The Gombe Day of Literature started in 2014 under the Halimafactor Community Initiative in collaboration with the Gombe State University, and the National Orientation Agency (NOA). It has since become an annual event.
This year’s edition, which is the 4th in the series, was held at the College of Nursing and Midwifery, Gombe, and witnessed a large turnout of schools and individuals who participated in a poetry competition, poems recitation by Mohammed Adamu Baraya and Khadija Lawal Kwargana as well as drawing on the spot competition and many other scintillating activities.
Objective of the program, according to the organiser, Mrs Halima Usman, is helping the youth to find a sense of belonging and also by extension, a means of livelihood.
This, she said could be achieved through the discovery and effective use of their innate creative abilities, creating wealth for themselves and for the state and nation at large.
Mrs Usman, a renowned poet and public speaker, said the initiative would in the long run curtail violence and the menace of poverty and unemployment.
“The event is strategically designed to showcase the great literary and artistic potential of the Gombe and indeed Nigerian children and youths.
“It is a programme that seeks to discover and bring to limelight the northern child not as a lesser being but as an intelligent, resourceful, innovative and talented individual and expose them on the right platform,” she said.
Mrs Usman, who said the programme gives participants the chance to become great leaders, noted that the event was born out of “desperate need to save our children from violence, insurgency and all forms of crimes due to unemployment, poverty and despondency.”
At the programme, Governor of Gombe state, Alhaji Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo, was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, who hailed Mrs. Halima for the wonderful platform she has created for the youth.
The governor said the initiative was really showing to the world that Gombe state has a lot of talents that are untapped in the literary world and pledged his continued support to the program.
On his part, Director General, NOA, who was also represented by a director in the agency, spoke on support the agency was giving to the programmes from both the state and the national levels as well as the fruits the programme was yielding.
He said was a veritable platform that is helping them do some of the duties they were created for re-orientation of the people on the core values of the society.
Also speaking, the Yariman Gombe, who is also the Senior District Head of Gombe, commended Mrs Usman for showing concern to the state, adding that it is a good development despite the numerous challenges the northeast is faced with.
He said: “Halima is giving hope to the region and the state that there is much more hidden in the state that has not yet been seen and she is bringing them out to the world to see what Gombe has.”
The Head, Department of English at Gombe State University, Prof Neirus Taidi, who was the guest lecturer, spoke on the theme: ‘Truth, Politics And Nationhood: The Role Of Literary Art In National Integration.’
He emphasized on how literary works can go a long way in helping to create unity among the many ethnic groups in the country, and also help in making restless youth, who are used as vanguards in any unrest, self-reliant and through this peace is achieved.
Other dignitaries present include Permanent Secretary Special Duties, Government House, Hajiya Maryam Isa Mele; Special Adviser to the Governor/Focal Person on Social Investment; representative of the Commandant 301 Army Division; representative of the Gombe State Commissioner of Police; and Commandant, Nigerian Prison Services.
Others include: Gombe state, Commandant Nigerian Immigrations;n President, Association of Nigerian Authors, Gombe state; Provost, College of Nursing and Midwifery, Gombe state President, National Association of Students of English and Literary Studies (NASELS).
Others are: President of Jama’atur Nasir Islam, Gombe; President, CAN, Gombe state; ANA Chairmen and members from Bauchi state.
These dignitaries also gave their goodwill messages as a mark of support for the initiative as well as appreciating the initiator for a job well-done.
The media was also in attendance in their numbers.