OF CATCHING THEM YOUNG AND OUR COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY
A few days ago, I found myself surrounded by a handful of the many brilliant minds that were drawn from 1 to 15 senior secondary schools in Ilorin metropolis, Kwara State, equally known as State of Harmony. Here, one could say, it’s not just about the harmonious coexistence all alone, but also about advancing the cause of creative writing, public speaking, and scholarship among other interesting things.
At about 10:30 in the morning, I went to Imodoye Writers Enclave where members of the Association of Nigerian Authors — Kwara ANA — have gathered to mark this year's edition of ANA/YUSUF ALI LITERARY CAMPAIGN. At least 15 schools were at the attendance.
Being the pioneer Manager, Imodoye Writers Enclave, it was for us a thrillingly august opportunity to host the above-mentioned event at our permanent site which is located in a conducive environment at 35, Annur Gardens, Opp. Tenderfoot Nursery & Primary School, Fate-Tanke, Ilorin.
I may not be able to give my curious, esteemed readers a very detailed account of how the said event was conducted... However, it's pertinent to state that it went very, very well.
As a matter of fact, the participating students and representatives of their various schools — which included but not limited to: Sheikh Abdul Salam Secondary School, Unilorin Secondary School, Baptist Secondary School, and Queen Elizabeth School — were able to showcase, in a nutshell, their linguistic dexterity through an impromptu speech in one hand and, in the other, they have proven to be deeply addicted to reading and going further to attain their full potentials...
Interestingly, for these students, unlike their peers who have "moved on", reading doesn't have to stop within the classroom setting; it has to continue at home, on a journey, under the tree, while relaxing... for reading is, one could say, a way of life or, simply put, an art of training the mind to think creatively, thereby acquiring scores of vocabularies and developing strong communication skill effectively.
Personally, I was quite impressed when I saw how these young ladies and gentlemen were busy quoting the two literary works that were presented to them, a few weeks ago, by Kwara ANA...
I don't have the exact words, at this juncture, to attempt to describe how these young schoolers have been able to, systemically and accurately, answer every single question that has been thrown to them by the panel of judges appointed for the eventful occasion.
Armed with facts and arguments, some of them even spoke about the deplorable yet reccuring activities of the internet fraudsters who, in our Nigerian parlance, are being referred to as 'Yahoo Boys". There was also this lady, a grown-up scholar, that spoke for the girl child, and shared her views on various issues relating to the latter: early marriage, African parenting, child abuse, etcetera.
Going further, I can still remember having enjoyed a lecture which was impeccably delivered by Mr Muibi Babatunde Lawal, a soon-to-be PhD holder, Literature-in-English.
In his lecture on the "Role of Creative Writing on Societal Education", Mr Babatunde was able to do justice to the topic. He even went further to give us a historical overview of the Nigerian Literature written in the English Language. He didn't let any stone unturned when mentioning the names of some of Nigeria's foremost writers, both past and present, such as Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo and JP Clark; Wole Soyinka, Femi Osofisan and Olu Obafemi. Our lecturer also talked about Africa's oral tradition and its place in the literary discourses...
To crown it all, prizes, certificates, and awards were meritoriously given to the winners at the end of that interestingly educative and inspiringly tailored programme.