Abuja Writers Forum (AWF), being one of the few literary gatherings across the country, has carved a niche for itself for being a treasure turf of talents and intellectual musings.
Consistency and brilliance have since become the second name of the gathering for having been around for over eight consecutive and eventful years of literary delight.
It will be unforgivable if no mention is made of the brain behind the Forum, the indefatigable Doctor of Letters, Emman Usman Shehu, who works clock round to ensure that audience are not disappointed, come rain, come shine.
Guest Writer Session
The Guest Writer Session is the forum’s flagship program that hosts writers and intellectuals of repute, has proven to be a buffet of literary brilliance with audience from various walks of life filling the Aso Hall of the Magnificent Nanet Suits, Abuja, every last Saturday of the month.
October’s session took place last Saturday with the floor opening at about 4pm. Pleasing testimonies shared by the fresh graduates of the forum’s monthly creative writing workshop, Yakori Bint Mohammed and Mohammed Mayaki.
Thrilled by their submission, the audience couldn’t help but threw questions at the newbies and they did not disappoint the forum, as they sounded well-groomed to take up the gauntlet.
After some music interlude by the young and promising guitarist, Sidney Okwoche popularly called Sidrock, the floor was yielded to the first Guest Presenter, Hajiya Zainab Sulaiman Okino, who is the Editor-In-Chief of the Blueprint Newspapers, Abuja.
Hajiya Okino presented a paper titled: ‘Challenge of Newspaper Publishing in Northern Nigeria and the Incursion/Onslaught of Social Media’.
The media guru talked about newspaper publishing in the country’s South and North and the disparities that are therein, as well as the social media threat to the conventional news media.
While tracing the evolution of newspaper publishing in the country, Okino admitted that, “historically the South was the first to embrace Newspaper publishing with 100 years ahead of the North.”
She regretted how some beautiful newspapers and magazines sprouted in the North but had to later ‘walk away’ due to many factors like low advert patronage and sparse reading population in the region at the time.
According to her, despite all these challenges, newspaper publishing in the North was gradually picking up, “especially with the fact that Daily Trust Newspapers has published for about 13 years, Leadership for over 10 years, Blueprint and Peoples Daily for over 6 and 7 years respectively.”
Okino therefore called on the federal government to consider bail-out funds for newspaper establishments, stating that the political class, being the greatest beneficiary of what the media is all about, needed to come to the industry’s rescue.
On his part, Olunide Olaniyan, an Abuja-based author, satirist and public speaker, read from his debut poetry collection: ‘Lucidity of Absurdity’, which talks about humanity, freedom, colonialism, politics, environment and love.
Responding to questions from the audience on his inspiration for the book, Olaniyan said that he wrote the book to show the world the importance of being free and having ability to think, act and take decisions.
“Some of my poems in the book were inspired by the last general elections. When I saw how things went on and I said another four years just for a bag of rice?
“You see, we must not be fixated with the material things instead of chasing things for the common good of all. Things will never change until we take action. We must make conscious effort to free ourselves. Nothing good comes easy,” Olaniyan concluded.
Intermittently, Sidrock, a dynamic rock musician, guitarist, songwriter and environmentalist from Benue state, thrilled the audience with his debut album, Hope Dey, solely dedicated to environmental issues.
Passionate promoter of conservation and environmental sustainability through music and creative arts, Sidrock is a graduate of Forestry from the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and the founder of the green movement called Conservation Conversation.
While shedding more light on his Album, Sidrock called on the youth to shun corruption and other social vices.
He said corruption is a spirit operating through money and people, adding that there is need to cast away the spirit of corruption in the people.
According to him, killing all the people that are corrupt wouldn’t solve the problem, just like collecting all the money stolen wouldn’t make the people corruption-free.