By Henry Akubuiro
As the 2021 season for the Nigeria Prize for Literature commences with the completion of the handing over ceremony, the Ayo Banjo-led Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature, comprising of Ben Elugbe and late Prof. Jerry Agada, having completed its tenure (appointed 2011), has been replaced by Prof. Prof. Olu Obafemi and Ahmed Yerimah, with Prof. Adimora-Ezeigbo as the new Chair.
This was announced at a media briefing organised by Nigeria LNG on Zoom on Wednesday, March, 2021, attended by NLNG officials, panel of judges and members of old and new Advisory Boards.
Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, now designated as Life Patron of the Board», thanked the press for showing a keen interest in the prize, reporting events each year, interrogating the process, and even speculating on potential winners, stressing, «It was their insistence on opening up the prize to Nigerian writers, wherever they might be, that enhanced the quality of the entries.»
The New Advisory Chair, Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, a former winner of the prize, thanked NLNG for appointing the new members. “My team and I will do well, and we are going to maintain a high standard and also support the panel of judges,” she said, while appealing to the press to continue supporting both prizes with constructive criticism.
A virtual handover of 202 entries for the Literature Prize and four entries for the Literary Criticism Prize by Prof Adimora-Ezeigbo was consumated with the Chair of this year’s panel of judges, Prof Olutoye Jegede. Other members of the panel include Prof. Tanimu Abubukar and Dr. Azumora. The entries were received last year, but were deferred till this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sophia Horsfall, Manager, External Relations, NLNG, in her closing remarks, said she was glad “the 2021 circle has commenced,” assuring of NLNG unwavering commitment to the $100,000 Literature Prize and N1m Literary Criticism Prize.