Before leaving for the competition, Chibugo instructed her son, Timo to handle affairs at home and also the business.
So Timo agreed, giving her an assurances that he will not make any mistake.
Enaku also wished them a success, but was a little unconvinced.
“And what is the name of the competition? I am asking so I can be reading updates about the program from my phone..” She asked
“Ow, that has not even cross my mind. I have not even asked her” Nana replied
“You are very funny. You mean you have not read about the competition your mother will be taking part in?” Enaku wondered
“Why should I? Grace has told us everything about it already, so what’s the need of reading further? And besides, they will be coming tomorrow to pick us” Nana said
“I know, but still, you should have read it up. Reading and knowing more about it will be giving your mother the more better chances of winning. Just call Grace now and ask her the name of the competition” Enaku suggested
“She said something about competition for restaurant owners, yes that’s what she said” Nana said
“But that can’t be the name, the competition must have a precise name for it. Just call her and ask” Enaku suggested
“Ok, I will call her when I get home. I don’t have airtime on my phone now” Nana said
“Don’t worry, you can call her with mine. I have enough airtime” Enaku said, offering Nana her phone to use for the call.
“Ok thanks..” Nana said, and accepted the mobile phone.
When the call came into Grace’s line, she wondered who could be calling since the number was not saved on her phone.
“Hello” she answered, listening to know who it was
“Hello Grace, it’s me, Nana”
“Nana, but who owns the number?” Grace asked
“It’s my friend’s. Listen, I called to ask you the name of the food competition, my friend here wants to know about it, so she can be reading updates from here.”
At that moment, the question threw Grace off balance. She never knew that such question could ever came up.
“No Grace, you have to say something, don’t make her suspect anything” Grace said to herself, while searching for the name to give her.
“No, if I forge a name, she will search for it on Google and won’t find anything there. What am I going of do now. Oluba did not tell me anything about this part.”
“Hello Grace, are you still there?” Nana asked
“Y……es….ye…..s, I am still here, I am still searching for their leaflet so I can give you the correct spelling, but I think is ” Resa….. something” you know it has to do with restaurant owners. I think I will have to call you back, so I can search for the leaflet. But hope you guys are ready? You know they will be arriving by 7am tomorrow to pick you up.”
“Yes, we are already set. I’m still waiting for the name” Nana said
“Alright, I will call you back.” Grace said, and disconnected the call.
She quickly called Oluba, telling him what just came up
“What if she finds out?” Grace feared
“Nothing of such nature will happen. All you will to do is to call and tell her that you are going to the cyber cafe, where you did the registration to get the name, that you couldn’t commit the name to memory.” Oluba suggested
“OK, what if she call back after then, what will I say to her?” Grace asked
“When she calls again, another person will answer the call. Arrange with your cousin, to tell her that you lost the phone at the cyber cafe.”
“Oh wow! Honey, you are too much. You have just saved me from this mess. That’s exactly what I’m going to do. I will call you back later and tell you how everything went.”
So Grace did exactly what Oluba asked her to do.
But Enaku was having a sheer doubt.
“Nana, does it not sound weird?”
“What?” Nana asked
“Grace was the one who has been feeding you with all the information regarding the food competition, how come she doesn’t know the name?” Enaku asked
“Er……m, I don’t understand what you are insinuating” Nana said, looking a little bit confused
“I am not too sure yet, but I’m suspecting she might be upto something”
“Grace, up to something? But why? What for?”
“That’s what I’m still thinking…, but something is telling me that this food competition stuff is all a charade”
“Enaku, you are saying this because you don’t know Grace. She is my cousin, I have known her since childhood. She definitely can’t be upto anything.” Nana said
So minutes after waiting for Grace’s call, Nana decided to call her line.
But another person answered.
“Hello, please the owner of this phone lost it at Cyber Cafe. Just tell him or her to come to the place to pick it, we will keep it safe for him or her” the male voice said and then ended the call.
“It’s like I will have to be going now, no need waiting for her. She forgot her phone at the Cyber Cafe.” Nana said, telling Enaku what the male voice said
“Nana, is this not ringing a bell? Grace simply does not want to tell you anything, because the competition does not even exist” Enaku said, trying to make Nana understand the point she was making.
“Hehehe…. Enaku, can you listen to yourself? And why would she lie with something like that? Tell me”
“Maybe, to get you and your mother who have been her physical obstacles out of the way, so that she and Oluba can get married. I have a strong hunch about this, trust me. You know, since the day you told me about this competition, I have been browsing about it, but couldn’t find any single article on it. If it’s a food competition like she claimed, at least one or two articles about it will be on net, but nothing…., absolutely nothing “
“Enaku, you are beginning to sound ridiculous now. its Grace you are talking about here oo, hope know? And besides, the date she and Oluba fixed for the wedding has passed, so what other obstacle are you talking about again?”
“It’s OK, Enaku….. I am happy you are a good friend, having so much concern about me. But I’m telling you that, Grace is not that too smart to come up with this kind of idea, OK…? So I want you to relax and be praying for my mother so she can win this competition. Do this for your friend’s mother, please……?
And Enaku hummed and said “OK”
The next day, about 7am, their car arrived just like Grace said.
“Mummy, the car is here. I can’t believe it’s happening..” Nana said, sounding so cheerful and hopeful.
So they entered the car and left.
While in the car, they were reminded of all the instructions.
And they nodded in affirmative.
They drove them to the pack where they bordered a luxurious bus that took them to Kano. It was a very long journey for them.
Chibugo and Nana never stopped being hopeful. When they reached Kano, they were lodged in a hotel.
They were asked to settle in and relax, that their instructor will meet them soon.
“Alright Ma, but where are the others, or are they in separate places?” Nana asked
“Don’t worry, Miss, all your questions will be answered soon”
Some minutes later, a woman who was in her mid forties entered the hotel room and greeted them.
She reminded them that their phone will be taken away from them, that they will be off from communication for two weeks.
“Yes, we are already aware of that.” Nana said
“Now, hand your phones here.”
And they heeded
They were offered a box that was full of cloths and accessories. Oluba bought the cloths for them so that they will feel relaxed and enjoy the whole thing.
They smiled happily when the box was opened for them.
“All these for us?” Nana asked
“Yes, they are from our sponsors” the woman replied
“So Mrs Chibugo, I am your personnel trainer. I will train you here for 11days before joining the rest of your colleagues.”
“Train us here? But here is a hotel, we can’t cook here?” Chibugo asked
“No Mrs Chibugo, you don’t have to cook. You have been cooking all your life, so the ones you know already are enough for the competition. We will go by book manual. I will be coming everyday to teach you some of other Nigerian foods, because that day, you might be asked to prepare a Yoruba dish”
“What?” Shocked Chibugo asked
“Yes, but you don’t have to worry. I am here to guide you” the instructor assured.
The plan was going smoothly for Oluba and Grace.
And they proceeded with their traditional wedding arrangements.
They began inviting the few people they had in their list. News began spreading that they were about getting married, many thought that it was just a mere rumour.