Welcome to the third duel of the second round. All results will be announced after the eighth duel of the second round.
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Today Bismark Benson and Ekpo Ezechinyere attempt to bring the thunder. And the theme is Elisha(they are to pick a story from Elisha’s life and retell it). Word count is 500 words.
Let us ride:
“This is your year of moving from zero to hero, from mourning to morning, from test to testimony, from pain to gain, from grass to grace!” Pastor Elisha declared emphatically, as he moved to and fro the wooden podium. He straightened his suit, gave a brief pause to observe the effect of his punchlines
This elicited screams from the huge crowd which had thronged the market place to listen to Elisha. They nodded their heads vigorously, some jumped continuously, while some who were under anointing rolled on the ground.
“Alleluia someborri! I hear you sir! Preasssh!” A rough-looking young man in the crowd with dreadlocks screamed, waving his tattooed hands in the air.
The scantily dressed lady in his company chimed in with a heavy Warri accent,
“O boy eii, the pastor dey free style my life for here eii,” She said, and popped her gum loudly.
“I dey tellzz you babes. The man just dey scatter my dada since,” her boyfriend replied, running his hands through his dirty locks.
She returned her gaze back to the pastor on stage, chewed her gum for awhile. She nudged her man with her elbow and asked,
“Scorpion, abeg wetin be the pastor name sef?”
“Na pastor Elisha nah. Baby you no sabi that junior pastor wey dey run things with that popular G.O – Pastor Elijah, before him die that year?”
She patted her head lightly as she tried hard to remember,
“Ohh! I don sabi am now! Chei… The man don get levels now o…”
she exclaimed under her breath.
Pastor Elisha was ministering in Ajegunle, one of the poorest communities in Lagos.
‘Akpako ministries’, a ghetto church erected in the midst of poverty, had organised a crusade themed, “Bye-bye to poverty”.
Pastor Elisha who was widely known for his miracles, was invited to anchor this power packed crusade aimed at addressing the people’s struggles, and spiritually liberating the people of Ajegunle community who lived in abysmal poverty. The people had no access to education, no drinkable water, suffered cyclical epidemic, and several other challenges. His powerful message resonated with many in the crowd, and gave them a reason to be hopeful.
Getting to this filthy part of Lagos popularly known as “jungle” wasn’t easy for Elisha. The stress encountered included – jumping on moving molue buses that had people packed like sardines. He stood in these rickety bigger commercial buses (molue) for long hours, holding on to the handrail, as the bus swayed dangerously inside deep potholes.
So, on receiving a paltry one thousand five hundred naira from the crusade organisers after all his troubles, he was really furious.
The amount was nothing to write home about, as it couldn’t take care of his transportation back home, let alone his welfare.
But he swallowed his anger as expected of a man of God.
The perks of his ministry ended after his mentor and senior pastor “Elijah” died, and things had become a tad difficult him. No more free flights to international conferences. No more chauffeur driven rides to outreach programmes.
Elisha felt a little frustrated as he made his way out of the slums of AJ city.
The decayed garbage stank like hell as Elisha walked the streets of Ajegunle in his old suit and weather beaten shoes. He held a bible in one hand, and an old umbrella in the other.
Half naked children with bloated stomachs played on the streets.
Youths smoked and gambled on the corner by the main road leading to the outskirts of the city.
As he walked passed these youths, one of them quickly accosted him. The bare chested boy said with an aggressive tone,
“Oga, abeg wait first, you be the head of state?”
The young boy pointed at Elisha’s head and snickered, revealing his missing frontal tooth.
“What do you mean young man?” “What can I do for you?”
“Ahh…see as ya head smooth like bicycle chair” The rascal retorted mockingly.
Elisha shook his head, hissed and said under his breath, “My God! No respect.” He continued walking, but now at a fast pace.
“Yeeei! Akpororo, Okon, Boniface,
make una come see shine shine gorimapa head.”
The rascal beckoned on his gang; they followed behind Elisha, hurling offensive remarks at him.
Before Elisha knew it, a scene had already been created.
Some little kids joined the fray.
The kids laughed out loud and ran around Elisha with their tiny legs; they had their hands placed upon their heads in a funny way.
The little girl cheerleading the kids chanted with a pitchy voice,
“Wider wider head!”
“Wider!” The other kids chorused.
“I say wider wideeeer head!”
“Wider!” The kids responded.
A little boy tugged on the sleeve of Elisha’s coat, and ran as quickly as his legs could carry him.
Cheers erupted as he swiftly dodged Elisha who tried to strike the little boy with his umbrella.
The little girl cheerleading the kids ran ahead of Elisha; she wiped the mucus running down her nose with the back of her hand, stuck out her tongue mockingly, and wiggled her small waist.
“If you haff liver, coman catch me, pomo head”
She beat her chest, and dared Elisha to chase her.
These fierce- looking kids must be having some fun at his expense, Elisha thought within himself.
Elisha barked, “Now will you ill bred urchins shut up!”
“Waka dia!” One of the kids retorted.
“I say wakaa Mr gorimapa head!” Another kid hit back at Elisha.
They staggered around and laughed hysterically, provoking Elisha the more.
At that moment Elisha was on the brink of tears.
As their voices rang out and echoed in his ears, a throng of childhood memories flooded his mind.
Those ugly names he’d been called in the seminary school boarding house.
‘Isi udele (vulture’s head)’
Those years he had stared into the mirror, weeping, wishing his wasn’t cursed with a receding hairline
He had known body shaming like the back of his palm, but this was the height of it. Coupled with the frustration over being paid one thousand five hundred naira; Elisha saw red.
Holy anger surged through his system; he spoke in tongues.
“Yekarima samboribabaaa bingo bingo!”
Immediately, two skinny, rabid local dogs foaming at the mouth sprang out of the open gutters, where they scavenged for food. They snarled and bared their fangs at the kids; the kids shrieked in terror and retreated.
One of the dogs leaped towards the cheerleader, ripped her pants and dug its fangs into her backside, pulling out flesh.
The other dog pounced on the young boy who first accosted Elisha, cutting through his jugulars, and leaving him dead on the spot.
Elisha’s temper had become volatile. He unleashed the hungry dogs on everyone of them who had mocked him.
He looked at the bloody bodies littered on the streets, dusted off his shoulders and walked away majestically, feeling unapologetic.
The aura in the situation room was oppressive and the chyron on the silent television screen screamed gloom and doom.
The air was redolent with coffee and ash trays filled with cigarette butts littered the tabletop. A half filled bottle of cognac sat conspicuously and incongruously on the table.
The men around the table all wore sombre looks. The local currency was now 2000 to the pound. Import had totally crashed and for a country that was big on consumption instead of production, the situation was dire. Oil prices were in the doldrums, companies were being shut down and the stock market had plummeted to an all time low. There was unrest on the streets. Most cried for the head of the president and the rest of his cabinet. They had failed the country abysmally.
The men had been at this all night. Suits off, shirts were folded at the sleeves and ties were loose. Yet it had been an exercise in futility. Bleary eyed and foul mouthed, they were stumped. Some yawned and all wondered how this was going to end. The President was the worst hit, he saw his second term bid going up in smoke.
The door buzzed and his aides brought a man in.
“Sit down “Woli (Prophet),” The President said.
The man sat down. There was no love lost between him and the President. The Prophet had always been one to condemn the excesses of the ruling administration. However, he was also one who believed in giving honour to whom honour was due. So when he received the summons from the Presidential villa, he obeyed.
Woli took his seat and the President narrated the proceedings of their strategic meeting and the fact that they were now at their wits end.
The Man of God closed his eyes, prayed some, and then said, “In twenty four hours, this whole issue will be totally resolved.”
The Professor of Economics snorted at such flagrant folly, he hated these religious types with a passion! If not for how critical the issue was, he might have laughed. With his degrees from London Business School and Wharton, he and his cronies had not been able to chart a course through this conundrum, and then this charlatan had the effrontery to mouth off about issues that were too arcane for him to fathom!
“This is pure drivel. It cannot happen even if your God rains down dollars,” he said.
“You will witness it but not partake of it,” replied the Prophet.
Then suddenly, the tide turned as the prophet predicted. The entire Middle East was engulfed in war as Qatar was invaded by Saudi Arabia and Iran and Iraq took opposing sides. Oil prices soared!
The Finance Minister, rushing off to the Villa about the current situation of things, was blown to bits by a random terrorist attack.
Let the voting begin.