SQI 2017 National Independence Day Writing Competition

There is always a question on the mind of people during summer holidays. “How best can students spend their time?” SQI has however provided an answer this time. It is really exciting. We are putting students’ writing skills to work.
THEME

THE LAWS OF A NATION AS THE FOUNDATION OF HER FORTUNE
INTRODUCTION

Nations have risen and nations have fallen apart, all in accordance with how the citizens of these nations relate with the constituted laws.
As against the forthcoming 57th independence anniversary of this great nation; Nigeria; on October 1st, Speak Quill Initiative welcomes essay contributions from all young people who are not only the determining factor of Nigeria’s future but are also actors in the Nigerian project.
Secondary school students from all parts of the country are hereby invited to utilize this platform to project their opinions on how the laws of a nation can either influence its growth and development or otherwise.
GUIDELINE/MODE of OF SUBMISSION

*Write and submit an essay between 320 to 500 words on the theme. 

*The competition is open to students in JSS One(1) to SSS Two(2) in registered secondary schools across the country. 

*Entries should be forwarded to speakquillinitiative@gmail.com as attachment in *MsWord document with IDWC2017 as subject.

*Entry opens for submission from 1st of August to 15th of September.

*Entrants should include a cover page containing their name, location, mail address, class, school and telephone contact.
PRIZES

BICYCLE…1ST PRIZE

ELECTRIC FAN…2ND PRIZE

BACK PACK…3RD PRIZE

…and load of gifts to go home with.

Write and win fantastic prizes on independence day.
PS: Parents, Guardians and Teachers can help forward for maximum broadcast.

_Spoils of the War_

_spoils of the war_
*_(An epistle)_*

_Larinnaka !_ 

Come forth,that I might anoint your forehead,

With this palm wine that forsake fermentation,

When the moon walks upon the absence of the sun,

You shall see the crest of the seventh night,

Then you’d be a masquerade of your old self,

For only the brazen endure nights with two faced ancestress in _igbale_,

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor.
_Larinnaka !_ 

Today,you’re brute but not an ogre,

He that shall learn this art must taste blood,

This blood is the sap of the ancestral tree,

Where _Akara-Ogun_ took shield by the footsteps of an enigma,

He who taste this blood becomes invincible,

For deep in the nights, _Orunmila_ will chant unto indemnified souls..

_A kii mo ori ahun ka pa ahun_

_A kii mo oriki ile,ki o gbe ni de_

_Eni fi ikarahun mu eje s’oogun aiku_

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor.
_Larinnaka !_ 

The coast is clear,for the sun is in its ripe age

The stallions keep neighing, for souls are soon to be mislaid

I will ride on this stallion, I’d be your stallion

Ride on my very inguen,to learn this art of valor

Today,I will fight and sheathe this sword into its scabbard

Tomorrow,you’ll fight and never sheathe this sword into its scabbard..

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor.
_Larinnaka !_

No one leaves the shrine without a vanguard,

But heed, _Obatala_

Heed _Olukoso_

Heed _Sonponna_

Heed _Esu Ebita_

Heed the sixteen _odus_ of _Ifa_ the diviner

This impending combat is a junction of blood,

For life and death exists within a thin strand,

But when this strand of hair falls into a flowing river…

Wives shall paint the bones of their husbands in black palette,

Sons shall remember their fathers in the dirge of a quill,

Mothers shall exhume rotten placentas in memories of valiant sons,

Daughters would wish their spouses were their fathers..

But this land,would only wax stronger for a selfless sacrifice,

It is martyrdom…it is a sacrifice !

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor.
II.

I am _Larinnaka !_

I am not a coward but I would rather take shield under a bamboo leaf,

I am yet but an apprentice who knows not the face of the Grim reaper,

How do I send a soul on an errand to the Elysian fields ? 

If I do learn this art, _Alao_ who purloined my woman will be no more

Even _Tolani_ who fled from my seeds,would go on this journey

But maybe by the setting dawn,I might learn this art

To chant the enchanting chants of _Orunmila_ 

_Kijipa ee se egbe awo maalu_

_Igi ti ara Oshin fojudi lo fo leyinju otun_

_Ete ti o kan aditi Ira,o ni je o kiyesi kurukuru ojo_

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor.
I am _Larinnaka !_

And my eyes have witnessed terror..

Terror sight of a skull inscribed upon the hills,

Eyes of an innocent lad plucked out by an ogre,

I have witnessed the slain of a merchant,

Who traipsed into the cold hands of death,

On a gory day when his feet should have ceased to walk,

His blood is the liquor for hotblooded swordsmiths,

His blood a shea butter for he who can’t afford Vaseline,

Amidst ignorant wails, came the emergence of frabjous eulogies..

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor. 
I am _Larinnaka !_

And I have seen gory gore..

Before my blurry eyes,a maiden has won an epitaph,

Her appealing hair now scraped off,the shadow of _Ajirebi_,

Her inguen unveiled by hungry soldiers who haven’t seen their wives in seasons,

This is a story that must not be told,

But an art that must be bequeathed like _ajogunba_,

This is the art of war,the anatomy of valor.
But then.. I surged up from this mental state,

Prying through roots and stems for my father,

But all the earth could give was his amulet

And a sheathed sword in its now bloodstained scabbard,

This must be the art of war,

For no anatomy of valor proves supreme than this..

_©BALOGUN YUSUF GEMINI._

Balogun Alabi Yusuf,popularly referred as Gemini,is a novelist,playwright,poet,author and a teacher. Most of his writings are known for idiosyncrasy as he appreciate traditions and culture. His works have featured on several blogs and he’s currently a resident of Lagos,where he writes. He could be reached via +2348181400105 or yusufbalo15@gmail.com

Examination Hall by Ezeali Testimony

​Examination hall

        By Ezeali Testimony

In an examination hall

I am left alone in the wilderness

A hall where no one accompany me. 

A jungle where its path leads me to face its king.

A hall where there’s no time

to rest, except my residual knowledge

wins with absolute understanding…

Its road, so wide but passage tight

Left with me would eyes read me

Amidst success; my utmost goal.

©Ezeali Testimony (12years)

Ezeali Testimony is a young girl of twelve who is currently in Junior Secondary 3 Class in Oshboug Modern Secondary School, Ogba Lagos. Her first poem caught my attention while I was having a creative class with them and I think it worth sharing on my blog. Will like more of her works and other young writers, poets and creative mind published on my blog to improve African Re-creativity. This is my first post of this year, I think you will love it!

SANCTITY OF LIFE by Abiola

Where is the sanctity of life?
The beauty of life hangs majorly in the rise and fall of health, a part of our existence that clearly declare our imperfection; this is a fact that an ordinary layman would know, hence the reason for the general saying “no one wants to die” as well as the sensitization to always run for your life. With this, you can easily trust a man to always guard his dear life at all cost because there isn’t a spare but what are we to say about those who were paid for safeguarding lives.
Let’s start with the hospitals, I’m sure one or two of us have witnessed a harsh treatment of patients by nurses especially in government hospitals where every worker’s action is in the caution of a body of ghost invigilators, that comes once in a blue moon and whose eventual visitation would be announced about a fortnight earlier in order to get a grand welcoming. A rather bitter and eventual fortunate experience for a young man who fell sick in secondary school and was rushed to the health center, he was given several ample of injections on an empty stomach, simply because the nurse failed to ask if he had eaten. Thanks to God for grace because the young boy now a man fell to the floor and fainted but was brought back to consciousness with drips after the doctor’s intervention. I wouldn’t like to go into details on how I had to scream at a nurse before someone could go call the doctor to attend to my dying little brother. Let’s just cut the chase about the flaws and give kudos to the government on the provision of health centers but there’s more to be done, perhaps proper orientation. Some of these nurses probably already forgot the university courses that thought them on sanctity of life.
An organization with yet the duty of safeguarding life is the police force but how much of these duty do they execute? I started journeying around this country constantly every year since 2007 and all via road, a period of which I have literally “seen a lot”. From several robbery and accident escape to annoying police reactions to situations. To begin with the faithful day when the bus conveying us to Lagos from Akungba-Akoko in Ondo state developed a major fault on the Lagos-Ibadan highway close to a so called police checkpoint, on pushing past the checkpoint, the driver suggested we pushed the bus back to the check point, then pandemonium broke loose with the officer shouting atop his voice “wetin happen again, sebi una don push dis moto comot before” with response from us being “oga the motor don spoil, we push push e no gree work” the reply was pitiable and so was the total reactions. The police man reported us to the superior saying “oga see dis pippu, dem don push this moto comot before oo, dem com dey carry am com again say e no gree work” the superior then insisted “oya oya carry am carry am, make una just dey go”. That was how the squad denied us of the security we were entitled to as fellow citizens, but you probably don’t want to ask what happened next, I’m still alive writing about it.
It was from a police man that I knew there is a difference between local and international armed robbers, when on escaping slightly from the grip of a gang on a highway towards Delta state we came across a police checkpoint about 2 kilometers away. As law abiding citizens and knowing they have started robbing a bus on the other part of the road we reported the case and the response was terrible, he replied saying “oh, those wans dem be local armed robber, dey go dey go”.
However, the saddest and the reason for this call for the appreciation of life albeit ours or others was an event I briefly witnessed on the 25th of October, 2016 when I saw a man chase another with a machete and saw him angrily aimed at him at a very close range while running still, I didn’t see the end result because my bus was on the move in an opposite direction. It obviously was a rubbery case because a fuel tanker was parked most likely broken down, what I don’t know is what party the victim was. The deed was done at a place where a police squad should be on a watch because several reports of robbery by motorists have been raised. This raises the question all round, where is the call and where is the response to protection of life? No one deserves to be a victim of these acts; I hope this touch the heart of Nigerians in positions to influence the change. Let those in positions to make things right do, the patriotic citizens will surely follow and the nation at large will respond. I am a positive patriotic Nigerian who will influence a change when given the chance. If truly the change begins with me let the leader guide our path with exemplary deeds.

WE ARE A NAGGING NATION by Adelaja Olayiwola Ridwan

WE ARE A NAGGING NATION: A call for all to rise and facilitate Nigeria’s growth By Ridwan Adelaja.

At a very tender age, I understood that Nigeria is a country in distress: always having to battle a fundamental crises or the other. And, contrary to prophesies, so designed, by our religious heads to give us hope and reason to believe our trials won’t last forever; I have come to realise that those prophesies are mere wishful fantasies as none of them ever reached fulfilment. Whether these men are real and anointed faithful(s) or not is a topic for another encounter.The present day Nigerians are never the first to wish and pray for betterment. As a matter of fact, the wishing of our people for an improved economic situation is an inherited dream passed on from time down time. Our people have always looked forward to a creamy future so promised. It is however disheartening that they have always had to wake from their dreams, to find something much unpalatable.

According to history, the country has never for once been in proper shape. Sometimes, we are very close to getting it right only for a daunting circumstance to evolve from nowhere, and withhold our ship from sailing. Paraphrasing the African Hero Mandela, “our walk to freedom is indeed long and still on.” And, we cannot but continue to pray to hit the mark, someday. Every Nigerian must understand at this point that, this is really not the time for sweet talks, if resuscitating the country is our open option. Indeed, the toying with the prosperity of Nigeria is unforgivable. It’s quite absurd and unimaginable how our so called brothers sell out patriotism to greed and selfishness.

At age 56 of independence, we should be ashamed. The African mind is a powerful one, so praised. Africans have always demonstrated to be people of strength and goodwill. It is however unfortunate that, a country with such global respect and reputation like Nigeria keeps suffering from internal maladministration. Following the trend of events, we will agree that time has never come upon us when things were ever right or considerably fair. We only get to admit we had a better past after the passage of deadlier situations. Our fear today is what lies ahead. If we must project the future from the present, it is obvious, if proper care isn’t taken that, an unthinkable sight and landmark economic disaster is what we are plunging into.

Without going too deep into the past, we can establish that ours is a country in distress -with something spectacular at different times to complain about. At the time of former president Olusegun Obasanjo for instance, even though Naira never got this bad, our people complained and asked how we got to where we had to exchange a dollar for N140. On poor electricity generation and security laxities, our voice bleat on the dailies like goats set on for slaughter. Stories on kidnapping and armed robberies were also common headlines. To this day, we are still struggling to be free from many of these national hiccups. This is about a week after the celebration of our 56th year of Independence. But we may as well ask: how much independent are we, as a nation? Of course, we have been in this for so long. And, there is really no need to draw up hope again for another long term prediction. Dates have failed, prophesies lied. The only thing reasonable for us is to keep those things aside and face our problems head on.

We are a nagging nation; always complaining about one thing or the other but never capable or ready to proffer solution to the many wrongs around. I’m guilty here, also. How much of our problems have I solved? It doesn’t really help writing to condemn the system we are a part of. We cannot continue to cross our legs, fold our arms and watch fatherland fall apart? Every Nigerian (home or away) should be ashamed.

Truth be told, there are institutional problems, governmental mismanagement and unfavourable policy implementations as a result of some cabals in the name of leaders who are hell bent at milking the nation dry. However, we cannot continue to nag if we mean progress. We have got more to do than prayers, complaining or engage in beer-parlour arguments. This is the time to display our sense of responsibility in contributing to salvage the situation. We should be ashamed if we cannot help our land live out of troubles in every ways we can. We must accept that Nigeria is a project under construction. And, we must all take active part to build her because if we don’t rally round to restore sanity, we may have to die dreaming of a great Nigeria.


Ridwan Adelaja is the Ogun State Director for Peace December Nigeria and current President of The Campus Ambassadors, TCA Lautech. He is the founder of Speak Quill Initiative –a youth led organisation for peace, science and national development in the country using education as a formidable tool. Email: justolaola@gmail.com

Not A Season of Songs by Ridwan Adelaja

this heart

tonight 

sing not of love 

for the door that 

leads inside is broken 

and the hinges in between 

growing gaps like 

rusted fetters. Don’t ask

who -my brothers broke 

it: a tale of cock-lords

in cockroach den.

*

this heart

tonight

no longer feel 

at home at home

for the suffering of my people

drum thunders to my ear.

*

I am a widow 

married once again to 

aloneness, watching the 

sweep-change-finger of 

the clock from a 

distance.

*

this blow is heavy,

this wound is 

eating in; will

time ever a-flesh 

my bone?

POET ADELAJA RIDWAN OLAYIWOLA is the founder of SPEAK QUILL INITIATIVE, a youth led organisation for peace, science and national development in the country using education as a formidable tool. As a poet, his works have been published in numerous poetry websites, book anthologies and magazines. Mr Adelaja Ridwan is a dynamic multi-talented personality. He is a versed speaker, writer (poet), journalist and social media savvy. He currently serves as social media manager for the GREENBLES NETWORK.​