By Omuboye Sukubo
The Port Harcourt Literary Society has appointed Mr Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, an award winning poet and a Deputy Director in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as Resident Poet of the organisation.
The appointment letter was presented to Amu-Nnadi at the NDDC’s headquarters in Port Harcourt on Friday by Mrs Chidinma Ubakanwa, Coordinator of the Port Harcourt Literary Society.
Ubakanwa during the presentation said that there was the need to provide mentorship for young writers.
The honour is coming to Amu-Nnadi on the heels of a recent honour from the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, Rivers State chapter, for his contributions to literature at the 2017 Literary Excellence Day of the association in Port Harcourt.
She said that the appointment of Amu-Nnadi as resident poet would create new opportunities for budding writers to hone their skills.
According to the letter, the appointment is done in recognition of your good works, literary awards and as an inspiring figure who will make positive impact and help to advance the objectives of our Society.
Mr Uzo Nwamara, Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Rivers Chapter, described Amu-Nnadi as one of the best poets in Africa.
“He has been a big inspiration to many young writers and that is why ANA found him worthy of recognition,’’ he said.
Nwamara lauded the NDDC for promoting literary excellence through his sponsorship of the literary prizes.
“One of the prizes is the ANA/NDDC Gabriel Okara Prize for Poetry in 2002, won by the “Fire Within’’, written by Chijioke Amu-Nnadi,’’ he added.
In his acceptance speech, Amu-Nnadi, promised to live up to the expectations of the literary society, noting that he derived joy from writing.
He recalled that he got into writing poetry by chance.
According to him, a challenge from a fellow student drew him into poetry.
“As a first year student of Mass Communication at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, I had the privilege of sharing the same class with a few young men who loved poetry.
“But I was the only one who had no time for poetry. So, I was forced to rise to the challenge,’’ he said.
In his remarks, the NDDC Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr Ibitoye Abosede, gave kudos to Amu-Nnadi for his literary prowess.
Abosede said that the new resident poet had produced several books, including the “Fire Within’’, “Pilgrims Passage’’, “A River’s Journey’’ and “A Field of Echoes’’ among others.
He said Amu-Nnadi’s “Through the Window of a Sandcastle’’ won the 2013 ANA Poetry Prize and the 2014 Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry.