By Wole Adedoyin
THE National Executive Council of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has approved conferment of fellowships to seven deserving writers at its 40th International Convention holding from November 3 – 6, 2021 at the Mamman Vatsa Writers Village, Mpape, Abuja. This was made known in a statement issued by ANA National Secretary, Maik Ortserga, in Makurdi, Benue State, during the week.
According to the statement, “The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has overcome the recent negative narratives within its fold which made many Nigerians to forget that there is another side to the story of the biggest continental body of writers. In the course of the association’s struggles, there have been writers who have constantly remained on the side of reason, offering advice and envisioning plans for which ANA will continue to move forward in the direction of its forebears.
“The association is pleased to induct the following great men and women as Fellows of ANA during the forthcoming International Convention and ANA at its 40th celebrations at Mammam Vatsa Writers Village, Mpape, Abuja. The new Fellows are Prof. Joe Ushie, Prof. Mabel Evwierhoma, Prof. Sonny Ododo, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, Architect Chukwudi Eze, Bina Nengi Ilegha and Hajiya Hafsat Abdulwaheed.
“They are be honoured for their dedicated service to the association and proven contributions to the development of Nigerian literature. The investiture of Fellows will be done at the awards dinner of the convention on November 5, 2021.
“Previous fellows of ANA are Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, J P Clark, Mabel Segun, Labo Yari, T M Aluko, Kole Omotoso, Femi Osofisan, Ken Saro Wiwa, Odia Ofeimun, Abubakar Gimba, Mamman Jiya Vatsa, Olusegun Obasanjo, Dora Akunyili and Olu Obafemi, Wale Okediran, Prof Jerry Anthony Agada, Captain Elechi Amadi, Remi Raji, Akachi Ezeigbo, JOJ Nwachukwu Agbada, Zaynab Alkali, May Nwoye, Chinedum Nwajiuba, Mallam Al-Bishak etc.”
ABDULLAHI is a poet, playwright, dramatist, literary essayist and culture technocrat. Born on 27 of August, 1969 at Idah, he hails from Agbaja in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State, Nigeria. He had his primary school education in Saint Barnabas School in Ilorin Kwara State and his secondary school education at the Government Secondary School, Ilorin where he was the Deputy Head Boy in his final year in 1986.He was a student of English and literature at the University of Jos, Nigeria, where he was the best graduating student of the 1990 set. He also has a Masters in Literature-in-English, acquired at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 1992. Abdullahi served his country (NYSC) at the Government Girls Science Secondary School, Malumfashi between 1990-1991. He started his working career as a lecturer at the Waziri Umaru Federal Polytechnic, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State in 1993(where he floated a performing troupe called Tashimana Theatre Troupe) and became a senior lecturer before transferring his service to the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Abuja in 1998 where he has risen in the Performing Arts Department to become a Director, presently heading the Bauchi Zonal Directorate of the organization.
Abdullahi is renowned for his numerous writings across platforms and other public cultural cum intellectual engagements. His first published book Mairogo: A Buffoon’s Poetic Journey Around Northern Nigeria (2001) received honourable mention for the prestigious ANA/CADBURY 2001 Poetry Prize. Abdullahi published two poetry volumes in 2008, The Talking Drum (February, 2008) and Abuja Nunyi (This is Abuja) (May 2008). His other published works are A Thousand Years of Thirst (2011), Hajj Poems (2014) and Death and the King’s Grey Hair and other Plays (2014). He also co-edited the book, Themes Fall Apart But the Centre Holds, published in 2009 in commemoration of the 50 years anniversary of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, which was celebrated worldwide in 2008, Arrows or Gods? Critical Essays on the Leadership Question in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, published in 2017 and For Ikeogu, For Poetry: Tributes, published in February 2019.
Abdullahi has published two collections of his interviews on arts, literary and cultural administration which has appeared in several Nigerian newspapers entitled On his Turf (Vol I & II) in 2015 and 2019 respectively. The latest of his creative output is The Road to Bauchi and Other Poems, published in August,2019. In 2021 a 721-page book on him was published entitled Of Foot-Soldiers and Hybrid Visions: A Festschrift in Honour of Denja Yahaya Abdullahi.
Abdullahi has held several Executive Council positions in the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA).He was the founding Chairman of the Kebbi State chapter of ANA from 1993-1998; held several positions at the Abuja Branch at various times from 1998-2001; and was Ex-officio at the National level (2001-2003), Assistant General Secretary (2003-2005), General Secretary ( 2005-2009) Vice President (2011 -2015).He was elected as President of ANA at the 34th Annual International Convention which held in Kaduna between 12-15 November,2015 and re-elected for a second and final term of 2 years at the 36th International convention of the association which held in Makurdi ,Benue State, Nigeria in October 2017. On assumption of office as the President of ANA in 2015, he brought greater visibility to the organization with resourceful and impactful programmes and projects across the country.
Until his exit as president of the association on November 2, 2019 at the 38th International Annual Convention of the association which held in Enugu, Enugu State. He was in 2009 appointed by the Federal Government of Nigeria as the Manager, Operations, Abuja Carnival after having consulted for the Carnival since its inception in 2005. In 2015, Abdullahi’ s play Death and the King’s Grey Hair won the SONTA/Chris Iyimoga Master Playwright Prize. The same play was in 2018 long listed and shortlisted for the Nigerian Prize for Literature administered by the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas company (NLNG).
Abdullahi, apart from teaching and other public service vocations in the areas of arts and culture, has also practiced active journalism with The News/A.M News/Tempo group in the mid-1990s. Abdullahi has attended international literary festivals, conferences and residencies in Ghana, Zimbabwe, Algeria, Senegal, Gambia, South Korea and the USA. He is a UNESCO- certified expert and Global Facilitator on Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Joseph Akawu Ushie
USHIE is a Professor of General Stylistics and Literary criticism at University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State Nigeria. He is the current Vice-Dean, Postgraduate School, University of Uyo. He was born at Akorshi, Bendi, the hilly Obanliku Local Government Area (which houses Nigeria’s foremost tourist attraction, the Obudu Cattle Ranch) of Cross River State, and he attended St. Peter’s Primary School, Bendi, Government Secondary School, Obudu, and the University of Calabar, Calabar, where he studied English and Literary studies, and was the Secretary-General, Student Union Government in 1980-81 session. He subsequently obtained the M. A. (1988) and PhD (2001) in English from Nigeria’s premier university, the University of Ibadan. Professor Ushie had served as Head, Department of English, and on several boards and committees in the University of Uyo. He had also been Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors, Akwa Ibom State Chapter, Judge, ANA national literary competitions (2009 – 2010), Juror of the Canada-based International Poetry Competition (2017) and a Co-Editor, Montreal 2017 Global Poetry Anthology.
Mabel Itohanosa Erioyunvwen Evwierhoma
EVWIERHOMA (born 7 May 1965) is a Nigerian academic. She is Professor of Theatre Arts at the University of Abuja. She specializes in dramatic theory, criticism, gender studies and cultural studies.
Mabel Evwierhoma was born to Peter Omoviroro Tobrise and Theodora Tobrise, (née Aiwerioghene). She attended Abadina Primary School from 1970 to 1975, and the Federal Government Girls College, Bauchi from 1976 to 1981. She gained her Higher School Certificate in 1983 from Federal School of Arts and Science, Suleja. She proceeded to the University of Ibadan, gaining a BA in Theatre Arts in 1986 and an MA in 1988. From 1989 to 1990 she was a tutorial assistant at the University of Ibadan before joining the University of Abuja in 1990 as an assistant lecturer. She gained her PhD in 1996, and was promoted full Professor in 2005.
A festschrift for Evwierhoma was published in 2015. She delivered an inaugural professorial lecture at the University of Abuja, ‘Mother is gold’, on 21 January 2016. In 2019 she was one of three candidates shortlisted for the position of vice chancellor of the University of Abuja. In June 2020 Evwierhoma delivered a lecture ‘Rape as Anti-culture in Contemporary Nigeria’, calling for cultural resistance and constitutional provisions against rape. her works include Out of hiding: Poems (2001), Female Empowerment and Dramatic Creativity in Nigeria (2002), After the Nobel Prize : reflections on African literature, governance, and development, (ed, with Gbemisola Adeoti – (2006), Nigerian Feminist Theatre: Essays on Female Axes in Contemporary Nigerian Drama ( 2014), edited with Methuselah Jeremiah) and Snapshots of the Female Ethos : Essays on Women in Drama and Culture of Africa (2015).
Sunday (Sunnie) Enessi Ododo
ODODO is a Professor of Performance Aesthetics and Theatre Technology at the Department of Visual and Performing Arts, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria. His scholarly work has gained considerable attention, especially his ‘Facekuerade theory’, which derives from the maskless transformational practices of traditional Ebira masquerades (eku). He has also edited reputable journals like Alore: Ilorin Journal of the Humanities, The Performer: Ilorin Journal of the Performing Arts, Sino-US English Teaching Journal and US-China Foreign Language Journal. He is also a Consultant to World Scenography Research Project. A good number of his essays have been published in journals in the USA, the UK, Japan, India, Netherlands, Germany and Nigeria, etc. He also co-edited Larger than his Frame: Critical Studies and Reflections on Olu Obafemi (2000) and Technical Theatre Practice in Nigeria: Trends and Issues (2006), with Professor Duro Oni.
There are other edited works to his credit. He is on the editorial board of The Perfformio, a University of Wales online journal for the performing arts (http://perfformio.org/default.aspx); and the Editorial Board of David Publishing Company, Libertyville, Illinois, USA. He is the pioneer Editor of Scene Dock: Journal of Theatre Design and Technology, and currently also serves on the board of four other journals in Nigeria.
Ododo remains a valued and respected icon in literary and theatre circles. His play, Hard Choice, further brought him to literary limelight as a gifted playwright as he won the prestigious ANA Drama Prize in 2012. Apart from being a theatre scholar, screenwriter, actor, poet and technical theatre practitioner in his highly fecund career of about three decades, he is reputed to be the exponent of the Facekuerade theory in African Theatre Studies. Beyond these, Ododo is a distinguished and versatile creative artist, who has made modest contributions to the growth of literature and creative writing in Nigeria through his activities in the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), where he has served as Chief Judge of literary prizes and national Vice President. He also served as one of the Vice Presidents of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), before becoming its 8th president and he made innovative and outstanding contributions to the society in two terms in office, which ended on 2nd November, 2017.
EZE, an architect, graduated with triple honours and a Phi-Beta-Kappa from Vassar College, received the William Kinne Award during his Master’s degree at Columbia University in New York and studied Creative Writing at the University of Toronto. He is the designer of Africa’s first Presidential Library in Abeokuta and a design member for the Enyimba Economic City in Abia State, among other distinguished works. He won the 1993 African Guardian Magazine’s International Essay Competition: To Make Nigeria Safe for Democracy and won the Nigerian Youth Service Corps’ Merit Award. Eze is a frequent Op-Ed contributor to Nigeria’s major Newspapers and a time member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He is a member of the Canadian Authors Association, the Association of Nigerian Authors and sits on the Advisory Board of the Abuja Literary Society. He is the author of five books The Positive Dream Actualizer (1996), Yes Lord (2002), Uchechi – The Triumph of Love (2011), Leadership Stories of Mother Hen (2006) and expanded edition, 2012, The Return of Half-Something (2018). His children are in diverse fields as medicine, pharmacy, law and engineering.
NENGI-ILAGHA is a retired Director Programmes at Niger Delta Television (NDTV), Bayelsa State. She was educated at the Archdeacon Crowther Memorial Girls School, ACMGS, Elelenwo, and at the University of Port Harcourt, where she won the Dean’s (Prof. Ola Rotimi) Certificate in Creative Arts 1984. Nengi-Ilegha worked as contract staff of NTA Yola in 1987, where she had her first stint as producer, presenter and scriptwriter. She became a graduate farmer with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) graduate farmers scheme in Port Harcourt in 1989. She was one of the youngest Caretaker Committee members of the old Yenagoa LGA, appointed by the Military Administration in 1990. She served as supervisory councillor for Agric and Women Affairs.
Nengi-Ilegha worked as optical dispenser at the Odadiki Eye Hospital, Port Harcourt under Dr. Deni Fiberesima, after her brief tenure of service at the Local Government Council in Rivers State. She then worked as trainee announcer at Radio Rivers before her gainful employment at the Rivers State Television, RSTV in 1992. In course of her career in Broadcasting, Nengi-Ilagha produced drama, documentaries, magazine programmes as well as children, women and health series. She won first position (RSTV) in the Civil Service Merit Awards of 1996.
She was pioneer Public Relations Officer, of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Bayelsa State from 1996 to 1999. She was also on secondment to Radio Bayelsa, where she scripted, directed and produced a drama series for teenagers. Bina is currently a member of the Bayelsa State Library Board.
Nengi-Ilagha served as Treasurer, and Assistant Secretary at state level of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), and was a one-time Member of the Governing Council of Institute. She has held the positions of pioneer Secretary; Vice Chairman; and Chairman of the Bayelsa State Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Nengi-Ilagha held the position of co-ordinator, and pioneer President of the Bayelsa State Branch of ACMGS Elelenwo Old Girls Association for several years. Nengi-Ilagha is the author of Condolences (which won the 2001 ANA Prose Prize, and was first of the three finalists/honourable mention in the maiden The Nigeria Prize for Literature Award sponsored by NLNG) and A Path of Stone. She has a collection of eleven short stories titled, Crossroads, which earned Honourable mention for prose at the 2002 ANA Awards. Nengi-Ilagha was honoured with the Outstanding Literary Achievements Award in the year 2004, by ANA Bayelsa. She is also the author of an allegory for children titled Down Is the Way Up and Truth Is Beautiful.H
ABDULWAHEED (born May 5, 1952) is a Nigerian, writer, poet, and a women’s rights activist. She is the first female Hausa writer from Northern Nigeria to have written a published novel. Abdulwaheed hails from Kofar Mata quarters of Kano City of Kano State Nigeria. Abdulwaheed was born on May 5, 1952. She is a Nigerian author who writes mainly in Hausa. She is a poet, and a women’s rights activist. She hails from Kofar Mata quarters of Kano City, Northern Nigeria. She did her primary education at Shahuci primary School and secondary school at Provincial Girls School currently known as Shekara Girls Secondary School, both in Kano State. She started writing in her primary school days. She married Muhammed Ahmed Abdulwaheed on January 25, 1966. In the early 1970s, she became the first female Hausa writer to have her novel published. In the 2000s, she attempted to contest the governorship election in Zamfara State. She has written more than 30 books, only five of which have been published. She has a number of children and the eldest among them is the journalist, Kadaria Ahmed.
* Adedoyin is PRO South