The will to obey is the greatest force of a new born Christian, while the will to disobey is the most destroying force of the sinner. A child when left alone in the world is controlled by one of two powers: good or bad, right or wrong, God or the devil. Everyone is challenged by these two forces of life, and each must choose which life he must live. And I believe that is what the Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he grows he will not depart from it. ” You will agree that the dearest and closest person to any child’s heart is his mother.
An orphan is an unfortunate child and more exposed to attacks of the devil than children with parents. A mother is a protector of body and soul but it becomes double tragedy when both parents are lost and more so in most mysterious circumstances. My story started 22 years ago in a little village called Amerie Iriegbu Ozu Item in Bende Local Government Authority, Imo State. My parents were not classified amongst the rich but my dad was privileged to inherit 42 hectares of land from my grandfather, a blessing which has today brought the greatest misfortune ever recorded in the history of the family.
My dad was greatly envied by his distant and near relations for reasons I do not know, perhaps for his vast land inheritance. We were a happy family, my parents having got four of us: Love, Margaret, Emmanuel and Chinyere. After having the first two daughters, my parents waited for 14 years before having me (the only son) and later my younger sister Chinyere. This brought real happiness to the family but this happiness was short-lived as the first tragedy struck. My lovely and caring mother died.
She was alleged to have died owing to witchcraft, and four years later my father died, again through an alleged work of juju involved against him. Two years after the death of both parents my eldest sister, Love, disappeared mysteriously and Margaret, the second daughter of my parents, went mental. It was a chain of tragedies in the life of a humble and otherwise happy family. My younger sister Chinyere and I were sent to our grand parents. There I completed my elementary education and was later admitted into Item High School. I read up to Class III and dropped out of school as a result of lack of fund for fees etc.
Shortly after that, my grand parents also died. After all the ceremonies that go with burials, an unknown relation collected my younger sister Chinyere, and up to this date I do not know her whereabouts. I was forced by severe maltreatments to go back to my father’s house, and there to live alone at the age of 13 years. How does a child of 13 years feed himself in the midst of his father’s enemies and consequently his own enemies? How very afraid I was! These events seemed to have brought me to the end of worthwhile living. Was there anyone who cared?
Was there anyone who was concerned about “a little boy’s misfortune? ” One day I met a friend I knew during my elementary school days named Chinedum Onwukwe. Chinedum loved me very much and having heard all that befell took me to his parents who readily received me and took me as a second son. Life came back to normal again. I was well cared for. I was happy again: then I knew that the God my mother prayed to when she was alive was alive somewhere hence He had provided me with new parents, so I thought in my mind. I enjoyed this goodness for about two years and then the devil struck again.
Chinedum and his parents were traveling to Umuahia and their car ran into a tipper carrying laterites. Chinedum and his parents died on the spot! On hearing the news I collapsed. My sorrow could better be imagined. I managed to survive through the burial ceremony, supplying those cooking with firewood and running errands: at the end of which I went back to my father’s house and resumed the menial jobs to be able to feed. I continued doing odd jobs on the farm, in gardens, going a fishing with elders until one day, a man from my compound hired me to work in his farm for 50k. At the farm he subjected me to a series of questions.
First, he asked me to show him my father’s lands; secondly, to hand over such lands to a man, no matter how closely related he was. In either case I objected and he was offended. He then vowed to kill me in the forest. I became afraid and ran and shouted for help. Unfortunately, because the area was far into the thick forest, no one came but help came from God. He pursued me with his knife but being younger I was too fast for him and fell into a pit of about 1. 82 meters deep and was covered by the grass in it. He searched for me and after a while he gave up. I later struggled out of the pit and through another route returned to the village.
I reported the incident to the elders in the compound but no action was taken – the common plight of orphans. This incident created real hatred in my young heart; no one loved me, no one cared. I reflected in my mind why anyone would want to kill me knowing I had no parents. Life was full of misery. Now I know that God in His love restrained the devil from suggesting suicide to me. I turned to the Church and became a full member of the Assemblies of God church in my village (I still am) but unfortunately no one cared even when some of the members knew about me.
It is important to note that I became a full member of the church without knowing Jesus Christ. I never knew what it meant to be BORN AGAIN. If you are in the Church of Jesus Christ and find yourself in the situation I found myself, give your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture says: “Let Him have all our worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you” (1 Peter 5: 7 – Living New Testament). In the midst of all these hardship and suffering ALICE appeared! Alice was a girl I knew during my elementary school days. She was five years older and from the same village.
We were in the same class, sat on the same bench and became very friendly. With this childhood’s ‘love’ affair, we promised ‘getting married’ when we would be old. Ridiculous! A child of 11 years then, without parents, no education, no food to eat, promising marriage to a girl of five years his senior! Alice later left for Akure for her secondary education and sent me dozens of ‘love’ letters. The next time I met Alice, I was 15 years and she was 20. She had finished her secondary school education and was working with the Standard Bank Lagos (now First Bank), where her parents lived.
Alice having known my background and my plight took advantage of it. She told me to join her at Lagos and handed me her house address with N50 (Naira: National Currency of Nigeria)! That was a fortune for a young boy of 15 years who had never earned up to N2 a day! This was manna from heaven and this meant that Lagos must be a wonderful place with plenty of money and the good things of life for all to enjoy. Then I must go to Lagos to make my own money and get riches too. Going to Lagos to my mind was my only way of escape. Escape from my father’s enemies, escape from my enemies, escape from hunger and ALL my problems. Escape!