The More Nigerian Politicians Abuse Power, The More We Need Poets – Oribhabor

The literary activist was of the opinion that there is a dire need for Nigerian poets and writers to be empowered now more than ever, as they play a vital role in transforming the nation.



Literary activist and poet, Eriata Oribhabor is of the opinion that at this moment in her history, Nigeria needs more poets who will speak truth and edify society with their works. 

At Commemorative Discourse in his honour on Thursday, Oribhabor said it is time for more recognition to be accorded Nigerian writers in their country, even as they contribute immensely to society.

Speaking virtually at the event, the prominent poet, essayist, editor, social commentator, stated that a conscious effort must be made by writers (especially poets) to see that the arts continues to be a potent tool for change, transformations, justice and equality within the country.

Delving a bit into the politics of the day, Oribhabor was of the opinion that “the more politicians abuse power, the more the need for poets” in Nigeria to find their voice.

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The literary activist, who is known for his labour of love and sacrifices for the course of poetry, however, noted that with a growing number of young Nigerian poets in the country and abroad, it becomes much more imperative that platforms are established to empower more poets and writers, to do exploits.

Speaking also at the event themed – The Poetics of Empowerment, Mr Benjamin Ubiri, a guest poet, said Oribhabor who is revered for his writing in Pidgin English, said the works of the former chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Abuja, is one that budding writers must emulate.

Speaking further, Mr Ubiri who is also the head of WE FM, Abuja, stated that it is time Nigeria as a nation had a discussion about making pidgin more valuable than it is at the moment.

He argued that with pidgin terms and words gaining entrance into the lexicons, it is important that the government finds a way to promote the teaching of pidgin as a course in the universities.

This drive he says must begin with standardization of Pidgin in Nigeria, with the works of Oribhabor playing a vital role of reference when it comes to the literary aspects of the course.

Mr Ubiri called for more support for the work that Oribhabor has been doing, especially his role in creating platforms for young poets and writers to find their voices.

He urged agencies like the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism in Nigeria to partner with people like Mr Oribhabor who has for so many years promoted food, music, tourism, language and education in the country.

Other guests who were at the interactive session also praised the philanthropy and continued patronage of poetry which is at the heart of Mr Oribhabor works.

They urged the government and all who love poetry and arts in Nigeria to take a second look at the landmark projects Oribhabor has embarked across the nation, and find ways honour his legacy even while he is alive.

Asides the calls for collaborations earlier stated, other recommendations from the panel as to how the prolific author’s legacy can be preserved included: creating a library in his honour, establishing an endowment fund that will help meet the needs of emerging writers, holding yearly conferences where more lights would be thrown on works and service of Oribhabor (with emphasis on book reviews and pidgin poetry for the preservation of Nigerian culture).

Prominent amongst those present at the gathering put together by the World Poetry Movement and the Splendors of Dawn (Nigeria), were: Mr Odoh Okenyodo (writer, pharmacist, activist poet and journalist) , Dr. Ayo Ayoola-Amale (Poet and Lawyer), Utibe-Eno Ekpuk (Communication Specialist), Solutionist Clementina (Poet and Writer), Iquo Diana-Abasi (poet)  Soonest Nathaniel (poet) and Paul Liam (Poet and Host).

Oribhabor is the President, Poets in Nigeria (PIN) Initiative. He has authored several poetry collections, and has been widely published within and outside Nigeria.

In his continuous work towards the growth of Nigeria’s literary sector, Oribhabor who will be launching new books on Saturday in Abuja, said plans are already underway to hold a second edition of “Poetry Cross-Country” – an initiative that would see poets read and perform in various stages across Nigeria on the same day.

Stressing that the event will take place in the 36 states,  urged the general public to support and join in this engagement which has the potentials to transform the nation by promoting healing, resilience and cultural understanding and appreciation of the Nigerian heritage.