… you’re doing well — Fmr Anambra Gov. hails young writers

The Presidential candidate of Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has been honoured with the Chinua Achebe Excellence Award.

The former Governor of Anambra State, Obi, and the traditional ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka, received the award at the 2023 edition of the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture organized by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, which was held at the Professor Kenneth Dike Central E-Library Awka, the Anambra State capital.

Speaking after receiving the award, Obi commended young writers in Anambra State for annually celebrating the legendary Nigerian writer, Late Professor Chinua Achebe, whom he described as a revered writer; whose literary contributions have left an indelible mark on the global literary landscape.

The former Anambra Governor; who was the Keynote Speaker at the event, emphasized the importance of preserving Achebe’s legacy, saying that events like the literary festival play a crucial role in keeping the flame of Achebe’s influence and legacies alive.

While rating the annual event high, Obi commended the Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, for sustaining the literary initiative, and for their commitment to nurturing and promoting literary talents in Anambra State, urging young writers to draw inspiration from Achebe’s works and use their creativity to address contemporary societal issues.

Contributing, Igwe Iweka, who chaired the occasion, encouraged students to always focus on their studies and not be deterred by the challenges of the time, stressing that the late Achebe was a great literary icon, whose books were translated in many languages.

The Obosi monarch also urged the students to constantly seek knowledge through books, and to be proud ambassadors of Igbo language and culture anywhere, anytime.

On his part, former Secretary to the Anambra State Government and former Nigerian Diplomat, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, who highlighted the significance of such events in fostering intellectual growth and cultural awareness among the youth, commended the organizers of the event for their dedication to promoting literary arts and preserving the legacy of the late Achebe.

While reiterating the importance of reading as a cornerstone for personal and intellectual development, Mr. Obaze urged the youth to embrace Achebe’s legacies; not only through celebrations, but by actively participating in the literary world, and ensuring that the flame of enlightenment continues to burn brightly in Anambra State and beyond.

Also speaking, former MD/CEO, Anambra Broadcasting Service, Chief Dr. Uche Nworah, echoed the sentiments of preserving cultural heritage as a key aspect of Achebe’s literary legacy. He emphasized that Achebe’s works served as a bridge connecting the past, present, and future of the Igbo people, fostering a sense of identity and pride. He further encouraged the youth to delve into Achebe’s novels and essays, viewing them not only as literary masterpieces but also as valuable repositories of Igbo traditions

On his own part, the MD/CEO Anambra State Signage and Advertising Agency (ANSAA) and Co-founder of Awka Literary Society, Mr. Odili Tony Ujubuoṅu, passionately urged the youth and emerging writers to cultivate imaginative thinking and writing skills, emphasizing their pivotal role in fostering innovation. Ujubuoṅu underscored the symbiotic relationship between writers and innovators, asserting that groundbreaking ideas often originate from the creative minds of writers, while challenging participants to embrace avid reading.

Other personalities who graced the occasion include the first female Professor of Mass Communication in Sub-saharan Africa, Prof. Stella Okunna; the state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr. Don Onyenji, represented by Mrs. Chioma Ifediorah, the Ministry’s Director of Arts and Culture; the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power and Water Resources, Mrs. Ifeyinwa Uzoka; award-winning writer and journalist, Uzor Maxim Uzoatu; widely-published author and former governorship candidate in Anambra, Okeke Chika Jerry; the MD/CEO, Naira Rice Mill, Mr. Arinze Omenwa; former Director, Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze; award-winning author, Reginald Chinedu Ofordile; among others.

The guests, in their respective remarks, praised Achebe’s legacies, commended the event organizers, and encouraged students to prioritize their studies and always strive for excellence.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Convener of the event and Coordinator, Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, Mr. Izunna Okafor, said the primary aim of the event was to celebrate the late Achebe as a hero and eagle on the Iroko of African Literature, immortalize him in their own way as young writers, as well as keep his memory alive.

He commended the Anambra State Governor, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, for recently immortalizing Achebe, which he said had been one of the association’s major calls and appeals to government since the last eight years the event was initiated.

Themed “Ten Years After: Remembering Achebe’s Legacies in Today’s Nigeria”, the 2023 Chinua Achebe Literary Festival featured unveiling of the 8th Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology — “Anthills of Words (In Memory of Achebe)”; cutting Achebe’s 93rd posthumous birthday cake, poetry renditions and dramatizing of Achebe’s books, Chinua Achebe Essay Writing Competition, and the presentation of certificates/awards to deserving participants and guests, along with other literary activities that made the event memorable.


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