The Bayelsa State Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has held a Literary Festival (LITFEST) to mark the 2022 End-of-Year activities.
In a statement jointly signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO 1), Solomon Agoro (PhD) and Secretary, Ebipreye Egbenpere, the ANA Bayelsa LITFEST has as its theme : “Poetry, Palm-wine and Pepper soup!”
It featured a Guest Lecture by Dr. Timipa Ayibanua, who stood in for the Deputy Vice Chancellor ((DVC) of the Federal University, Otuoke, (FUO), Prof. Chris Onyema, and spoke on the topic: “Literature, Tourism and the Environment: The Niger Delta Experience.”
Dr. Ayibanua harped on the need for writers to reflect the current harsh realities plaguing the Niger Delta region as he extrapolated inferences from Kaine Agary’s award winning novel: YELLOW-YELLOW; and cited other notable authors across genres such as Ebinyo Ogbowei (Poetry); Lambert Ototo (Children’s Literature); Helen Aniso (fiction) and Prof. Ben Benabai (Drama) who have impacted through their writings in attracting global attention to the socio-economic cum political malaise bedeviling the oil and gas-rich region
A robust panel interactive discourse with insightful contributions from Dr. Solomon Agoro; Dr. Onyeka Ike (both academic scholars from the Federal University Otuoke); Mr. Preye Julius, (an On-Air-Personality of Radio Bayelsa and broadcast journalist) Dr. Roland Elekele of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) as well as Mrs. Margret Buba, Mrs Consider Obamanu, Comrade Tony Ile, Mr. Patterson Jerry and Mr. Michael Okafor, amongst others, highlighted the significance of literature to humanity and the need for cultural re-orientation as a panacea to the disillusionment experienced in the troubled region of the Niger Delta.
Poetry recitations held the audience spell bound as poets and spoken word artistes, such as Yambozibe Egemuze, Izibetome Olisah Egbo, Joy Ifidi, Michael Okafor, Binaebi Oyeghe; spun their poetic yarns to thrill the crowd with “spontaneous overflow of emotions recollected in tranquility” to quote the words of William Wordsworth; while a few others read from their published works.
Oral literary cum cultural performances were not left out as Chief Adolphus Munamuna – the ‘Ofurumapepe’ crooner; and gospel music maestro, Mr. Banner-Man, were in attendance to render evergreen Izon literary cultural songs with call-and-response refrains, as the lively audience, joined in the frenzy to sing, dance and clap to the rhythmic beats in synchrony.
In his remarks, the Special Guest of Honour, who doubles as the Bayelsa State Focal Person of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-sponsored, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Dr. Ebiwari Wariowei (PhD), lauded ANA Bayelsa, particularly, the Acting Chairman, Amatare Mozimo-led Executive, for putting together such a robust literary programme to mark the yuletide as he vowed to partner with the writers body in achieving set goals as education was one of the key pillars of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Dr. Wariowei, the SDG helmsman, accepted to incorporate ANA Bayelsa into various programmes of the UNDP in order to empower writers and local publishers through training workshops and other viable programmes of support, fellowships and sponsorships.
The ANA Bayelsa LITFEST also featured a bye-election for the vacant Chairmanship position and Comrade Laye Julius was elected as the New Chairman of ANA Bayelsa State Chapter.
Declaring the results, the five-man adhoc Electoral Committee (ELCOM) led by a former Chairman of ANA Bayelsa, Dr. Akpos Adesi and flanked by another two-time ANA Bayelsa Chairman, Chief Gilbert Ebinyo Ogbowei, and the immediate past ANA Bayelsa Chairman, Chief Adolphus Munamuna, and supported by Ms. Hilda Osunu and Mrs. Peremoboere Fatayi, declared that Comrade Laye Julius, (nominated by Dr Solomon Agoro and Seconded by the Assistant Secretary of ANA Bayelsa, Dr. Sinitombo Frederick) polled 63 votes to be the new Chairman of the writers’ body as he was unopposed.
In his inaugural speech, just after taking his oath of office, Comrade Julius, who doubles as the incumbent Chairman of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bayelsa State Council, pledged to work with all and sundry to take ANA Bayelsa to greater heights by ensuring that ANA monthly readings are hosted by dignitaries, beyond the state capital, Yenagoa, to the interior communities of Biseni, Sabagreai and other far flung communities in order to boost the vibrant literary culture, sustained through robust programmes and partnerships with well meaning organisations and the state govérnment.
High point of the day was the award of honorary awards to deserving members and institutions for their working partnerships with ANA Bayelsa such as Dr. Ebiwari Wariowei of the SDG Office; and Rhythm 94.7 Swali-Yenagoa; as well as a toast to ANA Bayelsa@20 and birthday celebration of Dr. Akpos Adesi (Registrar of the University of Africa, Toru Orua (UAT)) whose birthday coincided with the 2022 ANA Bayelsa End-of-Year LITFEST.