The Journey So Far
The 2012 Nigerian literary year is gradually coming to an end with the recent announcement of Dr. Chika Unigwe’s NLNG Prize for Literature win for her novel On Black Sister’s Street. In the course of the year, we have also had a Caine Prize win by Nigeria’s Rotimi Babatunde in July. Locally, the 2011/13 EXCO of the Association of Nigerian Authors, carrying the torch lit by our father, Chinua Achebe, has brought a spirit of responsiveness, transparency and tangible service delivery to our members in the course of the year. The present EXCO, presided over by Remi Raji, a professor of the University of Ibadan, came on board with the mantra of Change—the morass in the Association had grown so impenetrable that members had no clue what the Association was about any longer. In the year 2012, the 2011/13 EXCO has recorded some major achievements the least of which are—
February 2012: Successful conclusion of the “ANA Land Matter” as a result of the dogged litigation of our Legal Adviser, Barr. Ahmed Maiwada. A judgement debt of #10,000,000 was awarded against the Association and this amount was raised by the Association and paid into the Court in satisfaction of that debt.
March 2012: A one-day working visit was made to Niger State where the Governor made public his desire to fully support a wide range of projects designed by the 2011/13 EXCO. The first Arts Centre in northern Nigeria, the Hilltop Arts Centre, was opened in Minna by the 2011/13 EXCO.
May 2012: Disbursement of cheques totalling #2,400,000 to 16 Chapters of the Association for the ANA/Yusuf Ali Reading Campaign. The benefiting Chapters for 2012 were Abuja, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Benue, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Ondo, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers and Kwara. Congress of State Chapter Chairmen and Secretaries was hosted by the 2011/13 EXCO at Ilorin. New ANA website http://www.ana-nigeria.org launched.
August 2012: ANA 2011/13 EXCO announced the National Teen Authorship Scheme, sponsored by Hajiya Jummai Babangida Aliyu. Five chapters – Abia, Osun, Taraba, Katsina and Kogi – will receive #150,000 each for the Scheme. The funds would be disbursed at the 2012 Convention.
1. Professor Pius Adesamni of Carleton University, Canada, announced as Keynote Speaker of the 2012 Convention.
2. YSG Hubs announced as National Partner for the 2012 Convention.
3. The Nigerian Institute for Cultural Orientation [NICO], as a result of dogged efforts by our Vice President, Denja Abdullahi, agreed to sponsor an anthology of Short Stories in 2013.
Prof. Wole Soyinka is Guest Speaker at the 2nd MBA Colloquium
Directly on the heels of the International Convention will be the 2nd Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu Literary Colloquium holding on the 17th of November, 2012 at Minna, Niger State. Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, will be delivering the keynote address on the theme “Nigerian Literature, Conflict and National Unity”. The 2011/13 EXCO will coordinate the MBA Colloquium; it is privately sponsored by the Governor of Niger State to mark his birthday.
What to Expect at Uyo?
Nigerian journalist, Sumaila Umaisha, captures the ANA year in his piece [ http://blueprintng.com/2012/10/as-writers-converge-on-uyo/ ] especially noting that—“Trying to live up to expectations, the EXCO has made some positive moves. The draft constitution is being worked on and might be ready soon. And the recent positive outcome of the judgment on the Abuja land as reported by the association’s Legal Adviser, shows the case might be over and the land would soon be developed accordingly.”
The 2012 International Convention of the Association, to be held at Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, promises to be a brilliant rounding off of the year 2012 as far as Nigerian Literature is concerned. The Host Chapter, in this interview with its Chairman, Dr. Joseph Ushie [ http://thenationonlineng.net/new/arts/life-midweek-magazine/akwa-ibom-shares-anas-vision/ ] has underscored the preparedness of Akwa Ibom Chapter and the State Government towards hosting a splendid event—with local arts and craft, tourism and a world famous cuisine thrown in.
Now, if beyond this you are still wondering what to expect at the Uyo Convention, perhaps no one can express the mood best than the Keynote Speaker, Prof. Adesanmi, himself? In an interview with Blueprint Newspaper’s Awaal Gata, [ http://blueprintng.com/2012/11/it-will-be-feast-of-ideas-at-ana-convention-adesanmi/ ] he says—“. . . nothing compares with the sense of elation and validation one gets from mounting a Nigerian lecture podium. That is home. That is roots. That is my source. And ANA? That is my immediate constituency in Nigeria. So, you do me great injustice by trying to make me capture my feelings in words. What an honour! What a privilege!”
So, if you haven’t blanked out November 8th to 11th 2012 on your calendar and written “UYO” there in red ink, well—you know what to do!
Richard Ali is Publicity Secretary [North] of the Association