Guests on the front row – Prof. Temi Akporhonor (left); Sheikha Tuoyo Ovie-Jack; Prof. Sam Ukala; festival chairman, Dr. Gidwin Orhodavwe; Prof. Gordini G. Darah; Dr. Sunny Awhefeada; Dr. Enajite Ojaruega, and Mrs. Karoh Ativie… in Abraka
The much-anticipated maiden edition Festival of Creativity and Renewal organised by the Creative Writers’ Workshop was held at Abraka, Delta State University’s main campus, on Wednesday, May 31, 2017. The event attracted the cream of Nigeria’s literati and other artists. To chair the event was Dr. Godwin Orhodavwe of Delta State Broadcasting Service (DBS), Warri, who applauded the efforts of the student organisers, describing it as a step in the right direction.
While noting that art is a vital tool for promoting humanitarian, artistic and ethical values necessary for national development, Orhodavwe stressed the need for artists to let the world know about their activities by exploiting all avenues to publicise themselves, especially through the media.
While observing that creative writers are hindered by problems associated with publishing and marketing, the broadcaster pointed out that there would soon be a paradigm shift in creativity and urged aspiring writers, artistes and critics to take the bull by the horns even as they seek support from sundry avenues.
On his part, HOD, Department of English and Literary Studies and University’s Public Orator, Dr. Sunny Awhefeada, noted that the school was fortunate, as Abraka has continued to be a spring of literary creativity and scholarship. He reminded the audience that the university’s Faculty of Arts has produced great artistes, creative writers and scholars in the likes of Professors Sam Ukala, Tanure Ojaide, G.G. Darah and Ebi Yeibo, the 2014 winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors’ Prize for Poetry. He enjoined students to join the Creative Writers Workshop, promising that the creative body would offer them a platform to display their artistic talents.
Karo Enajemo, Jerome Okeme, Etho Kate, Tega Emoghene, Oburumu Godspower, Praise Nwachukwu, Peter Obajulu, Phylis Edafe, Esther Paul, Agbaragu Jerry, Chika Atuya and Kelvin held the audience spellbound with poetic performances expectedly woven around issues affecting the Niger Delta region. Also, Nwanne Favour, Faith Chiazor, Okonjo Jennifer, Fortune Aganbi and others of short fiction unit reminded the audience of recent happenings in the region, particularly the Fulani herdsmen’s incessant killings through their short stories. Members of the drama unit were not left out as they thrilled the audience with a performance titled The Bearers of Misfortune, a satire also on the Niger-Delta crisis.
While delivering a lecture ‘What Does It Matter?’ keynote speaker, Mr. Odia Ofeimun, submitted simply that “Writing is power” and that, “one of the greatest gifts a people can receive from Providence is to have a writer among them.”
Ofeimun, who was represented by University of Port Harcourt don, Dr. Obari Gomba, noted that creative writing is a special category of writing and that creative writers must be stubborn enough to elope with an idea and stay with it. While asserting that writing has the power to liberate the individual and his or her community, Ofeimun cited the role of writing in the politics of the black race and stressed that literature has done more good for the African presence than anything else.
While also stating that discretion, discipline, passion and resilience constitute the software of creativity Ofiemun argued that without the software, the hardware is an empty case. The erudite essayist also called for the institution of more prizes for writers, more book festivals and fairs, more collaborations between and among authors and publishers.
Also, while speaking on the importance of Yoruba talking drum, Dr. Atinuke Layade of Music Department, DELSU, examined the correlation between music and poetry. In her discourse ‘The Talking Drum: The Connectivity Between Music And Poetry,’ Layade spoke extensively on the affinity between music and poetry and how they are intertwined.
According to her, the Yoruba talking drum adopts syllabic construction and that though it is generally regarded as a musical instrument, it also incorporates idiomatic expressions and figurative language, all of which are elements of poetry directly employed to address the people at particular moments.
The music lecturer also pointed out that the imperative of the talking drum in Yoruba society could not be overemphasised, adding, “Drums serve as a medium of communication between the king and his subjects. They are also used for making proverbs to warn the people of imminent danger, to entertain, to mourn or to announce the death of an important personality and they are also used for eulogising the ancestry of Yoruba monarchs.”
While observing that master drummers are no longer respected in the contemporary society, Layade warned that if this continues, the tradition associated with the talking drum would die. She, therefore, appealed to all to preserve traditional values.
The highpoint of the event was the investiture of Professors Temi Akporhonor and Grace Ogwu, and Miss Sheikha Eyituoyo Ovie-Jack as patron and matrons respectively.
Earlier, Darah and Ukala were awed by the portraits presented to them.
Ajiri-Oghene Oreh and Ovokaeme Okpako are students of Department of English and Literary Studies, Delta State University, Abraka