By Wole Adedoyin
THE outgoing National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Mr. Camillus Ukah has formally declared his intention to seek a second term in office at the forthcoming ANA National Election scheduled to hold on November 6, in Abuja, at this year’s international convention. Ukah made the announcement this week, though there have been indications that he would seek another term.
According to Ukah, his decision to seek a second term in office is based on calls by members of the association across the country and his personal conviction to continue to provide excellent service to the writers’ body. Ukah has been presiding over the affairs of the association since 2020, when he took over from the immediate past President, Mallam Denja Abdulahi who officially handed over to Ukah in Makurdi, Benue State, where the election took place.
Former ANA Kwara Chairman, Mr Abdulrahman Adebayo described Ukah as sensible, reliable, focused, visionary and consistent leader, judging from his unprecedented achievements in the one and a half years of his leadership. Also Chief Ernest Onuoha, a former national executive member of the association, said Ukah has demonstrated that he has vision, capacity and capability to make ANA members the cornerstone of his administration, saying it was what Ukah represents in ANA, even as he praised Ukah’s consistency.
Some of Ukah’s achievements include the formation of strategic panels and committees to fast track delivery of the association’s objectives. Two of the committees are ANA Reconciliation and Peace Building Committee and ANA Land Review Committee, the monitoring and supervising elections in chapters such as Oyo, Kogi, Kaduna, Osun, Kwara, Abuja, Nassarawa, Bayelsa, Yobe States, establishment of partnership with other similar stakeholders like the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC), Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and holding the 9th and 10th meetings of the National Executive Council members with State Chapters’ Chairmen and Secretaries in Ilorin Kwara State.
Others include holding the association’s 2020 and 2021 Authors’ Groove at the Nigerian International Book Fair, participating in the burial of the former ANA President, Prof. Jerry Agada, and Prof. JP Clark, with the 2020 edition of ANA Review dedicated to the memory of the late literary sage. Under Ukah, ANA held its 3rd Conference/Creative Workshop in partnership with Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu –Alike Ikwo in Ebonyi State with the theme “Re-imagining Belonginess in 21st Century Africa” delivered by Dr. Chika Unigwe, fast-tracking development and construction activities on the ANA Land in Mpape, Abuja, where the basic structures originally earmarked are in various stages of completion. ANA further streamlined its literary prizes, with a few prizes whose endowments have since expired or which no longer received competitive entries being scraped.
Also, three distinguished members of the Association: Chinedum Nwajiuba, Prof. May Nwoye and Prof. Mallam Al-Bishak were inducted as fellows of the association at the 39th International Annual Convention which held in Ilorin, Kwara State in December 2020, with four former presidents in attendance: Prof. Femi Osofisan, Prof. Olu Obafemi, Dr. Wale Okediran, Prof. Remi Raji and Mallam Abdulahi. ANA was on ground at the Valedictory Lecture and Retirement from the Service of University of Ilorin organized in honour of Prof. Olu Obafemi. The association partnered with Bayelsa State First Lady on A-Book-A-Week Project, partnered with some of its chapters in the staging of special programmes and events such as the World Book Day, etc.
ANA also donated new titles of books sourced from past literary prize entries to schools and libraries, inaugurated the Young Writers Mentoring Scheme in furtherance of nurturing literary creativity among teenagers and young persons, revived and energised Nigerian Writers Series which the past administration started, partnered with formal Oyo State first Lady on a book- a week- Per child project, introduced the Chinua Achebe Prize for Literature endowed by the Anambra State Government in honour of Chinua Achebe with one million naira cash reward, introduced Prof. Jerry Agada Prize endowed by Prof. Moses Tsenongu in honour of the former president of the association, Prof. Jerry Agada, unveiled Forty Thousand (40,00) Books Project to mark ANA’s 40th anniversary, introduced Ikeogu Poetry Prize for Teen Poets endowed by the family of the late poet, launched/commissioned Imodoye Writers Enclave (Ile Iwe) in Ilorin, a private initiative of Dr. Usman Oladipo Akanbi, former Chairman of ANA Kwara, for the use of young and professional writers across the country wishing to enhance and hone their creative writing skills. The initiative takes after Dr. Wale Okediran’s Ebedi International Writers Residency in Iseyin, Oyo State, the upgrade of ANA website from www.ana-nigeria.com to www.ananigeria.org, and took ANA@40 Celebration to Ibadan, Yenagoa, Benue, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Imo, Bauchi Niger and Port-Harcourt.
- Adedoyin is ANA PRO South