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How Ikeogu Oke won NLNG’s $100,000 Literature Prize

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The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature and Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) on Monday announced Ikeogu Oke as the winner of the 2017 edition of the prize after an intensive process of adjudication. The Prize is awarded with cash prize of $100, 000.
Announcing this at a press conference in Lagos, Chairman of the Advisory Board for the prize, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo, said Oke’s collection of poems, The Heresiad, emerged winner from among 184 entries received for the competition.
Poetry competition for the prize, he noted, is always very fierce and very interesting. “We couldn’t have been more reassured about the process because the panel of judges did a painstakingly thorough job in selecting the best from the final shortlist of three entries,” Banjo said.
International Consultant for the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2017 edition, Abena P.A Busia in her report, described Oke’s The Heresiad as a bold and wonderful experiment whose great strength also could have been its great weakness. She noted that choosing between Ojaide and Oke has been hard, and that vacillating between them was enough to ask if the prize can be shared.
She however added that Oke manages to create a poem that keeps quite strictly over 100 pages to the lyric pentameter and still hold the attention of the reader is a singular achievement. “The experiment in lesser hands could have led to a deadening of the senses. The volume itself is structured on a great conceit; a bold venture in defense of the art of poetry itself… The mastery of form is a tour de force exemplary of the dedication to the craft the poem is inscribed to defend. It would have been wonderful if this work had not only been published in print, but had been released with an audio version because indeed its singular achievement is its sustaining of narrative that displays the arguments of the contending parties, and yet at the same time keeps so clear the voice of the griot. And we can indeed hear the musicality in the rigor of the lines, and the absoluteness of the rhyming scheme of heroic couplets sustained throughout the work. In the end, if there must be a choice, my selection goes with this collection for the technical feat it performs. The deciding factor was the inclusion of the music, which I attempted playing and in doing that it brought home to me how very carefully the performativity of this work has been thought through.
Also speaking, chairman of the Panel of Judges, Professor Ernest N. Emenyonu said, “The seriousness with which the NLNG literary prize is received by the teeming population of writers in Nigeria is a sign that the expectations of writers swing beyond the prize itself to that of portraying their creativity. The prestige, associated with the prize saw the 184 entries of collections of poetry in various sizes and of diverse themes and set the stage for the stiff competition. At the beginning, the initial weeding was carried out following one of the primary criteria; quality and validity of publication year”.
According to him, “Oke’s poetry collection reveals a conscious /deliberate manipulation of language and philosophy in the style that reminds us of the writings of great Greek writers of Homeric and Hellenistic periods”.
Reacting to the verdict, the General Manager, External Relations at NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said: “National and international interest in both the Prize and process are increasing and this is good for the prize and for Nigeria. We are pleased with the judges’ verdict and Mr. Ikeogu Oke has demonstrated that he is a fine poet and Nigerians need to rally around and celebrate him. We must begin to build cultural icons, the likes of Professor Wole Soyinka and Professor Chinua Achebe, and this prize is the leading project doing this right now.”
He noted that the number of entries for the 2017 edition exceeded the 2013 numbers in the same category, showing a six percent increase in the number of entries received and increasing interest in one of the biggest literary prizes in the world. According to him, this has been the trend since 2005, the first time Poetry was in focus, and for which only 13 entries were received.
“We believe that the prize has inspired writers to want to deliberately advance the cause of Literature and win laurels. This has led to the proliferation of books and increased the quality of books. The spiralling effect of this is a direct boost to literacy and education in the country, the foundation of cultural and socio-economic revolution. The impact of the prize is easily discernible and we believe that it supports NLNG’s vision to help build a better Nigeria,” he remarked.
The decision on the winning entry of The Nigeria Prize for Literature was reached by a panel of judges, led by Prof. Ernest Emenyonu, professor of Africana Studies at the University of Michigan-Flint, USA. Other judges are Dr. Razinat Mohammed, associate professor of Literature at the University of Maiduguri and Tade Ipadeola, poet, lawyer and winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literature, 2013.
The panel had, through the Advisory Board, released a shortlist of eleven in July 2017 and later, a shortlist of three in September 2016. The three shortlisted entries, in alphabetic order, were A Good Mourning (Ogaga Ifowodo), Songs of myself: Quartet (Tanure Ojaide) and The Heresiad (Ikeogu Oke).

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Arts & Entertainments

Vandora, Dee One, Princess, Bitto evicted from BBNaija

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Princess and Bitto, Vandora and Dee One have become the first four housemates to be evicted from the Big Brother Naija reality show.

Big Brother had paired the housemates in strategic partnerships for the duration of their stay in the house, which meant that two people will suffer the consequences of the actions of one person and vice versa.

Dee One received his first warning strike over his insensitive jokes. This, by extension, affected Vandora who is his partner.

Princess and Bitto were also sent packing from the third season of the reality show tagged ‘Double Wahala’.

Apart from the first set of evicted housemates, Khloe and Kbrule were also disqualified from the show on Sunday night.

Both were disqualified after they had received three warning strikes.

Khloe got her second warning strike for using “strong abusive curse words”. This affected Kbrule, who is her strategic partner.

The housemates were extremely emotional and tearful as they were told to leave the house.

The remaining housemates are competing for N45 million on this season’s BBNaija.

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Khloe, Kbrule disqualified from BBNaija

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Khloe and Kbrule, housemates in the ongoing Big Brother Naija reality TV show, have been disqualified from the show.

This makes them the first set of people to leave the show.

Both were disqualified after they got three warning strikes.

Khloe got her second warning strike on Sunday for using “strong abusive curse words”. This affected Kbrule, who is her strategic partner.

Kbrule then got his third warning strike for using “strong threatening words and attempting to physically harm a fellow housemate”.

Dee One also got his first warning strike for his insensitive jokes. This, by extension, affected Vandora who is his strategic partner.

The first eviction show is supposed to hold on Sunday evening.

18 housemates have been put up for eviction except KSquared, who have now been disqualified, and LeoLex.

Big Brother had told housemates that almost all of them had been nominated for possible eviction because of their repeated failure to adhere to the rules of the house.

Since the housemates are in pairs, two of them may possibly be evicted at the weekend during the live show.

 

 

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BB Naija: Miracle, Nina allegedly having sex, Nigerians react

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Nigerians are currently reacting to Big Brother Naija housemates, Miracle and Nina who appeared to be having intercourse while others were asleep.

Their actions have since elicited different reactions on social media with some saying it is wrong for them to have gone the extra mile while others see nothing wrong in the act labelling those criticising them hypocrites.

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