Governor Ibikunle Amosun
By Adeola Ogunrinde
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State this morning said ‘literature is the soul of life. He said this at the opening of Ake Arts and Book Festival. In his address at the June 12 cultural center Abeokuta this morning , Amosun said literature is the soul of life which provokes our diverse ideas noting that the culture of reading is very critical as he said ‘you can’t give what you have.’
Director of Book Buzz and organisers of Ake Arts and Books Festival Lola Shoneyin in her welcome address said over the past three years the character of the festival remain the same thanking partners of the festival for the past three years
Also at the welcome ceremony of the festival the European Union, EU ambassador to Nigeria and Ecowas Michel Arrion in his address said ‘you don’t invest in water, health and education if you don’t understand the culture of the people you want to give water to.’Arrion thanked the organisers of the director of the festival Lola Shoneyin for provoking that which is a taboo in Nigeria as the theme of this year ‘Engaging with the Fringe’ address such issues from corruption to issues regarding language across the continent noting that Democracy is when the majority are ruling and the minority are been taken care of.
Director of Marine Platforms Baji Nyam at the opening of the festival unveiled the contribution of Marine Plartform to the development of literature in Northern Nigeria, distributing books to many Boko Haram affected areas. Nyam later gave out a cheque of 200,000 naira each to writers in the North who have published their novels despite several challenges. Awardees that benefited are S is for Survivor by Samira Sanusi, Fire on the tip of ice by Halima Aliyu, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim for Season of Crimson Blossoms and Elnathan John for Born on Tuesday.
Ake Air France poetry and Prose prize winners were announced during the opening ceremony of the festival which includes Geoffery Gyasi and Mamadou Diallo. Etisalat also unveiled its longlist of this year’s literary prize which includes 2015 Man Booker shortlisted author Chigozie Obioma. General Manager of Cheveron/NNPC in his address said they have partnered with the festival for three years to establish Nigeria as a creative hup.
In the closing remarks of his address ,Amosun adviced Nyam to also create literary platforms for the Southern part of Nigeria so that while trying to solve one problem in the North , he won’t be creating another in the south.