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.

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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.