Thursday, November 18, 2010

U.s Group Celebrates Ken Saro Wiwa With Writing Competition

Fifteen years after he was hanged along with eight other Ogoni freedom fighters, a non-governmental organization group based in the United States of America, Niger Delta Restoration of Hope (NDRH) has celebrated human right and environmental activist Ken Saro Wiwa with a candle light vigil in Houston, Texas. Preceding the remembrance which held on the Wednesday, 10th November, 2010 was writing competition organized by the group for young Nigerian writers and poets. The competition which was in its maiden edition produced winners among who is Mr. Kenechukwu Obi, a crop scientist and a Lagos-based brand consultant, and an author, Mr. Uwaoma Eizu. According to Catherine Dinnon, founder of NDHR, Obi won the poetry while the and short story category went to and Eizu. Both winners received a cash prize of N7, 500 and a certificate of participation from NDHR in Houston, Texas, USA.

Dinnon revealed that Obi's winning entry was "The Evergreen" while Eizu's short story was entitled "The Last Days of Nemesis", both dedicated to the memory of Saro Wiwa. Saro Wiwa was sentenced to death alongside other Ogoni activists for an alleged murder of his compatriots. Other participants in the competition that received credits for their works are Mr. Uche Uwadinachi, Ogwo Chinedu and Sylva Ifedigbo. Uwadinachi's poetry entry was "Rain, Ken Saro Wiwa" while Chinedu's entry was "Road to Martyrdom" just as Ifedigbo's entry was "Life before Death”. She explained that judges were drawn from USA, Ireland, and Nigeria to ensure a fair assessment of all the entries.Speaking to Trend'tainment during the award presentation, some of the winners and participants said that they were inspired by the life and struggle of the late Ken Saro Wiwa and felt honoured to be recognized in the competition.

“Winning this award is great and it has encouraged me to pick more interest in the ideals for which Ken Saro Wiwa lived and died for,” Kenechukwu Obi said. For Uche Uwadinachi, he said he felt happy getting an award for his poem while Augustine Ogwo, another participant said he was very enthusiastic about the award, “it is a real introduction to the world.” Dinnon explained that the selection process was very significant. "We had nine judges to signify the Ogoni 9.The two pieces were narrated at the Ken Saro Wiwa event in Houston on November 10.The second place winners received certificate of accomplishment. And because there were so many beautiful pieces, every author's art will be distributed in the Saro-Wiwa event programme”,Dinnon she said.

For more info Click here

Monday, November 1, 2010


Thanks all for your support

Winners of the Poetry & Writing Contest
by Ken Saro-Wiwa Candlelight Vigil on Sunday, 24 October 2010 at 01:06

All of the entries to the Ken Saro-Wiwa Poetry and Writing Contest have been tabulated. To ensure the integrity of the competition, we sent the judges only the entry and the name of the author. Our judges were from the following three countries: United States, Ireland, and of course Nigeria. We had a total of 9 judges to signify the Ogoni 9. Only one of our judges was a professional writer, so we were judging purely on the message conveyed in the art.

After receiving the entries, we determined that we could not compare the poetry pieces to the short stories, so we opted to provide 2 First Place awards. Also, due to the number of entries, we decided that we should recognize our second place authors as well.

Our first place winners will receive 7,500N and a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, these 2 pieces will be narrated at the Ken Saro-Wiwa event in Houston on November 10. Our second place winners will receive a certificate of accomplishment. And, because there were so many beautiful pieces, every author's art will be distributed in the Ken Saro-Wiwa Event Program, which will be distributed at the event.

So, without further are the names of your winning authors, as well as a short biography on our first place winners.

First Place - Poetry

Kenechukwu Obi

"The Evergreen"

Kenechukwu Obi is a Nigerian writer of the Igbo extraction, currently living in Enugu State. He was born in Lagos, where he attended Pedro Primary School. From there, he attended Nnewi High School, In Anambra State, and then proceeded to further his studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he obtained a degree in Crop Science. Kenechukwu says, “I write prolifically and envision exposing my works internationally."


First Place - Short Story

Uwaoma Eizu

"The Last Days of Nenesi"

Uwaoma Eizu is an IT, brand consultant and management professional of the Igbo extraction. Eizu was born in 1986 in Abia State and is currently living in Akoka, Lagos. Eizu attended Hope Primary School - Ikoyi. From there, he attended Falomo High School, and then proceeded to further his studies at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Imo State. He is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, a certified member of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria, and a member District 9110, Rotary Club of Ikoyi. Eizu is also a Co-founder of the renowned NGO called Foundation 360, and initiator of the Potters Lounge Project which is a centre in Ikoyi for young people to hang out weekly as they find a purpose driven life.

Second Place - Poetry

Uche Uwadinachi

"Rain Ken Saro Wiwa"

Second Place - Short Story (There was a tie, so there are 2 recipients)

Ogwo Augustine Chinedu

"Road to Martyrdom"


Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

"Life Before Death"

Copies of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Event Program, which includes all of the entries, will be available by e-mail after the event. If you would like a copy, please send an e-mail to



As the rain gathers

Your grave torments

The rot of the soil

Where blood turns oil

For the barrel drunkards

In pot-belly shells

“…like the Ogoni

Battered, bruised,

Brutalized and almost buried”

Your eyes tears to see

The fishes coughing blood

Vegetables strangled by petrol

Infants pant of cancer

Pipeline becomes lifeline

To swim ashore to safety

Where tankers sit like bankers

You queried the earth

For spouting oil

And the gods for not

Drying its wide well

Your protest bang loud

Against the loot of roots

Belonging to the poor farmers

Ogoni’s Forest of Flowers

Becomes a desert of dragons

Basi & Co attempts a suicide

Sozaboy ends up a casualty

Of harrowing dead history

Ken was keen

Warning them of the eco-war

They had began against his world

The junta boots your throat

Marred your nights with threat

Their next words was a death sentence

On you and the eight others

As this rain summons

Your songs wake the thunder

Of Okigbo in echoes of gold

The dead fishes rose

Mangroves forest raptures

The rain forest resurrects

And swamps bubble alive

The Junta shivers in their shell

The council can no longer hold

For your grave have broken the cave

Of their hidden crimes of decays

Rain! Rain! Rain!

Ken Saro-Wiwa reign

And flush their black rums

Of evil away from our lands.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010



Saturday, October 16, 2010


...a Consequence of the Internalisation by the Poet of our Collective Burden

This collection of poem is a chain thread that is caused into being by a curse that cuts itself only from a course in search of a cure aimed at purifying the individual from an assumed eternal scar that combines with life to combat against existence.

Existence itself becomes a curse, the living is condemned to a cyclic life of quest for the basic needs of existence. this quest for the means of life, is so life consuming, that only very few can then approach their mind to the question of the meaning of life in a world where life is lived on ones knees and the quest for the meaning why, is in the common consciouness of all, seen to be an aberration.

The common consciouness is therefore seen to be one in order with a life without meaning ... without concern for this present drift by all into Abyss. It is this unhealthy condition that feeds this new collection with poems titled SCAR-IN-THE HEART OF PAIN, by Uche Uwadinachi with an unsettling staccatotic rythm that is in itself a struggle against the pain in the heart of the poet, a consequence of the internalisation by the poet of our collective burden - the very curse that is symbolically characterised as the scar. the very same scar that then chooses to take residence in the depth of our life of unexistence.

What path then must society trod, to free its minds and heart from the pangs of the continued descent into the abyss of unexistence? Is this a task for an individual in a society plagued by a lust for the individual, so arranged to predetermine a failure in this race of life against all the stigmas that recruits even the self to enemy the self? and yet the option of the collective is ruled out, when the poet’s thinking and thoughts is one mind against the common consciouness....

Uche Uwadinachi, only answer to the above delima is a return to the course, we cannot find a cure, from the scar we all want to run distance away from. If we remain unable to harvest the strength of our togetherness into one single mindful course - as the River very well examplifies...

To Read these poems at a single stretch commends itself on us to take a second read, to the poet itself on us to take a second read, to hear the poet performs the poems, draws us to drink from a free flowing “...waters/where our mad pains/will be pacified and/Taken away.” (Osun - Pg 67).

Who would dare to turn down the offer to party with a poem like Osun, quoted above. When Osun in all femine shine, draws us into a cuddule with her very essence, a return into the cradle of our beginning for a new beginning. For how else can we renew life if not in a deep into the bowels of Osun. And making life a new, we renew the possibility of the chance of striking right into the heart of the scar. For only in engagement against pain, can society become renewed ....

My only charge then against Uche Uwadinach in this entire collection is his commiting of poetry to suffer pain, our own life of pain, but by so doing, we see how poetry not only enriches its own art, but as well as behold how we can and must so want to bring the reign of pain to an end.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scar in the Heart of Pain: A review by Francis Jakpor for Business Day Newspaper

For the common man who bears the scars of poverty, unemployment, illness, failed relationships and societal stigma, life is indeed a struggle against the odds. There is always the inner urge to succumb to despair because the hurdles seem too high to scale while the future appears bleak. But is it really advisable to throw up our hands in despair? Isn’t it necessary to do some introspection and chart a new course that would perhaps lead to a more fulfilling life? Those seem to be the questions that Uche Uwadinachi, winner of the 2006 ANA Poetry Contest (Lagos chapter), asks the reader in his collection of poems titled ‘Scar in the Heart of Pain’.

The collection is divided into three parts: Curse, Cure and Course. Curse, which contains 19 poems – some of which are Heart of Pain, Stigma, A World of Worries, Survival, None, What, We still Mourn and In This Struggle Against Pain - paints a rather dreary picture of an individual in the throes of torment. Imagery is used to great effect, as are similes, personifications and hyperboles – all of which make the poems more true to life. In Heart of Pain, for instance, we find an individual for whom every day is “another aching day” whose heart is “injured with scars,” “cries in muffled tones” and is now “abandoned in the street of tomorrow’s mercy.” Stigma is no less fatalistic. We meet an anguished soul forever tarnished by his status in life. The scar he bears “no herbal gel can erase”. Instead, “the sun beams into his naked skin, inflicting more injuries.” Consequently, he screams for the world beyond to wrap him in its “eternal darkness”, but all to no avail. Rather than being purified after all his complaints, he is “putrefied”.

But Uwadinachi does not hang his shingle on the door of despair. In Cure, the second part of the collection (19 poems), he seems to suggest that it is not enough to rail at the cards that nature has stacked against us. There comes a time when we must confront our destiny head-on. He says “not a plastic surgery, not a royal shroud, not a quick suicide, only a confrontation of You by US can WE overcome the aged scar.” Some of the other poems in this part such as Proclaim Your Claims, Dream, Tomorrow and Successes are similarly clarion calls to action after a hiatus defined by needless pain.

In the concluding part of the collection (with 14 poems), it would not be out of place to say the poet is saying a cure for the tormented soul is not enough. Now, there is a sea of opportunities which can only be enjoyed by the truly resourceful and industrious mind. Life is now a level playing field. Our success or failure ultimately depends on how committed we are to achieving the goals we have set in life – “During harvest, some resume cultivation and others remember searching for seeds,” he says in Successes. In Proclaim Your Claims his admonition is that “whatever I bind in faith is bound in fate. Tomorrow is only a space between your fingers.”

All told, ‘Scar in the Heart of Pain’ is a great read and comes highly recommended for the youth who are constantly on a quest for self-discovery and fulfillment. Uwadinachi, a performance poet and graduate of English from the Lagos State University, has certainly proved his mettle with this one. Obviously, it is not much of a stretch to project that his subsequent collections will be just as excellent … if not more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


On July 14, 1984, I met a woman who changed my life. She was dark and pretty, in her early forties. She wore a faded red gown crossed with bold native beads around her neck and wrist like a funky city nomad. The obvious distance that her kind of person suffered from people was not just because she looked primitive and weird but this was a town where Christianity and Islam were considered as the popular and sensible religion. She is a voodoo priestess. Unfortunately, i did not visit her temple but met her on transit in a bus, sitting next to me, after waking up from a long migraine sleep.
She stared at me, in a fixed gaze and said “learn to write your predicament into poetry, then you will sleep no more.” This wasn’t an endless pilgrimage to the hillock of the moon or a fasting for the next ninety nine days to find a cure. Just write your poems to paint your problems, and that is the remedy in solving my long cry in the dark room library.
Before then, I had lived my entire life around a terrible phenomenon I suffered from childhood. I bored it ever then, on me like a protruded mole cheek, disfiguring and saddening my happiness. That heart-burden was the scar i lived to erase. The worst was when I lost my “I’’, the essence of human hood. I could not face myself or stand to watch the shame; I gave up and began living as a masquerade among people.
This thought was what banged my head until I slept off on board that bus. Following her words, I began learning to concise my whole dilemma into verses, making them bleed exactly what I feel in imageries, trying to examine and test them in rhythms and rhymes, then using them to compare and represent other worst issues for some other persons. Like Arithmetic, it broke into smaller, simpler and clearer basis of analysis. And, I saw nothing but my naked self discussing with the so called unseen grand master of my “self’’.
My fears, scales, speck falls off me! My sight became crystal clear to see the real me in me. Through this therapy, I discovered that scars though inevitable in the development of every man, yet you learn to face and manage them, ultimately allowing nature to take care of itself. Like the flowing river, our dreams will stumble on rocks, hills and weeds, however these, cannot stop the journey to the destination along other rivers.
Life is not man-made, even if it major forces are. If you impede it, then it will explode; so destiny can be delayed but can never be changed. The more you try to hold or hoard it, the more the pressure gathers, thus the more the blast of its outbreak to come.
Writing generally helps us to pour out our burden on papers, but poetry helps us to capture the consciousness and feel of our raw selves in the pen: our control over such circumstances, through our omniscient mind. The unique thing about poetry is that, though it employs literary features but most times does not compromise with conventional linguistic regulations and conditions.
Poetry is free and liberal. The indispensability of learning its art, must begin with the originality, liquidity and sincerity of your simultaneous gushing emotions, then the rules can set in and not the rules ruling the mind. Poetry is free to all: ageless and shapeless like water. The thick diction in your environment changes in another society. However, it liberality still allows you to code it for some select mind but universally poetry is voluntary and benevolent to all seekers.
When you have a burden or pain in your heart, attempt to write them out in poems on papers. Then take a next look after a while at these same poems and see if they have the same weight like they do in your minds, or if your mind is as pessimistic as it use to be. You don’t need to be an expert to write a poem for therapy, only make it less wordy, concise, thoughtful, then make it a lyric that best expresses yourself and definitely, a solution is sure to come.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


The cruel claws
Of my own hands
Prick deeply through my skin
To the bone
I kicked, my voice ceased
Darkness my only witness
Watches from the other side
With a hanging smile
Cannot even lend a hand
To shield me from me

Seen by none
But me alone sees
My very bones, my heart
Feeds it every part of life

I cannot even hide
From my shadow
With the aid of darkness
But not from this me

Dire in dreams
Hidden from eyes
Traceable in trance
Borne in men - me
Before my birth
Its umbilical cord
Runs through me
This is the scar.


©Uche Uwadinachi

Thursday, April 22, 2010


(A Poem dedicated to Kadiri Aderibigbe, who was shot in the course of a mass protest against the killing of an innocent boy (Charles Okorafor) during a police raid in Ajegunle On the 1st of April 2010)


I have seen
The four walls
Coated with gory hand-prints
Of criminals and suspects
In-scripting awkwardness
Pleading for a public presentation

I stared at slogans
“we die…innocent”
“i was here”
“and so what”
“are you the president?”
“dem go fire me”
“na today”
“…save us”

My heart tears my eyes
And the graffiti spawns

My head smothers
As ravaging foul odour
Of urine and shit
Shutters me to worship
At the walls of unending scars
With my own “craze-words”.


Hell is cell!
The black bowl
Smiths into a black hole
Bloats for the unborn convict
Guilty – of life, wanting to survive
…raiding flames at night
…beaming red in flight
…yellow coal for ice
Collies for the burning
Of our already hurt hearts.

Poll for faults
Lease of crimes
To catch and lock our lives
Into the bloating black hole
Of a cell.

And so
The walls persist
A writing cry of the weak
Dying…to die today
And died…. Tomorrow

Uche Uwadinachi(c) 2009

Police killings in Ajegunle

by Sokari on April 12, 2010

in Human Rights, Nigeria, Police Brutality on


Saturday, April 17, 2010


A boutique
Of traditional antique
Glamour of form
For the town machete
Rituals at festivals

Blood turns palm oil?

You say
We dance stringed
In cowries to the feet
Bond of bold scars-
From tribal marks?

Our art, an act of ants
Only to trade dirt
Underground the dark colony
Woe-ed not to be seen
In scenes of the gold sky

We gather
Like ant-soldiers
Coming and going
Working daily selflessly
Across the earth
Only to feed
Mould hill
And meet?
Look again!

See me
Greet beyond the breath
Of a cross-road sacrifice
Saluting fellow Africans
On knees with enchanting echoes
Of blackness to the beauty
Of our skin

And my pomade
Lies before me to wipe
The legs of our children
Standing still
Waiting ill
Waiting, to dance

This is not a helmet
Of shame to disguise PAIN
I am prepared
With a mask to celebrate
The ceremonies of seasons

In sowing and harvest
War and peace
Birth and death

I dance
A frenzy foot in trance
To see the gods
Wear their glittering faces
To know the next pace
The wood decorated
With cowries shell and raffia
Bears my late uncle’s bead
And mother’s lion-cloth
To be worn
In the battle shores
Of the Niger

Why myth
To prejudice my art
Look again
And see you in me
Me in you
Rescuing the present
With a new dance

So let’s tangle
In black white ankle

A crying eye still sees

My lips are big
To cover my big teeth
My short is brown
But it is the textile
You wear, fishing afar
The same river

Watch me lead
The dance,
Then you follow
In frames of Agbara thunderclap
Moving laughter in the wind
Calling interceding tunes
In the howling breeze
My tidings are silent happy smiles
For all our worried hearts

The dance is on
But the conquest is certain
The gods blesses our hoes
To revert those woes
Cursing our skin very holes
Deep In the blood
Like disastrous flood
From those river BANKS

And soon
The global drought
Economic pest
The prolonged hunger
Our persisting cry
Shall cease to be

Those couches shall overturn
The fluorescent shall burn
Into a coming terror
Of the night delight
Pillar falling limbs
The walls cracking
Down the stairs
In heavy rumble
Of pavement grumble

Discard those idea-logics
Let’s dance
As one feet
Killing their beat
Occupying the seat
Shake their hearts
Out of the locked ribs

Hold a broom firmly
Sweep the rest
‘Dust’ cant resist arrest
In defiance as mud
All in their sleep that feeds
From daily sessions
Toils and sweat of
Our farming children

They spell brilliance
For tyranny…for menace
Granting amnesty to criminals
Who comply with their continual
Dictates of ‘agendas’
Then sentence the majority
Thumb prints bearer
To a tea cup silence
Shunning the pulse
That throbs in many other hearts

This is the dance
Of change in exchange
Of dumb-murmuring
Serenity agape an
Eternity of atrocity

I am Ezenwanyi
I am the new dance

Thursday, February 4, 2010



'SCAR in the HEART of pain'

THERE's something immensely affirmative about the hunan spirit that defies all understanding-it's the capacity to adapt to any vissitude of life.And in no other form of writting is the persevering quality of the human spirit celebrated than in the work of art. Through the ages,there abound a strand of writting devoted to the unyeilding,rugged nature of the spirit that stands solid in the face of tremendous suffering and hardship.Every clime has it own record of men and women who have gone through the most horrendous of situationns,but who ended up singing songs of praise and triump.
'SCAR in the HEART of pain' is a poetry that is narrative and desciptive as it chronicles the poet's encounter with the human spirit.Uche Uwadinachi battles a kind of terror lodged in the heart. So he sings Scar in the HEART of pain, where “The SCAR/Is a faceless parasitic burden-…. Uwadinachi is a young performance poet with promise as his poetry resonates with a life waiting to be lived.

For the poet Scar represents those heartaches in various guises that plague the human spirit, the sort of heartache that is inflicted on one man by his fellow man. It needs deep healing that can sometimes be confrontational to heal the scar. ‘Not a plastic surgery/Not a royal shroud?/Not a quick suicide/Only a confrontation/Of/YOU by US can WE/Overcome the aged scar’, which is ingrained.

The heart is the epicenter, both of the nation that needs direction and of man that is seeking for perfection and a measure of sanity in a world where life seems meaningless. So he sings ‘Scar…/Perpetual blemish/Invoking false hope in life…/I seek for the world beyond/To wrap me in its eternal darkness…/And life takes the side of death…/I am not purified… I am putrefied’ in Stigma’, There’s anguish and a wrenching of the guts in the meaninglessness of life as all probabilities end up in death and decay.

The poet’s hopelessness and the seeming redemption he funds manifest themselves in the three domains, which life for him. Life is bitter because there’s ‘curse’ placed upon it; so life finds a ‘cure’ to heal life’s many woes in man’s daily encounters. Finally, there’s a ‘curse’ to follow for life’s troubles to pass, which can only be found in nature, in being in tune with nature

The rivers flowing, the streams babbling and shady woods provide perfect serenity for man’s soul. It is here that man ought to find rest for his troubled spirit. So the poet proclaims in “The River’, The river/…in its ever flowing waves,/Faith is a continual pilgrimage of states…/…in its pure cleansing depth,/Reasons are regalia in blotches/To be washed in the stream-…The river divines a future/In the present from the future’.

Also to Oshun Osogbo he delightfully sings in ‘Osun’, ‘I bath in this stream/Free from stagnant stain…/All I see is crystalline bowl/Sinless…lenient/Unsoiled to any earth tie/Flowing generously for all/Inviting us to thread/New earth in water/Where our pains/Will be pacified and/Taken away.’

Clearly, Uwadinachi is a poet for the future. His imagery flows in a streamlet and it leaves no one in doubt as to his power to thrill in an expressive way that is pleasing. Uwadinachi’s handling of his subject also shows maturity. He is an emerging poet set for the future.

Friday, January 15, 2010


A sneak peek into Bookaholic with Bella this week.
Scar in the Heart of Pain by Uche Uwadinachi will be reviewed this Wednesday on Bookaholic with Bella sometime between 7.30am and 8.30am on Silverbird Television.

We will bring you an interesting Q & A later this week.

In the meantime, below is a poem from the collection.

Hunt me
Below clump prairie in the forest,
Scourge me
On ridges of tallest hills,
Taunt me
In my cramped dark burrow,
Scare me
Behind leaves of crooked trunks,
Shoot me
In this tranquil flight in the sky,
Chase me
Through hazy streets of the slum,

But don't dare me

To visit Bookaholic for more on Uche Uwadinachi Interview CLICK HERE