May 25, 2024
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Nigeria LNG an adorable company motivating Nigerian writers, says Adimora-Ezeigbo

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  • April 19, 2024
  • 7 min read
Nigeria LNG an adorable company motivating Nigerian writers, says Adimora-Ezeigbo

* ‘Nigeria LNG filling yawning gap in global scientific orientation at the expense of culture, humanity,

*‘Children’s literature is not just about stories; it’s a vibrant exploration of diverse experiences, ideas

By Anote Ajeluorou

CHAIRPERSON of the Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature and the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, yesterday commended sponsors of the prizes, Nigeria LNG, describing it as an ‘adorable company’ for sustaining the literature prize since initiating it 20 years ago and still counting. She stated this at the prizes’ handover ceremony on Thursday, April 18, 2024 in Lagos, noting that Nigeria LNG has succeeded and surpassed where sponsors of other literary prizes in the past failed. She added that the development has provided a source of motivation for Nigerian writers, who entered the highest number of entries this year since its inception 20 years ago.

“We want to thank Nigeria LNG, it’s an adorable company,” Adimora-Ezeigbo said. “Look at the way it has sustained this prize to its 20th year; it’s amazing. There are a number of prizes that have died in Nigeria – Cadbury’s Prize, Etisalat Prize, Spectrum Prize, etc; they are no more. They did not sustain the effort. We want to thank Nigeria LNG. 20 years, it’s not easy. We thank them for what they’re doing for Nigerian literature, for what they’re doing for Nigerian writers, for motivating Nigerian writers. Look at the number of submissions for this year’s prize. The highest so far. This means that Nigerian writers are very conscious of the opportunity they’re given by the prize, and they’re trying to improve their writing and submitting their works.”

She also expressed excitement at the huge interest shown to children’s writing by Nigeria writers, noting that providing good books to children at an early stage was an important undertaking.

“As we heard, this year is for children’s literature, a genre that excites us and makes all of us happy,” Adimora-Ezeigbo said. “We want our children and grandchildren to start reading as early as they can, because reading and reading good books are very important. Those of you that started reading early, you know what it did to your life. So we’re very proud that this year is for children’s literature and we received so many entries. We look forward to what the panel of judged will do.”

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Literature prizes Advisory Board chair, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (3rd left) handing over entries to jury chair, Prof. Saleh Abdu (3rd right) as board member, Prof. Olu Obafemi (left); GM, External Relations and Sustainable Development (Nigeria LNG), Andy Odeh; jury members, Prof. Vicky Slyvester (right) and Dr. Dr. Igudia Osarobu look on… in Lagos

The Advisory Board chair also reeled out the outstanding qualities of each of the three-man jury members – Prof. Saleh Abdu of Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, Prof. Vicky Sylvester of University of Abuja and Dr. Igudia Osarobu of University of Ibadan and the International Jury Consultant, Dr. Christopher Okemwa of Kisii University, Kenya, who she described as excellent academics as well as writers of note.

The prizes’ jury chair, Prof. Saleh Abdu of Federal University, Kashere, Gombe State, reciprocated Adimora-Ezeigbo by paying glowing obeisance to the prizes’ Advisory Board members – professors Adimora-Ezeigbo, Olu Obafemi and Ahmed Yerima – describing them as “accomplished, consummate, creative but also critical academics.”

According to Abdu, “We want to also thank Nigeria LNG for initiating but particularly sustaining the prize. It’s of utmost importance for us as Nigerians to recognise what Nigeria LNG is doing what is exceptionally meaningful besides funding an outstanding literary prize in Africa. What Nigeria LNG is doing is trying to fill a yawning gap in Nigeria but also global scientific orientation which is going on at the expense of culture and humanity. We are happy to recognise that and the prize being warmly welcome by many writers who have submitted their entries this year. For us as judges, we know what that means; it means more work for us. But we are prepared, and we will do our best to meet the deadline. We will also rely on the senior critics and scholars to guide us, and I believe we will successfully adjudicate, evaluate and bring out the best out of the over 160 entries.”

Earlier, the General Manager, External Relations and Sustainable Development (NLNG), Andy Odeh, highlighted The Nigeria Prize for Science and The Nigeria Prize for Literature, which were established in 2004, as Nigeria LNG’s flagship Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, with the addition of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism in 2018, adding, “The Nigeria Prize for Literature is worth USD100,000 in award money while the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism has a N10 million cash reward. Both prizes celebrate literary craftmanship and seek to bring the literary works of Nigerian authors to the world’s attention. Generally, the prize aims at improving the quality of writing, encourage reading of excellent literary works, and enhance the literacy outlook of the Nigerian people.”

Odeh then expressed happiness at the warm reception the prizes continue to receive among Nigerian writers, as a testament of their commitment to improve writing in the country.

According to him, “The 2024 cycle of the Nigeria Prize for Literature and Literary Criticism celebrates children’s literature. We received 164 entries for the Nigeria Prize for Literature, and 24 entries for the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism. This handover of entries is a celebration of the commitment and hard work put forth by every participant. It is a reminder of the importance of fostering a culture that encourages innovation, critical thinking, and artistic expression. It is also an opportunity for us to recognize the dedication and support of those who have mentored and guided these individuals, providing them with the resources and inspiration to achieve greatness. We look forward to the outcome of the adjudication process, and the eventual announcement of the winners of the prizes, come October 2024.”

In her closing remarks, Manager, Corporate Communication and Public Affairs, Anne-Maria Palmer-Ikuku, commended the Advisory Board and the panel of judges for their “expert guidance and commitment to maintaining high standards in Nigerian writing which are invaluable. We eagerly anticipate your insights into the submissions, hoping to uncover exceptional talent and creativity that these prizes celebrate,” and expressed “heartfelt thank you to everyone who submitted their works and to those working behind the scenes—the board, judges and my colleagues. Your dedication and passion are the backbone of this competition’s success. We look forward to what the judges would think of the submissions as they drill down through the longlist, shortlist, and the announcement of the winner of the prize in October.

“We certainly look forward to exceptional talent and creativity in the submissions, which is the hallmark of the Nigeria prize for literature and literary criticism. Children’s literature is not just about stories; it’s a vibrant exploration of diverse experiences and ideas. It challenges us to consider lives different from our own and teaches us deep lessons about humanity. This genre plays a crucial role in shaping young minds to appreciate the richness of our world. Let’s continue to nurture a love for reading and writing, championing the art of storytelling.

“Thank you once again for being a part of this event. Together, let’s keep the spirit of literature alive, especially for our youngest readers, who will carry these stories into the future.”

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