By Elizabeth uwandu

It was another scintilating and remorseful moment for art lovers especially ANA members as they gathered for the ANA monthly reading, August edition and 1st Austyn Njoku memorial held at the Creative Arts department of the University of Lagos.The reading with the theme, Poetry in the heart of music : Dynamics of being a poet, Performance Poet and Musician in the present day Nigeria with Segun Akinlolu aka Beautiful Nubia as the guest artist.

Late Austyn Njoku

The special reading which was well attended witnessed the presence of many writers , among them was award wining writer and lecturer at UNILAG, Prof. Mrs Akachi Ezeigbo,  Dagga Tolar, Mr Eriata Oribhabor,  Tanko Okondwa, Mr Chike Ofili, Dr Tunji Shotimeyin, Mr Femi Onileagbon, and the host of the event. Also present were two children of late Austyn Njoku.

The guest artist, Dr Segun Akinlolu, popularly known as Beautiful Nubia who took everyone by surprise during his presentation and performance stated that  ‘Nigeria needs a revolution for it to move forward. Akinlolu who is not comfortable with the education system in the country said, “the glory of the public schools have diminished, Nigerian youths live a pseudo life as they are told what to do and the balance between the poor and the rich and the near collapse governance need urgent attention.

What Nigeria need is not a revolution of cutlass and knife where we make more mothers cry; we need a “thought revolution” as we came about this sorry state we are in today through negative revolution.” The guest artist said restoring the image of the nation is a social engineering process which writers are the best tool to effect positive change.

In his words,”I feel people in the creative sector, the artists, poets, writers musicians and dramatists. This is the time to double our effort, be strong and stop the infighting, the constant need to be the best or rise above someone else. The competition that we have to compete, should be between writers and the craziness in the system. We need to do this through songs, music and live performances.

On the balance between writing for love and eking a living through writing, Beautiful Nubia said, writers need to lay their hands on other meaningful means to eke a living considering the situation of the country , as the same time not forget their primary goal to be the voice of the voiceless. In his words,”Of course, writers need to feed themselves, but we must not forget our primary goal of being the voice of the masses and voiceless in the society.

In the same vein, the event which was also put to commemorate the one year demise of the former national treasurer of ANA saw many eulogising on the good deeds of Mr Austyn Njoku. So, it was an evening of sober reflection as artists and friends of late Austyn Njoku extolled his virtue and deliberated on actions to support the bereaved especially members of the Association of Nigerian Authors in advent of demise.

Dagga Tolar a close friend of the late Njoku gave soul rendition of poems titled “One year after :One heart missing with an eulogy of the life and time of the deceased who until his death on August 8th, 2014 was the former national treasurer, ANA. member advisory committee, ANA Lagos chapter and publisher of Jemima books.

Professor Akachi Ezeigbo said she had to pay respect to the deceased as his effort to see the success of any venture can not be over emphasied. ‘I respected him when he was alive due am an elder to him, but my question is ,What is ANA’s role in ameliorating the sufferings of those left behind by the dead?” concluded Prof Ezeigbo.

For the current national secretary of     ANA, Mr Tanko Okondwa,”Austyn will remain a hero and his legacy will continue. Okondwa, said, ANA has not done well in respect on the family the late author left behind. He therefore urged the body to see that Austyn family never feel the effect of his lost.

 

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