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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