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Nigeria prevented from hosting intl festivals

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By Timothy Akintola

Osundare says political space must go through a change process and be friendly.

Nigeria has witness a surge in the rise of Insecurity that has ravaged its social and economic scenes. The prevalence of insecurity over the years has rattled Nigeria’s quest for development. Due to incessant attacks of bandits and other criminal groups in concentrated regions like the northeast, numerous lives and properties have been destroyed. With the country drawing closer to its general elections, there has been further speculations in regards to the rancid Security situation threatening the democracy of the country by the breakout of violence across many regions in the country, as a result of the insecurity ravaging the country.

The rise of insecurity in the country have also affected the literary society. Niyi Osundare, a multiple award-winning poet and Emeritus Professor has commented on the insecurity situation in Nigeria and how it impacts the literary space. He noted that Nigeria would not be able to host literary festivals with the potential of improving the national prestige due to the infrastructural dilapidation and ravaging insecurity. A co-winner of the Boao International Poetry Prize made this known in an interview with The News.

Fuel scarcity makes the use of generators increasingly unreliable.

Osundare, the first African writer to be awarded the Boao prize, indicated his delight and amazement at his literary works being recognized in China, the Asian continent and globally. On the possibility of hosting global literary events in the country, the prolific poet explained that the political situation and space must first go through a change process and become friendly for this to occur. He also noted that the Electricity situation must be stabilized, with the security of lives and properties also guaranteed in the country.

He explained that in the country, there was always a tendency for the national power grid to frequently break down, even when the country was not in delicate situations nor major disasters. With the fuel scarcity situation, he explained that the use of generators had also become increasingly unreliable. On the security situation, he added that the insecurity in the country was enough discouragement against bringing writers to a zone with dreadful possibilities of abduction and killings by bandits and kidnappers.

Lackadaisical situation in Nigeria faced during the inauguration of PAWA.

Continuing on with his distain about the galloping Inflation that has been ravaging the country’s economic space which have plunged numerous people into suffering. He stated that the deaths, garbage-choked roads and streets, as well as disappointments from the government were major reasons for the country’s failure to host these festivals. He mentioned that this was a similar problem faced with the inauguration of Pan African Writers Association in Accra in 1989. He appraised the Ghanaian Culture for laying down a viable structure that efficiently suited the purpose of the association.

He explained that as of that period, Nigeria was being ruled by military dictators who detained writers, including the hanging of Ken Saro Wiwa, a former president of the writer’s association in the country. He stated that feats achieved by writers in Nigeria were in spite of the beneficence of the Nigerian government. He lamented that literary festivals were a major means for increasing the recognition of a country, as well as helping the writers socialize with writers from other parts of the world. Osundare indicated that this was one opportunity that the Medellin International Festival had been able to foster by facilitating the gathering of great poets across the world.

Osundare recalls memories of being with great international performers.

The Emeritus Professor added that this festival had also importantly enriched the Colombian society. He recalled the delight from being embraced by even common people on the street. He also recalled the memories of being with great international performers. Osundare indicated his delight at meeting Fernando Rendon, a renowned poet and a former winner of the International Poetry Outstanding Achievement Award and who founded a world poetry movement for the promotion of Human Rights and so up-political justice.


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