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Somtochukwu Ezeaniomenyi is the Chief Executive officer, CEO, Som-Tee Group, a multilateral cleaning company in Anambra state. He is a young and dynamic Nigerian entrepreneur currently making waves in industrial cleaning business. Born to Igbo parents of Neni extraction in Anambra state,  Somto, in this interview with LAWRENCE NWIMO x-rayed his experiences in the female dominated cleaning business and what triggered his passion to be an entrepreneur. He also spoke on the draw-backs hindering business and what government must do to help young entrepreneurs in the state and country. Excerpts:

 

May we meet you?

My name is Somtochukwu Ezeaniomenyi. I'm a native of Umuabani Village, Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area Anambra State. I am the Managing Director of Som-Tee Cleaning Services Ltd.

 

How was your childhood days and family experience?


My growing up was fun. Though I was not born with a silver spoon, it was not too tough because I am the sixth child out of seven and the second boy out of three so I had siblings that are older, though there were ups and down, you know. I didn't grow up in a first-class family and because of that, it was a tough fight, trying to make it through the primary, secondary and then tertiary institutions.

What was your childhood dream?

My childhood dream was to become an engineer but later switched my desire to becoming a lawyer.

Now, you are neither an engineer nor a lawyer, what happened to the both?

Well. Like I said, when I was growing up, actually, my first dream was to become an engineer because I loved constructing and repairing things. But that dream was shattered in my secondary school because I was bad in physics - so, I switched from Science to an Art class and my interest shifted from being and engineer to a lawyer because I felt I was very good in arguments. I never saw me becoming a professional cleaner or establishing a company for business, laughs.


What drove you into Professional Cleaning?

I started cleaning job immediately after my secondary education. Within the one year I stayed at home waiting for admission; I had a friend of my sister that was into industrial cleaning then. My sister linked me up to him and I was working for him as a laborer; that was in 2014 and I was being paid one thousand naira (N1,000) per day because I did more of the menial jobs. The nature of the job was tough for me at that time. Again, it needed strong hands but I devoted my time with him to learning the craft. I worked for him for ten days before he suddenly stopped calling me for works after he noticed that I was gradually learning the craft indirectly. As a result, each time I called my colleagues to know how far, they would say they went for work. Then when I ask my Oga, he would say ‘work no dey.’

What happened later?

In December 2014, a friend of mine whose uncle just finished building a house, convinced me to go and meet his uncle for the job. I had wanted to link the man to my boss because I was scared to take up the job myself. After much persuasion, I later took up the courage to do the job myself with the little knowledge I gathered while working with my former boss and the rest was history. That was the first contract I got in the cleaning industry and it happened to be the turning point of my life because from that day onwards, God made a way for me. As a matter of fact we have done over 600 cleaning Jobs and have worked for varieties of companies and individuals over the years.

Have you encountered any challenge along the line?

There were many challenges. One of our major challenges was Finance. There was no machine which made the work so hard for me and my Team. We were doing most of the jobs manually. it was so hard purchasing working equipments because I always rely on a job to purchase the materials needed. However, I don’t have a vehicle so I made use of the commercials; it was so hard to transport our working equipments to some locations. Due to some bad road networks in the state, some of our client’s locations are difficult to access. Again, most people in Anambra especially Onitsha where I started perceived cleaning as an ordinary work that can be done by anybody, this has resulted to many rejections from contractors and house owners, but so far we are trying to change the narrative. Also, after I gained admission to study at Federal College Of Education (Technical), Umunze in 2015, I was in constant battle, trying to combine work with Education. You know, my Education usually take all of January to September so, I usually face the heat period of ember months as cover-up for lost times.

Did you envisage continuing the work after school?

No. I wasn't serious with the job in any way because I didn’t see myself continuing with it after school. It was more of part time or casual work.

Were there other things you did to survive in school within the January to September months?

Yes. I could remember I sold face caps and shirts around 2016/17. That aside, I was into interior decorations. I decorate people's house; paintings and the rest. I was also doing some menial labours like job man, site work and even served masons. In 2018, I learnt how to do Sharwama and also ventured into doing that too. I did Hypeman job in clubs too. I was doing anything legal called work and I did all these to survive.

Why did you decide to go into cleaning having been exposed to these numerous jobs?

Well, when I finished my NCE program in 2018, I asked myself: what next? Because I realized I needed something to sustain myself. The works I do then had all been part time and among them all, it was cleaning that gives me the profit to believe in. I found out it is something I do with passion. Cleaning work doesn't come always but when it comes, I take it with love. So, after graduation, I continued with it and was only keen to develop it. At a point, I started surfing the web on industrial cleaning and noticed that it is one of the biggest industries in the world. I noticed it was not too conversant in Anambra state then, I decided to carve a niche for myself in the area.

At what point did you decide to have a Som-Tee as a brand?

In 2020 during the lockdown season, the vision was to build a standard company and not just a one man company in cleaning industry. That’s why I’m building it as a company; a brand in the industry that would be running even in my absence. I did not want the legacies I had set over the years to just die off. So, I had to set it up to a standard with vision of where we are going to.
 

Cleaning is a female-dominated field. How does it feel competing with women?

It has not been an easy task. In fact, you can count the number of men in this industry. Sometimes, you find out that site owners have sisters and female friends that do the cleanings for them. However, what has kept me going is excellence. Because it is usually my clients that recommend me to other clients and it is due to our job quality. Over the years, I have found refuge in recommendations. Most of the big jobs we have done so far were gotten from recommendations and referrals and it is due to the excellence in my work.
 

Are there times you felt like leaving the industry considering its competitiveness?

Of course! There were times I wanted to give up on the industry. It is very competitive and demanding. People outside might not really know these but it is we that are into it that know the level of competition here. You can see people that just started cleaning business yesterday and today, they have all the machines available and you’re still struggling. So sometimes, especially at the initial stage, when the needed finance was not there to acquire certain machines, I felt like dropping back.

Why do you refer your company as a conglomerate?

Som-Tee Group is a conglomerate because we are designed to deal in Everything Cleaning. Som-Tee specializes in all kinds of cleaning ranging from:

1. Domestic/Residential Cleaning which includes Regular Cleaning, Deep Cleaning, Janitorial Cleaning, Carpet and Upholstery Cleaning, Polishing of Tiles and Bricks.

2. Industrial/Commercial Cleaning which includes Post-Construction/Renovation Cleaning, Facility Management/Maintenance, Retainership Services, Training/Mentorship and General Consulting/Contracting.

3. Environmental Cleaning which includes Waste Management and Disposal, Estate/Street Cleaning, Drainage and Sewage cleaning, etc

4. We also have plans of Venturing into Production of Cleaning Substance and also Sales of Cleaning Equipments and Materials. Laundry Hubs, Car Wash are also in the pipeline.

So Som-Tee Group is a Specialized Conglomerate of Everything Cleaning, We are building a company that would be a sort out company when it comes to Cleaning.

What stands your brand out from others?

We offer credibility and excellence. Like I told you before, what has kept us so far over the years is excellence. Our staff works with passion because they see the passion in me. I didn't start cleaning because of the money I was making but the passion I have for it. So, excellence is the watchword and any house we are called to clean, we clean it like our life depends on it.

You established the company even before you graduated from the university, what was the secret behind the feat?

It was Grace from God. I wouldn't have been here as a fresh graduate and an owner of such a brand without His Grace. It was not an easy journey physically but it was His Grace that kept me going. I finished my NCE in 2018, and by 2019, God made this company even grew bigger. In the process of my Degree Education, being able to combine it was a very rough and risky journey but His Grace was there to see me through.

Would you consider going into other sectors if given the opportunity?

Well. Like I said earlier, Som-Tee Group is a conglomerate. We are working towards branching into so many things. We are working towards production of different cleaning materials, sales of cleaning equipments; importation of different kinds of machines for cleaning, procurement services and lots more. Our vision is to build a standout company that can handle anything cleaningIf any opportunity comes aside these; I can grab it as well.

So far, could you name your biggest achievement(s)?

My biggest achievement, so far, is being able to run this company for the past seven years.Som- Tee at seven, many things happened. Building this business up to this level and handling over five hundred jobs alongside going through school and acquiring Two Certificates in Education. That has been the biggest achievement of my life so far.

How many jobs have you been able to create through your conglomerate?

My company has been able to create no fewer than 50 jobs for youths in Anambra state. Both Fulltime and part time.

Where do you see your brand in the next five years?

We should be among the top class cleaning conglomerates in Nigeria because we would be all round in the cleaning industry including environmental, commercial, residential and domestic cleaning. We would also be all round in supplies of cleaning machines and products. So, in the next five years, expect Som-Tee Group to operate beyond the shores of Nigeria by the grace of God.

How well do you think Anambra government has done in creating business opportunities and what is interesting about Anambra man?

Anambra state has done well in all ramifications, such as natural resources, oil and gas, urbanization and structural planning, culture and tourism, religion, education, entertainment, business and politics. Anambra state has improved drastically in all of these sectors over the years. Anambra State has list of notable men and women both old and young in all sectors both in within and outside Nigeria. The people of Anambra are known for being Industrious, hard working and Smart. Despite some challenges they face when it comes to governmental structures and policies, People of Anambra are known for their resilience. They have shown great courage in striving to survive no matter the Economic Situation in the Country. Being Onye Anambra is something one should be very proud of. The people of Anambra are known for their resourcefulness and they are associated with Success and progress Regardless of the conditions surrounding their environment. I am proud of being Onye Anambra.

What triggered your passion to be an entrepreneur and how viable is doing business in Anambra?

To many youths in Nigeria, becoming an entrepreneur might seem like a scary and high risk taking journey, but to me, this unpredictable adventure seems like the perfect path that my life should take. There are many reasons that triggered my passion to be an entrepreneur. I have always admired great and Successful entrepreneurs. Seeing successful people inspire me a lot to become successful. This gives me the hope and makes me believe that becoming an entrepreneur will allow me to network with people who have already built great businesses. I believe that I have enough potential to find the next profitable idea and change the lives of millions of people.

Being an entrepreneur gives me the freedom to explore my creativity. There is a saying that goes thus “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. People have different callings in Life. Being a 9-5er doesn't feed my burning passion for creativity and innovation. I feel like I am simply doing what the society expects of me instead of making a difference in the world. It is through starting my own business that I get to freely express my creative ideas and fulfill my dreams. I became an entrepreneur because I see it as a mandatory journey to take. A strong fire in my heart makes me believe that I have a strong purpose in the world that surpasses the reality of being an employee. As an entrepreneur, I am driven with the need to succeed and control my own destiny. Owning a business gives me no limitations on the profit and opportunities that I can gain.

I look out to manage projects with high stakes because I have enough confidence to execute them. I love the act of betting on an idea and watching it develops, it makes me smile. I have always wanted to use my company to impact people’s lives and also improve the economy with new job opportunities. I am passionate about helping people more than the pursuit of material things, I derive priceless joy when I offer my service to people and see the happiness and joy it creates in them. That is even more than any reward I can get from a Job.

How viable is doing business in Anambra?

Anambra State is one of the fastest growing states in the country. Like many other states in the country, Anambra state is faced with its own unique challenges. However, due to its fast growing economy, doing business in Anambra is rewarding and Profitable. Doing business in Anambra is very promising and I believe that with persistence, perseverance and Consistency which entrepreneurship requires, I will definitely succeed in an economic driven state like Anambra.

Being someone that started from the scratch, would you say government is fair to the youths?

Well. I would say government has been fair to some extent but there are still rooms for improvement. Government still needs to empower the youths because if they are empowered, they would do more. We have lots of youths doing many things. We have youths with visions. If they are empowered with loans and grants, in the next few years, there would be powerful indigenous companies in Anambra state. Again, when youths are empowered, it would reduce the burden of employment on the government.

Aside loans and grants, do you think there are other things youths need to be successful entrepreneurs?

Yes. Youths need to plan. A youth will succeed when he plans himself very well. You must have a mapped out business plan consisting target audience and areas. When you plan yourself very well, work towards it. Have team members on the edge working and doing their specific duties from their own angles. Though there might be setbacks along the way but if you do your risk management very well, you would be able to cope. But you must plan first.


You are a man of diverse skills, you hold TRCN, NCE and B.Ed certificates, and do you see yourself becoming a teacher someday?

Well. I don't know what God has in stock for me but I always hope for the best. I wouldn't say I will not accept it if the opportunity to lecture or teach comes but it would all depends on the condition attached to it. I acquired the certificate quite alright and so if I am meant to practice it, it’s on God.


Would you consider using the skills you acquired as a teacher in training youths on industrial cleaning?

Sorry I didn't mention it earlier. Part of the conglomerate is Som-Tee Training Academy, where all our newly recruited staff is given sound training. Soon we would be organizing seminars to teach people who are ready to learn the craft so as to establish their own company in the future.


Are you single?

Yea! I'm still single.


How do you cope with female admirers?

It is a big challenge anyway but God remains God. I have been in series of relationship in the past but now I'm working on myself and my future. I want to develop myself before thinking anything about relationship again.

Do you have role model(s)?

Yea! My number one role model is Dr. Stanley Uzochukwu, the CEO of Stanel Group. He is my Boss, Father, Mentor and my overall Chairman. Ever since I met him, my vision has widened. I also have the likes of Arc. Chukky Ezenwa, CEO GSS Group, Tony Elumelu,CEO Heir Holdings, Dr Cosmas Maduka, CEO Coscharis Group, and lots more. They are the people I look up to and wish to become like someday.


What is your advice to the youths who may want to toe your path?

In as much as they go to formal schools, every youth should learn a skill no matter how small it is. Having a skill is more or less a second plan. There are skills in writing, producing and even in the tech world. There are many skills that can be acquired in the tech world. It is good to learn and practice a skill. We should also have a vision of growing the skill to make something out of it and above all, always pray to God.

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EDITOR'S NOTE:


One can manifest, celebrate or even reciprocate love throughout the 365 days in a year, but it is always nice to do something extraordinary to specially celebrate his or her inamorato on such a special day as the Valentine’s Day, marked globally on 14th February every year. 

Again, buying/giving items like ice cream, chocolates, flowers, jewelries, clothes and other kinds of gifts on such a special Day is also good; however, written words appear to be more special, enduring and memorable than them all.

It is in agreement with the above, that a group of fervent bards, 23 in number, decided to wear this year's Valentine's Day a colourful and poetic garb. This they did, by weaving and sequentially donating some stanzas and lines of carefully crafted words under a single title of “LOVE NWANTỊNTỊ”, in response to an online ‘Call for Stanzas’.

Compiled and edited by Izunna Okafor, this Special Valentine Poetry Collection, also known as World's Longest Love Poem was started in 2019, and is currently in its fourth edition this year, 2022.

It is the collation and editing of these beautiful lines and stanzas from these dexterous writers that gave birth to this masterpiece, ‘Love Nwantịntị’, in which they also explore the theme of a true and mellifluous love, vis-a-vis the Valentine's Day.

They write:


LOVE NWANTỊNTỊ


Stronger than real men

Uncountable as women

Is my true love for you

Love too blue to construe

Love nwantịntị


Deeply rooted beneath the earth

And watered from above the earth

With strands full of fun

Enabling it survive the sun

Love nwantịntị.


Greater than mere words

Truer than any thought

Is your love for me

Love nwantịntị

Nothing can describe this.


Embracing my flaws, and fills

These pores with such bliss

As a freshly breathed mint

Love nwantịntị

Let this be everlasting.


The sky strides red -

Red is a color of love -

Of the sun, setting on

the rivers, I met your love

Love nwantinti


Your love— web tangled with a needle, 

to mend my heart and soul.


This is the love song you yearn to hear.


I will sing it to you

As long as our love lasts

I pray no intruder will alert

To me our bond is beyond death.


If not for anything at least 

i have chiselled your name

at the walls of my heart

eternity with inks of red roses.


Beyond death is the bond 

Only love nwantịntị brings

To them that love simply

Innocently, selflessly,

And those that abhor rituals

Cultism, gangsterism 

And evil means to impress!

Write me love notes, 

Give me flowers laced with love 

And you're my Val

Forever!


Memories...


I was shivering

Holding the debris of my heart

When you watered my soul.


You came to me

A lonely, thirsty soul 

When my nerves dried of sun


The memories of our love

Is such a book I'll never cease to write

Even in the absence of my soul


The memories of 

Our challenges are like a rod

In a pillar

Straight as a ruler


Our union a miracle

Our love a model

Our understanding a dream

Our growth a circle that evolves freshness


At first, I was an old boy

Kissing the heart of nights.

But you dawned on me

Like the sun of a dream.


Let's metamorphose

Into the greenness of eternity.

Together, we will mushroom

Love nwantịntị


Let's transmute union while,

gulping the liquor as my companion, spying the future in oneness.


It tingles me like ice on a bare body

To my void sing the lyrics of passion let the wall of my heart echo.


Your thoughts and the desire for your endearment 

powered my weakened legs 

to seek solace in a safe haven

where you and I can muse together in the cuddling ecstasy of ravenous joy.


Let's go riding on the crest of joy

Once more this mo(o)nday

See again the fishlets of love

Swim within the pool of heart.

Dear, the earth is ours

And its fullness is your face

When smile x-rays as moonglow

Firm-flesh supple your skin in my palms

The world is ours alone to own.


The thought of you reinvigorates my heart

Sending shivers down my spine

Your mammary gland as succulent as a ripe pawpaw ready for harvest

The desire to grab you in my warm embrace intensifies by the day.


Open the door of your heart my love

Let me take you to my love garden

Make me your Romeo

And our sweet loving romance would know no bounds.

Love nwantịntị.


Your stares and fixtures

Remind me of a fairy hallucination

Our souls were interchanged

Each painted in same colour of affection

Wonders! and Wonders! of the mind.


You thrust in me a spear of intimacy

I'll always stand by you

To lend and to mend

Trimming our individual excesses

To leave each other better than we met.


You are the miracle that walks me

upon the sea of love

Your face has become mural paintings

on the walls of my heart


Thoughts of you punctuate my activities,

like the distant song of the lyrebird

I have become your match, and yet, your candle


Let this light be a lantern to illuminate our faces,

an aisle to walk upon.

You have become a matchbox,

If you strike, only I'll burn into ashes...


Your love falling and pouring

Like the morning dew 

Cooling my scorched soul

Long dried by the 

harmattan sun.


Now, our love is better and yielding

Like a tree planted

by the river side

Which flourishes in all season


My love, like switches you turn me on,

Like stitches, you mend my life,

Like patches, you cover my emotional holes,

Like matches, you light up my face with smiles.


Be my endless charm,

And I'll bury myself within your arms.

Take me not as you took the rest, 

And I'll be your best.


Let me feel your warm

Embrace on a cold winter night, 

Sing me a lullaby song

To lure me to sleep.


Let me be the light,

That shines

Within your heart;

When the stars are few.


My love, you're a moonflower that blooms by moonlight,

You glint like the yellow sun and your perfectly crafted facade radiates irresistible beauty.

Your perfume which scents like the lily of the valley

Saturates my soul with the undying quest to solidly stand by you.


My love, your alluring smile is the lozenge that soothes the pain of my broken soul,

Your voice piles up the holes in my heart with imperishable particles of hope.

Allow me pluck you out of your garden into mine;

For precious flowers like thee need a soul to stand with.


My love,

Your comeliness alikes a condiment,

That prettifies a mouth-watering delicacy.

Your contagious and confident smile

Is enough to melt a hardest heart.


I can't stop having the penchant

To gaze into your captivating eyes, my love.

Hence they're filled with kindness,

And literally the cutest ever seen.


I stare in awe of thy swaying features

Mind dancing to the labyrinth of thy benevolence

And...nay; the aura irresistible

Like one who rides on the sky


Oh! if thou will bid me, to grace thee a moment.

A thousand much more to be encroached I will take.

A promise to keep I make

Only if thou bidest me come hither.

Thou fairest of all.


With your cupid's bow,

You captured my heart


My warrior, my Love Nwantịntị!

Tie me with your strongest rope in your territory


Be ye mine for ever

Cuddle me with your love

Let us fete together

For it's our day, a season of love

Our ‘love is in the air’

Happy Val to you

My Love Nwantịntị.





THANK YOU FOR READING!


CONTRIBUTORS:



1. Izunna Okafor

2. Divine Ogonna

3. Paul Olayioye

4. Ahmed Aisha

5. Chisimdi George

6. John Chinaka Onyeche

7. Udo Okoronkwo-chukwu

8. Salim Yakubu Akko

9. Obiageli Ezeilo

10. Olusoji Obebe

11. Akeredolu Eniola Zion

12. Ifeanyi John Nwokeabia

13. Nket Godwin

14. Valentine Muoma

15. Nnaji Samuel Chukwuebuka

16. Kelechukwu Samuel Ojile

17. Okoro Kelechi

18. Emenike Christian Chijioke

19. Osazuwa Cynthia

20. Iheke John kelechi

21. Bard Valiant Nwokeoma (Valiant Pen)

22. Ferdinand Miracle

23. Charity Uzoagba


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*How To Turn Your ONE Source Of Income Into FOUR Streams of Income in 365 Days*...


If you always give excuses, please forget this post is not for you..


But, if you are a gold getter, then you need to pick your pen and paper...


Listen: This is exactly what I'm doing, I am giving you the blueprint for FREE..


STEP 1: You MUST have an income that is giving you at least 25,000 Naira a Month...the idea is to have something that can cover your data.


STEP 2: Choose one out of the following skill: 

Facebook Ad Expert

Website Design

Copywriting

Content Writing

Graphics Designing

Video creation

Sales Funnel Building

E.t.c : 

There are hundreds of the skills, just google it and find the one that best fit you..


STEP 3: Dedicate 2 hours every day to learn that particular skill on youtube For 1 Month while you still retain your monthly Job.

No

STEP 4: Dedicate 2 hours every day to learn how to sell your skill for another 1 month: At this point you should save some money to get a course from an expert on that field with proven results.


STEP 5: Start Selling Your Skills and Making Money At Least Consistently For 2 Months..


STEP 6: Invest Part of the money you are getting from your skill into any of this business;


Information Marketing

Affiliate Marketing

E-commerce

(Any Proven Online Business)


Do this for another 2 months while still selling your skill as a service..


Note: You Already Have 2 Streams Of Income; at this point you can leave your 9-5 Job.


STEP 7: Invest some part of the money you are getting from your two Streams of income into:


Bitcoin

Real Estate 

Buying Shares

Stock

Or any form of legit Investment


Note: Allow Your Invest to grow for at least 4 months


STEP 8: Invest into a physical business: for example


Agriculture

Building Houses For Rent

Transportation Business..


Note: At this point you already have 4 Streams of income in the space of 1 year..


Does it make sense to you?


If you are doubting me, start today...


And proof me wrong..


Would there be challenges?


Ofcourse..


But you go surely overcome.


P.S: You need ONLY one Virtue to succeed with this plan...i.e CONSISTENCE..


Hope you going to use this tips right from today.


Learn more here

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There was a time when all you needed to earn a high income was a certificate.


But I am grateful for the times that we live in now because all that has changed.


Today, you don't need any godfather or connection with any politician to make it.


The internet has made it possible for you to start and grow a business with very little or no capital and sign your own paycheck.


If the government doesn't employ you, you can employ yourself and employ others.



Even if you’re on paycheck, I know very well your salary won’t be enough to take care of you and the family.


You need to add something to the salary 


You don't need millions to start a business.


You don't need a shop to start a business.


You don't even need a laptop to start one online.


That Smartphone in your hands right now is enough to get you started.


Your Smartphone has the potential to change your life financially within 12-24 months.


The problem is that you are not utilizing it.


Maybe you are still seeing it as just a tool to take pictures and post on social media to gather Likes and Comments.


Of what use is Likes and Comment if you cannot convert it into sales?


Likes and Comment doesn't pay the bills until you're able to convert it into sales.


We are now in the 1st Month of 2022


Don't get to the end of this year and start asking "God When?".


The truth is that money is not made, money is collected.


To collect money you must sell something.


All money is been collected by someone selling something to someone else.


✅ Find a starving crowd with a pressing problem.


✅ Research and find the solution to that problem.


✅ Package that solution, sell it to them and collect their money.


You can create a digital Product and make so much money for your self 


Just make sure the product you're selling is solving people's problems.


People are paying for the solution not the product.


By all means, just make sure you're selling what people want to buy.


You can create a course Online and start teaching people to make your Money.


Learn more here.


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*Why you are broke too* 


You Are Dabbling



*Dabbling is the spirit or habit of doing too many things at the same time.*


It is no longer news that you need a high income skill or a high yielding business to make massive money.


In fact, if you've consumed my contents for a while you must have heard me talk about the importance of high income skills over and over again. I will talk about it again in one of the points on this course.


But the problem today with most people is that they CANNOT STAY in one place.


*The reason most people are broke is because they are not deeply rooted in one thing. Know everything about one thing before you diversify, not one thing about everything.*


They are scratching the surface in a variety of things.


No depth, No roots. Just surface ginger!


Today you hear of bitcoin, you run to bitcoin. Tomorrow they say recharge and win, you run there, mini importation is paying, you've ran to mini importation.


You are just everywhere. You want to try everything.


You are a scalar quantity, you have magnitude but no direction.


Most people want to know one thing about everything but I tell my students in my personal mentorship class, *"Know everything about one thing"*


I will repeat it again... *Know everything about just one thing first.*


If it's Copywriting you want to learn, bury your head and learn it until you become a master.


If it's mini importation, network marketing, affiliate marketing, real estate, focus on that one.


If it is consulting, master it.


Just pick one business vehicle and learn it deeply. As I always tell those in my inner circle, No business vehicle is good or bad, we only have good or bad drivers (people).


What that means is, people are making massive money from every business. Those who know their onions.


Sir, if you know your onions, you will always eat your money. *This is financial confidence*


You can't make money doing everything that comes into your mind.


You have to stay focused or you will soon end stranded.


How can you catch 3 rats at the same time? It's nearly impossible to chase all three and catch them.


*Pick one skill or business and bury your head into it.*


What most people don't know is, the deeper you get inside a business, the more avenues for making money you will get to see just by being inside.


Mastery doesn't happen in one week. Not even in one month.


*Stay on one course.* 


Focus until you see results coming!

Do you want to start something new this year and have more freedom by been your own Boss? 

*Do you need a coach? You can book an hour with me this week here*

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The Significance of social groups to an individual and the society written by Valentine C. Muoma

When a thing or phenomenon is tagged significant it means the thing is imperative, important, relevant, necessary, consequential, essential, etc which means that social groups are necessary for the development of an individual and the society.

A group can be defined as a number of things or persons being in some relation to one another. 

A group can also be defined as subset of a culture or of a society. According to Wikipedia, There are four main types of groups: 1) primary groups, 2) social groups, 3) collectives, and 4) categories

 In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties. For example, a society can be viewed as a large social group. The system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group or between social groups is known as group dynamics. 

Socialization Socialization is the process of internalizing the norms and ideologies of the society.

 Socialization can also be defined as a process whereby an individual learns to adjust to a group (or society) and behave in a manner approved by the group (or society) 

Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus, The means by which social and cultural continuity are attained.

 Humans need social experiences to learn their culture and to survive. Socialization essentially represents the whole process of learning throughout the life course and is a central influence on the behavior, beliefs and actions of adults as well as of children.


Significance of social groups to an individual and the society. Membership of social groups are very essential for the following reasons:

i. social groups help the people know themselves better, interact, learn more about their history and cultural values.

ii. Social groups also helps to promote love and unity between the members of the community.

iii. Social groups enables the people come together to fight external aggression.

iv. Social groups helps the people come together to meliorate the challenges confronting them such as rebellion, financial challenge, land dispute, marital crises, family crises, nymphomania, psychological trauma, etc

v. Social groups come together to establish a force that help in the maintenance of law and order in the community.

vi. Social groups gives the people the privilege to partake in the decision making process of the community.

vii. Social groups endorse persons who adjudicate on the abnormalities truncating the progress of the community.

viii. Social groups helps in the apprehension, rehabilitation and reformation of miscreants in the community.

ix. Social groups contribute to the development of the community by sponsoring projects for the provision and maintenance of the infrastructural facilities of the community.

x. Social groups ensure that the customs, traditions, values and norms of their people does not go into extinction.

xi. Social groups helps in the preservation of the cultural artifacts of their people.

xii. Social groups aid Ekistics. Ekistics is the scientific study of human settlements and the planning and design of cities and other communities.

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By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu


The award-winning young Nigerian writer and journalist, Izunna Okafor has clocked 28 years old, with laudable feats, goodwill and achievements.

In an interview with newsmen, Okafor (born January 9, 1994), said his life has indeed been a testimony, looking back to his background, where and how he started.

Recalling and recounting how hideous it was for him in his early years, particularly in his teens; he appreciated God for His marvelous work and infinite mercies.

He went memory lane to narrate how he studied his primary school (at the Community Primary School, Ebenator) and some parts of his secondary school (at the Community Secondary School, Ebenator) barefooted, and with tattered school uniform, to the credit of his family's background.

According to him, being a son of a palm-wine tapper, hunter and electrician in a rural village; he started struggling his way out early in life, precisely during his secondary days when he began to do some handiworks, such as cutting palmnut, hunting, clearing bushes for farmers, tilling the ground/farmland, packing/dumping sands (in rivers), among things.

It was from these, which he said he was doing after school hours, that he saved money to publish his first book, ‘Ikem's Adventure’ back then in 2012 during his secondary school days —a single act that did not only pave way for metamorphosis in the taste of his life story, but also eventually landed him on the track of greatness where he rides and resides till date.

A second son and third child in the family of Mr. Josephat Okafor Udeze and Mrs. Susan Okafor Udeze in Ebenator, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Izunna Okafor, is an award-winning young Nigerian novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, editor, translator, publicist, Igbo language activist and an administrator.

He graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.

A published and best-selling author, Izunna books include 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book) published in Nigeria in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' (his second novel), published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' (his third book), published in 2014 (which received outstanding recognition in the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists 2015); 'Ajọ Enyi,' his debut Igbo novel and fourth book, published in 2015. 

With 'Ajo Enyi', he became the first person to win the Nigerian Writers Award 2015/2016 as the Indigenous Writer of the Year. Also, with Ajo Enyi, he won the Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature in 2015; and also got shortlisted for The 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.

His other books include ‘Nzúzù M Egbuo M’ (Igbo novel), ‘Educated Illiterate’, and ‘Teach Me Grammar’.

He has been published in many anthologies, nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit. 

A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages. 

He has won and been nominated/shortlisted for a number of awards, which include:

He graduated from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.

A published and best-selling author, Izunna's books 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book, published 2012, in his secondary school days) 'The Curse of A Widow' (2013); 'The Faithful Children' (published 2014  and given outstanding recognition in the 2015 Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists); 'Ajo Enyi' (Igbo novel, published 2015).

With 'Ajo Enyi', he won the 2015/2016 Nigerian Writers Award as the Indigenous Writer of the Year; won the 2015 Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award/Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature; and also got shortlisted for the 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.

His other works include 'African Blood' (a short story), 'Nzúzù M Egbuo M' (Igbo novel), 'Educated Illiterate', and 'Teach Me Grammar'.

He has edited and co-edited over 25 books and anthologies (published nationally and internationally).

He has been published in many magazines, anthologies, journals, etc, both nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit.

A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages.

He has won and been nominated for some prestigious awards which include:

The Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016

Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature 2015

Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria

Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016

Merit Award from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016)

Award of Recognition from Students Union Government, Unizik (2017)

Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of the Year 2015/2016

N.Y.S.C. Essay Competition 2012

SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016

First Prize Winner, NAPAS Essay Competition, 2016

The Future Award Africa 2016

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Youth Writer of the Year 2016

Award of Academic Excellence from National Association of Public Administration Students (2016)

Inspire Award /Outstanding Youth in Academics 2017

NAPAS Academic Icon of the Year 2017

Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of the Year 2017

Award of Excellence from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017

Youth Writer of the Year 2016

Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016

Young Author Award, 2018

Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year 2018, among others

Campus Best Writer of the Year, 2018

Campus Best Journalist of the Year 2018

Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019

National Light Staff of the Year 2019

Anambra Media Excellence Award/News Reporter of the Year 2019

Recognition Award, Anambra Through A Lens, 2020

Amazon Masterclass Award/Most Resilient Male Student 2021

Anambra Media Excellence Award/Best News Reporter of the Year 2021

ACORP/Awka Diocese Media Personality of the Week (November) 2021

South East Media Award 2021

He also has some certificates of award, recognition and participation, the most recent of which include:

Certificate of Recognition from the ImpactField Global Initiative (2018)

Certificate of Award from the Applex Art and Creative Crew Africa (2018) 

Certificate of Completion for the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020

Certificate of Participation, Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others.

Amazon Masterclass Certificate, 2021, among others


At the age of 21, Izunna was nominated for The Future Award Africa 2016/African Prize For Education, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious African youths awards.

Aside being a creative writer, Izunna is also an Igbo language activist who has played and continued to play great roles in sustaining and promoting Igbo language and culture. He preaches and takes the 'gospel' of Igbo language and the need for its sustenance to every nook and cranny, ranging from schools to churches, radio/television stations, and to other public places, being part if his own contribution and strategic measures to ensure that the language does not go extinct as predicted by the UNESCO in 2012.

He has also been featured in many radio and television stations across the country on this mission.

In addition to these, Izunna is also a renowned journalist and columnist currently working with Anambra Newspaper and Printing Coporation, the publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa (which is the only Igbo Language Newspaper in Nigeria) and Sportslight Xtra.

He also writes for Igbo Radio which is an online Igbo language news hub headquartered in Canada, and also freelances for other media/publishing houses, both the online and print media.

Izunna is the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, which is a literary body that hosts Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, an annual literary event held in memory and honour of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, since 2016.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology which is an international anthology annually published in honour of Achebe. The most current editions of the anthology include 'Arrows of Words (for Chinua Achebe)', and 'Achebe: A Man of the People', ‘There Was a Man’, among others.

In April, 2020, Izunna was appointed the Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement. He is the editor of the COVID-19 Poetry/Essay Anthology, titled 'Ripostes of Locked Down Voices', which is the first international anthology of poems and essays on COVID-19.

He has served as a judge in many national and international writing-related competitions.


He is also an alumnus and 2020 Fellow of the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, being championed by the SprinNG Literary Movement.


He edits and publishes an annual Special Valentine Poetry Collection, which are all available online for free download.


During his undergraduate days, he was also an Editorial Board member of the FAMASSA Magazine.


He is Ambassador of TFA Africa in Nigeria; and Ambassador of Read Across Nigeria in Anambra State.


An alumnus of Unizik, he is also a former Secretary General of the National Association of Public Administration Students (NAPAS), as well as the current National Secretary General of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers.


Today, Izunna Okafor marks his 28th birthday.


Congratulations to him.

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From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka 


Barely one week after some elders of Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State bitterly complained to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi over land grabbing by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation; another village in Ugwuoba Eziachi has accused the same Enugu State Housing Development Corporation of malicious land grabbing and contempt. 


Eziachi village, led by the oldest man in Ugwuoba Community, (Otuchalu Ugwuoba) Chief Emeka Tagbo alongside other elders decried the bad image the leadership of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, led by the Managing Director, Mr Chimerie Agu, is causing the people's Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by grabbing people's land without due process. 


The 110-year-old Otuchalu Ugwuoba, Chief Tagbo wondered why Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should be rubbishing the good image of Governor Ugwuanyi by dabbling into communal land politics and constituting nuisance for the state government and the Governor.


He asked the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation destroying their farms, cash crops and property worth several millions of Naira to stop forthwith as that has caused untold hardship and agony to so many families whose building projects on their lands have been truncated. 


Chief Tagbo, flanked by the Chairman of Eziachi village, Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia, 95  year-old Chief Atuba Nwammuo, and 85 year-old Chief Nwachukwu Fidelis, among others, requested Governor Ugwuanyi to intervene in the numerous unnecessary land grabbing in Ugwuoba axis of Enugu State by instructing the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to follow due process in acquiring land for its housing development, which nobody is against but which its modus operandi is totally condemnable. 


Chief Tagbo questioned why communities that have no land in Eziachi village should hand over their ancestral land and that of other communities to Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and they went into development without recourse to the land owners and their neighbours who also have land in the 150 hectares Ibrahim Abacha Estate Ugwuoba.


The Ugwuoba oldest man told Governor Ugwuanyi to call them to a meeting to hear their own side of the story with all documentary evidence, even as he reminded the Governor that Agolo/Okpuno had no boundaries with them or their neighbours at Obinagu end, adding that the natural boundaries have been the stream/river. He wondered why the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation allowed itself to be decieved by the people of Agolo/Okpuno village.


“We don't know Enugu State Housing Development Corporation; and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation doesn't know us. Our houses, cash crops, farmlands, church buildings among others have been destroyed. The Governor needs to intervene on this matter before it becomes something else,” Chief Tagbo concluded in tears. 


Corroborating the lamentations of the oldest man in Ugwuoba, the Chairman of Eziachi Village, Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia said his village gave no government agency any land and should be spared of the embarassing scenario, harrasment, intimidation and mental torture, by meeting the community for a peaceful resolution of the imbroglio. 


He wondered why the MD of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chiemerie Agu would be conniving with people outside their village to sell their village land to the extent of chasing them away forcefully from their aboriginal land.


Eziachi village Chairman continued: “Why is Enugu State Housing Development Corporation bent on forcing us to leave our land? They want us to abandon our houses and run. They are not considering that we have houses there. But it's not feasible unless they want to spill our blood by killing us. They want our children homeless.”


He reminded Governor Ugwuanyi that the case is in court, even when the Housing MD is claiming they have been settled. He asked Governor Ugwuanyi to investigate how the MD settled the people of Eziachi. He also wondered why MD of Housing Development Corporation is creating bad blood for the government of Enugu State?'


For Chief Atuba Nwammuo, natural boundaries have always been river and no one crosses the river to dispute over land. He also appealed to Housing Development Corporation to leave their land for them.


www.odogwublog.com investigation reveals that the Eziachi Community is in court with the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and its parent ministry, Ministry of Lands and Urban Development and its Commissioner in suit number HOR/34/2018 in an Enugu state High Court, Oji River Judicial Division. Plaintiff and representative of Eziachi village Ugwuoba were Chief Paulinus Udekwe , Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia and Elias Ozor. 


They are asking Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to stay away from their large expanse of land at Amagu, Owelle, Nkpuno, Abonta, Uno-Achalla and Agu Ubulu.


www.odogwublog.com further reports that Eziachi village people described the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation's Managing Director, Mr. Chiemerie Agu as a liar for claiming that the cooperation has settled the village over the land, wondering what he meant by 'that their rightful collective agitation was a “sponsored publications targeted at the Enugu State Government in lieu of the housing project at Obinagu village in Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of the State''.


They described as a big lie and frowned at the claims by the MD Housing Development Corporation Managing Director that that all the villages, including Okpuno, Agolo, Eziachi, Anaocha and Nkpoga are beckoning on government to hurry up to develop the land while few people from Obinagu are busy trying to lay exclusive bogus claim over the entire land and at the same time tampering with the buildings which were erected by the Corporation.


They wondered if a tenant or someone without locus over a landed property can donate a land or a property he or she has no authority over to another, hence he is asking on what locus, Agolo and Okpuno have to donate their land to Enugu State Governor or government. 


The Community also condemned the desperation to cover up their malacious intent to covet their land by claiming that the raising of alarm for Government to hear their voice and for the Governor to intervene as a sponsored and fallacious publication “The said publication, lacking the consent and authority of the good people of Ugwuoba by asking Governor to visit them to see things for himself. 


www.odogwublog.com had tried severally to speak to the Chairman of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr. Chiemerie Agu, but to no avail, only to see a statement credited to him, where he was claiming the agitation was sponsored and spurious, lacking merit and of no effect. 


Agu also claimed in that statement that the agitation was baseless and false narratives, capable of inhibiting development in Ugwuoba Community.


He noted that “many a time, the reason for concentration of social amenities and infrastructure in a particular area, called urban, may not actually be the fault of those in government positions, but selfish interests of few individuals in the community blocking Government from developing their land.”


He referred to Ugwuoba Community's agitation over the acquisition of their land for development as 'unfortunate', noting that refusal of some communities to embrace innovations is a great setback to Development.


That statement reads in part: “In many cases, such decisions are being taken by few individuals who are after their own personal gains as against the overall interest of the community. They could only achieve this, true cheap propaganda, malicious and deceptive publications.


“The said publication was not only fallacious but lacks the consent and authority of the good people of Ugwuoba.”


The MD further stated that “The land in question is a parcel of land lying along Enugu—Onitsha Express road, measuring approximately 150 hectares which was diligently and duly acquired in 1995 by the then Military Administrator, Col. Mike Torre and handed over to the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation with the Certificate of Occupancy, dated 6th June 1996 and registered as no.38 page 38 in vol. 1071 land registry in the office at Enugu.


“Prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, there was a notice of revocation which was properly published in the government gazette no. ISSN (1116 -2032) vol. 5 page 12 in notice no. 18 official gazette no. 5 vol 4 of 03/6/1999.


“The corporation commenced development of the land in 1995 immediately after the acquisition and some buildings were at different levels before the change of government which led to the suspension of work at the Estate.


“TlThe Corporation is wondering why the sponsored publication is springing up 26 years after the land acquisition. If not the change of government, the estate would have been a completed project for the past 26 years.


“All the villages, including Okpuno, Agolo, Eziachi, Anaocha and Nkpoga are beckoning on government to hurry up to develop the land while few people from Obinagu are busy trying to lay exclusive bogus claim over the entire land and at the same time tampering with the buildings which were erected by the Corporation.”


While saying that the Coroperation is willing to listen to genuine grievances of some aggreaved people of Ugwuoba, the Corporation admitted the existence of a court case on the land thus: “That the alleged court case was between the villages on who gets what from the compensation and does not have anything to do with the Estate.


“That the Corporation is using this medium to sound a note of warning to the distractors who are deceiving the public that we shall not hesitate to employ legal action against those people for criminal activities, trespass, false information and libel if they fail to desist from such act. The sponsors of these falsehoods will soon be unmasked and their true identities and mischievous intentions revealed.


The Eziachi village Ugwuoba faulted all the claims of the Housing Development Corporation, and warned developers and investors to stay away from the land as no intimidation shall allow them chicken away from their ancestral land for an unknown and selfish Government agents to take over without thier consent and support.

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By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka


It was tears of sorrow yesterday in Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State when some elders of the community bitterly complained of the plans of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to forcefully hijack 88.9 hectares out of their 150 hectares of their ancestral land. 


The elders, led by 96-year-old Boniface Igweze decried the destruction of their property worth several millions of naira, including houses, cash crops, farmlands and ancestral deities by the Housing Corporation in order to forcefully take over their Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land for a housing estate, without their consent.


Addressing newsmen in Awka shortly after their village meeting to place ancestral curses on those bent on trespassing on their ancestral land, the elders in their 90's and 80's, appealed to the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to use his good office to call the Housing Development Corporation to order in the interest of peace and humanity. 


The Elders Council of Obinagu insisted that after 14 days, if Governor Ugwuanyi refuses to intervene as a father and Governor of the state, those trespassing in the land may have to contend with their ancestral spirits and no recourse to them when spirits fight their battle for them. 


Igweze, flanked by other elders including Kenneth Nwangwu, 95 years; Dominic Anochili, 92 years;  Chukwuma Ndibe, 85 years; Pius Madubuchi, 75 years, Chief Daniel Okeke, 79 years; David Ndubuisi, 70 years; and Chief Samuel Nnebeife 67, years; among others, said they have restrained their youths from engaging in violence over the ownership of the land because they believed in lawful pursuits and the Governor's understanding and intervention for peaceful resolution. 


They appealed to Governor Ugwuanyi to call the Managing Director of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu and all his cohorts to order, as their insensitivity has stretched their patience, hence their resolution to hand over the battle to their gods, aside continued pursuit of the case through all lawful means possible. 


The community elders warned prospective investors and developers to stay clear of their own 88.9 hectares in the Ibrahim Abacha Estate Anioma Obinagu Ogboo Ugwuoba land, to avoid regrets and collateral damages to them, financially, and otherwise including undiagnosed health challenges from their ancestral gods. 


They noted that government at their time was not known to support evil but to stand with the people for a better society, wondering why the excesses of the Housing Development Corporation MD is being condoned by its supervising ministry and the Government of Enugu State, led by Governor Ugwuanyi.


They claimed some of them have died of high blood pressure over the land, as the community has no other land aside that piece, hence Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should hands off their land.


Court Order 


This is coming as an Enugu State High Court, Oji River Judicial Division, presided over by His Lordship, Hon Justice C.V.C. Ezeugwu on 22nd December 2021 granted an order for status quo ante bellum to be maintained with regards to the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land in dispute.


Justice Ezeugwu, after hearing the submission of O.C. Ugolo Esq for the plaintiff/applicant adjourned to 25th January 2022 for Motion on Notice. 


The order on suit number: HOR/41/2021 was between Fabian Anyaka and Madubuchi Onyeka and four others on behalf of Obinagu village Ugwuoba and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and Chiemerie Agu, the Managing Director Enugu state Housing Development Corporation. 


On the strength of this State High Court that nothing shall happen on the land till after determination of Motion on Notice. 


Governor Ugwuanyi, MD Housing Development Corporation react


Efforts to contact the developer, Seaman's Global and Ugwuanyi's relative blowing trumpet for Mr. Agu, for possible shedding of light on the matter proved abortive; while calls to the Managing Director, Enugu state Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu were not picked.


Also, several calls to the Governor's SSA on Media, Onyebuchi Louis Amoke were not responded to. Further efforts to reach the Governor on his mobile lines were not successful as the lines were switched off.



Petition to Enugu State Governor


Meanwhile, in a petition dated 30th November, 2021 to the Enugu state Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Obinagu village, Ugwuoba through their lawyer, Okechukwu C. Ugolo Esq frowned at the arbitral acquisition of their land - Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land without their knowledge and consent. 


In the petition, Obinagu People reminded the Governor Ugwuanyi that the Anioma land is their's undisputably and it never belonged to Agolo/Okpuno and despite the several attempts to covet the land in court through appeals, Obinagu people remained the true owners of the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land till date. 


Obinagu people prayer Governor Ugwuanyi and the Attorney General to ask the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to steer clear their land pending when the proper things are done. 


They noted that Ugwuoba land holdings does not encourage general land ownership but lands are owned individually or by villages.

 

They further reminded that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land belonged to them Obinagu People by virtue of the judgement in suit number ORCC/18/98: Rev Canon Dr J.O Iloeje and two others versus Innocent Ezeokafor and 6 others, hence the presence of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation is unlawful, amounting to trespass.



Reports have it that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land has been a subject of litigation between Obinagu people and Agolo/Okpuno communities both in Ugwuoba, Oji River Council Area of Enugu State, but Obinagu won at the Ugwuoba Customary court on 9th November, 1998. 


And all efforts by Agolo /Okpuno to set aside the judgment failed, hence the Housing Development Corporation wrote the community on November 10th, 2014 ,18 years after wrong acquisition of the land in 1996 by the backdoor from Agolo/Okpuno. 


Enugu state Housing Development Corporation in their letter lamented that they were led to believe the said land belonged to Okpuno/Agolo villages of Ugwuoba, hence the Housing Development Corporation had executed a grant of the said land with the 2 villages and actually taken possession and commenced development with a C. of O. issued to the Housing Development Corporation, by Enugu state government. 


The said letter noted that development stalled because of lack of funds but in recognition of the court judgment restoring the title of the land to Obinagu village, thus they wrote the Community through its Chairman stating that they have recognized Obinagu Ugwuoba as rightful owners of the land. 

They equally noted in the letter signed by Barr. Ngozi Chibuoke as the Secretary, and Hon. Henry Achiekwulu as the Chairman of Committee, that all agreements entered into with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land were hereby denounced and declared null and void.


The Enugu State Housing Development Corporation stated that it was desirous of perfecting her title to the land and continuing development of her proposed Ibrahim Abacha Estate and that wise made some requests. 


The requests included that the Housing Development Corporation should provide infrastructural facilities, including asphalt roads , electricity and water in the proposed estate; perform the traditional 'Igba Mmanya Ani' ceremony in due course and grant 20 percent of the realized plots to the community as compensation of the land as well as both the community and the company shall execute a formal deal of grant on the said land. The Housing Development Corporation even requested for a date to start implementation of the demands, hence it is wondered what went wrong for the new Housing Development Corporation Managing Director to ignore all the protocols, and insist on taking the land by force. 


History 


This Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land, located along Enugu-Onitsha Express Road, according to the Chairman Obinagu Village, Hon, Onyeka Madubuchi, should be left alone, as they are now uninterested in any form of department, since it has caused their elders sleepless nights. 


Hon. Madubchi said this latest illegal invasion or trespass on the land occurred on 20th day of October, 2021, when the land grabbers mobilized different types of earth moving machines and forcefully entered the land, cleared it and started digging foundations in furtherance of their desire to illegally parcellate and allocate the land to unsuspecting members of the general public who are not aware that the land validly belong to the people of Obinagu village, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.


He reiterated: "The Obinagu people wish to state that there have been unsuccessful attempts in the past by the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Ugwuoba, Oji River to forcefully take over the said parcel of land (Ani Oma land) which prompted them to file an action in court against Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Suit No. ORCC/18/98- Rev. Cannon Dr. J.O. Iloeje & 2 Ors. V. Innocent Ezeokafor & 6 Ors. It is however instructive to note that the Court in the suit, held that the people of Obinagu village (Plaintiffs) are entitled to the customary right of occupancy over the land. The Court further made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities (Defendants), their agents, servants and/or privies from further entry into the said Ani Oma land.


"On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division in appeal No. CA/E/177M/99, the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Enugu State High Court delivered by Hon. Justice A.I. Umezuluike and affirmed the judgment of the Customary Court, Oji River, which held that the Obinagu people are the valid owners of the land. 


"Interestingly, while the dispute over the Ani Oma land between Obinagu village and Agolo/Okpuno communities which started as far back as 1992 lingered on, and to the knowledge of the ESHDC, the self-same Corporation working in collaboration with the Agolo/Okpuno Communities contrived a Deed of Customary Grant where they purported to have acquired the Ani Oma land in dispute from Agolo/Okpuno Communities who are themselves trespassers per the judgment of the Enugu State Customary Court and as upheld by the Court of Appeal," he said.


He further added: "Perhaps, even more interestingly, despite knowing that the validity or otherwise of their title over the Ani Oma land rested on the outcome of the then pending suit between Obinagu and Agolo/Okpuno Communities on the question of which of the villages is the valid owner of the land in dispute, the ESHDC refused, failed and/or ignored to apply to be joined in the case as an interested party. Rather, it stood by, and watch the parties lock horns on the issue until it was resolved in favour of Obinagu Community up to the Court of Appeal.


"Needless to say, the Corporation, by electing to stand by instead of applying to join as a party in the then pending suit, is deemed to have accepted to be bound by the outcome of the suit. This is because, being privies to the Agolo/Okpuno villages from whence it purports to have acquired its title over the disputed Ani Oma land, by virtue of the Deed of Customary Grant. The Corporation is by law not only bound by the judgments and orders made by the courts in the suits, but also by the order of perpetual injunction which restrained her landlord or grantors from further entry on the Ani Oma land.


“Unsurprisingly, on realizing the above correct statement of the law and being at the time, under the leadership of a Managing Director who is God-fearing and law abiding, the ESHDC vide a letter dated November 10, 2014 wrote to Obinagu village, acknowledging that the land belongs to Obinagu village, and that her dealings with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land are denounced and declared null and void.


"The Corporation thereafter solicited to re-acquire the land from Obinagu village but could not finalize their friendly approach with Obinagu village before the tenure of the then executives expired," he added.


The community said that they are thus alarmed that instead of toeing the peaceful and lawful footsteps of the immediate past Administration, Mr. Chiemerie Agu has preferred the path of brigandage by threatening the people of Obinagu village with impunity. 


"In furtherance of these threats, our people are witnesses to the mobilization of different types of machines to aid forceful and illegal entry into the land.


“The people of Obinagu village in their usual peaceful and law abiding disposition, have refrained from taking laws into their hands but have rather commenced contempt proceedings against Mr. Chiemerie Agu and 5 other principal members of ESHDC. 


"Yet, despite the pendency of the contempt proceedings, Mr. Chiemerie Agu and his cohorts without the consent and/or approval of the people of Obinagu village and in total and flagrant disobedience to the orders of the court have forcefully entered into the Ani Oma land for the second time to resume construction works, preparatory to allocate to members of the general public.


"Our people are worried that in spite of the huge damages land grabbing has caused in Enugu State with its attendant crisis, divisions and violence, Mr. Chiemerie Agu is hell bent on pitching the good people of Obinagu village against the Enugu State Government for his primordial and primitive interests. 


"Consequent upon the above, members of the general public are therefore warned to desist from dealing with ESHDC or Mr. Chiemerie Agu in any manner whatsoever in relation to the Ani Oma land along Enugu—Onitsha Expressway.


“For the avoidance of doubt, whoever deals with them does so at his/her own peril. Pursuant to the judgments of the courts, the land belongs to Obinagu village and it is not for sale no matter the amount or consideration,” he concluded.

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By Chinwendu Uzoatu

The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), Sir Chuka Nnabuife, will, on Tuesday, November 16, deliver the 2021 Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, as Anambra young writers set to host the 2021 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival.

This was disclosed by Izunna Okafor, the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW), Anambra State Chapter, which is the literary body that organizes the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture 

According to him, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, which is in its sixth edition now, is an annual literary event held in honour of Nigerian literary icon, late. Prof. Chinua Achebe, in celebration of his numerous accomplishments and great legacies in the literary field and beyond. He further said that the event, which started since 2016, will (as usual) hold on Achebe's date of birth, November 16, 2021, starting at 11.am, at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, Anambra State capital, with many dignitaries in attendance.

While revealing that last year's Achebe Memorial Lecture was delivered by former SSG of the state; he further explained that this year's event will be chaired by former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Prof. Peter Umeadi, who is also a literary enthusiast; while Sir Chuka Nnabuife, an award-winning author and accomplished journalist will deliver the Achebe Lecture.

In his word, "The event will feature Achebe Lecture, dramatizing of Achebe’s selected books, spoken word poetry, announcement of the winners of the 2021 Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (endowed by the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, for secondary school students), special reading, award presentation, among other literary packages slated for the day.

The annual event, he noted, will also feature the cutting of Achebe's 91st posthumous birthday cake, as well as the official unveiling and presentation of the Sixth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled 'There Was a Man', which is the association's newest anthology of poems and essays published in honour of Achebe. The annual international anthology, Okafor explained, is used to immortalize Achebe, and contains poems, essays, and reviews written and submitted by writers from different countries of the world, in response to a 'Call for Submission' earlier made by the association.

Izunna Okafor, who is also a 2015 Winner of Nigerian Writers Award and brain behind the initiative, further disclosed that the 2021 Literary Festival, themed “REMEBERIG ACHEBE... IN A TIME LIKE THIS” is expected to be graced by many national and international literary figures, and top government functionaries, including the Executive Governor of Anambra state, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano, who is expected to declare the event open, as well as the President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Mr. Camilus Ukah, among others.

Born on November 16, 1930, Chinualumogu Albert Achebe (popularly known as Chinua Achebe) was a foremost Nigerian literary legend and critic, who died on 21st March, 2013  at the age of 82.

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It promises to be another literary reunion for authors and literary enthusiasts from Nigeria and other countries of the world, as young writers in Anambra State, under the umbrella of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), set to host the 2021 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture.

The Coordinator of the group, Izunna Okafor, disclosed this in Awka, the Anambra State capital, while giving update on the association's preparedness for the next-week-Tuesday event.

According to him, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, which is in its sixth edition now, is an annual literary event held in honour of Nigerian literary icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, in celebration of his life, numerous accomplishments and outstanding legacies in the literary field and beyond. He further said the event, which started in 2016, will (as usual) hold on Achebe's date of birth, November 16, 2021, starting at 11.am, at the usual venue —Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, with many dignitaries in attendance.

He revealed that this year's Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture will be delivered by the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC), Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also a veteran journalist, accomplished author, and 2015 winner of Gulder Ultimate Chase; while former Chief Judge of Anambra State, Prof. Peter Umeadi, will chair the occasion.

In his word, "The event will feature the Achebe Lecture, drama, spoken word poetry, announcement of the winners of the 2021 Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (endowed and sponsored by the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, for secondary schools), announcement and recognition of outstanding entrants for the 2021 Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, special reading, award/certificate presentation, among other literary packages slated for the day."

He also added that the annual event will also feature the cutting of Achebe's 91st posthumous birthday cake, as well as the official unveiling and presentation of the Sixth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled 'There Was a Man', which is the association's newest anthology of poems and essays published in honour of Achebe. The annual international anthology, Okafor explained, is the writers' one way of immortalizing Achebe, and contains poems, essays, and reviews written and submitted by writers from different countries of the world, in response to a 'Call for Submission' earlier made by the association.

Izunna Okafor, who is also 2015 Winner of the Nigerian Writers Award and brain behind the initiative, further disclosed that the 2021 Literary Festival, themed “REMEMBERING ACHEBE... IN A TIME LIKE THIS” is expected to be graced by top government functionaries and literary enthusiasts, including the Executive Governor of Anambra state, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano, who is expected to declare the event open; the state's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba; the state's Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Kenneth Anierobi; the Principal Secretary to the Governor, Sir Willie Nwokoye; as well as the Traditional Ruler of Obosi, H.R.H. Igwe Chidubem Iweka, who will also be the Royal Father of the Day.

While revealing that the National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, Mr. Camilus Ukah, will also attend the event; Okafor further highlighted some of the other literary figures and literary enthusiasts expected at the event, to include: veteran Nollywood actor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu; James Eze (author of 'Dispossessed' and 2020 Winner of the ANA Poetry Prize); Okeke Chika Jerry (author of 'The gods Are Hungry' and 2021 Anambra governorship candidate); Uzor Maxim Uzoatu (author of 'God of Poetry'); Rev. Fr. Ositadimma Amakeze (author of 'The Last Carver'); Isidore Emeka Uzoatu (author of 'Vision Impossible'); and Dr. Paul Ifeanyi (author of 'The Pregnant Virgin')

Continuing, he added that the first female Professor of Mass Communication in Nigeria, Prof. Stella Okunna; the Head of Department, English Language and Literature, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof. Jane Ifechelobi; public affairs analyst, Sir John Ifejika; and international actor/award-winning author, R.C. Ofodile, are also expected, among other dignitaries, young and established writers from within and outside the country, storming Awka, to honour the legend, Achebe.

Asked whether this year's preparation for the event was in any way affected by the recurrent sit-at-home orders in the east and the recent governorship election in the state; Okafor, who responded in affirmation, said their planning was seriously affected and slowed down by the duo, to the extent that they had to pause at a point and wait for the election to come and go, before proceeding with their planning.

He said, "Unlike in 2017 when the governorship election held even very close to the event day (two days after our event), this year's own was very serious, because the environment well charged, coupled with the recurrent sit-at-home, which instilled fear in the people, kept many away from office and even crippled movement and other activities in the state. 

"It happened to the extent that we had to stop at a point and wait for the election to come and go before proceeding with our planning; and you know what that means, because we have just few days left after the election and the supplementary election. But we thank God that we have come a very long way in our preparation, despite the challenges."

"And, judging from what I am seeing," he continued, "I am very optimistic that this year's edition of event will be very much greater than the previous editions. You can see the caliber of people on our guest list. Postponing or suspending the event is not an option, because, for the past six years, we have always hosted it on Achebe's birthday. So, why not this year? Achebe himself wouldn't have done otherwise if he were alive, and you know that. In fact, he is already waiting for us on 16th, and we are very ready for him."

"Achebe must be celebrated, and deserves to be celebrated even on daily basis," Okafor added.

Born on 16th November, 1930, Chinualumogu Albert Achebe (popularly known as Chinua Achebe) was a foremost Nigerian literary legend and critic, who died on 21st March, 2013  at the age of 82.

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SALVAGE NIGERIA FROM RETROGRESSION

By Valentine C. Muoma


Nigeria my country

The giant of Africa

Blessed with natural resources

Free from natural disasters

Colonized and exploited by developed Nations

Finally became sovereign in 1960


Nigeria my country

Presently skewed by modernization theory,

Leading to the politics of retrogression and

Economy of recession


The politics of demagoguery, prebendalism, tribalism and imperialism has become a norm

Paving way for mediocrity, insecurity, inequality, dependency, corruption, bad governance and all forms of malfeasance


Our redemption from retrogression can be actualized by:

Severing foreign relations detrimental to our development

Pursuit of internal growth policy with cognizance to our peculiarities

Political restructuring where mediocrity gives way to meritocracy

An independent judiciary devoid of external interference


Diversifying the economy towards ICT, Agriculture and entrepreneurship is essential

Allocating more revenue to the advancement of our educational sector 

Upholding the principle of equity and respect for human rights

Empowering law enforcement agencies for the fight against corruption and insecurity

Shunning ethnicity and embracing national integration


With these redemption measures in place,

The motto of our Nation "Unity and faith, peace and progress",

Would be seen not just in theory but also in practice

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By Uchem Obi, Awka

The trending news that a faceless and unknown group calling itself, Concerned Lawyers In Anambra State, has threatened to report Honourable Justice Nwabunike to the Nigeria Judicial Council, NJC, for hearing a motion ex parte, is a poorly scripted comedy acted by charlatans, who are merely out to exploit the ignorance of desperate and frustrated politicians to make quick money.

Even a fresh law graduate knows, that in civil procedures, ex parte is used to refer to motions for orders that can be granted without waiting for response from the other party. These orders are only in place until further hearings can be held, such as in present matter, a temporary restraining order. It does not stop the other party from challenging the order in court or continuing a substantive matter, and it does not amount to a judgement. In the absence of mischief, no ethical legal practitioner would in the present circumstances question the hearing of a motion ex parte.

Ex parte proceedings are permitted in law when a party needs urgent relief that cannot wait until the other party is informed and given opportunity to respond.

In the instant case, a candidate's right to enjoy the benefits of a fairly won primary election was in danger of absolute infringement, if urgent legal reliefs were not granted. In simple language, Senator Ugochukwu Uba's hard won victory at the PDP's primary election on June 26, 2021 was in danger of being torpedoed  by premeditated efforts that were both illegal and unlawful, championed by unscrupulous individuals.

Given the urgency required to stop the illegal and unlawful attempts to sabotage the Senator's victory, the option of ex parte motion was the most germane legal step to follow.

Moreover,the right to hear an ex parte application is entirely at the discretion of the judge, who is trusted by law to make wise decisions.

How come that this exercise of lawful discretion has come under attack. Are these truly lawyers, "contractors" or outright renegades?

Their threat of dragging the Honourable Judge before the NJC is laughable, infantile and dubious. Sound lawyers do not exhibit such embarrassing ignorance of elementary legal procedure. Their empty threat is more like the Shakespearean tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury but signifying nothing.

Uchem Obi, a lawyer, writes from Awka

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By IHRAF, US


As part of her contribution towards curbing the issues of human rights abuse and violation in Africa, the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF) has thematically released a new classic and international essay anthology.

Edited by Nigerian author and journalist, Izunna Okafor, the anthology, entitled "The Malady and the Remedy" is a collection of twenty (20) essays on human rights abuse and violation in Africa, written by essayists, authors and human rights activists from different countries in Africa; as well fifteen (15) inspiring human rights quotes by selected activists around the world.

According to a statement, issued by the Coordinator of IHRAF in Africa, Mr. Wole Adedoyin, who announced the official release of the new anthology, the 20 essays published therein are the essays longlisted in the 2021 human rights essay competition recently organised by IHRAF (African Chapter), captioned "African Human Rights Essay Competition 2021", through which which 45 essays were received from different countries in Africa.

He congratulated all the entrants who participated in the essay competition, and appreciated everyone who contributed in one way or the other to the success of the initiative and the publication of the anthology, particularly the IHRAF founder, Tom Block, who is also an American author and playwright; as well as the editor of the anthology, Izunna Okafor, who is also an award-winning author and journalist.

In his Editor's Note, the editor of the new anthology, Izunna Okafor noted that the publication was a fulfilment of one of the promises made while calling for submissions of essays for the competition, during which only shortlisted entries and entrants were promised publication —a promise that was eventually extended to the longlisted essays and entrants, owing to the quality of their contents.

He wrote, "Although only the shortlisted essays and essayists were promised publication during the 'call for submissions', it became really wise to adjust further to accommodate all the longlisted essays and essayists in this publication, beholding the perceived extraordinary quality, relevance and efficacy of their contents in actualising the overall goal of the initiative, which is to promote human rights values in Africa and positively influence the betterment of the human rights situation in the continent.

"It is the conglomeration, editing and publication of these twenty longlisted essays that gave birth to this classic anthology, entitled "The Malady and the Remedy".

"The essays published herein take both the form of stories/narratives, analyses, etc, to x-ray, bemoan, condemn and challenge the incessant abuse and violation of human rights in Africa, the unsafeness of Africa for human rights activists and freedom fighters, as well as recommend the elixirs to all these ills against humanity.

"Aside its intriguing, thought-provoking, informative, educative and didactic qualities, another most outstanding feature of this anthology is that the essays published therein do not just condemn human rights violations and make recommendations; they are research-based and deep rooted. 

"In other words, these essays experientially and comparably look deep into the history of human rights and human rights abuse/violation in Africa, the causes, the types, what and what have been done so far to better the situation, why those things are not yielding the expected results, and finally propose/present better and more efficacious alternatives to addressing this age-long issue of human rights abuse, borrowing from the experience of yesterday, the situation of today, and the projection for tomorrow.

"Indeed, this anthology is a must-read for everyone who loves human rights and freedom. Every human being deserves to be treated as a human, for his being. Freedom fighting and right activism should be for all and for everyone. Human rights are for every human; and Africans are humans. For every other thing regarding that, flip through the pages of this anthology, and come out a better activist."


Download the book through the link below:

https://ihrafessayanthology.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/themaladyandtheremedyeditedbyizunnaokafor..-1.pdf


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It is with a thankful heart of joy that young Nigerian Writer and Journalist, Izunna Okafor excelled unto his 27th rung in the ladder of years.

This was contained in a statement issued by the celebrant, Okafor, who celebrated his silver jubilee last year, being a fellow of January 9th 1994.


Recalling and recounting how hideous it was for him in his early years, particularly in his teens; Okafor, an award-winning said his life was indeed a testimony, and also appreciated God for His marvelous work and infinite mercies.


He went memory lane to narrate how he studied his primary school (at the Community Primary School, Ebenator) and some parts of his secondary school (at the Community Secondary School, Ebenator) barefooted, and with tattered school uniform, to the credit of his family's background.


According to him, being a son of a palm-wine tapper, hunter and electrician in a rural village; he started struggling his way out early in life, precisely during his secondary days when he began to do some handiworks, such as cutting palmnut, clearing bushes for farmers, tilling the ground/farmland, packing/dumping sands (in rivers), among things.


It was from these, which he said he was doing after school hours, that he saved money to publish his first book —Ikem's Adventure— back then in 2012 during his secondary school days —a single act that did not only pave way for metamorphosis in the taste of his life story, but also eventually landed him on the track of greatness where he rides and resides till date.


Born (9th January 1994) to the family of Mr. Josephat Okafor Udeze and Mrs. Susan Okafor Udeze in Ebenator, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Izunna Okafor, is an award-winning young Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Essayist, Journalist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and an Administrator.


He graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.


A published and best-selling author, Izunna books include 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book) published in Nigeria in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' (his second novel), published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' (his third book), published in 2014 (which received outstanding recognition in the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists 2015); 'Ajọ Enyi,' his debut Igbo novel and fourth book, published in 2015. 


With 'Ajo Enyi', he became the first person to win the Nigerian Writers Award 2015/2016 as the Indigenous Writer of the Year. Also, with Ajo Enyi, he won the Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature in 2015; and also got shortlisted for The 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.


His other books include "African Blood" (A Short Story), "Nzúzù M Egbuo M," (Igbo novel), "Educated Illiterate," and "Teach Me Grammar."


He has been published in many anthologies, both nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit. 


A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages. 


He has won and been nominated/shortlisted for a number of awards, which include:


The Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016


Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature 2015


Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria


Nigeria Heritage Icon Award 2016/Young Writer of the Year, Federal Republic of Nigeria


Merit Award from Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016)


Award of Recognition from Students Union Government, Unizik (2017)


Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of the Year 2015/2016


SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016


Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Youth Writer of the Year 2016


Award of Academic Excellence from the National Association of Public Administration Students (2016)


Inspire Award 2017/Outstanding Youth in Academics


Academic Icon of The Year 2017 (from National Association of Public Administration Students, NAPAS)


Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of the Year 2017


Award of Excellence from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016


The Future Award Africa/African Prize for Education, 2016.


Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017


Youth Writer of the Year 2016


NAPAS Essay Competition 2017


Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016


Young Author Award, 2018


Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year 2018, among others


Anambra Campus Award/Campus Best Writer 2018


Anambra Campus Award/Campus Best Journalist of the Year 2018


Best Secretary General of NAPAS (2018)


Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019.


Joint Winner, ANPC Best Staff of the Year 2019


Recognition Award, Anambra Through A Lens, 2020


Certificate of Award from SprinNG Literary Movement, 2020


Young Achievers Award/Most Influential Young Writer of the Year, 2020 (though yet-to-be awarded, due to COVID-19)


Certificate of Recognition, from ImpactField Global Initiative, 2018


Certificate of Award from Applex Art and Creative Crew Africa, 2018


Certificate of Completion for the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020


Certificate of Participation, Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others.


At the age of 21, Izunna was nominated for The Future Award Africa 2016/African Prize For Education, which is the biggest and most prestigious African Youth Award.


He has been published in many literary magazines, websites, and blogs.


Aside being a creative writer, Izunna is also an Igbo Language Activist who has played and continued to play great roles in sustaining and promoting the Igbo Language and culture. He preaches and takes the 'gospel' of Igbo language and the need for its sustenance to ever nook and cranny, ranging from schools to churches, Radio/Television Stations, and to other public places, being part if his own contribution and strategic measures to ensure that the Igbo Language does not go extinct as predicted by the UNESCO in 2012.


He has also been featured in many radio and television stations across the country on this mission.


In addition to these, Izunna is also a renowned journalist and columnist currently working with the Anambra Newspaper and Printing Coporation, the publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa —which is the only Igbo Language Newspaper in Nigeria —and Sportslight Xtra.


He also writes for Igbo Radio which is an online Igbo Language news hub with its headquarter in Canada, as well as freelance for other media/publishing houses, both the online and print media.


Izunna is the Coordinator of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers q (Anambra State Chapter), as well as the initiator, "Chinua Achebe Literary Festival," which is an annual literary event organized in memory and honour of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, under the umbrella of Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra Chapter. 


He is the Editor-in-Chief of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology which is an anthology annually published in honour of Nigerian literary star, Late Prof. Achebe, and which attracts entries and submissions from different countries of the world. The most recent of these anthologies is the "Achebe: A Man of the People" which was published in 2020, during the year's edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival.


Izunna is the Chairman, Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement, as well as the Editor-in-Chief of the "Ripostes of the Locked Down Voices" which is an international anthology of poems and essays on Coronavirus.


During his undergraduate days, Izunna was part of the editorial team of the FAMASSA Magazine.


He is Ambassador of TFA Africa in Nigeria, and the Ambassador of Read Across Nigeria in Anambra State.


An alumnus of Unizik, he is also a former Secretary General of the National Association of Public Administration Students (NAPAS), as well as the current National Secretary General of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers.


In 2019, Izunna met and discussed literature with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, at a literary evening that climaxed the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Creative Writing Workshop, organized by the international literary figure, Adichie.

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Updated 1 Year ago · 0 Likes · 1 Comments

As Organisers Name Outstanding Authors



Barely six weeks after the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture held by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (SYNW), Anambra State Chapter; the association has officially announced the release of its fifth edition of the Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled "Achebe: A Man of the People".


Initiated in 2016 and organised by young writers in Anambra State, Nigeria, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival Festival and Memorial Lecture is an international literary event held in memory and honour of a foremost Nigerian literary legend, Late. Prof. Chinua Achebe, in celebration of his life, works and legacies in the literary field and beyond.


This year's edition of the event, themed "Achebe: Our Heritage in a New Normal" which held on 16th November, 2020, in Awka the Anambra State Capital, was also used to mark Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday as well as and the maiden edition of the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, which was delivered by Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze (a published Author and Diplomat), to the a large throng of audience and participants who joined both physically and virtually from different countries of the world.


In the word of the Project Coordinator, Izunna Okafor, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology as well as the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), the event is an annual ritual, during which they also publish and unveil the annual Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.


He said, "Every year, prior to hosting this literary festival, we usually open 'Call for Submissions’ online, through which writers from different parts of the world write and submit their poems, essays or reviews (strictly written in honour of Achebe) for the anthology. Those hundreds of entries are what we collate, vet, and publish into an anthology, which we usually unveil on the day of the literary festival.


"We did this in 2016, 2017 and 2018 editions of the event. However, in preparation for the 2019 edition of the event, we decided not to call for submissions for a fresh anthology, but to collate the three previously published collections and publish them as a single anthology, still in honour of Achebe. And that birthed a classic anthology and masterpiece "Arrows of Words" which we published and unveiled last year during the 2019 edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival. 


"This year, 2020, in preparation for the fifth edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Maiden Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, we made another ‘Call for Submissions’ through which we received over a hundred submissions from writers across the world. It was the collation, selection, vetting, editing and the publication of those beautiful poems, essays and reviews that birthed this classic anthology entitled 'ACHEBE: A MAN OF THE PEOPLE'."


This year's anthology, he noted, features works of upcoming voices in the literary world as well as those of already announced writers from different countries of the world, including that of erstwhile winner of the Africa's biggest literary prize, the NLNG Prize, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, among other prominent writers across the globe.


On what informed the title, Okafor said, "As usual, this year’s title of the anthology was informed by the contents of the entries (poems, essays and reviews) received and published therein, which do not only portray Achebe as a Savant, but also praise him as “Man of the People”, looking at his personality, works, achievements and legacies."


"Although the title somewhat coincides with the title of Achebe’s fourth novel “A MAN OF THE PEOPLE”; the two books are thematically unrelated. Also, Achebe’s ‘Man of the People’ title here in this anthology is absolutely different from that of Chief Nanga in the 1966 book of his –“A MAN OF THE PEOPLE” –which predicted the first Military Coup in Nigerian," he added.


Edited by Izunna Okafor, this year's edition of the anthology was not officially unveiled at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Memorial Lecture, which as usual, held on Achebe's date of birth, November 16, as a result of failure and disappointment on the part of the publisher, who Okafor noted, was eventually discovered to have predetermined to 'make a mess of the Literary Festival, by withholding the expected story (the anthology) and telling his own story'.


He also revealed that legal action is being taken to re-write the publisher's story, who, he further noted, is still yet to release the hardcopy of the anthology. Okafor however noted that the softcopy of the anthology has been published, and is now available online here and here; hence this official unveiling and release of the anthology.


According to him, the association is also pleased to announce the names of the authors of outstanding works in this year's edition of the anthology, as it annually does, in keeping with one of the promises it made in the ''Call for Submissions' used to secure the entries, and also in recognition of the ten outstanding authors in the three categories of poetry, essays and reviews.


These authors and their works he announced as follows: 

Wisdom Ogbonna Offor (Chinua Achebe); Jimoh Taofik Adekunle (I Say, 'Ndo' Obo Dike); Mwiti Christopher (The Great Manoeuvrer's Oeuvre); Jude Chukwuemeka Muoneke (The Icon of Hope); Athol Williams (His Lines); Enitan Abdultawab (A Man of the People); Ibe, Kelechukwu K. (Achebe's Voice in Historic Nigeria); Ordinary Justice (Ifemelu); Akachi Adimora-ezeigbo (Wisdom of Words); Chidozie Emesowum (There Was a Country); Amaka Oguejiofo (Eagle on the Iroko); Innocent Chiemezie Ohaekwe (Achebe and the African Society); Goodness Chinweoruebube Akubueze (The Impacts of Achebe's Work and Lifestyle on All: A Personal Experience); Samuel Ephraim Edward  (Dinner for Our Hero); Chanima Wijebandara (Chinua Achebe the Eminent Jurist in the Garb of a Novelist); Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha (The Embodiment of a Transgenerational Writer – A Focus on the Life of Chinua Achebe); Christopher Precious (Things Fall Apart); Ayokunmi O. Ojebode (Ájobí And Ájogbé: Fracture and Restructuring of Nigeria in Chinua Achebe's Selected Folktales); Ogonna, Divine Amarachi (How Chinua Achebe's Works Respond to the Question of the Authenticity of African Literature):Tony Oneweek Muonagor (Indelible Marks); Odogwu Emeka Odogwu (A Better Honour Than Gold); Samuel Edet (Marriage is a Private Affair); Obinna Tony-Francis Ochem (Chinụa Achebe's Literary Legacy: Re-examining Chigozie Obioma's Works); Henry Chukwuemeka Onyema ('There Was a Country': Chinua  Achebe's Undying Love for Nigeria that Dealt Him Blows); Anusha Pillay (Love and Free Choice in 'Marriage Is a Private Affair'); Ohita Afeisume (Things Fall Apart: Reflections); Usman Bashir Abubakar (A Sojourn Through Achebe's 'Things Fall Apart': A Literary Criticism); Anodo Rejoice (For Our Sake); Gimbiya Ekene Galadima (Nna Anyị: Our Father); Jesse D. Bitrus (Chinua Achebe: The Father of Modern African Literature); Isah Aliyu Chiroma (The Founding Father of Modern African Literature)

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PROCEDURES TO FINDING A GREAT LIFE PARTNER BY MUOMA VALENTINE CHIBUEZE.


Marriage as we all know is the union between man and a woman to become husband and wife. 


Most persons jump into marriage due to:

A. Peer pressure: they feel all their friends are getting married so they cannot be left behind


B. Family pressure: Nwakaego my son I need to see my grandchildren so you must marry my friends daughter Mgbeke 


C. Money: As a smart girl I  have to accept Obi proposal, he is a big boy at onitsha and I cannot allow this once in a lifetime opportunity of marrying a billionaire pass me by like that. "I be smart babe na I no be mugu"


D. Age: I would be 35 years by January and yet no husband. Is like I would consider Alhaji Bello's marriage proposal I don't mind being his fourth wife


E.  Infatuation / urge for sex: Nna body no be firewood oh, I need a pretty damsel as a wife at least make I use am keep body and soul together.


F. Just to have kids: chai, Mama Ada a lady am 10 years older than urged that mannerless ape she calls a daugher to insult me. Infact I must get married this month if possible tomorrow.


G. The feeling they have made money and must marry immediately


H. To fulfill all righteousness: meeting their target of getting married before the end of a given period



As a man there are certain procedures that should be followed in order to find your soulmate. 

These are my suggested steps that can help you find the love of your life:

1. Acquire formal education and technical skills, develop your intellect

2. Accumulation of wealth: Gather enough money that can sustain both yourself, wife, and children

Acquire properties.


3. Start preparing yourself for marriage physically, emotionally, psychologically, etc.   Start adjusting your lifestyle from that of a bachelor to a family man ( most people take this for granted)


4. Then you can start looking for your soulmate. Start by being close friends


5. Tell her everything about your past, your likes, dislikes, religious beliefs, tradition, while she does same


6. Conduct a thorough research and find out the culture of the village she is coming from and how they behave. (Your family members can help you with that)


7. Meet with her family (parents) while she meets yours. After studying them rigorously If you don't flow well with them after sometime then you can consider ending the relationship (you don't just marry a lady you also marry her family as well)


8. After running your own compatibility tests, ensure you also go for medical tests ie Genotype, STD tests(HIV, etc)


9. After passing through these processes then you can propose to her


10. Discuss with her on how you want to both of you to live as husband and wife (your expectations) while she does same.

11.  Seek God's guidance, approval and direction on how to go about your marriage 


12. Marriage proper: Traditional and white wedding.

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The Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter) is seeking submissions of quality poems and essays from writers across the wolrd, for her 5th Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.


The annual anthology is published in honour and memory of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, a foremost Nigerian literary legend and the father of morden African Literature. The prestigious anthology will (as usual) be unveiled at the 5th edition of Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which is slated to hold on 16th November 2020, at the Anambra State Central E-Library (also known as Prof. Kenneth Dike Central E-Library), in south-eastern Nigeria. 


According to the Project Coordinator, Izunna Okafor, who is also the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers in Anambra State, Chinua Achebe Literary Festival is an annual literary festival held by Society of Young Nigerian Writers in memory and honour of Achebe, in celebration of his life, works, contributions and legacies in the literary field. The event, he notes, was initiated in 2016, and holds on Achebe's date of birth since then, with the last edition held in 2019, during which the most recent edition of the anthology Chinua Achebe Essay/Poetry Anthology —"Arrows of Words" —was unveiled.


It is with a view to mark this year's edition of the Festival in a more remarkable and memorable way that the organizers are calling for quality poems and essays from burgeoning and accomplished writers to enter their thematically-articulated essays and poetry in memory of Achebe for the fifth anthology. The anthology is in honour of Prof. Chinua Achebe; hence, only entries that revolve around Achebe, his works, his literary prowess and legacies will be accepted for publication.



SUBMISSION GUIDELINES:


1. Only essays and poems are accepted for the anthology


2. Entrant must specify the genre of his entry, that is, specify whether it is Poetry or Essay


3. The essays and poems MUST be in the memory of Chinua Achebe, and may focus on his life, works personality, writing style or other areas.


4. The essays or poems should be brief and concise —a maximum of 500 words for essays or reviews, and a maximum of 30 lines for poetry.


5. Author’s information —location/contact address, phone number, e-mail address, and a short bio of no more than 40 words should be included in the submission.


6. Submission is FREE and open to writers from any part of the world.


7. Entry MUST be the original work of the author/poet.


8. Only one entry per person is allowed.


9. Entrant may choose/write on any interesting title of his/her choice.


10. Entries should be sent via: synwanambrachapter@gmail.com , with the subject "FIFTH CHINUA ACHEBE ESSAY/POETRY ANTHOLOGY (SPECIFY THE GENRE OF YOUR ENTRY)"


11. Entry MUST be type-written and sent in the body of the mail; NOT AS AN ATTACHMENT. Entries sent as attachment will be automatically disqualified.


12. Submission Deadline: 20th October 2020. Late Entry will not be accepted.


13. Entries could be written in either English or Igbo Language.



BENEFITS:


● All successful/shortlisted essays and poetry will be published in the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology (soft and hard copies).


● Online promotion of successful/published essays and poems and the entrants.


● All successful entrants shall receive Certificate of Participation.


● Each successful entrant is entitled to author's copy of the published anthology


● Authors/poets of the best ten essays and poems shall be given outstanding recognitions and Certificate of Award at the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival.


● Entrants (if present at the event) shall be allowed to present their essays/poems at the event.


● Automatic/free membership and admission into the the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (for successful/published young Nigerian entrants.)


For inquiries or support, contact:


synwanambrachapter@gmail.com


08163938812

Izunna Okafor (Coordinator, Society of Young Nigerian Writers Anambra Chapter)


07010178124

Maureen Onyinyechi Kenneth

(Secretary)

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     Permit me to begin by commending the efforts of Senator AbiodunOlujimi for initiating the Gender Equality Bill recently rejected by members of the house of Senate. An erudite person may want to find out what the bill is all about. The bill proposed by Senator Abiodun Olujimi on the 15th of March, 2016 was to guarantee gender equality in politics, education, employment and marriage. The bill also seeks to protect the female gender against gender discrimination. The bill was rejected by a larger number of Senators in Nigeria because an aspect of the bill does not agree with what our traditional and reIigious institutions preach.

In my opinion, the bill is worth the consideration of members of Senate for many reasons.

     Firstly, I believe that there would be no meaningful development in every sector of Nigeria’s economy without the maximum involvement of the female gender in nation-building. The female gender is capable of increasing the financial, intellectual and technological base of Nigeria if given equal opportunities and rights as given to their male counterparts.

     Secondly, the rejection of the bill will never makeNigeria achieve conformity with the United Nations Conventions on gender issues. The poor representation of female gender in Nigeria in workplaces, educational institutions and governmental agencies will continue to negate international, regional and national benchmarks of at least thirty percent representation of the female gender generally agreed upon by members of the United Nations of which Nigeria is an active part of.

     Furthermore, everybody in spite of gender is created with specific talent and skill which needs to be expressed. Equal rights and opportunities to employment and education will provide an enabling environment for the female’s personal development and give them a senseof belonging to a nation which has their interest at heart. The female constitutes about sixty percent of Nigeria’s population, yet they occupy less than fifteen percent of the political postsin the national, state and local government levels-a trend which does not speak well of Nigeria as the most populous black nation on earth. The female gender must be given their place of pride in the scheme of things. The law will serve as the template to achieve this. The bill must not be delayed but immediately passed into law.

     Lastly, the rejection of the bill will only continue to promote gender discrimination and this will continue to make women insecure, deny them meaningful employment, expose them to exploitation and sexual violence and encourage other discriminatory practices against women. To avoid all these, the Nigerian Senate must therefore wake up to its task of making credible laws and accept the Gender Equality Bill presented before it. Its failure to do this would simply mean one thing: hatred for their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters.

    However, while the above-listed reasons may be valid, I have a few reservations on the aspect of the bill that emphasizes gender equality in marriage. I am of the opinion that a woman may not enjoy equality with her husband in the true sense of the word.This is because our traditional and religious institutions do not preach gender equality in marriage. The men have always been the leaders of their various families and have always been responsible for their welfare. Their authority to lead is believed to have been bestowed on them by God Almighty.No one dare alter this natural order.

    In addition, male and female were created with physiological and behavioural differences. They were never created to be competitors-they have their areas of strengths and weaknesses. Each of them must discover and learn to cherish these differences in their own interests.While it is true that men and women were created to play different but complementary social roles, it is important that men should stand and speak up for the women in their lives. Defensive mechanisms that would promote the welfare of their female counterparts should be put in place.

    In the interim, it is advisable that Senator Abiodun Olujimi should take into consideration some of the sentiments expressed by her colleagues especially on issues pertaining to gender equality, make basic amendments on the bill and re-present it to the Senate.

    In conclusion, I want to state this clearly that the Gender Equality Bill is not a battle of the sexes; it is not a bill that removes the submissiveness of women to their husbands neither is it a bill that seeks to erode the responsibility of the women in her home. It only seeks to give the woman more opportunity to assist herself and the man in the home. It is a bill that will benefit the men andthe society at large.

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Book Title: Verdict of the Gods

Playwright: Iwu Jeff

Publisher: Transconventional Publishers

Date Published: July, 2020

ISBN: 978-978-979-443-0

Number of Pages: 84

Reviewer: Nwokeabia, Ifeanyi John.



When gods choose not to let the rain drop, the effort of a rain maker is in vain. The birds of the air always feel betrayed and confused when a thunderous fart is released in the air by an unknown spirit. The land, water and the entire space of Achara which has experienced in the past, peace and transquility, turns into a mourning zone. Night visited Achara community in a broad daylight.Iwu Jeff's play, Verdict of the Gods is an epic tragedy. It exposes a land in turmoil. But the big question is: can sins of fathers be visited on their children?

Sleep has become a stranger to the eyes of the citizens of Achara. Eze Obioha, the traditional ruler of the community is disturbed;  his emotions restless. An elder cannot fold his arms and watch a goat suffer in parturition. He seeks measures to dispel the spell wreaking havoc in his land as a leader who has the well being of the people at heart, and consequently, his family suffers the same endemic,. He's traumatised and unrelentingly quests for answers and solutions to the plight of his people.

In page 9 of the play: 

EZE OBIOHA : My daughters are down, they can no longer speak...we have followed every smell our nose can perceive, yet we have not seen any rotten thing. Where is the smell of evil coming from? Oh! My ancestors, please give us another eye, another nose, another ear and mouth. The ones we are wearing have no use ... Our gods are silent my people. I am not spared from this calamity. The spell is everywhere...

Eze Obioha being a leader who feels the pain of his people, he continually summons his cabinet members to put heads together to find lasting solutions to their problems. The cry of his people has become a thorn on his fresh and he sometimes laments to the gods questioning them on the ways his community or himself has wronged them.

In pag 77, he has this to say:

EZE OBIOHA: ...my son died two nights ago; before he died, an extra hand came out through his chest. My daughter was suddenly struck with imbecility... Who did my fathers offend?

Countless questions are asked and ountless visitations, made to the shrine of different Dibias but all efforts prove abortive. The gods remain remain 'mute' and 'tongue-tied', refusing to draw humans to the closer view of their boiling angers. Drought and famine become two beautiful maid married without a bride price, gummed like bedbugs to their land and refusing to leave. Death toll keeps multiplying on daily basis. The living prefers death as solutions are not in sight. Who will save the dying land?

Amidst the seriousness of the play, Iwu introduces two characters: Ezemma and Nwokeocha, who are members of the cabinet to ease the tension arouse by the unfolding events. These two revered men help to crack the ribs of the readers with comic banter.

In page 20;

EZEMMA: what am I saying? Wisdom! Wisdom! Igwe, I am full of...[Nwokeocha intrudes]

NWOKEOCHA [scornfully] Madman!

EZEMMA: will you shut up and listen to...

NWOKEOCHA: What wisdom can one possibly get from a lunatic? I do not blame you; a child that suckled a goat's milk will definitely act like a goat even in his old age. You need to return to your mother in her grave so you can have a taste of her breast milk.

EZEMMA: [Rises and faces Nwokeocha] How dare you call my dead mother into this? I see, you have really want to show me that you have grown enough hairs around your manhood.

ELDERS: Chai! [Elders exclaim, laughing and turning left and right] Enough!

NWOKEOCHA: [Stands up, pointing a finger at Ezemma] And you whose hairs are now overgrown into a forest, you need to be weeded...

This play is both revelational and revolutional. On the former, Iwu reveals that there's more to scapegotism as a concept. Some great African writers Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan and a host of others in their various plays, but Verdict of the Gods introduces a new scapegotism. However, on the latter, it demolishes the stereotype created  in most African writings, where the  God of the new religion is often given ultimate power of purifying African lands of its mess. In Verdict of the Gods, it is different as the  African gods reign supreme in sanctifying their people and their lands of sins.

The masterful ink of the playwright is laudable in his ability to select suitable words for his characters. The social standing of his characters are discernable through the quality of their language. Every scene in this play is opened with a beautiful African proverb dancing into your eyes and the use of African proverbs by the characters show the rich culture of Achara community.

The cover design of the play has great significance in the over development and arrangement of the play. Its from cover has the head of three gods joined together in a threesome unity. However, the play is not arranged in Acts and Scenes but it's divided into three - Beginning, Middle and End. The use of three gods has Biblical allusion of God the Father, Son and HolySpirit. That's, the Trinity in one God. In this play, one discovers that these Gods are one and their verdict is equally one. Despite the deviation from play's convention of Acts and Scenes, the play maintains the three unity of place, time and event which solidifies its beauty as a play. Although some might raise alarm on his use of uppercase in 'Gods' but I don't think he has committed as grammatical blunder on that. I think, it's a question of choice.


The Playwright 

Iwu Jeff ( Iwuchukwu Jephta) is an award-winning writer who has written in the three genres of literature - poetry, drama and prose. His works have gained homes in different Anthologies and online publication.

From the beginning, through the middle and to the end, the play is suspensely decorated and readers won't have any reason to drop it for a moment until one gets to the very end. Are you ready to discover the verdict of the gods for Achara people? Are you equally ready to discover how a wounded lion got its healing balm? Grab your own copy of Verdict of the Gods.

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     Sometime ago, I attended a youth programme and overheard one of the high-ranking priests lamenting that many of the youths in the Anglican Church are breaking their (spiritual) fathers’ hearts by relocating to the Pentecostal circle especially after they had invested so much virtues in them.  Several questions came up in my mind when I heard this statement. (1). Is it really compulsory for a Christian youth to remain permanently in the church/ denomination he was born into? My answer to that question is “No”. If God is leading a Christian youth to relocate to another church especially if he or she is no longer enjoying spiritual balanced diet, he or she should by no means move on to another church.

(2). Must all outstanding Christian youths become members of the hierarchical pastoral order of a church? My answer is “No”. If God has not called a youth into the ministry let no pastor or priest ‘call’ him into any of the five-fold ministries.  He or she should not be cajoled or pressurized into accepting such ‘call’. Otherwise that would amount to asking the young man or woman to take on more responsibilities than he or she was created/destined to handle.

(3). Is it really wrong for a member of a church or denomination to attend programmes of other churches or denominations? My answer is “No”. It is quite alarming that several Christian leaders had promoted and are still promoting disunity by discouraging their younger followers from attending meetings or fellowship organized by other church leaders or even interact with other Christians no matter how spiritual or godly they are.  Some of them even go to the extent of suspending those who attended such programmes from their responsibility (ies) in church. Let us stop the hypocrisy. Pray for unity in the Body of Christ, preach unity in the Body of Christ and practice unity in the Body of Christ.

(4). Is it compulsory for a Christian youth to remain bounded to his or her church/denomination by marrying a fellow believer from his or her church? Marrying a believer from your church/ denomination is a good idea but it is advisable that a Christian marries a man or woman that fears God, irrespective of his or her denomination.

     Please do not get me wrong. It is not that I do not care about the emotional pains pastors go through each time their followers relocate to another church for whatever reason. I do but the best bet is that pastors and priests should learn to release people from their hearts when they leave the churches they oversee without hurting themselves or anyone. It is also important for a pastor or priest to identify and discover the departments or units of his church where more hands are needed and personally ask the Lord of the harvest to send more labourers to meet those specific needs in the church he pastors.

                                                                                                        

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     According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a slave is ‘a person that is controlled by another person or thing’. He does not have an independent mind-his decisions are strongly influenced by another person or thing.

     A slave to sin is a person who is controlled by the force of sin. He cannot do without committing sin. He is strongly bonded to the yoke of sin no matter how much he tries to break free from it.  

 

WHAT IS SIN?

     Sin is the transgression of the law. It is an act of disobedience to God’s established laws and commandments. Anyone who lives with the habit of breaking God’s laws is a sinner.

 

CONSEQUENCES OF BEING A SLAVE TO SIN

      There are six main consequences of being a slave to sin. They are:

1. He is an alien to God: Anyone still living in sin is a stranger in God’s house. He does not have a permanent residence in God’s kingdom. “The slave does not continue in the house (God’s family) for ever… (John 8:35a, words in bracket mine). He cannot have access to God’s kingdom riches unless he repents from sin.

 2. He is the devil’s possession: Anyone who has the devil’s property (sin) in him is automatically a toy in the hands of the devil. “He who commits sin is of the devil” (1 John 3:8a). The devil uses him to fulfil his whims and caprices.

3. His prayers are unanswered: A sinner’s prayer is an abomination before God (Isaiah 59:1-2). God doesn’t hear such prayer. The only prayer of a sinner that is acceptable to God is the prayer of genuine repentance.

4. He is a victim of God’s wrath: God’s face is against anyone who does evil (1 Peter 3:12b).  His wrath rests evidently with sinners daily (Psalm 7:11b, John 3:36b).  

5. He is spiritually separated from God: Sin separates a man from God because His eyes are too holy to behold iniquity (Isaiah 59:2). It makes a man to be far from God. It is the cry for mercy that brings him close to God.

6. He has an eternal home in hell: A sinner has a permanent home in hell, a place that burns with fire and brimstone eternally if he fails to repent from his sins (Revelation 21:8). No unrighteous person will enter into heaven, the eternal home prepared for the saints.

 

THE WAY OUT OF SLAVERY

     Living a life that is free from the bondage of sin is a choice to be made by those who are tired of being the devil’s captive. 

     The first step to living a sin-free live is to hate sin, confess your previous sins and forsake them (Proverb 28:13).

     Secondly, you must invite Jesus into your heart by faith now that He can still be found. When He comes in, He will break the yoke of sin in your life and give you the power to become God’s child (Matthew 11:28-29, John 1:12).

   Thirdly, you must make a permanent commitment to Jesus to serve Him as your Lord and Saviour all the days of your life. Living a sin-free life comes with its own special demand and package-a life of total surrender to the Lordship of Jesus now and forever.

     Lastly, learn everything you need to know about Jesus by attending a church where God’s words are taught with sincerity. Study and meditate on His actions, teachings and commandments. Ensure that you obey Him every time and everywhere. Regular obedience to God is the surest way to maintaining your liberty in Christ Jesus. Make the decision to obey Him today. Shalom.

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Editor's Note:

Out of their ardency, eighteen poets and poetry lovers identified with the need to give the 2020 Valentine celebration a poetic taste glamour.


With a view to harvest and immortalize this zeal, each of these bards donated a tranche of poetic condiment in response to a call for submissions made in that regard.


The fabrication of these romantic lines of epopees, as was edited by Izunna Okafor, gave birth to this panoramic poetic montage —My Love My All.


Here in this second edition of this journey, these poets explore the theme to register what love holds for them and their inamoratos in its various dimensions.




They write:



My love my all

In whose heart my treasure grows

From whose spine my pleasure flows

Nigher oh my love for in you I repose my all


Where is the inamorata who chained my treasure

She whose smile holds my pleasure!

The time fast approaches,

With its augur on rose hedges..


Where are you, my love, my all.

You whose love tower, I grow tall.

The field of love is verdant with hue;

My heart wanders for nothing, but you!


Give me the love that leads the way

And the kiss that heals the pierced heart

The faith that nothing can dismay

Lest I sink to be a clod.


Stretch your loving hand to me my love

The hand which comforts beyond measure 

In the midst of adversity  

You shall forever be my treasure.   


Come to me my love. 

And feel me all as my heart trembles for your love 

Out of my loneliness  

Heal me and hold me closer to thee.


Loneliness becomes an unbearable sickness

Every second your absence is felt

Storms trouble my sailing heart

In every flash of our last romance.


Never will the world ever be sweet

If not with you reposing on my laps

In you alone

I found meaningless of life without a woman.


You are my all and true love

Both far and near

For in you, I felt what Nnewi's progenitor felt for Nnobi damsel

That made him start a religion deifying her


Your love tastes like abacha 

And Nwoke Udi special palm-wine

joined together

My love my all

Ị sọgbuo m!!!


The smile on your face is sun

The only thing that stands when everything becomes dark.

Your smile is a map directing men of goodwill

I will camp you in my heart forever.


For you are my salt

That flavors the taste of my love.

And you are my light,

That brightens my darkest plights.


For God's love to all,

He gave His only Son.

But for His love for me,

He gave a precious gift of you

my heart's key.


You pick the lock

Oh! You do it all over again

My heart, creaking, opening its arms to you

You, gliding in with a fragrance of warmth.


Your visits leave me nimble

Your sweet perfume arouses my soul

And when you sway, that liquefied sublime motion

My brain falls into oblivion.


Deeper in your veins my love flows

Beckoning you closer to my sinews 

Peak me to the point my love temper swells

For in you all trust I my all


Your love and touch are sensational

They give this feeling of nostalgia

And make me feel like an infant

Please let me be your boo just for a day or two.


Thy love is better than wine

Thy cheeks are comely with rows of jewels

As the lilly among thorns

So is my love for you!


As the apple tree among trees,

So are you before me always.

Thy lips are like a thread of scarlet,

Onitemi! kiss me, with the kisses of your mouth.


Clothe my heart with your love,

For its own love is dead.

Toss off one bit of it,

And the garden would be finer than Eden.


Hold my lips, let's make it last,

Now I am seconds closer to you.

Let it be a thing they could jot down,

Knowing well how much we love each other.


Youare my love my all, 

On this beautiful island of scented glory, surrounded by the emerald sea 

Under the blue sky and crescent moon of passion

And blessed with the sweet serenade of nightingales. 


I crave to dwell in the freshness of your presence

Which is as pure as a lily;

As rare as a blue rose 

And as lovely as venus.


I only desire company of you

To better express the freedom

Found in our affection

For you are my all.


In sincere confession of this,

I beseech God to marry us

In timeless matrimony of divine and infinite love

Beneath the twilight of cupid's divinest dreams.


My love you’re my all

My forever Valentine 

My giant for eternity you make me feel secure even when all around me is chaos!

Your imperfections are nature's reward to me.


They define your humanity, 

In that man who is perfect lies all the deceit in the world.

My love you’re my all


While we fold and drink from each others' lips

And as moon lends a scenting aroma to our eyes

At this love station, countless for the trip,

Then I hear a voice pouring from the skies:


"This liquid love will soon solidify

Only take your sleep gently and watch tears dry

For I shall be coming by,

Yes, I."


How can I make you see what I feel

When love is blind? 

When I push hard

You might think love is wicked 


Here you are staring at me

The only thing I want is to deep my lips into yours

And our love will be unbreakable 

Don't call it magic, it's a miracle!


With you, it's like honey and bread

Sweet to the body and blessing to the soul

My love, with you I know we will reach for the stars and even beyond

With you, I have no cause to look elsewhere, cause I am at rest.


With you, I feel complete

You make me see the beauty in my imperfections

Your love gives me room to live and truly live

With you, I am a giant with great strides.


Give me your love, and I will give you my all

Kill me with love, and resurrect me with love

For it's a season of love

Oh! Valentine is here again.





Contributors:



Izunna Okafor

Nket Godwin

Odinaka Nworie

Innocent Chikodiri Paul

Nwokeabia, Ifeanyi John

O'star Eze

John Chizoba Vincent

Stanley Ezechukwu

Rosemary Nwadike

Dishon Obok

Gloria Oluchi John

Kayode Awojobi

Chidiebere Ezekwesili

Marcel Ike Okonkwo

Dayo Ayila

Maureen Onyinye Kenneth

Udo Okoronkwo-chukwu

Michael David Ogbonnaya.



Compiled and Edited by Izunna Okafor

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By Izunna Okafor



It was Haruki Murakami who once said that death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it —an aphorism buttressed strongly by George Eliot's apothegm that "Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them."


It is on these long-standing witty sayings that the Nigerian literary community received the her first shocking news of 2020, that foremost Nigerian novelist, who was also the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu Kingdom in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike has gone asleep.


The news which ushered in the dawn of the second Thursday of the year was hitherto faulted and scored a grapevine, to the credit of two points —the source from which it came, and the terminology with which it was broken. 


By way of reaction to the news, it was rightly argued that, in Igbo land, Traditional Rulers do not die. In other words, in Igbo land, it is wrong for one to say that a Traditional Ruler is dead; instead, one could say that the king has joined his ancestors, is sleeping, is resting, or has fallen asleep.


Secondly, no one is authorised to disclose such information (that the king is sleeping) except the affected community's cabinets or Council of Elders, in agreement with the members of the royal family or the ruling dynasty, as the case may be. 

Although, people, especially the closest relatives or community members may be aware that the king has fallen asleep, they won't dare disclose it or tattle over it, pending an authorised disclosure by the right source.


Little wonder why, when interviewed on the hideous development, a stakeholder from the Ndikelionwu Community, Prince Emma Okoli-Ijeoma said, “'As far as I am concerned as a member of the ruling house in this Ndikelionwu Ancient Kingdom, I am saying that Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike Eze Ndikelionwu, the 11th of Ndikelionwu is not yet dead!

In our tradition, nobody opens his mouth to tell outsiders that the Traditional Ruler is dead. You don’t say it because according to the customary law of Anambra state, king doesn’t die!


"If at all there is anything of that nature, one would say the king has joined his ancestors. It is not the duty of anybody to tell outsiders that the king is dead. It is after the royal family has met and agreed before such thing would be announced. Not just a rifraf would come and say what he doesn’t know!


"So I am saying that as far as the royal family is concerned, we have not announced anything to the public, that is, if something really happened."


Also, in most cases, the Elder In Council may not even announce the news, except a replacement or heir is found, especially in a situation where the crown is rotational.


These formed the basis upon which the news of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike joining his ancestors was held in the air on arrival.


Be it as it may, succeeding sunset and sunrise have unmasked and unearthed the rock.


As Nze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike rests on in his ancestral home and palace, Ndikelionwu, literary enthusiasts, fans and some other stakeholders in the country have continued to register their feelings and pour their tributes to the legend.


Breaking the news, the Anambra State's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr.  C-Don Adinuba said, "Goodnight, Prof Chukwuemeka Ike. We all drank from the fountain of The Bottled Leopard as students to assuage our curiousity for mystery. We were stunned by the shenanigans of Expo ’77 and thrilled, to no end, by Sunset at Dawn.


“As you join your ancestors, let’s pray you never stumble from The Chicken Chasers or undone by Conspiracy of Silence. Adieu, a great man of letters, a king who wore humility like a robe.”


On his own part, the Executive Governor of Anambra, H.E Chief Willie Obiano said, "I am saddened by the death of HRM Eze Chukwuemeka Ike. He was always a regal presence around us here, bringing his wealth of experience to bear on the deliberations of the Traditional Rulers Council. We shall sorely miss him. But we shall also find strength and consolation in his exemplary life and the legacies he left for mankind through his literary works and stellar contributions to the traditional institution in Anambra State.”


Former PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said, “I mourn one of Nigeria’s prolific novelists and traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu in Anambra State, H.R.H. (Prof.) Chukwuemeka Ike.


“He will be remembered for his classics: "Toads for Supper" and "Sunset at Dawn" among others. May he rest in peace."



In similar tones, other literary enthusiasts and concerned Nigerians have also bared their minds thematically on the development, ruefully registering their reactions to the news and their tributes for the legend, as collated below:


Denja Abdullahi, immediate past President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) says:


"Prof. Ike's death was sad all the same but it was not a shock because he was an old man. He was a contemporary of all other first generation of Nigerian writers and his death was like the end of an era. We could say that the last of the titans has gone home.  


Tributarily, Abdullahi said, "Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike was a productive writer of several novels with interesting stories and catchy titles. You could locate his works between the popular and literary fiction genre. He was a very good satirist of the human condition.I feel that he was not celebrated enough like some other people feel. It may be because of his self-effacing nature and unwillingness to indulge in needless literary and critical controversies.


"He has gone beyond just being a writer to contribute to the development of the Nigerian Book Industry through his Nigerian Book Foundation. He was always there anywhere you invite him to if it had to do with writing,writers and the books. 


"Prof Chukwuemeka Ike will live eternally in the minds of all of us through his evergreen stories of the foibles of man."



Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, a published author, poet and literary enthusiast says:


"The passing of HRM Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, Eze Ndikelionwu is numbing.   He was an exceptional, gifted, resolute and most unassuming person.  I was privileged to be considered his friend and welcomed freely into his palace. He was chair of my book presentation in 2018. 


His tribute: "Eze Chukwuemeka Ike lived life fully and made enduring contributions to our educational system, literature, cultureand traditional institution. He motived many writers, even those who never met him personally. 


"He has immortalized his name and his footprints will linger for years to come.  May God grant him eternal rest and his dear wife HRM Bimpe Ike, the fortitude to bear the loss."



Okeke Chika Jerry, an author, publisher and literary arts promoter says:


"I was in deed shocked when I heard the sad news over the radio. I wished he stayed a bit longer so that this generation of ours will have tapped a lot more from his wealth of wisdom. 


"But I believe Professor Ike is not totally dead and he will never die completely because all his works are still breathing all over the world. "Rest in peace Papa ndi authors."



Odili Ujubuońu, award-winning author and literary enthusiast says: 


"This is a huge loss. Chukwuemeka Ike was a great inspiration to a lot of writers who came after him. The choice of subject matters he treated in his novels spoke a lot about the kind of man he was and the whole essence of his writing.


"He was never complex in his style and or his plot and that led us easily into the wonderful worlds he created. These worlds would live forever with us. Through them, we would keep remembering him. May his gentle and kind soul find eternal peace."


Reginald Chiedu Ofodile, author and international award-winning actor says:


"I received news of his demise with sighs. I'm told Professor Ike is asleep, which is a correct phrase to apply to a traditional ruler. His subsiding into sleep did not shock me. He lost his only child three years ago. It must have been a massive blow, and he was also in his late 80s."


Tribute: "Eze Ike was an engaging, fluent and satirical writer. He created fascinating characters and witty, wicked situations. I remember 'Sweetie' in TOADS FOR SUPPER, 'Peace Bozo' in THE CHICKEN CHASERS, 'Mrs Ikin' and 'Dr Okoro' in THE NAKED GODS... and many others.  I recall his books appeared under the FONTANA imprint, not the AFRICAN WRITERS' SERIES."



Prof. Sam Uzochukwu, Igbo Poet and Novelist says:


"Prof Ike's death is indeed a loss to the nation, particularly to the literary class.Though he lived to old age, death, particularly of an icon always evokes shock to the living; so I feel shocked by his death as his other admirers .


"Prof. Ike was among the respected writers, in the same class as Chinua Achebe, for which Umuahia Govt college was renowned. He produced novels that dealt with topical issues of his time. 


"Above all, Prof. Ike was a man imbued with tenacity of purpose. He never wavered on any issue he was convinced about. This quality of his was manifested when I worked with him, a few years ago, on an Igbo project for which we were appointed by the Anambra State Govt.

May the Lord grant him eternal rest, amen."





Untill he slept off, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike (born on April 23, 1931) was award-winning and pioneer Nigerian writer, known for a mixture of lampoon, humor and satire, a writing style believed to be tied to his Igbo cultural upbringing.


He attended the Government College, Umuahia, where he started writing for the school magazine, The Umuahian, which published his first ever written story —‘A Dreamland,’ a work which set his foot on the literary space.

Some eminent Nigerian writers who attended the school include Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, and Ken Saro Wiwa, among others.


A graduate of the University College, Ibadan, Prof. Ike made a plethora of impacts and left great legacies in the literary and academic fields, and was conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award which is Nigeria's highest and most prestigious national prize for academic and intellectual attainment, making him the second Novelist to receive the award since its inauguration in 1979, the first being Prof. Chinua Achebe.


Prof. Ike's works include Toads for Supper (1965), The Naked God’s (1970), The Potter’s Wheel (1973), Sunset and Dawn (1976), Expo ’77 (1980), The Bottled Leopard (1985), Our Children are Coming (1990); Conspiracy of Silence  (2001), among other publications.


Away from the literary flank, Prof. Ike served as an academic in different roles such as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, registrar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), and visiting professor at the University of Jos.


He was also the President of the Nigerian Book Foundation, as well as the first Nigerian to be the registrar of the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC).


Ike slept at 88.


As Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike peacefully joined his ancestors, Nigerian literary community, fans, and the world at large heartily bid him farewell and wish him eternal repose in the world of immorality.

Goodnight great man.





About the Author:


Izunna Okafor is an award-winning Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Journalist, Essayist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South L.G.A of Anambra State Nigeria. He writes perfectly in English and Igbo languages, and has published several books in both languages.

Izunna has received over 25 awards, and has over 2000 articles published online, both nationally and internationally. 

He can be reached via: izunnaokafor70@mail.com


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Written By Izunna Okafor


It was indeed a festival words and  dulcet epopees at Awka, the capital city of Anambra State, as Opinions From Africa for (OFA) rocked the state with first made-in-Anambra Poetry Concert, which held amidst cultural displays and musical pantomime.

Speaking at the event, the state's Commissioner for Basic Education, Prof. Kate Omenugha described the event as apt and impactful, and further maintained that it was in line with the policy and programs of Governor Willie Obiano, who she said, is greatly committed to discovering, empowering promoting, enhancing and encouraging creativity among the youths in the state.


Prof. Omenugha, who was represented by the Public Relation Officer of the ministry, Mr. Nnaemeka Egwuonwu, expressed satisfaction with the presentations by the young talents, and argued that there were lots of lessons to be learnt from them.


She said, "I cannot fully express how excited I am, seeing these well talented youths come and talk about very serious issues in the society with carefully chosen and artistically designed poetic lines and words, and give us food for thought on what is happening in the society today, thereby giving us hope for Africa, for the Black Race, for Nigeria and for the society in general. 

"So I feel highly delighted being part of this program; and I also commend the organizers for the wonderful work they have done."


Earlier in his opening remarks, the convener of the event, Mrs. Jidechukwu Angela Nwabueze said the event tagged "African Sensation," was aimed at celebrating Africa, telling the Africa's story, and proffering solutions to Africa's problems through poetry, as well as featuring young poets from various parts of the country.

She appreciated individuals and organisations who contributed in one way towards the success of the event, including the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (ANPC) which is also one of their media partners 


On his own part, the founder of Opinions From Africa (OFA), Mr. Kaosisochukwu Nwagboso said the association founded in 2017 is a non-governmental organization with the objective of gathering poets, creative minds and intellectuals from different a academic fields, to utilize their skills, talents and brain power in rebranding and making Africa great. 


Some of the participants at the event, including Maryjane Onyekaba who presented a poem entitled "Good Morning Africa;"  Ibiam Ude Ufiem who presented "Ozoemena;" Cynthia Ekeka who presented "The Voice of Africa;" and Raymond Mimi who presented "Africa Who Are We?" among others called on Africans, particularly the youths to wake up, hold tight their heritage as Ndi Africa, and also contribute to the development of Africa and promoting her identity.

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Written By Izunna Okafor


It is no longer a novelty that every calendar year wakes up and sleeps off with a natural book of many pages. Pages of dreams and visions, pages of imaginations and realities, pages of successes and failures, pages of joy and sorrow, pages of progress and regress, pages of victories and losses, pages of smiles and tears, among many others. 

These pages indeed represent what the year holds for men.

       Among many others, Nigerian Literary Industry has been a silent character that has tasted a paragraph in virtually all the pages of the natural book in the year 2018. That is to say that a lot of pages have opened and closed to the literary industry as the year 2018 blinks away.

       Nigerian Literary industry has been one of the most highly revered industries in the country, owing to her gargantuan contributions towards the development of the country, coupled with the venerable caliber of people therein.

     Analytically speaking, the year 2018 was neither all white nor all black for the industry, as many writers recorded while many others were recorded in different books in the year.

For Nigerian writers, the year 2018 began with good news, following the long listing of a 30-year old Ayobami Adebayo in the 'Wellcome Book Prize' on 9th February, for her debut novel “Stay With Me” published in 2017, making her the only African Writer that made it to the list of the highly competitive annual British Literary Award.

      Shortly after this, sad news crawled in, following the shocking news of Akinwunmi Ishola's demise on Saturday, 17th February, being the first global sad news to surface from the corner of literary industry across the world in 2018. Prof. Ishola was a Yoruba literary scholar, novelist, playwright and culture icon whose works: Oleku, Efunsetan Aniwura, Koseegbe, Saworoide, Agogo Eewo and Campus Queen were widely regarded as among the best literary works produced by writers of his generation.

       This was followed by the death of Mr. Elizabeth Fagunwa, a renowned literary promoter and wife of foremost writer and author, late Chief Daniel O. Fagunwa. Her death was described as a great loss for the Nigerian literary community, owing to the great roles she played in advancing, peaking and championing the cause of literary activities in the country, especially through the Fagunwa Literary Foundation. 

Among these, the most recent and most unsavory of all the ugly news that elicited tears from the eyes of Nigerian writers in 2018 was the announcement of Ikeogu Oke's fall on 24th November. 

       Oke was a great Nigerian bard who, with his classic poem “The Heresiad", won the Africa’s biggest literary prize, the Nigerian Prize for Literature 2017, sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) at the tune of $100,000 (N37m).

       On the laudatory flank of the journey, Nigerian creative industry recorded leviathan feats in the year 2018, as many Nigerian writers, both burgeoning and established, proved their worth in the field of pen this year both nationally and internationally, thereby emblazing and embellishing the hope for the advancement of literary arts in Nigeria. 

      If there is any set of people that have kept Nigeria's image alive and shinny for decades in the international community, it is Nigerian Writers. And this year is not an exception.

Several Nigerian writers toed their foot in the literary field this year while many others advanced in their echelons. 

          In her corner, a leading character in the Nigerian literary scene, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie indeed recorded some of her greatest achievements in the literary field this year, following her prodigious victories in various international and globally acclaimed literary contests, awards, coupled with other noble honours she received in the year.

      Adichie opened the award year with the 2018 Barnes & Nobel ‘Writers for Writers’ award which she received in the fall of the quarter of the year. Shortly after that, the literati has, within couple of months clasp several other awards and Honorary Degrees among which are: the 'Shorty Award 2018', Pen Pinter Prize 2018; 2018 Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award; 2019 Everett M. Rogers Award; Thought Leadership Award from the Global Hope Coalition (GHC); 

Honorary Doctor of Literature (DLit) degree, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS); University of London, UK; Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Duke University, North Carolina, USA;

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree, Amherst College, Massachusetts, USA;

Honorary Doctor of Letters Degree, Bowdoin College, Maine, USA, among others. 

      Other great and upcoming writers who recorded great feats with their pen in the year include: Anietie Isong whose debut novel "Radio Sunrise" won UK’S biggest literary prize, the 2018 McKItterick Prize; Nigerian-German Efua Traoré who emerged the African regional winner in the world's most global literary prize, the 2018 Commonwealth Short Story Prize; Chinua Ezenwa-Ohaeto who won the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s 2018 Writing Award, and the Castello di Duino Poesia International Prize 2018; Abimbola Dare who won the 2018 Bath Novel International Award among others. The highly coveted 2018 NLNG Prize for Literature which is the Africa’s biggest Literary Prize (worthing $100,000) went to Soji Cole for his drama 'Embers’. Be it as it may, this year's Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature went to an Ugandan writer Harriet Anena making her the first Ugandan to win the prize, while, with her 'Fanta Blackcurrant', a Kenyan writer Makena Onjerika won the 2018 Caine Prize, in which three Nigerian writers: Nonyelum Ekwempu, Olufunke Ogundimu and Wole Talabi were shortlisted out of 147 entrants from 20 African countries. 

     It is also worthy to recall that two Nigerian authors: Chimamanda Adichie and Nnedi Okorafor were this year 2018, nominated for the Nobel Prize for Literature, for the first time in 36 years, after Wole Soyinka became the first black person to win the world's most coveted literary prize. 

Though, due to some circumstances challenging the public confidence in the members of the Swedish Academy hosting the award; the winner of prize was no longer announced this year, but postponed to next year. Nevertheless, one of the Caribbean most renowned authors, Maryse Conde was said to have won an alternative prize created to replace this year's Nobel Literature Prize. Hence, according to the organizers, who were being torn apart by kerfuffle evolving from certain claims and accusations, two Nobel Laureates will be announced next year, being for 2018 and 2019 respectively.

      Aside awards and recognitions, many Nigerian writers, especially the young ones published internationally acclaimed books this year. Nigerian literary industry  also welcomed new members this year, among whom were topnotch politicians who decided to 'test' their 'fortunes' in creative writing, and hence now wear the badge of 'author'.

      The most recent of these politicians turned authors include:

H.E. Sullivan Chime who authored

"An Honour to Serve: Enugu State in the Sullivan Years" and

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, who authored 'My Transition Hours'. Professionally as it may have been written, president Jonathan's book surprisingly made it to the list of 15 best books published in the year 2018. Other newly published books and Nigerian  authors who made it to the prestigious international list include: ‘Devil’s Pawn’ by Kukogho Iruesiri Samson; 'When Trouble Sleeps' by Leye Adenle; ‘When Day Breaks’ by Adamu Usman Garko (a secondary school student); ‘Children of Blood and Bone’ by Tomi Adeyemi ‘Embers’ by Soji Cole among others.

       Nnedi Okorafor, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Tochi Onyebuchi, Tomi Adeyemi, Lola Shoneyin, Roye Okupe, and Chika Unigwe had earlier in the year been listed by Pulse as among the authors currently setting the pace in the literary field.

      However interesting these may be, it is also more interesting to puff the sore truth that book piracy and plagiarism received great boost in Nigeria in 2018, as reports reveal several cases of the ugly act carried out this year. Even President Jonathan's new book was said to have been pirated by an unknown malignant, in just less than 48 hours after its launching.

     However, a number of individuals, groups and nongovernmental organizations in the country played great roles in waging war against this old-centuries global issue which has pauperized many writers across the world. A most recent of this brawl was the one waged by the Anti-Piracy Society of Nigeria in her 2018 annual convention in which the MD/Editor-in-chief of the National Light Newspaper, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also a renowned author and poet lectured on: "Evolving Challenges-Innovative Responses".

It is generally believed that piracy and plagiarism trailed in the year despite the fierce campaigns truculently championed against it.

      On the aspect of activities, 2018 recorded the celebration of numerous literary events and activities by Nigerian writers. The outstanding among these literary activities and events include: the 37th Annual National Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors; 2018 CORA Book Party; NSPP Awards Ceremony hosted by  Poets In Nigeria (PIN); Lagos Book and Art Festival 2018; Return To Idoto 2018 (in honour of late Poet Christopher Okigbo), hosted by Awka Literary Society; the 2018 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, hosted by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra Chapter); Northern Nigerian Writers’ Summit 2018; the 2018 Ake Arts and Book Festival; Anambra Book and Creativity Festival (ANBUKRAFT) 2018; first Poetry Slam in Anambra, hosted by Poets in Nigeria (PIN), Awka Connect Centre; 2018 Carter Literary Festival, Enugu; 2018 admission of writers into the Ebedi Writers Residency, Iseyi, the only writers residency in Nigeria; among other literary activities.

     Indeed, 2018 has been a historic year for the Nigeria's literary industry, given the bizarre feats and achievements recorded by the members/ Nigerian writers in the year in their quest to advance globally in the field promote Nigerian Literature and Nigeria's image in the international community. In fact, the industry is believed to be among the few sectors that have consistently projected and upheld the image and dignity of the country till today. Ipso facto, it is optimistically believe that the sector and the actors will take even more historic dives and achieve more selcouth feats before the fall of 2019.



About The Author:


Izunna Okafor is an award-wining creative Young Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Essayist, Journalist, Editor, Translator, Publicist , Igbo Language Activist and an Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South L.G.A of Anambra State Nigeria. He has published seven novels, won over 25 awards, and has over 800 articles published online.

His awards include:

Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of The Year 2015/2016

Pita Nwana Prize For Igbo Literature 2015

Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria

Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year Federal Republic of Nigeria 2016;

Merit Award from The Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016);

Award of Recognition From Students’ Union Government, Unizik (2017)

Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of The Year 2015/2016;

N.Y.S.C. Essay Competition 2012;

SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016;

AEYC/Youth Writer of The Year 2016

Award of Academic Excellence from The National Association of Public Administration Students (2016);

Inspire Award /Outstanding Youth in Academics 2017.

NAPAS Academic Icon of The Year 2017;

Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of The Year 2017

Award of Excellence from The Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016;

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017;

Youth Writer of The Year 2016 NAPAS Essay Competition 2017;

Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016;

LitraNation Indigenous Book of The Month (December) 2016

Ambassador TFA in Nigeria

Creative Crew Africa/ Young Talent of The Year 2018, among others;

Campus Best Writer 2018/Campus Journalist of The Year 2018

Best Secretary General of NAPAS (2018).

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Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU/UNIZIK) JAMB cut off mark 180

Obafemi Awolowo University JAMB cut off mark  200

Olabisi Onabanjo University OOU JAMB cut off mark  180

Ondo State University of Science and Technology (OSUSTECH) JAMB cut off mark  180

Osun State University (UNIOSUN) JAMB cut off mark  180 (Economics, Accounting, Law, and Political Science  200)

Polytechnic Ibadan JAMB cut off mark  150

Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) JAMB cut off mark  180

TAI Solarin University of Education (TASUED) JAMB cut off mark  180

Umaru Musa Yaradua University JAMB cut off mark  180

Usman Danfodio University Sokoto UDUSOK JAMB cut off mark 180

The University of Abuja JAMB cut off mark 180

Uniben cut off mark for JAMB JAMB cut off mark 200

The University of Calabar JAMB cut off mark  180

The University of Ibadan cut off mark for JAMB  200

Unilag JAMB cut off mark for all courses  200

Unilorin cut off mark for JAMB  180 (Please take into consideration that the cut off mark may differ depending on the university course)

University of Maiduguri (UNIMAID) JAMB cut off mark  180

University of Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) JAMB cut off mark  180

University of Uyo (UNIUYO) JAMB cut off mark  180

UNN cut off mark for JAMB  180

Yabatech JAMB cut off mark JAMB cut off mark  150

Yobe State University (YSU) JAMB cut off mark  180

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Chinua Achebe, who died in Boston today at the age of eighty-two, was a few weeks shy of thirty years old when Nigeria was granted independence from the British Empire, on October 1, 1960, and he was already acclaimed, worldwide, as the preëminent novelist of black Africa. The British publisher Heinemann had brought out Achebe's first novel, Things Fall Apart, only two years earlier, and it had to have been the first African novel that many of his admirers on the continent and off had read. The sure tragedian's authority with which Achebe tells the story of Okonkwo, an Igbo elder of immense strength and pride, a figure of heroic qualities within the traditions of his culture, who is ill-served, brought low, and undone by those same qualities in his first violent encounters with colonial power, has ensured that still today, with more than ten million copies sold, Things Fall Apart remains the best-known work of African literature.
The great African novel? The book could as truly be called a great novel, period. Many writers would prefer to carry that badge of universality, but Achebe who has gone to his grave without ever receiving the Nobel Prize he deserved as much as any novelist of his era has said that to be called simply a writer, rather than an African writer, is a statement of defeat. Why? Because his project has always been to resist emphatically the notion that African identity must be erased as a prerequisite to being called civilized. Growing up as what he called a British-protected child in the colonial order, the young writer came to see that the Empire's claim that Africans had no history was a violent, if at times ignorant or unconscious, counter-factual effort to annihilate the history of his continent's peoples.
Achebe made his case in many forms essays and lectures, interviews and acts of protest, and as an ideologue and propagandist for the failed Igbo-nationalist secessionist state of Biafra but he made it most cogently on the final page of Things Fall Apart. With the reader in the full emotional grip of the many dimensions of Okonkwo's epic fate, the author boldly and deftly adds another, shifting to the perspective of a colonial governor who considers Okonkwo's story good material perhaps not a whole chapter but a reasonable paragraph for the book he is planning to write:  The Pacification of the Primitive Tribes of the Lower Niger.
Having, with his first effort, created a permanent place for the African novel in the world literary canon, Achebe continued to be a prolific imaginative writer, producing novels and stories that evoked, in a range of voices, the trials of Nigeria's pre-colonial and colonial history, and the traumas of its post-independence ordeals: from No Longer at Ease and A Man of the People in the sixties to Girls at War and Anthills of the Savannah in the aftermath of the Biafran war. But the fact that he must be remembered as not only the father but the godfather of modern African literature owes at least as much to the decades he spent as the editor of Heinemann's African Writers Series. In that capacity, Achebe served as the discoverer, mentor, patron, and presenter-to-the-world of so many of the now-classic African authors of the latter half of the twentieth century. The series's orange-spined, generously inexpensive paperbacks carried a stamp of excellence that drew readers everywhere to essential works by writers as varied as Kenneth Kaunda, Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Dennis Brutus, Tayeb Salih, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Ousmane Sembène, Wole Soyinka, and Nadine Gordimer, to name but a few: it is an extraordinary legacy.
As a storyteller, as a voice of his nation, as a cultural impresario, an intellectual combatant and provocateur, Achebe gained with age the status in Nigeria of a bard and a sage that the modern world rarely affords to writers. After suffering terrible injuries in a car crash, he spent much of his time in the last decades of his life in America, where he settled into long-term professorships at Bard College and Brown University. But when he returned to Nigeria he was received as a national hero. Crowds of thousands sometimes tens of thousands gathered to pay tribute to him. The adoration hardly softened him, though. He was, in his old age, as much a scold to his compatriots as he had ever been in his youth.
I met Achebe a few times in his wheelchair-bound American years. When he gave you his hand it was at once firm and soft and notably warm. He had a gentle presence a man fully capable of wit and mischief and open laughter, but whose default expression, at ease, was one of sympathetic melancholy. His voice was another matter: low-pitched and rich and adamant. When he spoke, it was with great command and unmistakable music. In Boston, in 1999, at a celebration of the centennial of Ernest Hemingway s birth, I had the honor of sitting on a panel with Achebe, on the subject of writing about Africa. He was as cogently withering about Hemingway's Africa a place he could not recognize because there were no speaking Africans there as he was, in one of his most famous essays, about Joseph Conrad s. At the end of the session, the floor was opened to questions. An evidently confused woman in the audience took the opportunity to ask In what sense are you writers about Africa? The other panelists Nadine Gordimer and Kwame Anthony Appiah were too baffled to respond. Not Achebe. He leaned into his microphone, and very slowly and melodically, with rolling Rs and drawn out Os, roared: Read. Our. Books. The woman said, But I'm asking you. And Achebe said, I'm telling you: Read. Our. Books. 
What better epitaph for the man, and what better way to remember him today: read his books.
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