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By SYNW Anambra


It was a moment of encomium and a gathering of 'who is who' in the creative and literary arts, as young writers in Anambra State hosted the 2020 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival And Maiden Memorial Lecture, in honour of a foremost Nigerian literary icon, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe.


Organized by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), the literary event themed "Chinua Achebe: Our Heritage In A New Normal" and which held at the Anambra State Central Library, Awka, also was also used to mark Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday.


Delivering the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture, titled "If the Dead Could Speak, What Would Achebe Say of Present Day Nigeria?", the Keynote Speaker at the event, Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, described Achebe as "The Unacknowledged Nobel Laureate” and a legend, who will eternally be known simply his surname –ACHEBE, just like Shakespeare, Yates, Dickens, Shaw and Byron, and other great intellectuals and legends.


He said, “Achebe, as we all know, wrote extensively about Nigeria. At times, he did so presciently. In one instance, he correctly predicted a military coup. Though that happenstance was an inexplicable coincidence, he almost got himself into trouble with Nigerian authorities. In two other instances, 2004 and 2011, he rejected high national awards in protestation of the squalid “bankrupt and lawless fiefdom” Nigeria had become.


“At another time – in 1983 – Achebe wrote a pithy little seminal book, wherein he dissected with surgical precision, The Trouble With Nigeria. As they say, great things come in small sizes. There was perhaps a reason why Achebe wrote that small but mighty book.


“Before then, another pithy book, by Peter Pan Enahoro titled, How to Be Nigerian had given a unvarnished glimpse into the mindset of the true Nigerian; the mindset that led us to our present new normal and conundrum- a nation of severe and deep-seated paradoxes – where we know what is good for us, but refuse to do it; a nation where we have the best world class players in politics and sports, yet frequently elect and select Third-rate teams to represent us; a nation endowed with riches in human capital and natural resources, yet one that earned the dubious distinction of being the poverty capital of the world."


Further dissecting Nigeria's situation and challenges, Obaze who himself is an author, poet, and former Secretary to the State Government, added, "Were Achebe to speak to us from his grave, I suspect that against the backdrop of the Nigeria I have just narrated, he would say the same thing over and over."


"...In his lifetime Achebe spoke Truth to Power. Today, can those in power find it within their grasp to understand the Power of the Truth Achebe told Nigeria?" he rhetorically asked.


Earlier in his opening remarks, the Chairman of the Occasion, Sir Chuka Nnabuife, who is also an author, art curator, veteran award-winning journalist, and MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, noted that Achebe was not only a great writer but also a great sage, and "a man who was to some extent of his age, a vendor of knowledge of the ages before him but also a harbinger of wisdom of the age before him."


He lauded the organizers of the event, which he described as worth sustaining, as, according to him, Achebe is worth celebrating for life.

 

In his address of welcome, the initiator of the event and Coordinator of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), Izunna Okafor noted that Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which started in 2016 is an annual literary they host in honour of Achebe on his birthday (every November 16), and through which they call for Achebe's immortalisation, immortalize him in their own way (through annual publication of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology), and also promote creative writing and literary arts in general.


He explained that the event was previously being hosted only as Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, but in this year's edition, being its fifth edition and anniversary, they introduced the Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture into it, which is the first of its kind hosted anywhere in the world in honour of the legend.


He called on the Anambra State Government, private individuals and corporate bodies to recognize, reward, encourage and empower young writers in the state, and also  pleaded with them to undertake the annual sponsorship of the event, in honour of Achebe the legend, who he said, till date, is yet to be befittingly immortalized with any ‘structure'.


On his own part, the Special Guest of Honour at the event, Prof. Peter Umeadi, who is also an art enthusiast and former Chief Judge of Anambra State, urged young writers to keep writing, and never get discouraged. "Before you can put anything out, you must be courageous. You don’t have to think 'Oh! What will people say about what I have said or written',” he advised.


Others who graced and spoke at the well-attended event included the state's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba; the Chairman of Ohaneze Ndi Igbo (Anambra State Chapter), Chief Damian Okeke-Ogene; veteran Nollywood Actor, Bob-Manuel Udokwu who is also the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Willie Obiano on Creative Media; the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Obiano on Secondary School Education, Dr Paul Ifeanyi, multiple award-winning author, Mr. Odili Ujubuonu.


Others were the Special Assistant to the Governor on Communications, Mr. Maxim Uzoatu; the Director, Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze; author and literary enthusiast, Mr. Isidore Uzoatu; and Architect Chinelo Ofoche, among others.


The event featured lectures, award presentation, Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition (sponsored by National Light Newspaper, for the participating secondary schools); art exhibition, discussion on the Fifth Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled "Achebe: A Man of the People"; cutting of Achebe's 90th posthumous birthday cake, among others.


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By Izunna Okafor 


Writing has once again been described as the king of all arts, and the indispensable route to the bottom line of every art destination.

This made the idea for discussion at the grand finale of the 2019 Purple Hibiscus Trust Creative Writing, organized by award-winning Nigerian literary figure — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which she held in Anambra, her home state, for the first time.

The interactive event which ended with fanfare and literary communion tagged "A Literary Evening With Chimamanda" aimed at inspiring and raising a brand of creative writers of African descent who will not only tell African stories, but also utilize their writing prowess in solving societal problems.

Speaking at the event, the convener, Adichie who hails from Abba in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State asserted that  every nation needs storytellers without whom humanity will be diminished, and further maintained that there are many yet-to-be-told stories about Africa, which should not be left for non Africans to tell; as, according to her, stories of Africa can only be best told by Africans themselves.


She said, "If we don't tell our story as Africans, somebody else would tell it for us; and if we don't take responsibilities for supporting our storytellers, other people would tell our story, but in the way it suits them."


While decrying the poor reading culture in the society today, the international literary icon charged the participants to hold reading to a high esteem, as that is a prerequisite for anyone who must excel in the literary field or contribute intellectually to the growth and development of his society.


Contributing, the MD/CEO of Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation, Sir Chuka Nnabuife appreciated Adichie for bringing the workshop down to her homestate this year, and eulogized on her great feats in the literary field, which he said has helped to project the image of the state in the international community; even as he suggested to her, the need to  articulate and come up with a book that conglomerates her works in activism and advocacy so far, which he said her millions of fans all over the world would be very eager and happy to welcome on arrival.

Among other climax, the event featured premiering of video clip that biographically highlights excerpts of some recent feats attained by Adichie; as well as an interactive session with her, during which questions, opinions, suggestions, and observations were sourced from the participants and fans, all of which she perfectly and consummately reacted to.

Others who graced the literary evening included the state's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba; the founder of JohnBosco Onunkwo Foundation, Engr. JohnBosco Onunkwo; former media aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Dr. Reuben Abati; the Dean, Faculty of Arts, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Igbariam, Prof. Ngozi Chuma-Udeh, as well as Adichie's parents, among others.

Sharing their views earlier, some of the successful entrants who were selected for this year's writing workshop, among whom were Kasimma Chinelo Okani from Achina, Anambra state, Anthony Nonso Dim from Imo state but lives in Germany, and Gloria Mwaniga Odary, a teacher from Kenya, all confessed that the workshop offered them golden opportunities to tap from Adichie’s wealth of knowledge in literary arts, even as they urged the government and other wealthy individuals to assist in sponsoring and providing the needed logistics to sustain the exercise in subsequent years.

Formerly known as the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop with previous editions in Lagos, the 2019 workshop marked its 10th year.

Adichie's remaining of the workshop after her debut novel "Purple Hibiscus" was explainable, as she had earlier left her longtime Nigerian publishers, Kachifo Limited—the parent company of Farafina Trust—for Narrative Landscape Press, co-founded by her friend, Eghosa Imasuen, author of Fine Boys, and the editor Anwuli Ojogwu.

Izunna Okafor, a young Nigerian writer and Coordinator of young writers in Anambra State used the platform to identify and familiarize with Adichie, and also told her about the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival which the young writers are organizing annually in honour of Chinua Achebe, and presented her with a copy of "Arrows of Words" which is an anthology of poems and essays published by the young writers in this year's edition of the event.

He also discussed the non existence of writers residency in Anambra State with Adichie, an idea which she swiftly subscribed to and promised to do something about.


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By Izunna Okafor


History will make itself again on Sunday November 24 2019, as the Christ the King College Old Boys’ Association, Abuja branch sets to join the Catholic faithful across Nigeria in the annual celebration of the feast of Christ the King, with a Pubic Presentation of a CKC new book — "Sons of a Priest" by a CKC old boy and multiple award-winning author, Odili Ujubuoñu.


This was contained in a statement issued by the President of CKC Onitsha Old Boys’ Association Abuja Branch, Chief Emeka Eriobuna, in which he disclosed that the day is also the feast day celebration of the Christ the King College, Onitsha, which is one of the foremost secondary school schools in Nigeria.

He said this year’s event, which would involve old boys of the college with members of their families, will commence with a High Mass at the Holy Cross Catholic Church, Gwarinpa Abuja by 9:00 a.m. 

According to him, the book is a collection of testimonials of past students of the longest serving and first black principal of the college, the late Very Reverend Fr. Nicholas Chukwuemeka Tagbo OON. 

These past students, he said, include: Governor Willie of Obiano of Anambra State, Dr. Peter Odili former Governor of Rivers State, Mr. Peter Obi former Governor of Anambra State, Senator Mike Ajegbo, His Lordship Archbishop Valarian Okeke–Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Onitsha–Hon. Justice P.N.C Umeadi former Chief Judge of Anambra State, among others.


The statement reads in part: "The book project began in 2016 shortly before the death of the old priest, Fr. Tagbo at the age of 87 years.

"Sons of a Priest is a strong emotional statement by over a hundred past students, united in their voices in proudly telling the world how a simple and humble priest sacrificed his life so that tens of thousands of ordinary boys could become leaders, influencers of society and very remarkable successes in different walks of life and around the world. When our branch saw the great work the author, whom we are very proud of, was embarking on we decided to partner with him.

“Rev. Fr. Tagbo was a man of quality and everything that bears his name goes with quality that is why we are making this a very quality event.”

"The Public Presentation would be done by another distinguished old boy Mr. Cecil Osakwe an Abuja based Lawyer and Luxury Property Developer."


Speaking further, Chief Eriobuna, an Estate Surveyor, opines “This event would be attended not just by CKC greats but captains of industry, the diplomatic community, members of the media, political and party leaders and members of the clergy –who form the primary constituency of our late principal, priest, father, mentor and friend. The Book event would take place by 4.00pm at the Sandralia Hotel, Jabi, Abuja, FCT.”


He concludes “In order to make the fame of our college last forever, we must keep ensuring that Christ the King College stands head and shoulders above its contemporaries in academics, sports, discipline and morals. The book event, apart from celebrating our former principal, will enable us pay attention to the immediate and remote needs of our alma mater."


Christ the King College was founded in 1933 by Irish missionaries led by the then Archbishop of Onitsha, Archbishop Charles Heerey. Among the eminent products of the school are the late Rev. Fr. N.C. Tagbo himself,  late Justice Chukwudifu Oputah, Justice Chuba Ikpeazu, Dominic Cardinal Ekandem, Prince Felix Esayande Akenzua, Chief Chike Ofodile, SAN, Dr. Ibe Nwoga, Justice Allagoa, Dr. Ene Henshaw, the great novelist John Munonye and a host of countless others. 


Rev. Fr. Nicholas Chukwuemeka Tagbo OON was born in 1929 in present day Anambra State. He graduated from the college in 1949 and was first appointed the first black principal of the Christ the King College, Onitsha in 1963. Under his tutelage, Dr. Peter Odili served as a senior prefect and several other great men earned their early leadership formation. During the war, Rev. Fr. Tagbo preserved CKC’s rich archives and tradition and was able to return the school to its early glory immediately after the Nigerian Civil war. 


This culminated in the school winning, for Nigeria, the nation’s first ever world football trophy by bringing home from Dublin-Ireland, the World Schools’ Soccer Cup in 1977. Tagbo  died in July of 2016 after a protracted illness. He received a grand burial from Christ the King College Onitsha, Old Boys. It was reported that at his burial, thousands of his former students besieged the commercial city of Onitsha from every corner of the earth to pay their last respects to him. Among N.C. Tagbo’s exceptional past students was the world renowned Computer Scientist, Philip Emeagwali and Dr. John Agwunobi who was once the Secretary of Health, the State of California, U.SA. 

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¶Unveil New Anthology For Chinua Achebe


It was a fecund and commemorative gathering yesterday as literary enthusiasts and writers converged in Awka, the Anambra State Capital, to mark the 2019 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival organized young writers in the state.


The event which is a literay festival held annually in honour of foremost Nigerian literary champion, Late Prof. Chinua Achebe in celebration of his worthy life, works and legacies in the literary field.


Delivering a lead paper on the event's theme — ''Intellectuals And National Development: The Chinua Achebe Approach,'' the Guest Lecturer, at the event, RC (Reginald Chiedu) Ofodile described Achebe as a great intellectual and patriot whose commitment to national development was uncommon, being a man who placed his nation’s advancement above his personal glorification, as evidenced by his two-time rejection of the honour of Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.


Going memory lane through Achebe's works and life, Mr. Ofodile, an international award-winning writer and actor said "In his approach as an intellectual striving for national development, abjuring art for art’s sake; Chinua Achebe walked his talk, and posterity gives him credit for that."


Describing the event as auspicious, the Chairman of the occasion who is also an award-winning poet and author of 'Pregnancy of the gods' Mr. Odili Ujubuońu noted that Chinua Achebe was not only a great writer but also a cultural activist who through his pen and mastery of art, exposed to the world, the real beauty of Igbo culture and that of Africa at large.


Earlier in his address of welcome, the convener of the event and Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra Chapter), Mr. Izunna Okafor said the primary aim of the event was to celebrate Achebe as a hero and eagle on the Iroko of African Literature, immortalize him in their own way as young writers, and also remind the concerned authorities to immortalize him the best way he deserves.

He said "Aside these, we also, through this event, promote, encourage and reward creative writing and reading culture among our youths and students; discover and harness the hidden but amazing talents among our young ones, in the literary field; and also present writers and readers (intellectuals) as the elixirs to the country's ailments, among other objectives we pursue through it."


Acknowledging that Anambra State has given the world arrays of writers, Izunna who himself is an award-winning author and journalist also called for public and private support for the subsequent editions of the event, even as he urged the  state government to appoint aide(s)  (Special Assistant or Senior Special Assistant or even both) on literary matters, who will stand as a bridge between the government and writers in the state, both young and established.


Responding, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano, represented by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. James Ezeh extolled the young writers for initiating and sustaining the literary festival in honour of Achebe the legend, and also avowed the state government's continuous support to the young writers and youths in the state, being a youth friendly Governor.


The Governor was thereafter presented with a gift of pictorial artwork containing a sonnet, creatively crafted by one of the young writers, Mr. Chinonso Okafor.


The 2019 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival featured, among other literay packages, the unveiling and official presentation of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology, entitled "Arrows of Words" which is a new (85-paged) anthology of poems and essays, published by the young writers in honour of Achebe.

The event also featured presentation of awards to some deserving personalities and organisations in the state, as well as presentation of prizes to the winning schools and students in the Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition, which is an essay writing competition for secondary schools in Anambra State, endowed by the Anambra Newspapers and Printing Corporation (publishers of the National Light Newspaper, Ka O Di Taa Igbo Newspaper and Sportslight Xtra).


Others great writers and literary enthusiasts who graced the occasion included the Traditional Ruler of Obosi, H.R.M Igwe Chidubem Iweka, represented by Chief Okey Mgbemena (Uzzi Obosi); Sir Chuka Nnabuife (author of 'Mbize: Rage of Red Earth, and MD, National Light Newspaper); Mr. Uzor Maxim Uzoatu (author of  God of Poetry, and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Communication); Rev. Fr. Ositadimma Amakeze (author of The Last Carver); Mr. Okeke Chika Jerry (author of The gods Are Hungry); Mr. Isidore Emeka Uzoatu (author of Vision Impossible); the Director of Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze, and MD/CEO of Naira Rice industry, Comr. Arinze Omenwa, among others.


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There are several motivators  for engaging in different bodybuilding exercises. The sport of bodybuilding is one that has inspired  a lot of people. Many will hit the gym to achieve the desirable type of body for competitions like the famous Mr. Olympia. There are so many bodybuilders and actors out there who have inspired people all around the world  to visit the gym and engage in various workouts.

Getting that type of body is not that easy because you have to put in a lot of  work. Apart from exercising, you can also use of supplements that will speed up the  process of acquiring the desired body mass. You can check them out online, for example, Samento, which is cheap and readily available.

One type of exercise common among many bodybuilders is the deadlift. It is a weight training workout which involves lifting a barbell  loaded with extra weights slowly from the ground to your hip level. This is a good exercise because it helps to stimulate both upper and lower parts of your body. There are times when you may get injured or need a change from deadlifting , so here are some of the best alternatives:

Block Pull

This  is one of the best alternatives to deadlifting that you can try. Commonly referred to as a rack pull, you must first  load their bar with weights. They should be at your knee level. Also, keep the bar at a slight distance from your body. Make sure your back is straight as you lift the bar, assuming a position that will allow you to do so. If you’re interested in taking your training further, you could  find a personal trainer who could help you to train as required and avoid injuries.

One-Leg Deadlift

This  is another ideal alternative to the deadlift. This type of exercise provides your body with the perfect body balance. It is quite similar to the regular deadlift, the only difference being that you have to do it with one of your legs. You can try out both sides to get quality results. Make sure your back is straight throughout the exercise.

Reverse Hyper

A  great exercise, a few sets of these  can help improve your hip movements. The reverse exercise can also help build strength in the upper parts of your body. It can be done on a flat bench. All you need to do is to lay down flat on one side of the bench with your face facing down and your legs on the floor. Raise your legs and hips slowly above the floor, before lowering them back slowly.

One Arm Deadlift

This is another excellent exercise which can be done using a dumbbell. It helps stimulate the upper part of your body. Place a dumbbell on the outside of one of one of your feet. Gently bend, slowly, with your back straight, and lift the dumbbell carefully . You can do this  for both arms and repeat several times if you feel capable.


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