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Rebirth 3

“Your earned gift is a job in my company, Regale Insurance Plc.”

Fadeke’s eyes widened upon hearing that and repeatedly said “Thank you sir; Thank you so much sir”, joined by her mother; until Mr Smith said to her, “You earned it.”

“Immediately I saw you step out to the podium to give your valedictory speech, I had the strong impression that it would be a beautiful thing to have you join our team at Regale. And the appointment takes effect immediately. If you don’t mind, we can request that you are posted to Lagos State so that you can work at the company during your National Youth Service Corp programme”

“Wow! It has been my dream to work in insurance. I have secretly eyed Regale Insurance and wished I could work there but then I kept wondering how I could ever get such rare opportunity, considering the state of corruption in the country and how you have to know people that really matter and who have really long legs before you can get into certain important government parastatals or companies like Regale. This is totally a dream come true, sir.”

“Just look at how God connected me to the right person at the right place who was at the right place to favour me,” she said facing her mother who in turn drew her close to herself; welcoming her into a very warm hug and said to her, “You have made me proud indeed.”

Mrs Olanrewaju then turned her eyes upward and said, “Indeed you are faithful; Husband of the widow and Father of the fatherless.”

All this continued while some of Fadeke’s friends and passers-by who recognized her as the recipient of the best graduating student’s award congratulated her and some people requested to have her take pictures with them.

“You must hold a very important position at the company for you to have offered me a job with a tone of certainty”, Fadeke said to Mr Smith asked though she had a sudden feel of doubt about the possibility of truly getting the job.

“You See, mine is a story of grace. God can indeed lift you up from the dunghill and set you up as a king.” Fadeke and her mum nodded in agreement.

“God was really gracious to me and that is reason I decided that I would be a voice for the voiceless and be a hand to lift as many people as I can; especially hardworkers who only need resources or an open door to boomerang into their full potentials. I graduated top of my class from University of Ife and got employed by a leading bank almost immediately after graduation because someone did exactly what I am doing for you today for me too. I had attended an interview at the bank but I was not given the appointment because a member of the panel wanted his nephew given instead, even though he was not qualified for the position.”

“I had given up hope on that opportunity as it was not my first interview that yielded to fruit. But as God would have it, a higher authority on the p requested for the papers of all the applicants even after the panel had given their recommendations. He

“Though I had always dreamt about being my own boss, that seemed like a dream farfetched because my father was not a rich man neither did I have any rich relatives. We stayed in a single room self-contained apartment with my uncle until I got a job and I rented my own apartment and my father moved in with me. Then God brought my destiny helper my way; my angel. He blessed me with a supportive wife. I didn’t think that I stood any chance with her because of the wide disparity in our social classes but she agreed to marry me. She trusted me with a huge portion of her inheritance after we got married and that was the seed with which Regale Insurance was sown. Of course the rest is history. Today, I am the Chairman of the board of directors of the small company that was established some years back with a leap of faith”

“Wow! So you founded Regale? That is amazing sir”, Fadeke said.

At that point, Mr Smith’s phone rang and he excused himself in order to answer the phone. “That was my driver,” he said. “He called to find out where I was. As a matter of fact, we should leave any moment from now because I have an appointment later this evening and you know how Lagos traffic can be.”

You are a strong woman, Mrs Olanrewaju, he blotted out. You are obviously a very beautiful woman with very strong arms. It really must have been a huge task for you to have been able raise an amazing young lady like Fadeke. Thank you for standing in for my friend so well. It is evident you have done a great job raising her.”

“I know you must be eager to find out what the second gift is going to be. I am sponsoring your Masters degree program in any University outside the shores of Nigeria. I will ask my P. A to contact the company that organized my son’s admission and travel. And if you have a particular institution of interest, you can let me know as soon as you can.”

Both women’s mouths flew open. Fadeke fell to her knees as tears streamed down her cheeks and then managed to get the “Thank you sir”, out in a shaky voice. Mrs Olanrewaju showered endless prayers in Mr Smith alongside multiple ‘thank yous’.

“Please, stand up,” he said to Fadeke. It’s your day of joy and it wouldn’t be nice to have your eyes swollen in your photographs”, he continued as he helped her to her feet.

He raised his hand up to beckon on someone who walked briskly towards them. Fadeke and her mum never noticed there was someone waiting for him somewhere around. “Frank is my Personal Assistant”, he said as the young man arrived where they stood.

“Give me my card holder”, he said to the guy who handed him a fancy card holder. “Here’s my card”, he said as he handed Fadeke a business card. “In the meantime, let me have your number”, he said to Fadeke. Frank quickly brought out an iPad but Mr Smith asked him not to bother.

“This goes into my personal phone. She is my daughter and I will call her with my direct line so that she can save that too”.

Fadeke called out her number and I’m a matter of seconds, Fadeke’s phone rang. “I got it sir”, she said.

“Thank you so much Sir,” Fadeke and her mum chorused.

“God be praised!” Mr Smith replied. “I’ll be on my way now.

I have a request to make before you leave sir” Fadeke said.

Go on”, he replied.

©OMOSEBI Mary Omolola, PhD

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Rebirth 2

Wait a minute, what is that your surname again?” Mr Smith asked, facing Fadeke.

“Olanrewaju, sir!” Fadeke answered with a broad smile on her face.

“That’s like a rhetorical question though,” Mr Smith said as he laughed out loud.

“I heard the name while you were being called out earlier to receive your award, in the hall. I knew a certain Olanrewaju back during my secondary school days. Even though I know very well that ‘Olanrewaju’ is not a name that can be pinned on a particular location in Yoruba land, I didn’t want to miss the chance of finding out if it was the same Olanrewaju that I knew then or another. That Olanrewaju and I have an important score to settle”, he said with another loud laugh.

“So, your Olanrewaju is from which town?” he asked.

“Okala in Oyo State sir,” Fadeke answered swiftly.

“Wait a minute, which secondary school did your husband attend?” Mr Smith asked, facing Mrs Olanrewaju.

“Franco Baptist Boys’ High School, Okala,” she said.

Mr Smith’s face brightened. “What set was he?” he asked.

“1978! He graduated from secondary school in 1981, after his school cert exams,” Fadeke’s mum answered.

“Hold it right there!” he said raising his palm out towards Mrs Olanrewaju. “This is getting really interesting,” said he, whisperingly.

Mrs Olanrewaju did not know what to make of his reaction. “Could it be that my husband had done this man wrong or something?” she thought; completely bewildered, with the smile on her face suddenly wiped off.

“O my God!” Mr Smith exclaimed. This jerked Mrs Olanrewaju back to reality.

“Don’t tell me that you are talking about Solomon Olayiwola Olanrewaju,” he quizzed.

“Yes, sir. That was my husband.” Mrs Olanrewaju replied.

“Wow! What a small world this really is. Solomon was my close pal during our secondary school days. As a matter of fact, his parents paid my school fees when we were in Form four because my mother was really sick and my father spent every dime of the proceeds from his farm on my mother’s treatment. Unfortunately, she died after a few months battling with the undiagnosed disease.”

“Eeyah!” Mrs Olanrewaju chipped in before Mr Smith continued.

“I could have missed a whole year of school if not for the Olanrewajus. That was a time my family was in dire need and they showed up for us. How can I ever forget such an amazing family? I slept over at there house for several days and I ate at the Olanrewajus’ several times during that period and even after the passing on of my mum. Mummy O, like we fondly referred to Solomon’s mum, would make delicious stews and soups for us every Sunday and Wednesday, after my mum died. All I had to do was boil rice or make eba, amala or yam to go with the soups, for my father and I.”

“Immediately after our final exams, I followed my uncle to Lagos, where I helped him at his shop. I was offered admission to study Accounting at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife,  the following year. Solomon and I wrote letters to each other consistently, monthly,  for about a year after I left for Lagos and then I received no more letters from him. I didn’t get to tell him I had gained admission into the University. I didn’t get to know if he had too, either.”

“I went back to look for his parents even though my father had moved to Lagos. So it was specifically to find clues to my friend’s whereabouts. I knew full well that Solomon must have moved on with his life too, but I decided to try anyway and I was told that they had relocated to an unknown destination after a fire disaster that destroyed Mr Olanrewaju’s entire farm and a subsequent flood that destroyed their house barely one week after the farm fire incidence. They had believed that a certain evil person(s) in the community was responsible for their predicament and therefore decided to move away without any farewells. It was at that point that I gave up on my search for my friend.”

“So you now see why I said I had scores to settle with Solomon Olanrewaju?” he said grinning. “It saddens my heart to know that he is dead though,” he said while he held a straight face.

“Solomon is the reason I am giving you, Fadeke, a second gift. You earned the first gift due to your excellent academic performance and that was my initial purpose of reaching out to you immediately the ceremony ended.”

“Your earned gift is. . .

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© OMOSEBI Mary Omolola, PhD

Rebirth 1

Fadeke is the only child of her parents. Her father died when she was four, burying her mother’s dream of having more children with her husband whom she loved so much and leaving her with the sole responsibility of taking care of all her daughter’s needs.

It was really tough for Mrs Olanrewaju to take care of her daughter because she was an orphan herself and her husband had hailed from a very poor family hence leaving her not many options but to take full responsibility for herself and daughter.

She was a primary school teacher in one of the South Western states of Nigeria. Her husband had taught in one of the secondary schools before his demise.

They lived in a face me I face you building where they had rented two rooms before the tragedy of his death. One of the rooms served as the living room while the other as the bedroom. Fadeke and her mother lived in that apartment for ten more years after the passing of Mr Olanrewaju.

There was no way Fadeke’s mom’s salary could cater for all their needs. Their expenses grew as Fadeke grew. When it was becoming almost impossible for them to make ends meet, she took a soft loan from the staff cooperative society at her place of work. She couldn’t apply for more money since she could only receive 300% of her savings as loan. You can imagine how little her savings were considering how meagre her salary was.

She decided to start a small business with that money.

Thankfully, she closed from work by 2 pm and so she resumes at her shop immediately after. She had learned how to sew clothes when she was at the College of Education.

She informed her colleagues, church members and neighbors about her new business. It wasn’t long before things began to change for the better.

It would have been easy to assume that she quickly got many customers because people pitied her condition but that was definitely not the case. She was a talented designer. All her works earned her accolades. Besides that, she ALWAYS met her deadlines; which was something unusual with many tailors in the area. Her integrity further endeared her to more people.

It wasn’t long before she became renowned in that area. People came from all over the town; which was by no means a small one, to seek her services.

She had to change shops because she wanted to improve on the standard of her work environment. The interior decor was so on point. The wall colours were just a perfect match with her storage units. The shop was really well organised. And it was all her idea. Her shop was unarguably the best looking in that environ, irrespective of the trade carried out in those other shops.

She had several apprentices and that earned her even more income but she made sure to supervise keenly, every single piece made in her shop.

However, it was no longer easy for her to meet up with the demands of both jobs but she kept both anyway.

She had great passion for teaching and sewing at the same time.

Besides, she wouldn’t pass on any opportunity to earn some more money because she had vowed that her daughter would not experience the kind of economic hardship she had experienced growing up. It however meant that she had to work overnight on several occasions. Offering her daughter the best life she could possibly afford was a priority for her, so she joyfully made the sacrifice.

Fadeke graduated from the Nigerian premier University with a First Class honours in Economics as the best graduating student from her class.

Her mother’s joy knew nothing bounds. She had broad smiles on her face as she walked down the aisle to join her daughter for a series of pictures with the principal officers of the University upon presentation of her award as the best performing graduating student for the session. The smile she wore on her face clearly spelt fulfilment. She kept it on all through the day. Passers-by kept congratulating her on her daughter’s great feat. She was proud of her daughter and of course, herself.

A man walked up to the stand her mother had set up for entertaining Fadeke’s well wishers after the official ceremony was over, to congratulate her on her exceptional academic performance. He also congratulated her mother for her support as Fadeke had mentioned when she delivered the valedictory speech.

He had come to felicitate with one of the families that he attended church together with, whose first son was graduating from the same University.

After a short chat among the trio, Mr Smith asked a question that left both Fadeke and her mum wondering what was going on.  . .

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© OMOSEBI Mary Omolola, PhD

 

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