The Nigerian Prize For Literature 2014
On Thursday 29th January 2015, BIS was invited to attend the event in which the two winners,
Sam Ukala and Isidore Diala were rewarded with prizes for Nigerian Literature by Nigeria LNG.
Sam Ukala put in his play Iredi War into the contest that involved 124 entries.
He wrote an excellent piece based on the history of the 1906 uprising of the people of the
Owa Kingdom against British oppressive colonial rule.
Isidore Diala was the first person to win the Nigerian prize for literature criticism.
He received an astonishing 1 million Naira cash award for his outstanding work.
Sam Ukala graciously accepted the award for his play, Iredi War.
He then delivered to us a magnificent speech worthy of praise as he interlaced his
words with modesty and humbleness. He emphasized on the fact that writers should not
be writing to see prizes and fame.
They should be writing for the sake of literature. Similar to famous Nigerian writer,
Chinua Achebe, Professor Sam Ukala had a strong view against corruption and believes that
corrupted officials are simply greedy men seeking to build up on their beastly egos.
Professor Ukala does not regularly enter his pieces of work for competitions, he only seeks
acknowledgement for the quality of his work and his major motivating factor is the urge to
find out whether his writing has improved or deteriorated.
Ukala has shared many wise words on his views of writing. The worst kind of poverty is poverty of the mind.
And when you are poor in your mind, you pursue material things even without qualms.
You think only of material or financial gains. To me, anyone who writes just for the sake
of winning money is not a committed writer. A committed writer is the one who wants to give
out his thoughts as a way of building the nation; as a way of reaching his people and getting
them to think right and act right, he says.
Sam Ukala believes that the quality of Nigerian writing will continue to improve with time as
the youth of Nigeria are inspired to keep on the legacy of literature. He thanks Literature critics
as they help in building up on his weaker areas of work and keeping his strong points firm.
For the first time since it was introduced in 2012, a winner, Isidore Diala, also emerged for the
Literary Criticism Award. The award was introduced to reward literary critics of Nigerian Literature
from all over the world. The award comes with a monetary prize of 1 million naira cash.
His article, Colonial Mimicry and Post-colonial Re-membering in Isidore Okpe his Call Me
by My Rightful Name was judged the winner from seven entries.
Isidore Diala received his award for Literature criticism with modesty. His work was judged
along with seven other entries whom he felt that he represented all of their works together and
in essence was not only accepting the award for himself, but for all the people who entered their pieces of work.
By Sheikh Ouldhairy Jobe Yr 10