The roaring sound of his Jinxeng motorcycle stopped as he halted in front of my gate. I alighted from his bike and extended a crisp #200 note to him after which he gave me a balance of #100 and zoomed off. I opened the gate, pulled off my mask, washed my hands in the rickety tap that was in the compound before making my way to my apartment, tired and worn-out.
It had been a busy day at work and it seemed like the last ounce of energy in me had been exhausted. I had to find something to eat immediately
“Should I quickly preprare concoction rice?” No, that would take a longer time.
“Should I get ‘easy to make noodles’ to cook?” Oops! Iya Fatiah would have gone to the mosque at this time to pray.
I guess my only option then was to visit Iya Hassan’s buka upstreet with the intention of devouring any morsel that comes my way. Unbeknownst to me, the heavens had other agenda as the sun which had been shining mercilessly on helpless humans some minutes ago suddenly hid it’s malevolent face at the sight of approaching dark clouds. In a twinkle of an eye, the floodgates of the heavens opened and a heavy downpour came crashing down on mother earth.
I looked at myself with self pity and muttered “Hunger must not kill you today.”
At that moment, I remembered and appreciated the value of having garri (a product that needs no advert but sells more than noodles) readily at home. I dashed to the kitchen, poured some into a plate and added a sachet of powdered milk and two cubes of sugar. I opened the fridge to get groundnuts and without minding the coldness of the weather I drenched the garri in a pool of water imprisoned in the fridge for 72 hours.
As I sat down to consume my hunger saver with my back against the sofa, butt on the floor, right leg stretching and left leg forming an acute angle with the ground, I picked up my phone to check for massages and to see the other happenings in the social space. First, I checked my mailbox, then instagram, twitter, whatsapp and finally facebook.
While going through facebook, I stumbled upon an advert: Cmonionline Essay Competition. My right hand which had been transporting the squishy material from the plate into my mouth quickly dropped as I adjusted my sitting position.
“Man Oh Man!” I exclaimed, “It’s even an ongoing weekly competition with monetary incentives as a reward.”
I was overawed! It was exciting to have come across an online platform that encourages writers, gives them the opportunity to share their thoughts and hone their skills, and most importantly provide monetary benefits, all in one package.
I have always had passion for writing from a younger age until now. I eagerly looked forward to experiencing new things everyday on which I can write. I have pens and books in all my bags so that no matter where I am whenever another idea comes, I wouldn’t be searching for writing materials. Similarly, I have stationery in strategic locations in my room so that I could easily pick them to use whenever a creative thought comes knocking in my mind.
Due to my love for writing, I have written several unpublished plays and articles, fictional stories and a good number of published works.
It is understandable then that my interest was genuinely piqued when I saw the Cmonionline Essay Competition advert. It was like the famous phrase made by Marvel’s comic hero Captain America: “Avengers Assemble!” But this time however, it wasn’t fictional superheroes against an alien with magical stones but real writers against intelligent topics.
Some topics are on political issues and current affairs which need an iron fist handling or a hulk smashing approach with good research and preparation. Other topics centre on core social issues in our society to be tackled with thunderbolt efficacy while other topics tests our creative abilities. The latter requires a silly approach using one’s wit and heightened imagination to create stories while connecting them together like a spider does with its webs.
Whenever I see the topics to write on, I try to decipher which one I would better portray. Then I make research if it has to do with current affairs or social issues. Asides that, I try to test my creativity by building stories in my mind and sometimes tweaking some real life events I had experienced or seen or that I have heard being narrated into a beautiful piece.
Over the weeks, I have benefited a lot in the competition, from winning some of the prizes to reading beautiful pieces of written artworks by exquisite wordsmiths most of whom I try to emulate in order to be the best version of myself and to attain the pinnacle of my writing skills.
I want to sincerely commend the organizers of this impeccable platform as well as the untiring judges and I hope this will continue for a very long time. At the same time, I would also appreciate it if the community could operate in such a way that writers could easily communicate with one another openly and share thoughts and suggestions together making it look more like a family of writers with the aim of improving ourselves.
Conclusively, every week, when I check the twitter handle for the new topics to be written on, I could hear the unspoken words of Cmonionline saying: “Writers Assemble!”
Humble Ogbonna, a Diction and Phonetics Instructor with a passion for writing sent in this entry from email@example.com