From Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti
It was a sweet reunion of writers and the academia at the Federal University, Oye-Ekiti (FUOYE), Ekiti State, where members of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), formally inaugurated its Ekiti State chapter of the association.
The guest speaker, Dr. Wale Okediran who read some of his works also lectured the students: “Tenants of the House came about because I considered politicians as servants of the people. If you are fortunate to be elected into the National Assembly you are supposed to be there for a number of time as tenants not the owner of the place. But many of them had turned themselves into the landlord of the House.”
The one time winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature revealed how his background in Medicine influenced his writing: “Medical training encourages literature, reading a lot is a good training. You also are taught to observe and realize that power. Best way to get materials in writing is to quietly observe people, environment and so on as ideas for writing can come to you anywhere.”
The author underlined the fact that a writer is indeed a prophet when he drew attention to a character in the book, Bakura, an honourable lawmaker who wants to make a bill to stop the perennial problem of Fulani herdsmen’s attack on farmers’ farmlands:
“This had been happening before I wrote the book and it was like I had seen the future when I was writing the book as I was trying to paint a picture where a bill was passed in the NASS to solve this problem. But now with a governor (Ayo Fayose) making an anti-grazing law, I think we are heading “Writing is a labour of love. You must love it to invest in it, If you love sharing your ideas with people. It was difficult at first until my books started winning awards and get recommended and I began to make money.”
Professor Ken responding said: “As a critic we are seen as enemies to the writer, but Wale is not just a writer, but a perfect gentleman. I have been following him for years. You won’t find critics and writers like that.” He urged the school management to urgently start a writers’ workshop so that young students aspiring to be writers could be properly mentored.
Also responding, former Governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Segun Oni, described FUOYE as an emerging, great university: “I personally believe that the greatest of all gifts which God gave is creativity. If God gives you that gift don’t allow it to die. Try and exercise it, to exercise it requires discipline, to exercise it would require that you have people to mentor you. This is why I am making this request.
“The Vice-Chancellor sir, please invite Dr. Okediran to come and conduct a workshop for people from diverse background of this university and for students and others who are interested in writing. A writers’ workshop to be conducted in collaboration with ANA. Many students and others would benefit and their talents would blossom.”
Senator Ayo Arise said: “I congratulate the students because this is a very unique occasion and I’m impressed by the attendance as it shows that this is indeed a learning environment.”
Former chairman, ANA, Oyo State and current head of department of English and Literay Studies, Babcock University, Remo, Ogun State, Dr. Solomon Iguanre: “The ANA Ekiti given birth today is your laboratory, incubator and workshop where you can test run your creativity. So you would be ready for the market, write first for sun and it would translate to something for you.”
Former chairman of ANA in Ogun State, Mr. Dada Olanipekun: “We are grateful to some of you who have contributed immensely to this fraternity. You are all writers if you have any piece please pass it on to your lecturers so you could get yourself to come up too.”
The Vice Chancellor of FUOYE, Professor Shoremekun, responded: “I share a great deal of joy and optimism today because I have always been worried about something which is that what I have observed is the university idea is dieing in Nigeria. There is a university between the university and the university idea. You may have a university but lack the university idea.
“As young as this university is we are going to keep alive the university idea and what I call the university spirit. One way to ensure this is an occasion like this. It provides an inspiration to students who would become tomorrow’s Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe.
“We will take up the challenge thrown by Segun Oni. This won’t be a one off event, we will take it up in various forms and invite seasoned writers to train our students. Writing is such an embracing vocation that it defies all other fields. You have doctors, sociologists etc as writers. There is a story in each one of us. I assure you my students, my colleagues, we will ensure that this is taken up.
“Let me confess that I do not mind an industrial action. I believe that there should be a form of creative tension between the management and the university, that is what makes our university.”
New members of the Executive Council of ANA, Ekiti State, were elected and sworn in by Okediran. Elected were Akogun Tai Oguntayo, former chairman of the Ekiti Chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chairman; Dr. Sola Balogun, former Arts Editor of Daily Sun and now lecturer in the Theatre and Media Arts Department, Secretary; Miss.Toyin Bade-Afuye, lecturer in the Theatre Arts Department of Ekiti State University, Assistant Secretary/Welfare Officer; Dr. Jonathan Mbachaga of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts at FUOYE, Publicity Secretary and Mr. Demola Oyedokun of the English and Literary Studies Department, Legal Adviser.
Others were Mr. Ajobiewe, Treasurer, Mrs.Tosin Tume of the Theatre and Media Arts Department, FUOYE, Financial Secretary; Dr. Jonathan Mbachaga, Publicity Secretary and Arise, Patron.