‘Calabar ready for Osundare’

AHEAD of this year’s Niyi Osundare International Poetry Festival (NOIPOFEST) happening from July 15 to 17 at the University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross River State, Chair, Local Organising Committee, Dr James Okpiliya has assured that the city is ready to host the event.

In a statement sent to the Festival Director, Tunde Laniyan, assuring that preparations are on course for the event, Okpiliya, who drove all the way from Calabar to Ibadan for last year’s festival at Lead City University alongside Osundare mentee, Professor Joe Ushie, highlighted the city’s contributions to Nigerian highlife music and literature.

He added that Calabar was eagerly awaiting the festival, affirming that: “In July, we welcome the world of poetry to the home of nuptial songs, the home of market and street centres, we welcome the world to the home of professional mourners and their deep elegies, we welcome the world to the home of Agaba chants, hip hop and spoken word. Welcome to the home of James Ene Henshaw, Inyang Nta Henshaw, E.N. Amaku, King ZoroBoya and Inyanya.”

The eminent critic and academic, Professor Biodun Jeyifo, who recently retired from Harvard University will deliver the keynote speech entitled Popular Poetry and the Search for Development in the Modern State at the festival.

Other academics expected at the three-day event include Professors JOJ Agbada, Saleh Abdu and Joe Ushie. Others are Dr Obari Gomba and poet Odia Ofeimun.

NOIPOFEST started five years ago in honour of the multiple award-winning Osundare, a world-class academic, dramatist and poet who previously taught at the Department of English, University of Ibadan.

He is the author of exciting poetry collections including Songs from the Marketplace, Village Voices, Waiting Laughters, Tender Moments and City without People: The Katrina Poems.

Executive Vice Chairman of the Ibadan School of Government and Public Policy, Professor Tunji Olaopa, delivered the keynote address at last year’s event. It had Literature and Governance: Finding the Convergence for National Development as its theme.

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