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Whither Port Harcourt Book Festival?

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The Garden City literary festival renamed, Port Harcourt Book Festival, began as the brain child of Koko Kalango, who thought it up as a means to propel tourism and highten literary awareness in the city of Port Harcourt and its neighboring areas, encourage love for books and reading culture in Africa with focus on children.
Originally scheduled for September 8 each year, to coincide with the United Nations International Literacy Day, the festival has continued to expand and has been highly rated since its debut in 2004. The literary event included a book fair, writers workshop and forums. An integral part of the festival showcased activities for children such as essay competition, art drama, writing competitions, workshops and sessions to encourage children to read.
The events usually attracted some big names in the literary arts; hundred of fans flocked to the Garden City every year for this six day event. The inaugural edition was held as a three-day event from the 24 to 27 September, 2008. It was dubbed Garden City Literary Festival with its them as ‘Writers Without Borders’. Special guests included Prof Wole Soyinka, Kofi Awoonor and late captain Elechi Amadi, with writers Okey Ndibe, Kaine Agaray and Petrina Crockford.
The second festival, (Nigeria’s 50 years of post colonial literature), was held on September 23 to 26, 2009. In attendance were authors Ngugi Wa Thiongo, JP Clark, Buchi Emecheta A. Igoni Barrett, Toni Khan, Sefi Attah, Lindsay Berrett, Toni Ka, Fela Durotoye, Tade / Padeola, Jumuoke Verissimo, Abimbola Adunni and Joy Isi Bewaji. It was coordinated by United Kingdom’s Nana Ayebia Clarke along with representatives from book builders and the British Council.
Author Ngugi Wa Thiongo presented a Keynote address at the event, which was “Language As Bridges: Building Network Against linguistic Feudalism and Darwinism”. The 2010 festival saw change in its mouth of occurrence for the first time as it was held between 8th and 11th December 2010, more than 100 people attended the event that year.
In 2011, the event shifted back to its initial period taking place between 12th and 17th September 2011, its theme was, “literature and Politics:, the festival was formerly opened by Ex-Governor Chibuke Ameachi and former Common Wealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku. For the first time in its history, it lasted for five days. Other prominent attendces were Chinua Achebe and his son, Dr Chidi Achebe, who presented the main speech and activist, Jesse Jackson.
The fifth Garden City Literary Festival, Women In Literature was moved to October and held from 15th to 20th with Hotel Presidential as the festival venue, Garden City literary festival guest such as Veronique Tadjo, Doreen Baingana, Elechi Amadi, Gabriel Okara and Prof E.J Alagoa participated.
There was also a book put together by Mrs Koko titled ‘coat of Many Colours’ along side then president, Goodluck Jonathan and former Rivers State Governor Rotimi Amechi both of whom contributed to its forward and introduction, respectively.
Also joining the group were former Cross River State Governor, Donald Duke, Prof Wole Soyinka and Mrs Ibim Seminitari. Towards the end of the occasion, the city of Port Harcourt was re-ignited as UNESCO World Book capital for the year 2014. In August 2013, Mrs Kalango announced that the garden city literary festival has been renamed Port Harcourt Book Festival, citing reasons that the new name would assist in elevating Port Harcourt’s profile as a legitimate destination for all things literary.
In 2014, the festival took place in Port Harcourt and was opened with a key note address by Noble Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, the theme of the festival was “Books: Windows. To Our World Of Possibilities”, highlights of the event in 2014 included the presentation of a dance drama titled “Along came the Book” which was directed by award winning play wright, Bikiya Graham Douglas.
In addition to it, there was a presentation of a book titled “The Walking Book” which is a communal story covering the sights and sounds of Rivers State written by different children who were selected from the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State. 12 books were carefully selected to be featured in the festival in 2014. Some of the books were Arrow of God by Chinua Achebe (April), the Great Ponds by Elechi Amadi (May), This Child Shall Be Great by Ellen Shirley Johnson (June) and Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks (August).
The world book capital position always brings benefits to children in terms of improving their reading and literary culture and submissions to host it are always considered, based on their impact of a book club in the aspect of reading culture and literary programmes in the society.
In 2014, the festival brought honour to sub Saharan Africa, when Port Harcourt City won the right to host UNESCO world book capital. Alexandra in Egypt was the other city to be honoured, Port Harcourt became the second African City and the first Sub Saharan city to hold this position, all thanks to the Rainbow Book Club, whose submission to host the annual book day to the UNESCO was approved.
Port Harcourt became the 4th city to be named the UNESCO World Book Capital, following other countries like Madrid, Amsterdam, Beirut and others. The UNESCO World Book City always holds that position for one year and it starts on the 23rd of April, the chosen year Port Harcourt handed over the position as UNESCO World book capital to Incheon in South Korea in April 2015.
The festival was stalled in 2015 due to lack of funding as a result of the change of government in Rivers State, as government being prominent partners. Critics and academics have also attributed this to lack of strategic planning aside from funding.

By: Jacob Obinna

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Social/Kiddies

Who Should Name A Child?

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Naturally, when a child is born, it is the role of the father and mother to decide a suitable name for the child. The husband and wife normally discuss and suggest the English or vernacular name of the baby.
But sometimes, when a baby comes into a family, grandparents hearts are usually filled with joy to the extent that they want to answer present, by giving their own names not minding the fact that the biological parents have given theirs.
This happens mostly when the marriage is an inter-tribal one. It also happens even in intra-tribal marriage. Grandparents want equal representation as far as naming a child is concerned. They also have special names as a result of circumstances surrounding the birth of the child.
This is still happening till date.
A lot of people have viewed this in different ways but there is nothing wrong about it. The most important thing is that the child bears as many names as he or she can. But one thing is certain, the child must bear one name in school.
Should circumstance determine a child’s name?
Women who are more emotional are always eager to name their children considering the circumstances surrounding the child’s conception and arrival.
The issue of grandparents naming a child comes up mostly when it is the first of the family.
In naming children by some parents in the olden days, they named their children according to the days in the week in which they were born, like Sunday, Monday, Friday and so on.
You may be shocked to hear that whether a child is given 10 names by parents or grandparents, when he or she grows up, will decide to change. There are several cases where some persons decided to change especially when they feel that the names given by their parents and grandparents do not give them joy. If they are not doing well in life, they may claim that their misfortune is caused by the name their parents.

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Children’s Performance Can Make Or Mar Them

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Competition among children in schools be it primary, (kindergarten) and secondary come in different forms. It can be Mathematics , debate, quiz, spelling bee,competition, from organisations like Cowbell, multi-national companies, faith-based organisations among others.
They are organised mostly for selected intelligent ones, the best among their peers to represent a class, school or group. Prizes are normally set aside for the best as well as consolation prizes for runners-up at the end of each session.
The question is, are children willing to accept defeat when they fail? As parents, guardians, can you encourage your children or wards to accept defeat instead of shouting and comparing them with others who may be performing better either in schools or outside.
Some parents may be blaming their children for not doing well in competitions. They will like to tell their children if others who may perform better have ten heads. Those group of parents blame their children for every failure.
For your children to do better in competition, the parents too must have emotional intelligence. When you continue to blame your children for failure, how intelligent are you?
Some parents always want their children to be in the 1st position and unhappy whenever they secure 2nd position. There were instances where children smashed their trophies because they never got the position they wanted to get and their parents supported them.
Children should be able to accept it whether they win or not. They should be encouraged for every performance. Discourage the issue of “shame, shame, shame, shame”.
A parent says she always tells her children to win even if they will fail. Always give them the mentality that they can win. Children should be given the impression that they can win prizes and laurels in every competition.
Parents should not isolate their children from others in the neighbourhood. Allow them to play with others. Don’t threaten your children that you may not pay their schools fees if they fail. Comparing them with others may encourage or discourage them.
Coming first or getting award as a first class student from the university sometimes does not mean that the person is the best. And if the child does not merit any award in the lower classes, does not mean that he can not merit first class also.
It should be noted that coming first in academic competition may not really mean that the competitor will be the best at work place or business.
Accepting defeat is a way to move higher. Even if a child who competed with others did not come first, there are consolation prizes for runners-up. When you advise the child to accept defeat, you are encouraging her to win in next competition.
Remember all children cannot be on the same knowledge level Their learning abilities defer.

Eunice Choko-Kayode

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Social/Kiddies

Raising Children In Today’s World

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There is great anxiety in raising children in today’s world because things are changing. But the anxiety we think children are giving their parents these today’s may not be different from the one they gave their own parents.
Although every generation comes with peculiar issues. Nowadays, you have laptop, Ipad, Iphone, and other devices which have influenced their lives positively or negatively.
These days, distractions are high. When growing up, there was no Yahoo. There is the social media – facebook, whatsapp, twitter among others in vogue. They have both negative and positive impacts on the child.
Parenting means that what you desire from God about the children come to pass. Having faith in God while raising children is key. Trusting God on their behalf is important.
Children of these days can use what they have learnt to advance their lives. They are technically fit with modern technology. A lot of children help their parents and others around them to solve problems with the use of the numerous gadgets in their possession. Be it phones and laptops, even through the YouTube and software engineering in general.
The technics may differ from yesteryears to today. Their engagement in ICT may be keeping the children off from evil. The principles in technology can take them to places. Many of them have succeeded in earning jobs through ICT.
In parenting, keep the children off from evil. When a husband is beating his wife, perhaps the mother of the children, they are watching.
The children must be your friend. Cheer them up always. Build their confidence. Don’t kill yourself in raising children that are difficult.

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