It was a crowning moment for Jude Idada and Abba A. Abba on Friday, October 11, 2019, as the duo won two of the biggest prizes in Nigerian literature. While Idada clinched the 2019 The Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by NLNG, Abba won the 2019 Literary Criticism Prize sponsored by the multinational gas company.
Both prizes were announced by the Chairman, Advisory Board for The Nigeria Prize for Literature, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo, at the NLNG 20-30 Anniversary Ball and Award Night, which held at Transcorp Hilton Hotel. Idada won the $100,000 prize with his children’s literature prose, Boom Boom, edging out Mystery at Ebenezer Lodge by Dunni Olatunde and The Great Walls of Benin by O.T. Begho, the two other works on shortlist drawn from 173 books.
The event commemorated NLNG’s 30 years anniversary of incorporation, 20 years of safe and reliable production and delivery of LNG from its six-train plant on Bonny Island and 15 years of sponsoring the Nigeria Prize for Literature.
The event was graced Senate President, Ahmed Lawal; the Amanyanabo of Bonny Kingdom, His Majesty, King Edward Asimini William Dappa Pepple III, Perekule XI; NLNG’s Board of Directors, led by Chief Osobonye R. LongJohn, the Board’s Chairman; NLNG’s past Managing Directors and Deputy Managing Directors of NLNG; NLNG’s Management Team led by Tony Attah, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer and Sadeeq Mai-Bornu, Deputy Managing Director; as well as other dignitaries.
Also, at the event, Professor Meihong Wang and Dr. Mathew Aneke were also awarded $100,000 as joint-winners of The Nigeria Prize for Science for Year 2019. Wang and Aneke were announced as winners in September 2019 by the prize’s Advisory Board for their work on Carbon Capture, Carbon Utilisation, and Biomass Gasification and Energy Storage for Power Generation.
Speaking during his welcome address, Tony Attah, NLNG’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, said the management and staff of NLNG, inspired by the Company’s vision of being a global LNG company, maintained international best practices in operations and safely & reliably delivered LNG cargoes around the world without harm to humans or the environment to earn a prominent place in the global market.
“We are here to celebrate the successes of this unique Nigerian brand which has recorded notable global recognitions, first, as the fastest growing LNG company in the world, in 2008 when we grew from a two-train plant complex in 1999 to a six-train plant just within nine years after start-up. At that time, we were also the fourth major supplier of LNG, contributing 4% of the nation’s GDP, until recently when our contribution was estimated at 1% following the rebasing of the nation’s GDP.
“Only last year, we were ranked first worldwide in plant reliability and we currently hold the fifth place in global market share, a position that we risk losing soon if we do not expand our capacity with the addition of more volumes. We are Africa’s leading supplier of LNG and the single largest industrial complex in the continent, 3rd largest in the world, doing global business with a workforce that is more than 95% indigenous and a wholly Nigerian Senior Management Team,” he stated.
On its annual prizes, Attah remarked that the company was also celebrating 15 years of successful administration of the Science and Literature prizes, saying “these past years have been an arduous journey but most definitely very fulfilling for us and I believe for the country as well. I say so unequivocally because thanks to the prizes, our nation now boasts of scientific breakthroughs and famous works on Poetry, Prose, Drama and Children’s Literature that have earned the prizes a reputation as the most prestigious prizes in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Deputy Managing Director, Sadeeq Mai-Bornu, in his remarks, expressed appreciation to all the company’s stakeholders for the successes recorded over the years, adding that through partnership with all the levels of government, NLNG has been able to progress towards achieving Train 7, as well as the advancement of Corporate Social Responsibility goals.
While delivering the judges’ report for the Literature Prize, Professor Banjo said “based on standard criteria such as literary merit, appeal of content to the target audience, social relevance of the subject matter explored, and a unique capacity to communicate pain and its relief as a human social and natural experience in a way that children can understand and relate with, Boom Boom, was declared as the winning entry.”
In its assessment of the Literary Criticism Prize for 2019, the panel of judges noted that, out of the many submissions received for the competition, Dr. Abba’s three articles, which were published in highly reputable international journals, stood out as works of outstanding scholarship.
In his response, Dr. Abba was full of praises for the NLNG for sponsoring the world-class prize, noting that NLNG seemed to recognise that, while Science builds the house, Arts, to which literature belongs, builds the man. He also expressed his gratitude to the Vice-Chancellor of Edwin Clark University, Prof. T.O. Olagbemiro, for providing a conducive environment that guarantees fruitful research.