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Izunna Okafor

Izunna Okafor (born 9th Jan. 1994) is an award-winning 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.
Izunna Okafor (born 9th January, 1994) is a multiple award-winning Nigerian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist, speech writer, editor, translator, publicist, Igbo language activist and Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Nigeria.

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

A published and best-selling author, Izunna's books include '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, 2016

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 2017

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

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 Newspaper 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.

He also has some certificates of award, recognition and completion, 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.

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 also 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)', 'Achebe: A Man of the People', and ‘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 published 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.

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.
January 9, 1994 MALE
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Izunna Okafor's Recommendations

THE MALADY AND THE REMEDY
Edited By Izunna Okafor
Ebook Available for Free
Achebe: A Man of the People
EDITED BY IZUNNA OKAFOR
Ebook Available for N700
Ripostes of Locked Down Voices
Edited by Izunna Okafor
Ebook Available for Free
My Love, My All
Edited by Izunna Okafor
Ebook Available for Free
My Love For My Love
(Edited by Izunna Okafor)
Ebook Available for Free
Arrows of Words (For Chinua Achebe)
(Edited by Izunna Okafor)
Ebook Available for N500
IKEM'S ADVENTURE
Izunna Okafor
AJO ENYI
Izunna Okafor
Ebook Available for N500
Teach Me Grammar
Izunna Okafor
A Cry to War
E.O. Odiase and K.N. Pumpuni
Ebook Available for Free
3rd Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology
Society of Young Nigerian Writers (Edited by Izunna Okafor)
This profile is a published author. Click author profile below to view books written by the author
Izunna Okafor 1.7k views

Izunna Okafor (born 9th Jan. 1994) is an award-winning young Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Journalist, Essayist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and an Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South L.G.A of Anambra State Nigeria.

He had his secondary school at Community Secondary School Ebenator. He is graduate 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 has written globally applauded books. He is the author of: 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book) published in Nigeria in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' (his second book), published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' (his third book), published in 2014, and received outstanding recognition in the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists 2015; 'Ajo Enyi,' his debut Igbo novel and fourth book, published in 2015. 

With 'Ajo Enyi', he won the 2015/2016 Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year; 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 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 for a plethora 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

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

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 /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

Young Author Award, 2018

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

Campus Best Writer 2018/Campus Best Journalist of the Year 2018

Best Secretary General of NAPAS (2018)

Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019

National Light Staff of the Year 2019.


He also has numerous Certificates of Merit, Award, Recognition, 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) 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 anthologies, 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.

Some of his debut articles like 'Say No To Igbo Extinction' and 'Asụsụ Igbo Amaka' among others, have also contributed immensely in this cause and in peaking the clarion call for Igbo Language sustenance.

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 founder/initiator of the "Chinua Achebe Literary Festival," which is an annual literary event he organizes in memory 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 "Arrows of Words" which was published in 2019, during the year's edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival.

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

He is Ambassador of TFA Africa in Nigeria; 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.

Books are treasure chests for in them are ancient and modern wisdom which can help one become better and achieve more in life. One of the hallmarks of a good book is that the book reads you, that is, it exposes your true self and state to you. Today, Ignatius Obinna Onuoha have given us such a book – one that is not only nicely written, but also has the ability to relate to our circumstances, and advise us as true friends would.

The Model Man is written with such a passion, responsiveness and mastery that you are able to feel the writers’ heartbeats in it. There is a release of energy based on optimism in this book, with stories that will motivate the reader into gaining relevance and building legacy.

Do you truly want your life to change for the better? If  yes! Then buying and reading this book: The Model Man by Ignatius Obinna Onuoha is one of the best investments you can make with your money and time in this season for the reward is beautifully amazing. Get your copy, read it, re-read it and you will be glad you did; I am sure of this.

Book Reviewer: Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha

Ifeanyi Enoch Onuoha is an inspirational writer, public speaker, ghostwriter, creative content developer, avid reader, thought leader, idea editor and published author of life-enriching books who helps writers and other creatives in their journey to becoming better brands.

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LOVE IN LOVE



(A 2021 Special Valentine Poetry Collection)



Editor's Note:


In the word of Robert Frost, we love the things we love for what they are. 

In consummate concordance with this age-long apothegm, a group of poets decided to give the 2021 Valentine Day a poetic essence, literarily out of their love for what it is. 

Exploring the theme of Love, these eight poets and poetry lovers, in pursuance of their ardency, lent their voices, by donating stanzas of poetic condiments, which congealed into a concise masterpiece, entitled "Love in Love"

In its third edition now, this Special Valentine Poetry Collection which started in 2019 contains these romantic lines of epopees by these muses and inamoratos.

Compiled and edited by Izunna Okafor, this (though very concise) collection also holds the message and unfold the expressions of these gallant poets to and for the world, the lovers and the Love itself, as the 2021 Valentine Day stages.


They write:


Pure as crystal

Mature and unskeptical

Love beyond love

Love in love


And like a molten gold

My love oozes warmth

Even in the cold we are

Love in love!

 

Life they say is a proverb

Master this verb, it's an action

Echo in echo out

Love is a lieutenant 


Love is also natural

It comes from any direction

Waters the hearted 

Renders the powerful powerless

Love in love


Love is life

In its season, all thrive

When it seizes, there's strive

Love is when you lend a helping hand


Like Italian fine wine

You taste sweeter with age

I look at you, and with praise

My heart is filled


Grateful to the Great Universe for the gift of you

Soothing gaze of the moon...you

Fresh like the morning dew

Soft work, this, Love in Love is! 


Hence on this lonely path

May we cling softly to ourselves

And make peaceful vow

Of everlasting bliss


May the rain and sun

Water & shine on this garden of love

Gently, as it grows like a nation


When we sing of love... 

we sing of a mother and her child

we sing of a book and its reader

we sing of a child and his toy;

we sing of God and mankind

We sing of many things that have feelings,

we sing of hearts and prayers,

flowers, wishes, Aspirations and Lovers...

Because love has a different name to different

people,

But it goes with the same language everywhere.


Love in love

White, red, green, colourless...

Its colours and symbols

Love in Love


Love afresh, love in the air

Love above, love in the under

Love beyond love

Love in Love.




Contributors:

Izunna Okafor

Udo Okoronkwo-chukwu

Ibiam Ude Ufiem

Nnadiekwe Chinweike

Divine Ogonna

O'star Eze

Nwokeabia Ifeanyi John

John Chizoba Vincent



(Compiled and Edited by Izunna Okafor)



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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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Congratulations. This is a laudable project...more grace to you 
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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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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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Three Male Writers Selected for 2022 Ebedi International Writers Residency


The Ebedi International Writers Residency, Iseyin, has received three new male writers for the June residency program.

The three writers, Izunna Okafor, Isaiah Adepoju, and Hassan, arrived the Residency, in Iseyin, Oyo State early this week for a month-long residency stay, replacing the immediate-past fellows, who were all female.

Hosting the new writers to a reception party, alongside other stakeholders from the Iseyin community; the founder and patron of Ebedi International Writers Residency Hon. Dr. Wale Okediran explained that the Residency affords writers comfortable and calm environment to focus on their writing without distraction and also at no cost on the writers.

Hon. Okediran, a former House of Reps member and current Secretary-General of Pan-African Writers Association (PAWA), said while concentrating on their individual works the writers are expected to also interact with selected students of some secondary schools in Iseyin town for about four hours weekly, during which they can teach the students any form of creative arts or writing, as they so desire.

He also revealed that since its inception 12 years ago, the Ebedi Writers Residency has hosted over three hundred writers from different countries of the world.

Below are short biographies of the three new writers for the May 30 — June 30 2022 residency program:


Izunna Okafor

Izunna Okafor is a Nigerian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist, and Igbo language activist who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State. He writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages, including some books — Ikem's Adventure, The Curse of a Widow, The Faithful Children, Ajọ Enyi, among others.

A Public Adminstration graduate of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; Okafor's works have appeared in some print magazines, anthologies, journals, etc, both nationally and internationally; while he also has thousands of online published articles/essays, poems and short stories to his credit. He has also edited and co-edited over 25 books and anthologies (published nationally and internationally), as well as served as judge in some national and international literary contests.

Okafor has won and been nominated for some national and international awards which include: Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016; Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature, 2015; Nigeria Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year, Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016; 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.

Others include: NAPAS Academic Icon of the Year, 2017; Anambra Campus Award/Campus Writer of the Year, 2017; Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year, 2017; Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year, 2016; Young Author Award, 2018; Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year, 2018; 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 Newspaper Jounalist of the Year, 2019; Anambra Media Excellence Award/News Reporter of the Year, 2019; Anambra Through a Lens/Recognition Award, 2020; Amazon Publishing Masterclass Award/Most Resilient Male Student, 2021; Anambra Media Excellence Award/Best News Reporter of the Year, 2021; ACORA/Awka Diocese/Media Personality of the Week (November), 2021; among others.

He is a Fellow of the SprinNG Literary Movement/SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020, and alumnus of some creative writing workshops, including the Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others

In April, 2020, Okafor was appointed the Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement. He also headed the editorial team of the first international anthology of poems and essays ever published on COVID-19 — Ripostes of Locked Down Voices. He also edited ‘The Malady and the Remedy’, an international essay anthology on human rights abuse in Africa.

A literary organizer, Okafor is the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigeria Writers (Anambra State Chapter), National Secretary of Society of Young Nigeria Writers, as well as the organizer of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival (an annual international literary festival held in honour of Nigerian literary icon, Prof. Chinua Achebe). He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology.

Okafor said during his stay at the Ebedi Residency, he would be working on an Igbo novel and three others books, and would also be teaching the Ebedi students Igbo language, creative writing, poetry and others.


Isaiah Adepoju

Isaiah Adepoju, who hails from Osun State, studies Literature in English at Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria. He writes for Literature Voices Journal, Nigeria; reads for Adroit Journal, UK, and reads for the James Currey Prize for Literature, UK.

He has works in Aster Lit mag, Sterling Notes, Poetica Review, Institute of African Studies Journal Nsukka, and elsewhere. He's the recipient of the 2022 HIASFEST Star Prize, the 2021 Chima Ugokwe Prize for Essay, the 2021 Pengician Chapbook Prize for Poetry; and longlisted for the 2020 Africa Writers Award.

Isaiah said he'll be working on a fiction, and teaching the students poetry during his 4-week stay.


Hassan Muhammad:

Hassan Muhammad is a children’s author, short story writer, and poet. He has a degree in Estate Management from the Federal University of Technology, Minna where he co-founded the Arts Club. He was a two-term Secretary and Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Niger State chapter. An active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), he’s the recipient of multiple scholarships including Highlights Foundation, Authors Publish, SCBWI and GrubStreet. His children’s books are Biribiri Saves Us (2008) and The Empty Cage (2015) which was shortlisted for the ANA/Lantern Prize. 


His works have appeared in ANA Review, Kalahari Review, Authors Publish Magazine, The Writers and Readers’ Magazine, Weekly Trust Newspaper, New Nigerian Newspaper, and the anthologies: Pyramids, Fireflies, Shadows and Dance Steps at Dawn. Other credits include NYSC Merit Award, Northern Nigeria Writers’ Summit Merit Award, Corpers’ Welfare Association Billiri Merit Award, and shortlist for the ANA/Funtime Prize. 


He is an alumnus of British Council’s Writing Workshop, ANA/Atiku Abubakar National Workshop on Children’s Literature, The Writing Barn’s Poetry Class, among others. He enjoys reading picture books, chess, comedy, and combat sports for inspiration and leisure. He writes as NmaHassan Muhammad and resides in Minna.


He will be completing the revision of three children’s manuscripts which were workshopped recently during the GrubStreet’s Picture Book Revision course with Holly Thompson. He dedicates these stories and the residency to the memory of his son Abdullateef Hamood who died in a tragic fire accident on November 3, 2021.

To give back to the host community, he will be facilitating workshops on the craft and business of writing children’s books for the students in Iseyin community. In addition, he would love to form a chess club for the students in the community.



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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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Updated 6 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

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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Posted 7 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments

By Peace Uchenna Okpalanma



The Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter is set to hold her first reading for the year 2022 as one of the literary activities to herald and open the new year.


This was contained in a statement released in Awka on Thursday by the Anambra State's Coordinator of the association, Izunna Okafor.


According to him, the reading is aimed at giving writers (both the burgeoning and the established) a platform and opportunity to read, discuss and analyze their works, other literary works and literature in general with fellow writers, as well as encouraging and promoting reading cultures. 


He noted that the reading, which is slated to hold this Saturday, January, 22, 2022 at the Anambra State Central Library, also known as the Prof. Kenneth Dike State Central E-Library, beside Aroma Junction, Awka, Anambra State capital, starting 10 AM. 


On who and who are invited to the reading, Mr. Okafor noted that the reading, just like every other readings the Society has been holding every month, is open to every writer or literary enthusiast, notwithstanding whether the person is a published author or not.


He said: "Everyone is invited, both old and new members of the forum, writers and literary enthusiasts from any part of the state or the country; as long as the person has interest in being part of it, he is much welcomed.


"Participation is free; all we require is that the person be punctual to the reading and to come with materials (books or manuscript) to read."


Okafor, who himself is a published author, further noted that reading is indispensable and essentially recommended to any burgeoning writer who wants to grow in the literary field, and is equally important to the established writers, if they must maintain and sustain their interest and relevance in the field. 


He then invitingly called on every writer and literary enthusiast from around the state and beyond, to attend and be part of the reading, as the need and the benefits therein cannot be overemphasized.


Society of Young Nigerian Writers is a forum for young/established writers, and literary enthusiasts in Nigeria; and has branches across the 36 states of the Federation. 


The Anambra Chapter of the forum has been the literary body hosting the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture which holds annually every November 16 (Achebe's date of birth), since 2016.


It also holds her monthly reading every 3rd Saturday of the month at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, the state capital.


According to Okafor, further enquiries on the reading can be made through:

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

Or 

08163938812

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Posted 7 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments


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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Posted 7 Months ago · 0 Likes · 0 Comments


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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