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NLNG invests on creative minds as Onyemelukwe-Onuobia wins literature prize

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
01 November 2021   |   2:38 am
The Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has spent millions of dollars to grow the country’s creative sector, the Managing Director /CEO, Dr Philip Mshelbila, has disclosed.

The Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas Limited (NLNG) has spent millions of dollars to grow the country’s creative sector, the Managing Director /CEO, Dr Philip Mshelbila, has disclosed.

He spoke at the weekend in Lagos during the 2021 grand finale of the Nigeria Prizes.

Mshelbila said: “For us to create a better society, we need the imaginative power of the fiction writer to dream up the impossible. We also need scientists using the scientific method to find the best and most efficient way to make that dream a reality.

“The interaction of these two sets of minds continues to drive the development of modern society. Their position is so important that visionary policymakers must seek them out, encourage and promote them and their works. If we truly want our country, Nigeria, to experience growth in its education, economy, technology and industry, we must court them, love, and make them productive and regenerative.”

He went on: “That is why in NLNG, we have, since 2004, spent tens of millions of dollars to ensure that these groups of special minds never give up on their efforts and never give in to the emptiness that their solitary journey into the search for the unknown, sometimes, presents them with.

“Not delivering a winner in science is painful not just to us in NLNG, or to the Advisory Board for the Science Prize, but also to those who sent in entries. It should induce a national feeling of despondence. And it should be a call for us all to rethink the place of science in our curriculum. Science should not belong to the classrooms alone. We all must support its growth and development. I will, therefore, encourage venture capitalists, captains of industry, chambers of commerce and other consumers of innovation to fill this gap by adopting science departments of universities and research institutes in their various communities as part of research and development departments.”

Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia’s The Son Of The House won the $100,000 literature prize money.

The announcement was made by the chair of the Advisory Board for the Prize, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo. The book beat 201 others submitted for this edition (prose) of the competition, edging out The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare and Colours of Hatred by Obinna Udenwe, who all made the shortlist of three.

According to Adimora-Ezeigbo, the novel was chosen not only because it is full of suspense and intrigues, but also for how it is able to “tell human and indeed universal stories of rural as against urban life, suffering and survival, loss and redemption, decline and renaissance, destruction and reconstruction, and death and rebirth.”

She added: “The Son of the House is a profoundly unconventional novel that portrays the lives of two women in different worlds whose paths crossed during captivity.

“But they soon realised their path had earlier crossed at various points. The stories of Nwabulu, a one-time housemaid and now a successful fashion designer, and Julie, an educated woman who lived through tricks, deceits and manipulations, are told through a mosaic plot structure against the backdrop of modernity and traditional patriarchy, poverty and neglect.”