Writings of the general word's body

Monday, October 01, 2007

Boycott the 2007 NLNG Prize - Oha

Sadly, the most prestigious literary award in literature in Nigeria comes from the same group of people who killed one of our own and who have constantly destroyed our environment, our economy and our intellectual framework. The same people, according to Nimmo Bassey, who live on the blood of the Niger Delta people. Unfortunately, our writers have consistently followed this disgraceful development with tight lips. Everybody scrambles for awards. $20,000 USD was enough to buy our souls, our conscience and our rights! Incredible!

Disgracefully, the president of ANA, Dr. Wale Okediran, has often campaigned for support to this literary suicide. I do not wish to insult my elder, but it is necessary that we advice our elders whenever they seem to throw caution to the dogs. Selfishness is one of the major diseases that the present ANA executive is suffering. To them, whatever brings about the 'cash' should be supported, undermining our conscience and our sensibilities. Adding to this is the fact that NLNG award is never organised with the input of ANA, the foremost and the most recognised association of writers in Nigeria. ANA is even hardly recognised in LNG programmes. They moronly follow each LNG program like the proverbial dog eating the crumbs that fell from its master's table. They follow unrecognized, unacknowleged.

To add salt to injury, General Babangida, is invited as the Special Guest in this year's NLNG award. IBB is an enigma, a destroyer of intellect and a habinger of illegalities. To be in LNG Award is to remind us that we are still victims of what we have been fighting to eliminate. IBB and Nigerian literature are two parallels that should never never merge. I call for a boycott of this year's NLNG award by Nigerian writers and to advise that a more credible company than LNG should be called into this literary business. This is the time to shop for a credible partner....

Tony C. Oha

26 September 2007
*Writer's image © Tolu Ogunlesi


ANA Press Release said...

Press Release The media has been awash with calls that the Association of
Nigerian Authors should boycott the Charity Ball for award of the literary prize
sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) over the latter’s choice
of former military president, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida to deliver a keynote
address at the occasion. We would like to state categorically that our
association has nothing to do with the administration of the NLNG’s literature
prize and, by extension, makes no input to the organisation of its award
ceremonies. ANA executives and members only receive invitations like every other
person; the facts that we are the largest interest group of writers in Nigeria
and that our members have always come tops in the contest, notwithstanding. We
therefore, after wide consultations, see no basis for calls that the association
boycotts the Charity Ball.

Nevertheless, we acknowledge the fact that the calls were made in recognition
of ANA’s history of unshakeable commitment to good governance and accountability
in the country and the reprehensible role IBB has played by the entrenchment of
the contrary. Nigerians of all affiliations have asked that the general be made
to account for the actions he took as head of state. It is well documented how
IBB’s policies crippled education, killed publishing and led to the flight of
intellectual capital from Nigeria, in addition to unresolved brazen murders of
journalists and hounding of writers. We will not also recount his refusal to
listen to ANA’s pleas that IBB should pardon one of the association’s
illustrious members, General Mamman Vatsa, who was suspected of involvement in a
doubtful coup attempt. And recent confessions by the major actors in the coup
trial have vindicated the association. These and many more form grounds on which
we believe that General Ibrahim Babangida,
retired or serving, lacks the moral competence to address any decent gathering
of Nigerian literati, which such an assembly as the Charity Ball should consist
of. As such, we leave it to the judgement of individual ANA members to choose
whether to attend the October 6th 2007 event or not.

Be that as it may, we must declare that, in its fourth year, the literature
prize is being bogged down by avoidable bad image because of the narrowness of
consultations made by its organisers. We advise the Nigeria Liquefied Natural
Gas, as a corporate Nigerian entity, to endeavour to throw up models worthy of
emulation by the youth. They should not be seen to reward ineptitude or glorify
it, as the choice of its icons reflects the organisation’s core philosophy
guiding its relationship with the people of the country. We urge the NLNG to
improve its base of consultations in the administration of the prize in order to
make it a literary honour worth the name.


Hon (Dr) Wale Okediran

Denja Abdullahi
General Secretary

Anonymous said...

Oha's article is sadly misinformed. His views on the IBB issue are well-reasoned and I agree with them, but NLNG is not responsible for all the heaps of atrocities he's mentioned. He needs to read up on NLNG and what it actually does.