Saturday, December 24, 2016

Daily Diet Launched Project I FOUND IT

As the year is taking its bow, it is with great delight I must honestly and sincerely admit that this year has been quite eventful. As a child barely grows before his/her parents, I also must say that DAILY DIET has barely grown in my eyes. But, then, DAILY DIET has left its infancy. With more than 4 years down the line, and with several articles and short stories in our archive, I can not help but declare that it has been God all the way. With 2017 peeping through the door, it is highly expedient that I share this goodnews with you. 


For the record, DAILY DIET has been coming your way from the stable of Swift 24 Multimedia Services, a publishing firm based in the heart of Ibadan. For 2017, Swift 24 Multimedia Services has decided to take a giant stride by launching project I FOUND IT. The project is aimed at discovering, building and grooming young writers, especially secondary school students. We believe that helping these young writers discover their talents at a tender age would greatly prepare them for their future quests. The project entails different writing competitions (Essay, Short Story, Poetry, Drama, etc.) where the best writer(s) would be singled out for awards and free publishing contracts. In the nearest future, these best writers(s) would be awarded free scholarship that would see them through their secondary school education. Also, in the nearest future, the project would be taken to orphanages to discover the best writers among them, and to finance them through their secondary, and tertiary education (if possible).  

The winners in the orphanages would be treated with much regard and attention as we would solicit for sponsorship and support to train them in the best schools around. Orphans with extreme cases would also be singled out for scholarship as well, as we strongly believe that education is the best legacy one can ever give a child.

May,  2017 has been slated for the maiden edition of I FOUND IT, and the maiden edition would witness participants from selected schools in Ibadan. The participants would be made to write a highly creative story on an impromptu topic that would be given to them on the day of the competition. This is because, we would like to discourage cases of malpractice and plagiarism. As the Lord expands our coast, we would spread our tentacles to other cities in the country, and the world at large. But, before the scheduled date, a smaller version of I FOUND IT would kick off this coming January at Mustard Seed Unilab, also located in Ibadan. Mustard Seed Unilab is a tutorial centre that sees to the training and teaching of secondary and post-secondary school students for their tertiary institution adventure. This smaller version of I FOUND IT would run monthly for students of the aforementioned tutorial centre till May, when the main event would be held. 

It should however be established that the sole purpose of I FOUND IT is to discover young writers, and guide them on their way to stardom. The competition would be TOTALLY FREE to all participants, and the winners would also be published for FREE, without paying a dim. This is our way of giving back to the society, and our own way of saying, "Change begins with me".

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Thursday, December 22, 2016

THREE IS A CROWD (The Final Saga)

"Who is there?" Peter asked, before opening the door, trying to be sure it was Jenny. "It is me" Jenny replied from the other side of the door, in her sonorous voice. Despite the fact that Peter heard Jenny's voice, he was still not convinced that all was well with her. Like a Thomas that he was, he wanted to "see and touch" before believing. "What happened? Your number was switched off all through the night" "Hope you are fine?" "How did it go?" Peter bombarded her with series of questions, which Jenny did not know which to answer first. Instead, she nodded her head to all his questions. "Is that Jenny?" Amope's voice asked from the sitting room. "Please come in" Peter said, after realizing that he was blocking her from entering the house. Jenny found a comfortable place to sit, as curious and eager eyes questioned her from all angles. "Pele my dear" Amope consoled. "How did it go?" Paul questioned, before Jenny could even reply Amope. "It went well" Jenny said. Others took a relaxing position as her "It went well" assured them that there was no cause for alarm, and that all went according to plan. They could not have asked for more, than for Jenny to successfully complete her own part of the sacrifice, and then, they would all head out to Baba's place to complete the final aspect of the ritual, setting them free from the shackles of the looming death.   "It was way easier and better than I expected" Jenny added, giving them something to pounder on. "How do you mean?" Peter questioned. "Baba was right" Jenny said, indirectly ignoring Peter's question. They all listened with rapt attention, as they have seemed to observe that Jenny was not ready to repeat anything she says. They had no choice than to listen to her because at that moment, their fates and destinies were right in Jenny's palm, and she could squeeze it like an orange or hold it carefully like an egg. They were so calm and gentle with her as if their actions or inactions could change anything Jenny did or did not do the previous night. "My parents are not my real parents" Jenny declared, looking sober and calm. They were all shocked and amazed. Not just because of Jenny's declaration, but also because of the way she changed the topic to what was a little less important to their lives. They didn't say a word. They remained quiet and still, as if a sound from them would make Jenny flare up and change all what she did the previous night. Like a powerful goddess who kills defiled worshippers, they worshipped Jenny with their silence and rapt attention. "My parents told me that last night" She said, stressing the words "parents" and "night" beyond normal. No doubt, if jenny were to be a storyteller, she would kill her audience with suspense, as some of her audience might want to forcefully strangle her to get words from her, or, one can simply say Jenny was very stingy with words. Jenny continued with how the whole thing went with her parents. How they told her that they were warned against marrying each other because they were both AS. "We ignored people's advice" Jenny said, trying to say it in their exact words. They also told her that they made plans with a nurse at a hospital after her supposed mother conceived, to help them swap any child in the hospital, if their first child happened to be an SS. "Our first child was SS, and the nurse went ahead with the plan" She recounted again in their exact words, as tears found their path down her cheeks. "I told them everything, and they said a DNA test would be used to determine who my true parents are, not an Oracle." She said, sarcastically. Just as always, silence reigned in their mist once again for some seconds. "I slept in a church last night where I was prayed for." Jenny said, dropping a bombshell. Silence reigned again, as different thoughts crossed their mind. "I have found a way out of whatever we might have put ourselves, and that is what I came here to tell you about" Jenny added. Her listeners looked at her with careless attention, just the way spectators watch an unskillful football player. "Jesus is the way, the truth and life" Jenny declared. "What do we do now?" Paul asked. "Give your life to Christ" Jenny answered. "I wasn't talking to you." Paul replied very swiftly, in a way that showed Jenny's opinion was not needed in the issue on ground. "We have to go to Baba immediately" Amope said, getting up from her seat, and ignoring Jenny's counsel. "Will you go with us?" Paul asked, facing Jenny. Jenny kept quiet for a while before responding. "I have been bought with a price, and Christ has already paid all the debt I owe. So, I don't need to…" She tried to explain as Paul cut her off immediately. "Jenny, please, let's go to Baba's place together. I'm sure there would be a way to correct any mistake you might have made" Peter begged. "Don't beg her. In fact, I won't like to even be in the same car with a traitor." Paul declared. "Mum, can we go now? There is no time to waste." Paul added. "Jesus is the only way" Jenny tried to convince them. At that instance, she remembered the words of the Pastor when she heard it on her way to the cemetery the previous night. "Come, all ye that are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The words were still so fresh and new to her, and like a lost child, she traced the voice she heard until she got to the church. An evening service was going on, and it was after the evening service she told the pastor all that happened, before her parents were called to meet her at the church. It was the same words she hoped would change the heart of her supposed true family. "Come all ye that are heavy laden, and Jesus will give you rest." Jenny said, trying to convince them. "Come all ye that are about to die, and I will drive you to Baba's place" Paul said, making a joke out of what Jenny said.

"We should not have left her behind." Peter said, as Paul drove faster than usual. Silence reigned in the car, as nobody responded to what Peter said. That very instance, Peter remembered the dream he had before the knock on the door. It was as if the dream was saved somewhere in his memory all along, and that he could not access it, except at the moment. He tried to search his mind for the interpretation of the dream. "The dream definitely means something." He thought. "We left Jenny behind in the dream, and we have left her behind again in real life." He thought again. His mind could not bear the guilt of leaving Jenny behind on their trip to salvation and redemption. "We should not have left her behind" He said aloud again, as if talking to himself.  As they journeyed in silence, Amope simply hoped they find a solution to the issue on ground, and as for Jenny, she resorted to ask Baba if there could be a way to amend her wrong, even if it has to deal with a weightier sacrifice she herself has to pay. "I will gladly pay it". She mistakenly said aloud. Peter and Paul looked at her as if there were more secrets she was hiding from them. She replied their look with an apologetic look. "The sacrifice to redeem Jenny [if necessary], would be my sacrifice as a good mother" She thought. It was while thinking about "sacrifices" she remembered a television programme she watched the very day they came back from Baba's place with the twins and Jenny. That very day, after Paul declared his intention to be the first to sleep at the cemetery, she went inside her room, and turned on the television. As if by default, the station showed a Preacher who was praying for his listeners. "There is a woman watching me right now…" The preacher said, in the course of the prayer. "You were told that death is looming over your family, and you and your family were told to go and do some nasty things…" The preacher added. Amope's heart was drawn to the preacher. She wondered if the preacher knew about her. "He couldn't have known about us" Amope said. "You are doubting my words. But, I'll advise you not to." The preacher continued. Amope was very swift in changing the channel.  As she sat in the car, heading to Baba's place to find redemption for her past wrongs and mistakes, she remembered the words of the preacher, but quickly discarded it.

The road to Baba's place was shorter than it used to be. "You are right on time." Baba said, immediately they entered his house. "Baba, there is a problem" Amope said. "What is it?" Baba asked, looking alarmed. "Jenny did not…" Amope tried to explain. "Leave all that, there is no time to waste" Baba interrupted. "Put these round your neck" Baba said, giving each of them a small gourd with red cloth tied to its edge. As if in another world, Amope and the twins lost consciousness after putting the gourd on. The looked motionless like a dummy used at Onitsha to sell clothes. "Boys!" Baba shouted, and from one of the rooms in the house, two hefty men walked in. "Take them in" He commanded, as he picked his phone to dial a number. "Good afternoon Chief" Baba greeted. He kept quiet for a while for the receiver to respond to his salutation. "The package is available now, and I want to know how you would want it." Baba said, and he listened again for the receiver to speak. "Ok. But, you would need to pay twice the usual price for private parts. Getting people is not easy these days." Baba negotiated, as he listened again. "Ok. You can come for it now." Baba said, as he ended the call. He went into the inner room where the hefty men took their victims to. "Do it as usual." He commanded. "Keep their private parts separately." He added, as he went back to the sitting room to attend to his new guests, who might likely be his next victims.

In life, there are times we act as God. We take decisions without considering what might be the aftermath of our decisions, and even when we realize we have made mistakes, we still find it hard to repentantly walk back to the Throne of Grace where we might obtain mercy. Instead, we seek solutions from people, and at places that would only worsen our situation. The more we think we are running to get our problems solved, the closer we get to our doom. For some people (like Jenny), they get a second chance to be redeemed, and for some others, they get more than second chances at redemption, but their unrepentance takes them further away from Grace, to where they eventually meet their end. It is true that "Two is a company, and three is a crowd". But, what is the yardstick to determine who one would walk with in life? Moreover, who should be one's "company", let alone, the crowd? I'm sure some would be of the opinion that one's spouse should be one's "company". Some might even believe that one's parents should be that company one needs in life. But, I am not sorry to say that I do not share such view at all. On the contrary, I strongly believe that God should be our one and only "company". He should be the only One we should get closer to, intimate with, relate with, and even discuss with. God should be our company, and not man (not even your spouse or parents). Get me right. I'm not saying you should not get married, or be rude to your parents. All I am saying is that, you should be closer to God than anyone else in your life, and no third party should ever separate you and God because "…three is a crowd". And, if for any reason, you don't have any relationship with God. If for any reason, you have not given your life to Christ, just like Jenny, COME TO THE THRONE OF GRACE.

Feel free to chat me up if you need someone to talk to on any issue bothering you.

>>>>>>>>>>>>THE   END <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

                                                         © 2016. Austus Ofmat Nwanne 

I must confess that it hasn't been easy writing this story, considering how busy and engaged I have been lately. But, I give all glory to God for being my source of inspiration. There were times I got stuck while writing, but like morning dew, I receive inspiration beyond my comprehension, and I know it can only be God, and it would always be Him. I also want to appreciate you all who take time to read my stories. I appreciate you a lot. Sometimes, I feel so sorry when I have to end an episode at a breath-taking point. But, in it all, you have all been patient and wonderful, and I cannot but say a big THANK YOU to you all. I'll sign out from here, and I promise to come your way again with great stories next year.  I remain my humble self, OFMAT.

Inspirational Speaker/Media Consultant,
Swift24 Multimedia Services.
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