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Anambra Young Writers Host First Chinua Achebe Memorial Lecture

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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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Posted 10 Days ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments


Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter) —the literary body that hosts Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture— is calling for submission of quality poems and essays from writers across the world, for her 6th 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 father of morden African Literature. The prestigious anthology will (as usual) be unveiled at the 6th edition of Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture, which is slated to hold on 16th November 2021, at the Anambra State Central E-Library (also known as Prof. Kenneth Dike Central E-Library), in Awka, south-eastern Nigeria.

According to the Project Coordinator, Izunna Okafor, who is also the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers in Anambra State and Editor-in-Chief of the Anthology, 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 noted, was initiated in 2016, and holds on Achebe's date of birth (16th November) every year since then, with the last edition held in 2020, during which the most recent edition of the Chinua Achebe Essay/Poetry Anthology —'Achebe: A Man of the People' —was published.

"It is with a view to mark this year's edition of the Festival in a more remarkable and memorable way that we are calling on both burgeoning and established writers from different parts of the world, to enter their quality and thematically-written poems and essays for this sixth anthology," Okafor said. 

"The anthology is in honour of Prof. Chinua Achebe; hence, only entries that relate to or revolve around Achebe, his works, his literary prowess and legacies will be accepted for publication," he added.


SUBMISSION GUIDELINES/RULES:

1. Only poems essays/reviews are accepted for the anthology.

2. Entrant must specify the genre of his entry; that is, specify if it is poetry or essay/review. 

3. The poems and essays/reviews MUST relate to or revolve around either Achebe as a person (his personality), his works, his literary prowess/feats, life, legacies or other areas.

4. The essay or poem should be as brief and concise as possible — maximum of 500 words for essays/reviews, and maximum of 30 lines for poetry.

5. Author’s information —location/contact address, phone number, e-mail address, with a short bio of NOT 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. ANY PLAGIARISED WORK WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY DISQUALIFIED.

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 to:

achebeanthology@gmail.com 

and copied to:

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

11.  Subject of the mail should read "SIXTH CHINUA ACHEBE ESSAY/POETRY ANTHOLOGY (SPECIFY THE GENRE OF YOUR ENTRY)".

Example: "SIXTH CHINUA ACHEBE ESSAY/POETRY ANTHOLOGY (POETRY)"

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

13. Submission Deadline: 30th SEPTEMBER 2021

Late entry/submission will not be ACCEPTED.

13. Entry may be written in either English or Igbo Language.

● All successful/accepted essays and poetry will be published in the Sixth 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 recognition and Certificate of Award at the 2021 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture.

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

For inquiries or support, contact:

achebeanthology@gmail.com

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

+2348163938812

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



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Updated 2 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

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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Posted 2 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

By Izunna Okafor

It was an uncommon manifestation of spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, as the executives and members of the People's Democractic Party (PDP) in Nnewi South Local Area of Anambra dumped the party and decamped to Labour Party (LP), in support of the Chief Obiora Agbasimelo, the candidate of the party ahead of the November 6 governorship election in the state.

The well-attended event of decamping and reception held in Ezinifite, Nnewi South, which is also the hometown of the Labour Party's flagbearer, Chief Agbasimelo and his philanthropic brother, Chief Godwin Agbasimelo, popularly known as Oga Ndi Oga. It also had the executives and members of the both parties in attendance.

Announcing the decamping, the PDP Chairman in the Nnewi South, Chief Alphonsus Ofoke, and the PDP Ward Leader in Ezinifite Ward 1, Chief Obadiah Obiaku said their decamping and consequent collapsing of their structure in support of Labour Party was informed by their understanding that voting should be for candidate and not necessarily for party, as they have found a worthy and more prospective and reliable candidate  in Labour Party, who is also from the same local government with them.

They also hinted that their former party, the disorganised People's Democractic Party did not favour or 'do them well' and has no known candidate, thereby making them see more reasons to decamp to the new party and declare their support to a known candidate, rather than wallow in illusion. 

They further declared their loyalty to the Labour Party and its leadership, even as they assured that the entire leaders and members of PDP in all the 20 political wards of the local government area would vote for Labour Party and their brother, Chief Agbasimelo, come November 6, maka na ọ naghị adị mma ịhapụ egwụ n'ụlọ gbaa n'ama. Ọ naghị adịkwa mma a hụchaa ebe a na-echi ọzọ, e jebe ebe a na-arụ agwụ.

Receiving them into Labour Party, the standard bearer of Labour Party for the 2021 Anambra guber election, Chief Obiora Agbasimelo hailed their courage to dump the old party and join the moving train.

He said, "Thank you for coming. You have come to the right place. Labour Party is a safe and peaceful party without any faction. This is the best decision you can make. Thank you for coming. You will see that when you support me, you will get there, and Agu Awka is our own. I welcome you once again and say thank you."

Highpoints of the event include the official reception of the decampees into the new party, as well as gifting them with Labour Party uniforms, and chanting of solidarity songs in support of Agbasimelo's candidacy, among other side attractions.


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Updated 3 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

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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Updated 4 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

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By Izunna Okafor

The award-winning prolific Nigerian writer, Juliet Chudie, has thrilled and wowed the literary world again, with another upcoming masterpiece, which she co-authored with some foreign authors.

Chudie made this known on her Facebook wall and other social media handles, where she notified her teaming fans of the new book, and also shared her joy of being a co-author of the book.

According to her, the book, titled "The Black and African Guide to Moving to the UAE", was co-authored with 19 other brilliant amazing black expats from different industries with experiences in living, working and investing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) powered by @findblackexperts .


Chudie, who salivated her fans with the book cover further noted that, as her respect for human resilience had grown, she was trusting and hoping that her chapter would inspire, answer and bring the readers' hopes alive, when finally released in few months time.


She wrote:

"I am indeed excited to announce my participation as a co-author of the book "The Black and African Guide to Moving to the UAE" with 19 other brilliant amazing black expats from different industries with experiences in living, working and investing in the UAE, powered by @findblackexperts.

"This book will be out in a few months and in it, I will share my personal experience and as well as the rest of the team .

"The vision of the book is to inspire the world with our stories, transcend them and use them to make a difference in the world, to broaden other diasporas’s perspective of the UAE and help provide answers to any future or already existing questions anyone might have about moving or living in the UAE .

"When I first heard about the book and it’s vision to help create opportunities for black people, I knew for a fact that this was an opportunity I wouldn’t afford to miss.

"And as my respect for human resilience has grown , I’m trusting and hoping my chapter inspires , answers and brings your hopes alive."

A member of Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Anambra State Chapter), Juliet Chudie is a native of Agulu in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria, as well as the Founder of Juliet Chudie Foundation (founded in 2015) and Great Igbo Women, UAE.

She is the author of 'A Mother's Heart Bleeds' and the winner of the CSA Award as the Creative Writer of the Year 2018. Chudie has, through her foundation and writing, touched many lives, empowered many youths, restored many hopes in diverse ways, and contributed meaningfully to general societal development.

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