It’s has always being in contention that the Mamman Vatsa Writers Village hectares of land owned by association of Nigerian Authors,ANA, was shared amongst past Presidents of ANA. Rumours has it that the current President of ANA Mallam Denja Abdullahi , is being accused of not just selling part of the land for his own benefits , also seceding it to some of his friends.
The reality of the state of the writers village was brought to bare when Denja Abdullahi invited some ANA Excos and past Presidents of ANA to come bare witness on the current condition of the Mamma Vatsa writers village in the high hill top of Abuja.
The Mamman Casta writers village which now has different on going project there , include the Chinua Achebe International Conference center which is to have a 15,000 multi-purpose hall with different offices for ANA state chapters, while the fifty blocks of flats would be used as hotel rooms when completed to generate funds for ANA.
The Denja Abdullahi led administration of ANA, started this project in-order to secure the Land,and also give ANA as a body a symbol to look at in the Federal Capital Territory,FCT.
When the late poet and former minister of the FCT,Mamman Vatsa gave ANA 61.2 hectares of land around 1985, his aim was for writers to come together to promote the just course of the society, where issues which is bothering the nation Nigeria can be well discussed. For many years under the military rule, the land remained a fallow ground as many past Presidents of ANA couldn’t come forward to claim the land until Nigeria moved from Military rule to Democratic rule.
The first major breakthrough on the Mamman Vatsa Writers Village came when the late Abubakar Gimba was President of ANA, used his might and connection to make sure that the writers village was able to secure a Certificate Of Occupancy,C Of O,which ANA can use to claim that the land as theirs.
It was when Professor Olu Obafemi became ANA President that the idea of developing the Mamman Vatsa Writers Village came in place , and Home securities was the Land developer contacted at that time .After being awarded the contract, Home Securities refused to develop the Land , and when Wale Okediran became ANA President, pressure was being mounted on Home Securities to go develop the writers village and they still refused to go, rather Home Securities called in Denja Abdullahi to offer him bribe so as to retain the contract of the writers village . Abdullahi words to Home Securities were nasty ‘you don’t sell a public property, if you do your brothers will come chasing after you.’It was at the ANA Congress in 2007 that Home Securities agreement was revoked, when he refused to show up at the convention.
For a way forward over the Mamman Vastsa Writers Village, an Land developer was contacted .ANA decided to engage Korlie Mobs Ventures Limited,KMVL who still remains the current developer of the Land. During this period the land had shrinked from 61.20 hectares to 36.9 hectares because part of the land had being taken by the FCT, because ANA refused to develop it for almost thirty years.
On January 24 2013, a major breakthrough was recorded on the Mamman Vastsa Writers Village , as the first ground breaking ceremony was being done, under the Professor Remi Raji led administration.That day a lot security officials were hired to make sure that the event becomes successful , as encroachers had already occupied the land. It was a fight to finish and ANA won. That remained the state of the writers village until the Denja Abdullahi led ANA decided to build on the success of the past Presidents .
One of the first thing Denja Abdullahi did when he became ANA President was work with ANA Excos to implement the mandate given by the congress of the Association at the 2015 convention to constitute a land development committee. This was done at the inaugural meeting of ANA Excos January 2016 in Abuja where they also asked the present developer to present a brief on the prevailing status of developments on the land.
The land development committee on the Mamman Vastsa Writers Village was then led by one of the past President of ANA, Dr Wale Okediran. Initially , Dr Okediran wanted to run away when he was called upon to take the mantle in ensuring that the writers village is being put to use. But on a second thought he summoned the courage to carry on the work.
The ANA Land committee met later that year with the developer and initiated a monitoring system to fast track developments on the land. All these initial activities of the Executive Council and the land development committee culminated in a Foundation Laying Ceremony that was held on Friday 26 May, 2017 to announce to the world that the period of actual development on the land towards realizing the dream of Vatsa and that of all Nigerian writers had come.
Actual development eventually took off around August 2017 with a view to realize the projects as laid out in the MOU between ANA and KMVL entered into in 2013 to give ANA on a five hectare land, a national headquarters complex, a 50 Room Hotel, residency chalets,500-Seater auditorium, conference centre , E-libraries, ANA State offices complex, archives and depositories and many other facilities befitting a writers’ resort.
The strategic plan which was between 2017-2022, was developed by the Denja Abdullahi administration in 2016 with buying- in from ANA stakeholders.
In order to keep an eye on progress made on the land and fast track possible developments, ANA National Executive Council from the donations of N1.5m received at the foundation laying ceremony in May, 2017 from some friends of ANA who attended the event, gave out the sum to the developer for the building of a temporary national secretariat for the Association to enable ANA move the national headquarter from Lagos to Abuja. The National Secretariat of ANA was effectively moved in March, 2018 from the National Theatre Complex Iganmu.
In the last four years, the ANA Land committee has met at various times with the developer, alongside the monitoring system regularly and religiously carried out and have copiously reported with the national executive council about developments on the land to the congress of the Association at ANA Conventions AGM.
The dream of Denja Abdullahi is to complete at least the first phase of the Mamman Vastsa Writers Village, though November 2019 is very close by, the time when he would hand over the Leadership of ANA to the next elected President in the ANA Convention, but those that has come to bare witness to the development of the Mamman Vastsa Writers Village are really impressed with it’s current state.
Daughter of the late Mamman Vastsa , Hadjia Aisha Casta,poured a lot of encomium on Denja Abdullahi, noting that her father would be proud of him, if he was alive.Her sister-in-law Hadjia Aruna Vastsa thanked ANA for keeping her Father-in-law’s legacy.