By VICTOR NZE
Sasi Miet Jajja’s book titled; Justice Club, has claimed the grand prize of N200, 000 as the work edged others including ‘Things That Start Small But Sweet’ by Bibi Ukonu and Emmanuel Asika’s ‘Vacancy for the Post of a Bride,’ to win in the ANA/ Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories.
Other winners also emerged as the four-day 37thInternational Convention of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), came to a close in Ikeja, Lagos, last Sunday.
While, ‘The Longest Trial’ by Uchenna Eze won the N100, 000 ANA Prose Fiction Prize, ‘Guerilla Post ‘ written by Obari Gomba won the ANA Drama Prize which carries a N100, 000 reward.
Also ‘Bombblast or Breakfast ‘ by J. O. J. Nwachukwu-Agbada claimed the N100, 000 ANA Poetry Prize, just as ‘Primrose and the Kidnappers’ by Jide Ogunlana and ‘Tomorrow Brings Beautiful Things’ by Ernest Ogunyemi all got N100, 000 each for winning in the ANA Prize for Children’s Literature and ANA/NECO Teen Author Prose Prize, respectively.
Similarly, the work ‘Nativisation as Style and Identity Marker in Barclays Ayakoroma’s Dance on His Grave’, written by Ebi Yeibo bagged the N100, 000 ANA/Maria Ajima Prize for Literary Criticism.
This year’s convention held under the theme: Literature, Megacities and Mega-narratives, with its keynote delivered by Prof Karen King-Aribisala of the University of Lagos.
Earlier, in his welcome address at the Opening ceremony, at the Lagos Airport Hotel, Friday, President of the association, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, noted that although the group remains non-partisan and non-political in social commentaries, ‘we all have a stake in going beyond the texts to help shape this country into the path of rectitude and real progress.’
Continuing, Abdulahi said: “At this point it will be apt for us to add our voices to commentaries on the state of the nation and the political conundrum we presently find ourselves in in the country. The Association has had cause to release a statement at the height of the defection saga in the political space and the siege drama at the National Assembly asking; ‘Where Does All These Leave the People?’
“We asked this question because we have seen it repeatedly exhibited in this country since independence that the real interests of the people hardly matter to those playing politics or who find themselves in governance via the ballots or the bullets.
“Democracy to us has degenerated to simply a scheme of periodic elections preceded with all sorts of frenzy ushering in governments that lead neither the country nor its people to a remarkable place. It is like after every election, we go into a collective limbo to pick up the frenzy again when the next election approaches with new insidiousness.
“ANA as a body will take active interest in the forthcoming general elections among the league of the civil societies monitoring the process and if INEC looks our way, as collation, returning and electoral officers. We call on our members armed with their PVC to go out to cast their votes for candidates of their choice during the coming elections.”
Recalling how far the association has come in its struggle to promote literacy and a strong reading culture in the country, Abdullahi said this has informed the need for the group to re-strategize its models and models, as well as focus.
“ANA has toiled all these years in numerous projects and programmes to protect the interests of Nigerian writers, nurture the innate creative potentials of Nigerian children and youths, preserve the cultural heritage of this country, serve as its truly patriotic ambassador-at-large, promote the reading culture and a knowledge-based society.
“In this struggle and toil, our members have made huge sacrifices, occasionally assisted by benign state apparatuses and literary inclined individuals. We have realized that if our voice is to become stronger as an Association there is need for us to toe the path of self-sufficiency and the re-modeling of our working capacity.
“That is why our administration of this very important craft union has largely focused in the last few years on re-structuring our operational procedure by opening up to greater strategic partnerships and building a writers’ village in Abuja we could call our own.