By Henry Akubuiro
As part of its goals of promoting literacy and cultural productions in Africa, the Bukar Usman Foundation has published three new titles. They include: Nchikota Akuko Ndi-Igbo (A collection of Igbo Folktales), A Foundation of Hope, and Songs for Bukar Usman. While the first two were published by Klamidas Communications Ltd, Abuja, the third book was issued by Whetstone Publishers, Kano.
Apart from writing and publishing in English, Bukar Usman has, over the years, championed literature in indigenous Nigerian languages, especially Hausa, with over a dozen titles. Recently, he sponsored the publication of a collection of Yoruba folktales, Ogorun-un Itan Lati Ile. He has added Nchikota Akoko Ndi-Igbo, written by George Chijioke Amadi but sponsored by the Bukar Usman Foundation, for the reading delight of the Igbo audience.
A 240-page book, Nchikota Akuko Ndi-Igbo contains 317 tales drawn from different parts of Igboland. These stories are predominantly those told by parents and elders by moonlight in the days of yore to younger ones.
The sponsor of Nchikota Akuko Ndi-Igbo hopes these and similar Nigerian folktales collected by the Bukar Usman Foundation would be turned into cartoons by specialists in future.
Songs for Bukar Usman, the second book, is a collection of panegyric poems written by five brilliant Hausa poets in honour of the former Permanent Secretary in the Presidency and revered public intellectual, Bukar Usman.
The songs were transcribed and translated from Hausa and anthologised by Khalid Imam. Contributors to the anthology include: Umar Idris (Dan Kwairon Biu), Sulaiman, Tijjani (Farfesan Waka), Aminu Ladan Abubakar, Maryam Baba (Sangandale), Bashir Yahuza Malumfashi and Khalid Imam.
Denja Abdullahi, former ANA President, notes on the Foreword: “To those who know Dr Bukar Usman and have come across his numerous, well researched and expansive literary and critical works that touch on germane areas of our culture, it cannot be a thing of surprise that a band of poets should sing so effusively about him and thongs connected to him in this collection.”
The third book, A Foundation of Hope, is a special compilation of the Dr. Bukar Usman Foundation to mark its 10th anniversary. A whooper of 1089 pages, it contains basic principles of the Foundation, publications and productions done by it and folktales research and other activities of BUF.
The book also contains details of awards received by the President of the Foundation, media reports by journalists on the writings of Bukar Usman, plus comments by readers, viewers, listeners and well wishers.
A Foundation of Hope illuminates the other side of Bukar Usman as a philanthropist dedicated, silently, to putting smiles on distressed faces nationwide and enriching knowledge beyond the shores of Nigeria.