Moni guessed it was as a result of what Pearl said the Chaplain preached about. She smiled. It was good to see Royal girls sober for a change. If they weren’t chattering about boys or latest films, or in-vogue clothes, then they were nagging at each other. It was good to see at least some girls calm down for once.
When they were seated, Moni decided to know at least a little of what was causing this soberness. “Please, tell me Pearl. Or don’t you want me to gain too?”
“Aight. The girl had terrible self esteem. Through the media, she thought dressing and behaving like them would fix her up. So, she went quite wayward, and surprisingly, her self image seemed to improve. She soon mastered Beyonce’s hip swing. The chaplain tried to mimic her steps.”
“Oh, I guess that was what I saw when girls giggled.”
“Yeah” Pearl said, smiling as she remembered his gestures. “She eventually started dating this Nigerian artiste and he introduced her to drugs.”
“Who was this artiste? Someone we know?”
“The Chaplain said he was a popular figure but he would withhold his identity.”
“Whatever! So, what happened to this girl?”
“She got hooked to the drugs, dropped out of school and became the guy’s ‘dog’. He kinda sexually abused her every time as payment for the heroine ‘cos she could no longer pay for it.”
“That’s inhumane”
“Yeah. She eventually killed herself to end the misery.” The tears were back in Pearl’s eyes. “Can you imagine a proper girl who just felt unloved ending up so terribly just because she got inspired by the wrong folks.”
“Hmmm. Are you sure he didn’t make up the story.”
“No. He didn’t. He said it was his own kid sister he told us about.”
“That’s so sad!”
“He said he could tell the story so freely now because he knew God had forgiven him for his negligence and he had forgiven himself. And that that’s why he’s committed to helping and counseling young girls like us, so we don’t end up like his sister did.”
“That’s nice of him”. After a short pause, she added. “But why is he just telling us this story after being with us for almost a session now?”
“I don’t know” Pearl admitted. “But I have a strong feeling that it’s because of how he saw many girls looking enthralled by Shola. I guess he felt it was the best time to tell us about it”
Both of them were quiet, knowing fully well the impact that statement had on Moni. Pearl eventually broke the silence. “I’ll see you after lunch. My table members need me to go get our food.”
“Aight” Moni said and contemplated Pearl’s words. ‘Shola isn’t bad. Is she? Maybe she’s only flaunting what she has; nothing more!’ Moni tried to convince herself.
---------------------------------------------
MOREMI HALL, OAU, ILE-IFE (SUNDAY 15TH APRIL, 2007)
Obafemi Awolowo University was unusually empty. The second semester had just begun and most students were doing their online registration at home and didn’t need to be in school to register like at other times. There were only a few students who had come back from home or who hadn’t even gone home at all such as those doing Industrial Attachment (IT) in school, final year students working on their projects, Student Union Government members, Fellowship executive members on retreat and many more students for different reasons.
In the minority were people like Shola Bankole who were in school because they had to be. She was in her room. She had just returned from Lagos, after attending her secondary school’s homecoming. She lay on her bed expecting a phone call, actually, dreading a phone call. It didn’t take long before her phone rang. She picked it up and put it to her ear.
“Hello” … “I just came back” … “No. There was holdup on the express and –” … She put the phone away from her ear; he was shouting! She put it back when he had lowered his voice. “I heard you sir. I’m sorry” … “Yes. I drove the Jeep. Musa followed behind with the Corolla” … “Now?” … “I thought it was to be –” … “Okay. I’ll be there. Give me thirty minutes.” She hung up.
Shola sat up and buried her face in her hands. ‘What have I gotten myself into? I have become Professor Toriola’s puppet. I don’t even have a life of my own anymore. The money is good, the grades are excellent, but my life seems to be slipping away from me. I don’t even have real friends again; I’m surrounded by vain girls…like me’. Her eyes filled and were about to overflow. ‘No. It’s not time for tears now Shola’ she chided herself. ‘You got yourself into this; nobody forced you. It’s too late to turn back now’. She rose and started dressing up. Her thoughts wandered back to the events at Royal College, especially the happy and exuberant faces she saw. “How I would give everything and anything in the world to become innocent and free again like those girls!” she said, biting her lips to keep from breaking down in tears.

Novella: Choices (Chapter 1)

LAGOS (SATURDAY, 14TH APRIL, 2007)
The whole school was replete with young girls and ladies. It was Royal College’s home coming. Alumni usually called ‘Old girls’, all over the globe, came around for the annual event. The College was 15 years in existence and this was her 10th homecoming. Scheduled for the second weekend in April, every year, it was always a beautiful and colorful event.
As an only girls’ secondary school, Royal College had become quite popular for her moral discipline and academic excellence. The population of the school, located in Lagos Island, had grown from 35 students at inception in 1992 to 932 at present. Old girls earnestly looked forward to the event, not to talk of the current students. The students planned, rehearsed songs, dramas, and more importantly, looked forward to seeing their former seniors. Students that missed their former ‘school mothers’ itched to see them again. It was an event characterized with a lot of laughter, and tears at the end.
This year, over 250 alumni turned out; the largest number recorded so far. Most of them were girls that had graduated in the last four years. A few older ‘girls’, now women came. Some came with husbands and kids. During the program, some were called upon to make speeches. Many were impressive, working as bank managers, attorneys, doctors and more. A particular alumni, just 25 years said she already had her PhD from Cambridge University and was working with the UN in South Africa. She reminded the girls that her life had been moulded while she was in school, and that being Assistant Head Girl in her SS3 days had built her confidence and shaped her outlook to life.
However, the girl that stole the show was Shola Bankole. She wasn’t asked to make a speech, the only official mention of her name was when the principal acknowledged her presence at the closing ceremony, announcing her as the Library Prefect of the 2004 set; she finished three years back. She really did not need the introduction. Everyone had started talking about her, refreshing themselves of who and what she was when she was in school. She had caused a little uproar when she came the day before, for the opening dinner.
Girls had whistled as they saw a black, tinted glass, Toyota Prado jeep, the latest model, cruise into the school premises. ‘Who is in there?’ was the unspoken question in every mind. After parking, the driver of the jeep opened to door, and put out a leg, a bare fair leg. The other leg followed as the whole figure was soon in view. A tall, slim, fine-figured and fair-complexioned girl was standing by her ride, bringing out her handbag. She wore a short pink gown with a spaghetti strap and a low neck that exposed her cleavage. She stood on 9-inch-heeled glass slippers.
Standers by were transfixed as some just gaped while others, in hush tones, started asking each other questions. She was on long braids, fixed nails and had an anklet on. As she closed her door, she put on Gucci shades. She walked graciously, unaffected by the attention, into the multipurpose hall of the school. Many eyes followed her every movement until the dinner was over. She ate as demurely as she used to when she was in school. Her dancing was however on the wild side but there was just something about the way that she danced, as well as every other thing she did, that made it seem so nice.
For the closing ceremony, she brought a Toyota Corolla, 2007 model. She dressed in a short black designer skirt suit. She had talked with a couple of alumni and students the day before, so more information about her present status had been gathered. She was nineteen years old and a 300-level law student of Obafemi Awolowo University. She actually fit the mould; her diction was flawless, her accent was polished and she had a commanding charisma.
How the drastic transformation had come about was still a mystery to everyone. Her parents were just financially comfortable and seemed morally disciplined as many parents of students in Royal College were. There was still a story people longed to know – how did Shola become like this? As Shola left the premises of Royal College that Saturday afternoon, life continued as usual for her and for many others but somewhere among the myriads of students in the college, a young girl’s life was going to take a sharp turn as a result her newly found model.
---------------------------------------------------
“I’m already missing those girls. I wish they would have just stayed a little longer” Pearl said.
“You could say that again” Moni said as she lay on the bunk adjacent to her best friend’s. As SS3 girls, they had been able to pull that off. Both of them were on the upper beds of their bunks, which were side to side. They were usually the first to wake and last to sleep in the room of 24; either talking or reading. They were known for two things: beauty and brains. If it was not Moni getting the overall best result, then it would be Pearl and there were no other girls who got as many guys dotting on them like the duo.
While Moni was usually gentle and pensive, Pearl was more on the outgoing and impulsive side. They had been friends since JS3, when Pearl transferred to Royal College, and they had been inseparable since then. Most girls, juniors, colleagues and even seniors had grown to admire and respect the two of them. The school had also found them reliable, as Pearl was the outgoing Senior Prefect and Moni was the outgoing Library Prefect. Their WAEC was just around the corner and they were soon going to hand over to SS2 students.
“I can’t wait to be out of here and be like our old girls. Can’t you see how happy they all seem?”
“Yeah! They look happy all right but are they really happy?”
“Why won’t they be?” Moni asked, thinking about Pearl’s absurd question.
“I really don’t know. I only wonder. That’s all.” After a pause she added. “You know, people always tell me how lovely my elder sister, Patience, is but I see her when they don’t and I see her in her worst moments. I tell you, she aint an angel. You cannot assume people are happy just because they look or seem happy.”
“You have a point there,” Moni said picking at the dirt in her finger nails. “but it’s easy to get carried away. Look at Senior Shola for example, who won’t want to be like her?”
“I won’t!” Pearl grinned.
“Oh! be serious!” Moni said and flung her pillow at Pearl. “Didn’t I see you pulling strings to ensure you were the usher assigned to her table today?”
“Guilty!”
“So, you agree, don’t you?” Moni asked, but seemed rather desperate for Pearl’s affirmation.
“Yes I do. She seemed so… perfect”
“Like everything is going smooth for her, right?”
“Yeah”
“I would want to be like her”
Pearl frowned. “I won’t be so quick to say that”
“Why? Thought you just said she tripped you.”
“She tripped me quite all right but I didn’t totally agree with her dressing. Kinda revealed too much, don’t you think?”
“Yeah. But I’m sure she’ll have reasons for it.”
“I’m shocked Moni. Are you defending her? I’ve always known your stand when it comes to dressing.”
Moni rolled her eyes. “Whatever! I still like her sha!”
“I bet you do”
They were both quiet for a while, thinking. Then Moni voiced up. “Remember she was library prefect in her days. She was also reserved and quiet like me.”
“So?”
“Can’t you see the picture fits? No wonder I’m so enamored to her.”
“What are you trying to insinuate?”
“Wait, I’m not through yet” Moni said, now giggling. “She also had the best result in her set 6A1s, 2B2s and 1B3.” She paused and looked at her friend. “You see! She’s just my type of person”
Pearl smiled. “There are few times in our years of friendship that I’ve seen you this excited about something or someone. The last time was two years ago, when we were in SS1. You remember?”
“How could I ever forget.” Moni smiled as she remembered. “I was a love-struck girl.”
“You were practically lost.”
“Looking back now, I still wonder why I was so heads-over-heels for Bayo.”
Moni had met Bayo in Sea School. Royal College girls were introduced to Sea School, a leadership training school, right from their SS1 days, the moment they became ‘senior girls’. He was an SS2 student of La Ville Academy in Lekki. He was everything Moni had fantasized her boyfriend would be. He was tall, dark, well built, had broad shoulders, had even started growing a beard, and was smashingly handsome. He was the watch leader of Moni’s watch, Jaja Watch, the same day when she was the OO, Orderly Officer.
It seemed the attraction was mutual. Bayo seemed to care for only her among all the girls that were throwing themselves at him. They stole few moments to be together and after one long ‘escapade’, Bayo asked her out and they stated dating right there in Sea school. Texts, flashes and mid night calls were an everyday routine. And when in school, Moni both received and sent letters to him every week.
They went places together and did things Moni felt were normal for secondary school dating. They kissed, smooched once in a while, nothing more. Whenever she told Pearl, she reprimanded her but Moni didn’t care. She just wanted to make Bayo happy. She sensed Bayo wanted more and she didn’t really mind then because she was madly in love with him but he never asked. A year passed and the love he had for her seemed to be waning while hers seemed to be growing. Soon after, Moni began hearing that Bayo dated other girls. She had found it hard to believe until she read a letter he had written to one of her classmates. She cried her eyes out for a whole week and promised never to forgive him.
Pearl had been her savior. If not for her, Moni would have killed herself. Looking back now, with still a little pain from that past, Moni smiled again and wondered why her heart was still beating quite fast as she remembered Bayo and their intimate moments together.
“You still like him, don’t you?” Pearl asked.
“After all he did to me? No way!”
“I’m the last person you should try to fool Moni. I see the truth in your eyes – in your smile”
“Leave me alone jo! He has forgotten me. Imagine he hasn’t gotten in touch since then. It’s been over a year. He’s so callous!”
“I’m not arguing that with you. All I’m asking is; do you still like him?”
“Pearl, you’re impossible” she smiled. “I think I still do!”
“What would you do if he should come back and ask you out again?”
“That’s ridiculous dear”
“What would you do?”
“That’s not – ” Pearl raised a hand to silence her. “Okay. I would –”
“Senior Moni!” Moni’s school daughter, Tanwa shouted as she walked towards them, interrupting Moni. She stood in between their bunks and lifted an envelope to Moni. “House Mother said I should give you this letter”
“Thanks dear. Hope you’re not too tired from today’s ushering and cleaning?” She asked, collecting the envelope and reaching down to smooth her school daughter’s hair.
“No, I’m not, thanks. I have to go now. We’re doing some work for House Mother.”
“Okay then.”
“Bye Senior Pearl”
“Bye” Pearl said, wondering what was in the envelope Moni was holding.
Moni looked at the envelope in her hands and gasped. “It’s a lie!”
“What is it?” Pearl said, stretching across to grab the envelope from Moni’s hand. She looked at the envelope and her hand flew to her mouth. She looked up at Moni and saw she was trying to keep from crying. Moni managed to hold herself as she reached out to collect the letter back from Pearl. “Bayo wrote me a letter!” she said as a single tear finally made it’s way down her smiling cheek. A tear of hope.

He Still Speaks...


“Does God still speak?”
“Can I really hear God?”
“I pray but I don’t hear anything?”
“If only I heard His voice!”


The questions are endless, the quest sobering but the reality is weighty; Christians often wonder if God still speaks. For a Christian youth, the perceived perplexity that comes with hearing God is further compounded with the nature of our seeking minds. And writing about it does not come easy either; actually it’s very challenging communicating this topic in print as I later found out. Okay, I’m going to try my best to make it as practical as I can, so relax and read with an open mind.


Young people want to know everything, hear everything, touch everything, you name it. Call it what you must, but the truth remains that young people are “seeking”, “hungry”, “itchy” and “probing” people. Nevertheless, the question of hearing God often raises eyebrows and causes bright faces to drop their glow. As a young Christian, I struggled with the reality that I could hear God speak to me. It puzzled me. I often wondered, “Can I really hear God?” While I pondered this for many years, I found out I was not alone. Many young Christians find themselves asking the same questions; some for a short time, others, sadly for decades. But I soon realised it was not a question of whether or not God can speak to me; rather it was about how to hear God when He does speak.

Okay, let’s get one thing straight… God still speaks! The Bible is replete with instances where God spoke to people; the Trinity in Genesis 1:26, Noah in Genesis 9:17, Abraham in Genesis 17:9, Jacob in Genesis 46:2, Moses in Exodus 9:13, Ezekiel in Ezekiel 37:3,9, Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:4, and even in the New Testament. Remember the Mount of Transfiguration experience by the three disciples? But allow me to submit that these instances often are, in part and indirectly, reasons why young people think they cannot hear God. Why? Because we get hung up on the method God used in the Bible days to communicate with people and we forget that He speaks in diverse ways. So we only listen out for that loud voice that calls “MY SON! MY DAUGHTER!” and forget the still-small voice, the dreams God often shares with us, the inner witness of the Holy Spirit within our spirit and most importantly the Bible, which is the unquestionable, definite and authentic Word of God. Let me begin with the latter…

We beat ourselves up thinking it is impossible to hear God but God is actually asking the question, “What have you read/do you know/have you heard about me?” The surest, easiest and yet most authentic way to hear from God is to read about Him. Okay, drop those eyebrows while I rephrase my statement. The surest, easiest and yet most authentic way to hear from God is to study His Word. Read the Bible. And when you do, don’t look out for a loud voice from heaven. Rather, open your heart to His Word and receive it as the undiluted Word of God. That’s God speaking already! Listen to what Paul said about the Word of God in 2 Timothy 3:16-17:
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

God inspired the Bible so that when you read it, He speaks directly to you through its pages from cover to cover. You hear God’s mind through His Word, just as you know an organisation’s vision through its documented mission statement or statement of purpose.

“How about prayer? I have been told that God can speak to me when I pray but I never hear His voice, instead I seem to hear my mind talking to me.”

With the above question come two assumptions: I am writing to born-again youths. Secondly, you are seeking a deeper walk with God, not merely to hear God in isolation from pursuing godliness. It is true that God speaks while we tarry in the place of prayer. Notice the emphasis; tarry and place of prayer. They suggest time and location. To cultivate the habit of hearing God when you pray, you must have a time and place of prayer. Call it your “Throne Room Hour”. Others call it quiet time. But you must isolate yourself from the world around you to spend time with God. God is not a ‘quick-fix’ God. God is not a ‘microwave’ or ‘two-minute cooker’. In this fast-paced world, God seeks diligent seekers. God delights in speaking to those that diligently seek Him for Himself, not for His gifts.

Hebrews 11:6 concludes, “he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”

Often in the place of prayer, God speaks audibly. You can hear His voice. But there are other ways to hear God. I always encourage people that as they cultivate their walk with God, they are in the best position to discover the trend by which God speaks to them. That’s true. I believe for some it comes easily through dreams, visions, audible voice or the inner voice of the Spirit. If you are building a relationship, you will give attention to every detail of it. It’s the same with God; give attention to every detail, discover how God has spoken to you in the past then watch and follow the trend. God shows me things to come and explains things that have taken place without my knowledge through dreams.

But it wasn’t until I followed the trend did I discover God was using this medium to communicate with me. Having said that, there are other ways I hear God. Maybe you hear the inner voice that gives you peace. Maybe you often see visions. Maybe you hear that audible voice both in and outside the place and time of prayer. However you hear, you are left with one more question: “How do I know if and when it’s really God?” This is a very important question for several reasons:
1. Not all dreams are from God. Ecclesiastes 5:3.
2. Not all audible voices are God’s. Deuteronomy 13:1-3.
3. The devil speaks too. Job 1:9, 2:4.
4. False prophets speak too. 1 John 4:1.
5. You can also speak to yourself when you set your mind on something.

But there is one sure way to know whether how or what you hear is from God; The Word of God. However you hear, always check whether the dream, vision or voice agrees or disagree with the Bible. The Bible is one source the devil, you or any created being or thing CANNOT discount… it is the heart and mind of GOD.

To hear from God, a Christian youth must stay close to his/her Bible. All of life’s questions are answered there; of things in the past, present and things to come. You can never go wrong when you study the Bible and determine to do what it says. Picture it this way: as you read the scriptures, God is actually saying to you, “Yes, that’s what I am saying to you. That’s My Word, My Voice, and My Mind.” When you approach the subject of how to hear from God from the perspective of His Word, you will discover that hearing His voice becomes easy.

Finally, it is important to say a word on what often prevents us from hearing God. Isaiah 59:1-2: “Behold, the LORD'S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”

Sin plagues our relationship with God, thus affecting our ability to hear His voice or receive His insight. God is Spirit, not human, and thus requires the right spiritual atmosphere to commune with His children. Sin breaks the bridge that connects us with Him. Hearing from God in every situation requires we lead an uncompromising, consistent and godly life. Then can we say confidently with Hezekiah, “LORD, bow down thine ear, and hear…” 2 Kings 19:16. Why? Because He still speaks.


*Joseph Iregbu

Lean On Me

I would love to tell you my name and then tell you my story in full, not caring about the look in your eyes or wondering the thoughts that would go through your mind, but I cannot. I am not there yet but I will not let me stand in the way of sharing my testimony with you so here goes my story...

I’m still a pretty young adult, early twenties but my life has been long. I won’t bore you with too many details but I’ll try to make the snapshots that I’ll show you as clear as I can.

I was born a few years back to middle-class parents, went to a middle-class school stayed in a middle-class area, in short I was just like you. Growing up, was sickly and my parents worried about it, my dad used to dote on me, my mum too but after a while she got tired and started to lash out at me. Back then I didn’t understand how she could be so cruel but now I know it’s hard to live day in day out with a sick person. From time to time even I got tired of being me. My mum wasn’t, and still isn’t a bad person, she was just under a lot of stress. Let me pause my story and quickly tell you that if you are having problems with your parents, take time out to look through their eyes and see what they too are going through. They gave birth to you and they really want you to be happy.

Back to my gist, my health put strain on a lot of things at home- my parents’ pocket, my parents’ relationship with each other, relationships between me and my siblings, my mum and I... I began to define myself on the basis of my health and I blamed God a lot because I felt it was unfair for my grandmother to be asthmatic then it would skip my father’s generation clear and then come my way. It was my mum that made sure I stayed independent because she never cut me any slack. Today I’m glad that she did that.

Growing up was basically going to school, church and staying home but I still managed to mix with the wrong sort. Looking back I know the only reason I didn’t smoke was because of my asthma, I tried alcohol but I never could keep it down, sex was what I really wanted to do but the only guy I “loved” was some fourteen years or so older than me so it slowed things down then I almost got raped and that killed sex for me for a while

I said almost raped because I was fortunate to have been left with my hymen intact, as in, there was no actual penetration but that day remains clear in my mind. He was a family friend and he came to my house when I was “home alone”, I didn’t go to school because I had chicken pox, most of the pustules had healed by then but I stayed home for the rest of the week because as my mum would say I had a weak immune system. He asked for water which I went to fetch in the kitchen. I took it to him in the living room and when I handed it to him he pulled my hand with the cup. Pulling me to his lap wasn’t that uncomfortable at first until he started touching me. Long and short was that my aunt came home and opened the door with her key and started screaming along with me when she saw him on top of me on the floor. He hurriedly righted his clothes and raced past her.

I felt dirty for a long time. I just wanted to “show” boys. It was about this time I got into the university so I started “playing” players. If anyone broke the heart of a girl, I would hang out with him then walk out on him when he started getting comfortable. I was having fun until my examinations came and I fell sick. Too sick to put in my best, I failed a major course. I had never failed before so it was devastating to me. It was at this low point in my life that I met a friend who showed me Jesus. Yes, he didn’t preach but he was just like Jesus. I thought he was doing all the being a perfect friend so he could ask me out but he never did. I met Jesus and my life did change. Today I am healed of asthma. I have not had an attack in three years. Yes I still deal with psychological scars but I’m learning to drop them every day as I walk with God
So walk with God; that’s the only way. It may not be all better but if you stay with him, it eventually will.

This is part of my story, I realise I can’t tell all, but I believe you have learnt something from it and you’ll stick with Jesus through your pain.

If this story applies to you and you want to identify with it, please send a mail to justaboutmine@yahoo.com
If you are past the teen age or still a teenager and you have a story to tell that will help other teenagers, please send your story to the above e-mail address also.

I Think I'm In Love


Sometime last year, Tamar became involved in a relationship with Tony. It began with phone calls and the most beautiful text messages you could imagine. It graduated into occasional visits that graduated further into daily visits. The danger of this process was that the relationship moved faster than it should have. Of course, the feelings involved were not able to follow a natural process of development.

Tamar began to long for that text message or phone call. Her heart would beat rapidly and she had a feeling of euphoria most of the time. This blinded her to her true feelings. As the relationship developed, she began to compromise her principles and ideals.

As the differences between them became more glaring, Tamar realized that she was suppressing her true emotions, because she had become extremely depressed about her involvement with Tony. (Infatuation is just a fleeting emotion and will eventually fade away.)

Tony, on the other hand, was involved in so many dirty stuffs. He attended wild parties, visited clubs, drank alcohol, and as young as he was, had many ‘lovers’ at his disposal. Each time Tony came to see Tamar, something within her would rise up in anger and she wouldn’t hesitate to react accordingly. (When infatuation ends, you start to hate with the same intensity you thought you had loved).

One day, while settling one of their many quarrels, Tony asked Tamar a question. “Do you really love me?” She looked him straight in the eye, and without much hesitation said an emphatic ‘NO’. What she had imagined was ‘love’ at the beginning of the relationship was anything but love.

First, she did not know him well enough to decide that she loved him. This is the danger with Infatuation; it makes you feel you’re in love, whereas, it’s your emotions that are running wild. Have you ever asked yourself ‘Why am I in such a haste to rush into this thing called love?’


Friend, do you really know what love is?
Love actually means different things to different people depending on their personal understanding of the word. Here are a few definitions people have:
- Love is a hole in the heart
- Love is a grave mental disease
- Love is desperate madness
- Love is sentimental measles
- Love is a feeling that may not last
- Love is a feeling of fondness towards a provider
- Love is a euphemism for a sexual relationship
- Love is a mutual understanding between two people.
You want to add your own definition too, don’t you? Go ahead!

However, the only way you can know true love and truly love someone else is by allowing love to dwell richly in your heart. Love also has to be reciprocal, not flowing in only one direction, for it to be meaningful. Look within you dear and ask yourself if the feelings you have for him/her can stand the test of true love. Ask yourself, ‘Am I in love with the container (physical beauty) or with the content (inner/character beauty)?’

Oh! The boy is handsome. Her family is rich. He sends me many romantic text messages. She buys me nice shirts. He’s always there for me. She likes me the way I am…the list is endless. And with all these emotions tugging at your heart, you conclude ‘I cannot afford to lose him/her.’

But the truth be told; you’ll eventually lose him/her if you got into the relationship on the wrong basis, as explained earlier, or at the wrong time. Don’t frown now… That is the truth! My dear, there is time for everything. You’re still so young; why let another person toy with your heart. How will you feel, at your age, to experience a heartbreak?

Did I hear you say NO? Good! So, give your heart to someone who will keep it till the perfect end. The greatest definition of love is found in 1John 4:7. God Himself is Love. If you haven’t experienced His perfect love, you cannot give it to someone else. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase before that “what you don’t have, you cannot give”

True love is not about what you have to gain but what you have to give to someone else. It is not self-serving but serves others. Love gives - it gives life. God showed that example when He gave up His only son for us, His lovers. John 3:16. Loves gives its best. It makes sacrifices…the list is endless. God is the source of love. When you find God, you have found love!

Sweetie, kindly face your studies now, have something worthwhile doing with your life and time. Invest your time wisely. Read Christian novels, watch Christian movies and share love with your friends and with the needy too, be active in church, build up your self-esteem and learn new skills. There’s so much you could do with your time.

Tamar realized that she had a wrong idea of what love was. Listen to what she said after the break up. “I had a great sense of relief .It was as if I had been in bondage.” This would never have been if it were true love (founded on God’s kind of love).

Are these words unpleasant to you? Are you desperate to be in love? You need someone to always call you sweetheart, honey, sugar, and on. If that’s you, then there is a solution! Since it’s not advisable you get into a relationship with the opposite sex as at now, there’s someone who loves you irrespective of your gender or status. He doesn’t ‘think’ He’s in love with you; He ‘knows’ He’s in love with you.

He died to prove the extent of His love for you. He’s toasting you now, asking you out on an eternal date; whispering loving words into your ears. Don’t keep Him waiting. Can you just say it back to Him that you love Him? If you let Him, He will show you how to truly fall in love. He is patient, kind, gentle, generous and trustworthy. He will never make unwholesome demands from you. He wants to build, not destroy you; make, not mare you.

Jesus is stretching out His arms towards you now. Can you see Him? Don’t hurt Him by turning your back. Let Him fill your emotional tank. Fall into His embrace, and as you do that, falling in love with the right guy at the right time won’t be a problem because you would have learnt from Him what true love is! Till the next time we meet – Jesus loves you more than I do, but mine counts as well. Love you!!!


*Toyin Ogundana

Who are you?


One Sunday last month, I was on a bus ride to the island from the mainland. I boarded the bus together with a lady, who from the minute I saw her sit by me, felt strongly that she was ill-mannered. She had a copy of ThisDay newspaper with her, which I really wished to read, but I could not ask her because of my subtle fear about her attitude.

A while after, some other passengers joined at the next bus stop, and one of them had to join us on our row, which meant we had to adjust. So, she was asked to create some space to accommodate the person. And hell was let lose! You can’t imagine the kinds of words she spoke, even though she spoke good “phoney” English. Some minutes later, a man behind asked to read the magazine, usually in the paper, and her response again was bad though she gave him.

I was right when I assumed, from the first minute that we sat together, that she had a poor attitude and bad manners. When she alighted, her attitude was the topic of discussion by the other commuters for over 5 minutes. I later asked myself how and why I arrived at such a conclusion about the lady so quickly. What did I notice? Was I not being judgmental (which is a sin)?

Character is like a cable, which is made up of smaller wires, wound round and round until it forms a strong cable. And at this point, it is difficult to unwind. The wires that make up your character are your habits and attitudes. These are the only two things that others see, so they can say “this is who you are”. It is so interesting to see how you meet people and within 10-30 minutes, you can say that this person can be my friend or not. But you should avoid being judgmental by ensuring that you actually have the facts before you conclude about them. You should also learn to give people a chance, when they show signs of change or when they need your help.

You possibly see a guy in ‘sagged’ jeans, wearing a tag and you just ‘click’ together, because that’s what you admire or even do. As a girl, you see another girl, on a low waist jeans and spotting a tight top with some expensive-looking jewelry and you just want to bond with her because she connects to something inside you. But maybe you’re like the guy or girl I admire, who doesn’t want to follow this world’s craze, or people who do, because you want to “flee every appearance of evil”.

So, who are you? Or better still, who do you show others that you are? I beseech you therefore brethren (I feel like Apostle Paul now) that you begin to consciously and deliberately determine who you are. Watch and influence your habits (what you do usually or regularly over and over without thinking) and attitudes (what you feel or think about something which determines how you behave).

IT IS NOT COOL TO KEEP NEGATIVE HABITS AND ATTITUDES. That is what you’ll become in a matter of time. And what you do is what people see, not what you intend to do. Deliberately, let the bible and good morals you’re taught at home and in school become your lifestyle.

Please get a sheet of paper of paper now and write out all your negative habits and attitudes. Beside them, write the good ones based on God’s word and sound morals. Now, pick one good habit and decide to imbibe it until it replaces the bad one, for the next 30 days. Remind yourself about this new positive habit every morning. Researchers say that anything you can do deliberately for 21days will become a habit.

So do it for a whole month. It will be though, very though but remember that you’ll be better off in the long-run. If you have to do it for a longer time, please do. Always remember that You Are What You Have Become. ‘Become’ here means what you have being doing on a daily basis. Your character is a composition of your habits and attitudes. Regardless of what you think or feel or wish, your character (which others see) is YOU!

So, begin today to determine and influence who you are. Ask God to help you. That’s what the Holy Spirit loves to do. And if you’re finding it really though, talk to a Christian counselor or your pastor or parents or to any MINE magazine contributor today.

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14) Let others be able to say that about you!


*Dade Akinwande

Being The Best I Can Be - A Guide To All Around Excellence


There is one thing that stands between your current position and your destination; it’s the “how” obstacle. You have to find answers to such pressing questions as, “how do I get there?”, “how do I make the right choices that will lead me to an expected end?” An expected end is that point in which a person dies regretless. It is a period in which a person can truly and honestly claim to have done all that they could with all they have been given by God (gifts, talents and opportunities). How do we get there? I recommend following these few steps;
· God first
· Don’t take their word for it
· Just do it – The planner vs. the doer
· Know thyself
· Befriend the best to be the best – A community of excellence
· Improve thyself – Learn, learn and learn some more
· Contentious Contentment – The American dream
We’ll start with Step 1 in this edition:


GOD FIRST!
A friend of mine for whom I have the utmost respect often spoke of God telling him what shirt to wear, what time to eat, etc. While I admired him for his close relationship with God, I did not try to emulate him because I was very comfortable with the way God spoke to me. For me, I made the decisions on my everyday tasks on my own while using God’s word as a guideline. For instance, I know that God expects us to adopt the virtue of moderation in all that we do. So, I may decide to eat barbeque chicken and rice but I try not to eat too much.

The concept of being all one can be affects every facet of our lives. A person striving to be all he can be should make efforts to be the best student he can be, the best church worker he can be, the best friend he can be, and so on. While all of these aspects of our lives are important, I will focus on educational and career excellence.

Educational Excellence
If you are like my friend who waits on and hears the voice of God to instruct him on what shirt to wear on a particular day, I congratulate and admire you. If you are not, don’t feel bad, God gave us free will. This free-will is what we must use to make decisions such as what University to attend, what to study in the University and so on.

When using free will as a decision-making tool, it is crucial to make sure that God’s word, which is one of the many ways He speaks to us, is our guide. When I was a teenager and it was time to decide what University to attend outside of Nigeria, I was faced with numerous decisions to make. I had to decide between going to the United Kingdom or the United States (notice how I like the places that are United?). For some, the choices would be much longer. I hear now that people are going to Hungary, Romania, even to Iceland. I admire their fortitude but I only wanted to go to a place where I spoke the language.

I had to decide between going to a place where I had many aunts and uncles (the UK) or a place where a few close friends had already gone (the US). I also decided that I wanted to attend a University with explicit Christian affiliation. I informed my counselor at the United States Information Service (a Lagos based US agency that provides guidance to people who want to study in the US) of my criteria and we got the University search process going.

You see, there are more than 3000 Universities in the United States and most of them are accredited. Given this overwhelmingly large number, it is important to have a few criteria at the beginning of the search in order to be able to weed out the undesirables. My own criteria were; a private Christian University in a quiet town where I could study something engineering related and so on (It has been so long ago that I don’t remember exactly what I said).

I did not know that I was about to attend a school that would not allow me achieve my goals, where most graduates were unable to get jobs (yes, those exist in the US too). It was a school that was only Christian in the fact that there were rules against unwholesome behavior; rules that no one obeyed. I ended up completing my bachelor’s degree at a different school.

I had some bad experiences in that small town but I also met some great friends; good Christians from other parts of the world with whom I connected spiritually. I would have said God took me to that school so that I would meet great people but I think an even more important reason for me to have acquired such experience is so that I can share with you and perhaps help you prevent similar mistakes when you are at your own cross-roads.

If I were one of those people to whom God speaks about what shirt to wear, He may or may not have told me to go somewhere else from the beginning. There is no way to guess what God would have said. However, since I made the decision to be comfortable being what I have cleverly named a biblically guided free willing Christian, there were steps I should have taken that would have guaranteed that I attended the best school possible. These steps (as stated in the second paragraph) are going to be revealed in subsequent installments of “Being the best I can be.”


*Ayo Sopitan

Teen Celebrity




Can we meet you?
I am Daniel Osunbor, from Edo state. I was born and bred in Lagos; second out of four children. I’m a Christian. I’m seventeen going on eighteen.
What are you up to presently?
I just graduated from my secondary school, Ilupeju Senior Secondary School. I’m waiting to do UME next year.
What church do you attend and what’s your involvement?
I attend World Evangelism Bible Church (WEBIC). I’m just a member.
What activities were you involved in when in school?
I was the head boy of my school. I was also a member of the JETS club. I represented my school in different competitions. I was involved in Spelling Bee competitions.
Please tell us more about that.
I went for my first spelling bee competition in JS3 but didn’t make the finals. I also went in SS1, but as a spectator. I went in SS2 again as a contestant and reached the final this time but did not win. I finally went in my SS3, in April this year, and won.
How did you feel?
I was very very happy, excited and fulfilled because that was my second time making the final; it was a dream come true.
Congratulations.
Thank you
How did you achieve this?
My teacher in school tutored me well, taught me to spell words and encouraged me never to give-up.
Who else helped and in what capacity?
My friends helped me, calling out words for me to spell. My parents also gave me their full support; they suspended domestic activities for me so I could concentrate fully.
Did you read a lot of novels, watch films or where you just studying the dictionary?
I watched films, including ‘Akeelah and the Bee’, which motivated me to win. There was also a pamphlet from the organizers of the competition that helped me. I also studied the dictionary.
What was your reward for your winning this Spelling Bee?
I was to act as the governor of Lagos for one day and I was given a sum of two hundred and fifty thousand naira (#250,000) that day.
How was the experience as One-Day Governor of Lagos State?
That day was the 2nd of June, 2008. It was like night should not fall that day. Meeting the governor personally, and sitting on his own chair was not a thing to dream of or expect to happen. I was fulfilled.
As a result of that experience, do you see yourself going into politics?
No.
Why?
To me, it’s a dangerous game (smiles).
So, what do you want to become?
A medical doctor.
Why?
I love saving people; I don’t like seeing people die.
What other memorable thing happened as a result of your winning the Bee?
The governor invited me to the welcome party organized for Man U’s Rio Ferdinand at Eko Hotel. I was happy to meet someone like that.
Are you a Man U fan?
Yes, I am.
What other things do you do?
I read books and magazines, sing and listen to music.
What makes you different from other teenagers?
The God factor; He has distinguished me from others. And the way I study is also different.
Do you have any advice for teenagers, like you, reading this magazine?
Never give up. Study hard and no matter the peer pressure, don’t fall. Also be prayerful because I believe that with God, all things are possible.
Thank you Daniel. It was a pleasure chatting with you.
You’re welcome.



Is there something very unique about you or that you’ve achieved and you want to be interviewed on this magazine or you have a teenage friend who you know is very special and should be interviewed, please send the name(s) and contacts (e-mail and phone number) to us at justaboutmine@yahoo.com We’ll get back to you and after listening to you, you might just be chosen as our next Teen Celebrity.