Nsukka: Prof Damian Ugwuntikiri Opata, a founding member of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) has bemoaned the parlous state of affairs in Nigeria, forty years afterwards noting that “things have gotten much worse”

The Celebrated and controversial, who recently retired the Department of Literary Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka made the assertion on Sunday while speaking as the Chairman during Back to the Cradle, a literary event held at the Senior Staff Club, UNN, as part of activities marking the 40th anniversary of ANA.

Reliving events of that historic occasion, forty years ago said, “I was then a young lecturer with Achebe as my boss and role model.

“At that inaugural meeting held at the Faculty of Arts Hall, here in UNN, eminent writers from within and outside Nigeria were invited, including James Ngugi wa Thiongo, a famous Kenyan novelist.”

According to Prof Opata, “the meeting was delayed for several hours due to the non arrival of the Kenyan author, who was stuck in a hold up at the Niger Bridgehead, Onitsha”

Today, the situation has become much worse with the deplorable state of the Enugu Onitsha Express way, especially the impassable Amansea section.

In his speech, the ANA President, Mr Camillus Uka, represented by the Secretary General, Mike Ortsega noted that the event was the last lap of a ten city tour, which saw ANA@40 events being held in ten different cities across the country.

In his own address, Mazi Zulu Ofoelue, Chairman, ANA Enugu State welcomed the guests, explaining the significance of the event

“ANA was founded here, forty years ago. As such, this event is a return to the birth place of ANA hence the caption,” Back to the Cradle”

Hon Justice G. C. Nnamani, President, Enugu State Customary Court of Appeal and Special Guest at the event also lauded the organizers for a successful event. He also decried the poor reading culture and lack of interest in literary events prevalent in the society.

The eminent jurist and prolific writer later read a portion from his novel, Mission to Alfador.

Highlights of the event presentation of poetry, songs, spoken words, folk songs, dance, etc.

Also, Justice Nnamani’s novels were presented as prizes to outstanding student poets. One of the prize recipients, Ugochukwu Anadi, a Third Year student of Mechatronics Engineering was extolled for the philosophical incisiveness of his poem, Carving my Ikenga.

From ANA Enugu members, Dr Greg Mbajiorgu presented a poem titled, Water while Mazi Ikechukwu Bismarck Oji, MNSE presented a poetic piece titled, Doomnation.

In his vote of thanks, Dr Greg Mbajiorgu thanked all those who were part of the epochal event.

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