Writings of the general word's body

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Remi Raji guns for ANA Presidency


Preamble to the Manifesto:

Dear compatriots and friends, all-Nigerian authors at home and in the Diaspora, the time is close by. Towards the next election hour of ANA, which holds later in the year in the Federal Capital Territory – Abuja, I hereby make a declaration, offering myself to serve as the next, tenth President of the Association of Nigerian Authors.

I have a simple activist manifesto, a cardinal chart of the main ideas upon which other actions are built. The ANA has come a long way. The original dream of the association is intact; and I consider myself as an inheritor of that dream. There are others scattered all over the continent and around the world, participants all in this declaration of hope, those for whom the ANA is more than a nest of crude politics and jamboree of nothingness, those who believe that ANA can be more than a yearly mention in our nation’s cultural calendar. I share the energies of these positive people. There are many of us, resident and working assiduously, by dint of our industry, many who are willing to sustain the dream of a vibrant, twenty-first century association of Nigerian authors, those who want a leadership that will not be a reluctant leadership, those who desire tested hands in art administration, those who are ready to follow the dream of a greater Nigerian literary tradition, a tradition where sound arguments and decisions will reign over parochial affiliations. This is the imperative, the tonic and the motivation that informed my decision to run for the post of president of the ANA.

I joined the ANA through the Oyo State Chapter in June 1988, becoming in that election year its Publicity Secretary. In the second resuscitation of the state chapter in 1997, I served as the Vice Chairman (under Wale Okediran), and the Chairman, from 1998 to 2000. I served the Association at the national level first as the Editor of ANA REVIEW (2000) and later as a working committee member in 2001 and 2004.

From 2002, I became more involved in the leadership of the Nigerian chapter of PEN International (as Secretary) and in the continental network - PEN Africa Network (as its first Coordinator). Through these collaboration and activism, I was privileged to bring a sizeable number of Nigerian authors, many of who were declared members of ANA, to international visibility, through publications and participations in literary festivals in Africa, America and Europe. As the outgoing secretary of PEN, I hope to encourage a continuation of collaboration and exchange of ideas in the two complementing organisations.

I bring with me the commitment to writing, literary criticism and cultural activism spanning over twenty-five years. I bring with me an unyielding belief in the power of the word as agency for change in a nation like ours, a commitment to excellence in both the things said, and how things are said. I am convinced that the ANA has not been well served in terms of national arts policy formation, in terms of public recognition, and in terms of corporate support. I hope to build on earlier and distant efforts at securing respect for the voice of the Nigerian author. This is my hope, this is part of the ultimate dream with which I raise my voice now. With an executive board in place, I promise to serve the Nigerian author, young or old, established, remarkable or struggling.

The slogan for my campaign is “Booking the Future”. The term “booking” is used here to mean a multiplex of ideas and actions. It means addressing the challenges that lie before us as a nation, through literature; it means negotiating the means by which we can contribute our potentials to the brilliant future imagined for the Nigerian dream; and it means support for deliberate achievements by individual authors in the literary tradition. To book the future is also to be proactive in the encouragement of a new generation of authors and writers through a systematic combination of advocacy, outreach and mentoring programmes. I shall deal with this appropriately at the right time.

In the coming months, I will be requiring your support, your questions, queries, advice and, above all, your prayer and contribution to the dream. I hope I would not be disappointed in this: I want to hope too that for the first time in many moons, the contest for the leadership of the ANA shall be wrapped around cogent issues, real ideas and less on inanities or sheer ethnic politicking. Fellow Nigerian authors, arise, let’s teach and show the way.

Thank you.

Remi Raji
January 15, 2011

No comments: