Entry By Dasat Tongret James

 Before I saw the caption theme on the flyer for this Writing Contest: “The Pen is Mightier”, I saw in bold 100,000 NAIRA as total prize, besides other surprise Packages and my eyes were literally opened. The thoughts of a „mighty Pen‟ immediately struck me. Would that a “mighty pen” would cause these digits to have three more zeros to make it a 100,000,000 (a hundred Million)? Fantastic thought right? Even you my dear reader wouldn‟t mind the thought, would you? Words may be cheap, but to bulge out 1500 words or 3000 max that make sense to your readers can only be something you can wish to do like ABC… it is at such moments that you will suddenly find reason to falsify the claim that “words are cheap”.   Between 1,500 to 3,000 good words backing up each other creatively, to yield either 50,000, 30,000 or 20,000 is good profit in the business parlance. Such rarity can find justification only because the “Pen is Mightier” and interestingly that is where our field of play is. Keep reading… 
 Talk time: 
 Let that thought on the head above chill for a moment and let us return to reality. Fantasies would not dare even a consolation „pen‟ for a reward, so it will be more profitable to let the ink of the pen “breathe” with life for the scope of what lies in wait for grasp. This is where the mind shall keep its focus.  Come to think of it, how would you have known what was at the back of my mind above, if it was not made known by the work of a Pen? The “Mighty Pen” is a useful channel for meaningful communication.  Indeed it was the simple ink of the Pen that initiated both the motivation to contest and the unveiling of my fantasies above. What audacity! How can simple digits by a „pen‟ move a man to action? Hmmm! Let‟s see how this goes. 
The Pen is Mightier: 
 “Yeabsolutely”, the pen is mightier than the digits; she has the power to create a move; a love triangle between the hand, ideas (Brain) and her ink. This synergy is key. Let‟s hope she unlocks the door to greatness. 
Knock Knock: 
 Dear Reader, come in if you have eyes to see. Think of this! A simple Pen (ink, an inktube and a case), simple to crush in a matter of seconds, by „tyrant‟ hands; but when caressed in gentle strokes of cursive, empowered by great and esteemed flow of ideas and seasoned by the aesthetic imprints she impresses on Paper, Boom! Joy is unraveled. Such is the modest Power of the MIGHTY PEN. 
Memoirs of Her “Ink-Prints”:   Once upon a time, a signature stroke of a Pen on a letter of employment; a grade “A” on the student‟s score sheet; A figure imprinted and signed on a cheque booklet- not to imagine a blank cheque, signed for the filler too input the digits of his choice, just with the stroke of a 
“mighty Pen”. If you are thinking my thoughts on this, you already know the package that lies here is most definitely an ovation for the pen; surely it can‟t be anything short of good news.  Have you thought of moments where the mere words of a pen unleashed myriad rays of smiles upon the cheeks of those who see them on a loved one‟s letter? On a lighter note, I have seen pens tied to/with robes in banks and other firms on the clerks‟, cashiers‟, receptionists‟ and customer care desks, because severally many a pen have lost their homes to strangers who for want of a pen at the point of filling documents where either too excited or forgetful in returning them to their rightful owners, hence left with them. My sympathy goes to all those who have lost their favourite Pen after such intentioned goodwill to share them with needy hands. If only Pens could talk or walk, they would have done more than simply return to their owners. This introduces me to the next episode of thought, to share what I mean when I wish that the Pen had a mouth of its own. 
“We are only Pencils in the hands of the Creator”: 
 This popular quote which I have employed a play on words with, by stroking off some part of the word „Pencil‟ is the “end of show” quote from Wale Adenuga‟s Nigerian television drama series, popularly known as Super Story”. I have chosen to use it extra-contextually, but in a handy manner to make a simple point: That the Pen is on another count, at the mercy and manipulation of its users.  Little wonder, Pens for exams and written Job interviews have been laid on many altars and have felt the touch of many sanctified hands of „holy Men and Women of God‟ to ratify and prophecy success into them.  Stay tuned and step down with me patiently as I drop the flip side of the matter at heart.    The Pen is a double-edged sword. It cuts finely on both ends, not because she desires to exert her „might‟ to the point of perilousness, but because her Life is latent until she gains her power in the triadic romance of the hand and the brain behind her activity.  In the wrong hand, though fragile she be, and delicate in her composition, she has broken the heart of many “Macho men”. Strokes from her in the Judge‟s hand in the court has sentenced many into Jail for life; through forgeries, she has robbed many of their hard earned resources, terminated many Jobs too many; she has transferred ancestral lands from their rightful owners and given them to those whose have sojourned in an intercourse between the power of the pen and the power of Money. Hence, forming a formidable alliance of tyrants with pecuniary advantage and „professional‟ Pen play. She has rolled back front row dreams; signed death warrants of victims she owes protection to; she has conspired against children who are fruits of marriage unions by appending her ink on the rough files of divorce cases, leaving the children at the mercy of the pen to sort and source their lives and education, besides the basic needs of fair shelter, food, clothing and other provisions. The Pen has written the patriarchal tone which bears a heavy weight of certain cultural practices in a lope-sided way against women in certain quarters, leaving a humanity created by God, no more as “good” as he saw it, but as cracked, where “the bone of his bone” is now the “thorn on his flesh” that needs to be pulled out from his skin.   Oh “Mighty Pen” if only you could talk, if only you could run away, I am sure you will estrange yourself from these brutal hands who give you a choking grip and make you unwittingly mirror the reflections of their malicious minds. 
 How can my cry for help reach you, dear pen of mine, you who is mightier than the hand of the Plagiarist? Those who steal the ideas of others and replicate them by the silent strokes in your docile disposition to be submissive? How many times have you been compromised by the political „warlords‟ of our country and by so doing have allowed „dirty hands‟ ready to do the „dirty job‟ mortgage the wellbeing of a whole nation?   While we grew up as neighbours with the “almajiris”, the Mallam would wash off the Holy words of the Qur‟an and give them to drink as a remedy to purify them from impurities and certain illnesses; shall we also seek all the holy words written from your strokes, oh „mighty pen‟ and feed them to the blood-thirsty and greedy souls whose brutality have left our world in seemingly mortal wounds and scars, before we find the precious rewards of your ink?  Before I am led to the land of oblivion, and frivolities necessitated by abuse of the „mighty power of the pen‟, spare me another graced moment to return to track. 
Memorabilia, Mementos, Souvenirs, Antiques:   With a sigh of relief, I gladly return to why I stroke the first letter that initiated this piece of writing. It is more a Memorabilia in honour of all local and internationally acclaimed writers, both those formally recognized and those who are in the fringes, cut off by possible extinction but had meant a whole lot to their time and generation; writings written not only in ink but in symbols, in art, in voice and whose memories have been preserved as audacious colossus. You remain timeless to the realities that have the privilege of encountering your works. Dear Pen, I appraise you, even if you win not a dime, your ink has set its print in the sands of time. I am proud of you for pouring your ink in words here to celebrate an array of “writer-stars” who have graciously filled our world with lofty ideas; empowering humanity.   To all whose many writings have gone beyond their authors ever imagined they would dare to go; Writings that have lifted up dying souls, writings turned into prayers unto generations, writings which shine beyond the glitters of gold and silver. It is you who are the real MVPs the ink of your „mighty pens‟ may had long been empty and buried beyond the sands of time, but they remain eternal for their legacies. Pen- Impact Enterprise has brought this notice to my home-front, and that is the only reason why I can use my pen to write this piece. Keep bringing to the world with the word of the “Mighty Pen” As I relief my pen for the moment, Hear this dear reader:  My pen is a 185 Baile Multi-Action 4 in 1 pen, styled in Blue, Red, Green and Black. We all agreed to let the Black ink be the “writing voice”. Our world must not let conflict for power and position ruin her presentation of truth. We can all learn from the unity expressed by my beloved pen. If words could paint, I would cast the picture of my lovely pen to you as a gratitude to her. When at last you are drained of your ink, remember that you left something useful for posterity. Thank you for being my “Mighty Pen”. You were not made in vein. 
Happy international Writers Day to you and your Quintessential Kind. 
I draw the curtain here…