University education on Friday night received a major boost with the launch of “Glo Literature Prize for Undergraduate Students” by telecommunications outfit, Globacom.
The award offers the total sum of N4.5 million for an annual writing competition in the three broad categories of literature.
Each winner in Prose, Drama and Poetry will receive N1.5m as prize money, Ebenezer Kolawole, Gloworld Coordinator, who announced the prize on behalf of the board and management of the company disclosed.
He explained that the award was meant to promote the study of literary studies among youths, and engender creativity and keen competition in the subject in tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
“Our objective is to promote the study of all genres of literature. Therefore, Globacom is offering prizes to winners in the following categories: Prose, Drama and Poetry. The winner in each category will receive the sum of N1.5 million,” he explained, adding that this is the first time that any organisation has offered prizes for all the three genres of literature at this level of competition.
He said that Globacom has selected a panel of internationally distinguished scholars as judges of the Prize so as to ensure a credible selection and award process.
They are: Professor Femi Osofisan; Professor (Mrs.) Akachi Ezeigbo of the University of Lagos; Professor Umar Buratai, Dean, Faculty of the Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; Professor Olu Obafemi of the University of Ilorin; and Dr. Promise Ogochukwu.
“The Glo Literature Prize for Undergraduate Students is part of our holistic appreciation of the importance of literature in the society. Literature is the mirror of the society we live in, and plays a vital role in communicating and preserving our culture, traditions and attitudes.
“We are of the firm belief that the Prize will provide added impetus to the education establishment and to Nigerian students, particularly in the field of literature and the creative industry,” Kolawole stated.
The prize was unveiled at an “Evening with Wole Soyinka and Nigeria’s Outstanding Literary Stars” held in Lagos to celebrate Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and three of Nigeria’s young writers, 2006 winner of Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature in Africa, Sefi Atta; and Caine Prize winners: E.C. Osondu and Tope Folarin.
In a goodwill message at the event, Globacom Chairman, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., said Prof Soyinka was an exceptional patriot and intellectual idol who has made the black race proud.
“Prof Soyinka has not only remained steadfast in his pursuit of social justice and good governance, but has all his adult life been one of the icons of Nigeria’s moral fabric. He is a sedulous writer and raconteur par excellence whose works have for decades remained study materials the world over and will be for generations to come,” Dr Adenuga noted.
He also commended the three young writers for being good ambassadors of the country and for putting their footprint on the world literary map.
The event was attended by diplomats from the Brazilian and American embassies, captains of industries and members of the Nigerian and Ghanaian literary communities.
They included: Prof. J.P. Clark, General Alani Akinrinade, Prof Ebun Clark, Mrs Bella Disu, Prof Duro Oni, Prof Olu Obafemi, Prof (Mrs.) Akachi Ezeigbo, Prof Umar Buratai, Dr. Promise Ogochukwu, Dr. Mrs Bisi Fayemi, Mr. Odia Ofeimum, Mrs Francesca Emmanuel, Mr Sam Amuka, Mr. Kunle Ajibade, Mr. Tunde Kelani, Chief Dele Momodu, Stephanie Henshaw and students of Nigerian tertiary institutions.