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Arts/Literary

Lenny B, Others Hit Port Harcourt, Today

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It is going to be a  funfair as Port Harcourt plays host to some of the best talents in Nigeria’s entertainment industry today. The event which is the 5th edition of REAL MAN NIGERIA, a fitness and body building championship is expected to feature entertainers like Mi, Lenny B, B-Nice, Ijaw Boys, Khalif D’ Saifer, Angel Da Laugh, and Romeo without Juliet among others.

Organised by Prolific Fleet Entertainment, the body building contest is expected to feature 36 contestants from all over the country including the defending champion, Bada Razaq.

With the caliber of expected entertainers, the creator of the championship who is also the president of Prolific Fleet Entertainment, Mr. Inemotimi Angalapele promised the audience a fantastic night of funfair at Cee Baracuda, II King Perekule Street, GRA Phase II, with a lot of cash prizes, laurels and other consolation prizes worthy over N1,000,000  for grabs by the contestants.

This year’s event is the second to be hosted in Port Harcourt since the championship evolved five years ago.

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Arts/Literary

Exploits Of Nigerian Writers On Global Stage …As Other African Countries Dominate Literary Prizes In 2021

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In spite of all the numerous problems bedevilling the Nigerian literary scene, it could be said that Nigerian literature has come a long way, considering the teeming number of writers that have emerged and the giant achievements of writers China Achebe and Sole Soyinka.
Achebe’s legendary Things Fall Apart has been translated into about 50 languages globally. Soyinka, on the other hand, has done Africa proud by winning the Nobel Prize in 1986. Nigerian writers of the new generation have equally pushed Nigerian literature to the pinnacle by winning some of the most prestigious literary prizes.
Ben Okri won the Booker prize for his The Famished Road in 1991, Helon Habila, Segun Afolabi and E.C Osondu, won the Caine Prize for their Prison story, Monday Morning and Waiting, respectively.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has, like Habila, won the Commonwealth Prize for Literature. She has well won the Orange Prize with her novel, Half of a Yellow Sun.
Beyond setting international literary standards, Nigerian writers have also succeeded more than any group in the country in exporting our culture and tradition to other part of the world. This fact was eloquently stressed by the renowned literary critic, Professor Charles E. Nnolim.
According to him, “Nigeria today stands tall before the international community because of the collective endeavours of her writers that some of the world’s biggest literary awards, including the Nobel, Booker and Goncourt have gone to Africans this year is a sign of the continent’s emergence as a major force in publishing and a region with a direct line to the pressing questions of our time.
“We are witnessing a reawakening of interest in Africa among the European literary world”, said Xavier Garnier, who teaches African literature at Sorbonne in Paris. He described the string of awards for Africans as “Striking”.
They include Tanzania’s Abdulrazak Gurnah becoming a Nobel laureate, South Africa’s Damon Galgut winning Britain’s Booker Prize and 31-year-old Senegalese Mohamed Mbougar Sarr becoming the first writer from sub-Saharan Africa to win France’s top literary award, the Prix Goncourt.
That’s not all, Senegalese writers won this year’s International Booker (David Diop) and Prix Neustadt (Boubacar Boris Diop) while Portugal’s Prix Canoes went to Paulina Chiziane of Mozambique.
These are not token gestures by prize committees to look relevant, experts say. Rather, as Garnier put it, they reflect the Western industry finally recognising a booming literary scene that “no longer really needs recognition”.
Publishing houses have sprouted across Africa in recent years, along with literary reviews, festivals and regional prizes.
“There’s a huge reading public for African writers, and that’s been underlined during the pandemic when we’ve seen the scale of the community as it shifted online”, said Madhu Krishnan, who teaches African literature at Britain’s Bristol University.
“People don’t come out of nowhere. We just don’t always see these smaller worlds from Europe”.
African literature had a previous heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, though it was tied up with politics and decolonisation, embodied by figures like Senegal’s poet/President Leopold Sedar Senghor.
Today, the themes are much broader and writers less concerned with how they are viewed by outsiders.
We’re seeing more experimentation, ecologically engaged texts, African futurism, There’s a lot more variety – a lot more that isn’t concerned with explaining itself to Western audience.

By: Jacob Obinna

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Demystifying Perception Of Africa Through Return Of Artefacts

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A popular Latinate aphorism goes thus: “Lies have short life span”. Interestingly, this aphorism is traceable to a Biblical foundation of truth written in the book of Proverbs 12 verse 19 which says “The truthful lip shall be established forever, a lying tongue is but for a moment”.
This is where the avalanche of a negative appellations and indeed erroneous perceptions of Africans postulated by Eurocentric Scholars readily comes to mind.
For instance, more than 150 years ago, German Scholar George Hegal argued that “Africans were sub humans and the only way they could come to the lower rung on the ladder of humanity was for them to undergo slavery in Europe”.
Apparently, a renowned academic as George Hegal supported and justified slavery.
At this juncture, one may wish to ask, are Africans truly sub human?
Worse still, professor Hugh Trevor Roper in his inaugural lecture in 1963 asserted: “African past is darkness and darkness cannot be subject for historical investigation”.
Professor Hugh Trevor Roper did not mince words when he described African past as “unedifying gyration of barbarous tribes in picturesque but irrelevant comers of the globe”.
As if that was not enough, another Eurocentric writer, David Hume also said “Africa has no ingenious manufacture, no arts, no science”.
David Hume continued to transmit his Vernon when he said again”I am apt to suspect the Negros to be naturally inferior to the white”.
Infact, the film entitled The Birth of a Nation also known as Clansman in 1915 directed by D. W. Griffith made mockery of the backrace by painting Afro-Americans as stupid and further eulogized white supremacy.
There is no gain saying that these negative perceptions of African by eurocentric writers were geared towards justifying slavery and other forms of humiliation of the African race and glory in free labour.
In other words, those eurocentric impressions were and still are deliberate attempts to undermind the invaluable contributions of Africans to humanity.
For instance, the Al-Qarawiyin University, Moroccois reputed to be the oldest University in the world as well as University of Timbuktu, Mali, West Africa which began in the first instance as centres for Islamic Studies.
Today, the return of artefacts to Benin,Edo State and Nigeria at large is an eloquent testimony to the creative ingenuity of Nigerian and Africans at large.
It would be recalled that recently Cambridge University handed over Benin Bronze Cockerel to Nigeria, stolen about 124 years by British Colonial Forces in 1897.
This was followed by the return of Sculpture of Oba of Benin by University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
It is common knowledge that the return of artefacts particularly to Benin,Edo State has been on going but not limited to the examples of Cambridge University and University of Aberdeen.
Records show that on June 20, 2014 at a ceremony held at the palace ground Benin, Edo State, two looted Benin bronzes namely ‘Oro’ described as bird of disaster and gong bell were returned to the Oba of Benin by two Britons Doctor Adrians Mark Walker and Chief Steve Dunstone.
One thing is clear; artefacts are evidences of ancient culture and civilization of a people.
It is an evidence that there was a generation who lived with archaeological evidence of their implement and relics and technology.
In the words of the erudite arts historian and specialist in Nigeria antiquities, Barbara Winston Blackmun (1928-2018), Bronze bell have been cast South-Eastern Nigeria for over 1000 years.
Barbara Blackmun disclosed that the oldest bells have been excavated at Igbo Ukwu East of Benin and dated to the 9th century.
The revelation of no less a scholar Barbara Winston Blackmun predates the ranting and evil postulations of eurocentric writers of 18th and 19th centuries.
It is, therefore, not true of David Hume and his cohort to say that Africa has no ingenuous manufacture, no arts, and no science.
The question agitating the mind of Nigerians and indeed Africans now is, after the return of artefacts,what next?
The Professor of Film Studies University of Port Harcourt, Professor Femi Shaka in an interview posits “The thing about the return of artefacts is that it goes to disprove that Africans have no culture”.
“Most of these looted items are thousands of years in carbon-dating which goes to tell us that Africa had flourishing culture much more advance than that of Europe”.
Another Scholar, a Professor of Textiles and Fashion Design University of Port Harcourt, Professor Pamela Cyril Egbare insists that museum should not be seen as a dumping ground for useless materials. The lesson is that slavery is a bad thing and ignorance is not a good thing”.
According to Mark Olaitan, Curator National Museum and Monument: “One will count it as ignorance on the side of the White who came to our country to loot our property”.
According to him, “By the time, this looted materials got to the outside world, they came to understand that Africa has culture even superior to their own culture”.
As recorded in the Bible book of Romans 10:12 “For there is no distinction between the Jew and Greek for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call on Him.
God created all human beings equal and in His own image.
This is where it becomes pertinent to suggest that Nigerians and indeed African leaders must resist the penchant to playing second fiddle by begging their counterparts in America and Europe for aid.
Nigeria must rise up and take advantage of the returned artefactesto reconstruct a new national pride and entrench its big brother role in Africa Diplomacy.
Nigeria must rise up and articulate a new world order and march Europe and America, science for science and culture for culture.
Professor Femi Shaka cited above, advised the Federal Government to put in place institutional infrastructure for the maintenance of these artefacts” such as world standard museum and training of man power.
According to Mr. Mark Olaitan, Curator, National Museum and Monument, Port Harcourt: “The return of artefacts will heal many a wound inflicted by the expedition by British colonial forces and further build the broken walls of relations between Africa and the West”.
In the words of Professor Pamela Cyril Egbare, “The National Museum and Monument should learn to open up to the public; let people know that tourism is good while government must create the needed awareness on the returned artefacts, advertise on national radio, Tv, because artefacts are revenue earner and promoter of tourism”.
The time to act is now.

By: Baridorn Sika
Baridorn Sika is a broadcast Journalist and Public Affairs Analyst
Email: bscommunication@yahoo.com.
Tel: 08033409667.

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Social/Kiddies

Under-Aged Marriage: What Good For Nigerian Youths?

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Under the 1990 Marriage Act, 21 years is the legal age of marriage, but girls and boys may marry before this age with written consent [from a guardian or parent]
However, the Child Rights Act, which was passed in 2003, sets the age of marriage at 18 years-old. However, only 23 of Nigeria’s 36 states have adopted this act. As a result, in some areas of the country the minimum age of marriage can be as low as 12 years-old.
section 29(4) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (FRN) defines a minor as anyone below the age of 18 years (implying that only persons 18 years and above can be regarded as adult, ripe for marriage.
Few years back, a lively debate took place using the Hashtag #ChildNotBride on Twitter and an online petition to the United Nations gathered over 20,000 signatures to protest against child marriage.
In all of this, our country has continued to witness children rated as minors, take to themselves, wives and husbands with their parents either giving their full support, or being helpless about the situation.
Just recently, people expressed outrage after photos of an under aged “couple” were shared online. An 11-year -old -boy got married to his girlfriend.
The boy named Julius allegedly got married to a girl named Anthonia on Thursday, December 9, 2021, in Kaduna. A facebook user who lives in Kaduna claimed the wedding held in Jaba, Kaduna State.
Because of the age of the couple, people are calling for the parents of the children to be arrested.
Meanwhile, not long ago, the public was greeted with the news of a 17-year-old boy who a 16 – year-old for wife in Nnewi after the young couple insisted it’s what they wanted.
According to report, the  boy named Somto, from  Nwachukwu family in Okofia village, Otolo Nnewi, Anambra State, allegedly dropped out of school and insisted on getting married.
It was gathered that even though his family were not enthusiastic about it, they had no option than to give their support and have the traditional wedding organized in their favour.
Even though parents of under aged couples may appear to have given their consent to authenticate the union, the question still remains, are they equipped enough to tread the marriage route?  What do they know about marriage?
Someone once said that when couples marry young, they need not rush into things which includes having babies, they take their time before planning kids. It  is also argued that marrying too early in life leaves couples with the advantage of having their babies while age is still on their  marriage side.
On the contrary, have we considered the risk of shouldering responsibility  at a very young age?. Parents whose male children go into marriage at very tender age will attest that it is usually an added responsibility to them up to the level of catering for the child of the marriage as though it is their own child.
Dont forget missing out on the fun of teenage life and being young. A child who takes to marriage early in life automatically turns out to be neither here nor there. Nature seems to force them out of childhood to inexperienced adults.
Education is likely to be stalled as only very few well-to-do homes can continue the education of their children after they are married.
Overall health risks being distorted as early pregnancy can have a negative impact on overall health. It is on record that early marriage, which of course is tantamount to early pregnancy, is  the most common cause of vesico-vaginal fistula, a serious disability that can be experienced by women after childbirth.
With all these side effects in sight, breakdown of marriage is possible.

By: Sylvia ThankGod-Amadi

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