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Osofisan laments lack of recognition for writers

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• Acting VC says UI will continue to be fertile ground for literary minds
The renowned literary icon and social critic, Prof. Femi Osofisan, has lamented lack of public recognition for Nigerian literary writers and creative minds as being done to politicians despite the fact that writers were the first to put Nigeria on the global map.

This also came as the Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Ibadan (UI), Prof. Adebola Babatunde Ekanola, said the premier university would continue to be a fertile ground for literary and creative minds.

They spoke at the 40th anniversary of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), which took place in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, at the weekend.

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The three-day event, which started at Tunde Odunlade Arts Centre, Bodija and climaxed at the Wole Soyinka Theatre in UI, had the theme, “The Resilience of Nigerian Literature.”

Osofisan, who spoke with The Guardian, said Nigeria did not give deserved public recognition to writers as being done in other climes, adding that nothing much had been done to promote literature in Nigeria despite the contributions of writers and literary minds.

He said: “The first people to put Nigeria on the global map were the artists.

“Our society did not give writers enough public recognition. The way national honours are given to politicians, the same are not being given to writers.

“Nothing much has been done by the government to promote literature.”

Ekanola, who was represented by Dr. Adedoyin Aguoru of Department of English of the university, said the university’s Faculty of Arts would remain as a source of encouragement to younger ones having produced numerous literary giants like Prof. Wole Soyinka, Prof. Chinua Achebe, Prof. Niyi Osundare and others.

The VC said: “UI is a fertile ground for writers. Most of the writers, the remarkable and historical writers in Nigeria and in Africa, passed through the Theatre Art Department of UI. They have been a source of encouragement to many.”

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