The Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Literature sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited (NLNG) has announced Abubakar Adam Ibrahim as the winner of the 2016 edition of the prize after a nine-month long process of adjudication.
The announcement was made by the Chairman of the Advisory Board for the prize, Emeritus Professor Ayo Banjo at a press conference in Lagos. Ibrahim’s novel, Season of Crimson Blossoms emerged winner from among 172 other entries received for the competition.
According to Professor Ayo Banjo, “It was a strong field this year. The shortlisted entries were very strong and the Board had no difficulty in accepting the recommendation of the panel of judges, considering the subject matter and competent manner in which Ibrahim demonstrated the execution of his work.”
Reacting to the verdict, the General Manager, External Relations at NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said “It has been a very rigorous process and we are very happy that at the end of the day, both the International Consultant and the Panel of Judges came to an alignment. We are very proud of the quality of entries received. Let me reiterate very clearly that we will continue to support integrity and excellence, which are some of the pillars we have built NLNG’s success as a company on,” he said.
The Prize is awarded with cash prize of $100, 000.
The decision on the winning entry of The Nigeria Prize for Literature was reached by a panel of judges, led by Professor Dan Izevbaye, a well-respected literary critic and professor of Literature in English; Professor Asabe Usman Kabir, professor of Oral and African Literatures at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and Professor Isidore Diala, first winner of The Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism and professor of African literature in the Department of English, Imo State University, Owerri. The international consultant, Professor Kojo Senanu of the University of Legion, is an internationally acclaimed scholar.
The panel had, through the Advisory Board, released a shortlist of eleven in July 2016 and later, a shortlist of three in September 2016. The three shortlisted entries, in alphabetic order, were Born on a Tuesday (Elnathan John), Night Dancer (Chika Unigwe) and Season of Crimson Blossoms (Abubakar Adam Ibrahim).
Members of the Advisory Board for the Literature Prize, besides Professor Banjo, two-time Vice-Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier university, University of Ibadan, are Prof. Jerry Agada, former Minister of State for Education, former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, and Professor Emeritus Ben Elugbe, former President of the Nigerian Academy of Letters and president of the West-African Linguistic Society (2004-2013).
The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since 2005 rewarded eminent writers such as Gabriel Okara (co-winner, 2005, poetry), Professor Ezenwa Ohaeto (co-winner, 2005, poetry); Ahmed Yerima (2006, drama) for his classic, Hard Ground; Mabel Segun (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) for her collection of short plays Reader’s Theatre; Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (co-winner, 2007, children’s literature) with her book, My Cousin Sammy; Kaine Agary (2008, prose); Esiaba Irobi (2010, drama) who clinched the prize posthumously with his book Cemetery Road; Adeleke Adeyemi (2011, children’s literature) with his book The Missing Clock; Chika Unigwe (2012 – prose), with her novel, On Black Sister’s Street; Tade Ipadeola (2013; Poetry) with his collection of poems, Sahara Testaments and Sam Ukala (2014;Drama) with Iredi War.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature.
In a related development, the Advisory Board of the Nigeria Prize for Science, also sponsored by NLNG, has announced the extension of the search for solutions to the Malaria scourge into the 2017 competition after an evaluation of 15 entries submitted for this year’s prize.
This is the first of such extension in the prize competition since it commenced in 2014.
The Advisory Board for the Science Prize, led by Prof. Akpoveta Susu announced its decision to carry over the theme “Innovation on Malaria Control” to 2017.
Professor Susu said “After a thorough evaluation of the fifteen (15) entries received, it was decided that the theme be repeated and the call for entries extended for another year.”
Reacting to the verdicts, the General Manager, External Relations at NLNG, Kudo Eresia-Eke, said “The decision to extend the call for entries for the Science Prize is a welcome development as it provides an opportunity for Scientists who might have missed the initial call the opportunity of making submissions while those who had earlier applied can resubmit more robust entries. Hopefully at the end of the exercise next year we would get a result that would be very qualitative and valuable for Africa and the world.”
The Science Prize is administered by the Board consisting of Professor Susu, Professor Michael Adikwu, another past winner of the Science Prize; Professor Elijah Mshelia, a nuclear physicist; Professor Barth Nnaji, renowned scientist and former Minister of Power; and Chief Dr. Nike Akande, President of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The Board was inaugurated in January 2016 after a review of the prize administration to re-position the prize for better impact on living standards in the country and as the leading science prize in Africa.
The first winners of the Science Prize were Professor Akpoveta Susu and Dr Kingsley Abhulimen in 2004.
Other winners of the prize are Professor Michael Adikwu, Dr. Ebenezer Meshida, Professor Andrew Nok and Professor Akii Ibhadode.
Nigeria LNG Limited remains committed to responsible corporate citizenship and The Nigeria Prize for Literature and The Nigeria Prize for Science, both registered Charities are some of its numerous contributions towards helping to build a better Nigeria.