Freedom, creativity define poets in Nigeria’s Arthub celebration
October 6 saw a collection of young poets converging on Oaks Garden Cultural Centre, Isheri-Igando, Lagos, for Poets in Nigeria’s (PIN) Arthub event designed to celebrate Freedom and Creativity.
It was a yearly gathering that drew young poets from as far-flung a place as Calabar and as nearby as Ibadan. They came brimming with performance pieces that were carefully crafted for the enjoyment of the audience.
Indeed, there were storytellers, spoken word performers, dancers, musicians and more.
But it was a poetic feast for the young under the tutelage of an older poet, Mr. Eriata Oribhabor, who has been expending personal resources to engage and empower these otherwise forgotten or neglected young ones to realise their creative dreams.
Their enthusiasm to engage with the intricacy of poetic flowering and share their ideas are enough reward for motivator, Mr. Oribhabor.
Proceedings started with impromptu collaborative performance that produced its own enjoyment. Then came the competitive Spoken Call based on a piece, ‘Mr. Clement,’ an analysis of the state of the nation and the poor leadership steering the ship of state. Ibukun Adedokun won with nine points. In the storytelling section, Alade Oluwatoyin beat Hephzibah Akpabio – ‘Verbally Caged,’ Edaki Timothy – ‘The End’ and Derick Chidumebi – ‘Succubus’ with his story, ‘A Blind Seer.’
Another competitive performance was Naija Poetry Performance featuring poetry in pidgin. Paul Okunola won with his piece ‘Fly when you hear word’ to beat Chukwu Bruno’s ‘Pidgin go pin us together,’ Irusota’s ‘You no be God,’ Ojedokun Penawo’s ‘Na so our light be,’ and Esther Kalu’s ‘E go better.’
This section dovetailed into the guest section, which had Chinyere Darlene Ezeigwe (author of Parable of Deeds), chairman, Lagos State chapter of Association of Nigerian Authors, Adeyemi Adebisi, and winner of maiden GTB’s Dusty Manuscript contest, Kukogho Eruesiri Samson (author of I Said These Words) in conversation. Ezeigwe said through her poetry, but particularly Our Generation Africa Foundation, she and others of like minds “hold forth the light for the darkness in people to flee. It’s a calling and I was working towards my purpose.”
She said her piece, ‘Death before birth,’ which she sees as an aborted dream. She said she wrote it at a deep moment in her life when she was expecting a child as an unwed mother, adding, “It foretold my life at the time. So for me, it was a prophecy that became real in my life. The question was, do I abort my unborn child? I had a call to be this big and that my dreams shouldn’t be too big for me!”
Although she said she does not write to teach lessons, Ezeigwe noted that she writes naturally.
On the other hand, Samson argued that while it is good to publish, it should not be the first consideration for writing. Rather, he canvassed that the satisfaction that comes from writing and sharing one’s work with others should be powerful motivations for writing.
“Everyone who writes should endeavor to share,” he stated. “I’ve published three books, but it’s my unpublished book that has given me real money. The immediate purpose of writing shouldn’t be to publish, but to express yourself.”
Absentee guests were Henry Akubuiro (Prodigals in Paradise) and Umar Yogiza Jr. Dara Olaniku spoke on the construct of ‘Freedom: Where is Creativity?’
There was also a photo exhibition tagged ‘Photo Runway’ that showed interesting cityscape scenes and nature.
THE second part of PIN’s Arthub programme was devoted essentially to performances of members and guest artists. Ambassador Band, Kriston Kama, whose well made music, ‘Try’ set the audience rocking; he also made a beautiful art piece for PIN president, Oribhabor.
Prestige performed ‘Killer’ as a spoken word piece, which was quite electrifying, a drama skit, Opeoluwa, who turned his ‘ope’ to ‘cope,’ ‘hope,’ and ‘dope’ to categorise the different stages of emotion turmoil she has undergone, as a young woman.
Dawn Baridor Dick perform her woman-centred ‘Alpha,’ which won her PIN’s Punchy Poetry prize
Then the master of spoken word poetry, Dike Chukwumerije, came on stage and as usual blew the breath of all away. He made some preliminary remarks that would stay with his audience for a long time.
According to Chukwumerije, “Poetry is a strong channel for spreading truth to society. In Abuja we get people to pay to see poetry show. But when we started, people said it couldn’t happen, that nobody would listens, but young people are so keen on poetry. There’s power in words and when spoken out of a place of honesty they can change society. You don’t have to be a politician or own a gun. Our words are important. Let our poetry interrogate our society. As young people, we cannot dance away our society. Nigeria should be a better place because of you. Let’s not misuse this gift of poetry that God has given to us.”
Chukwumerije thrilled his audience to such memorable pieces such as ‘The Revolution Has No Tribe,’ ‘Do You Know Who I Am?,’ ‘The Wall and the Bridge,’ ‘Bring Back the Coin in our Pocket,’ and ‘Not Men Who for Absent Gods.’
Raphael James spoke to the few parents in attendance about supporting “the creativity of our children,” adding that Unoka in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart was not a lazy man as wrongly interpreted, but a poet whose flute serenaded a society that was not ready for his rare talent in a society determined by raw strength.
Poet and activist, A.J. Dagga Tolar, spoke on freedom and creativity and submitted that Nigeria suffers from recurring political abikus that have keep haunting the country and her people with their poor management that has ruined the country.
Tolar, however, lamented, “Literature or poetry is powerless against stark illiteracy; illiteracy is a sabotage against the flowering of literature” that tasks leaders on accountability.
Bayo Ododo and his band from Ibadan and female guitarist, Tobo-rated, also performed to make Arthub 2018 a memorable event.
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