Ultimate magazine theme for WordPress.

First Anambra Book and Creativity Festival: A Review

Eze Prof Chukwuemeka Ike

By Onuka Egbe

The First Anambra Book and Creativity Festival  held between the 21st and  24th  of  November 2012 in Awka. Organized by the Anambra Book and Creativity Network, a fledgling organization led by C. Krydz Ikwuemesi , polyvalent artist and lecturer at the University of  Nigeria whose organizational antecedents include the Pan-African Circle of Artists, the Art Republic, the Mmanwu Theatre in Enugu, the Igbo uli heritage preservation campaign, among other projects. 
Other members included Dr. Ikenna Onwuegbuna, also a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Mr. Chike Ifedobi, an archeologist and broadcaster, and Mr. Lorenzo Menakaya, a musician and broadcaster. The organizing committee also had other committed people as Tracie Utoh-ezeajugli, a Professor of theatre and the Director of the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities ; Prof Cliff Nwanna,  HOD, Fine Arts at Unizik and Dr. Okechukwu  Nwafor,  artist and art historian. Also on the committee were Nwilo Bura-Bari Vincent, a burgeoning writer and a student of English at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 

Austin Faani Ikechukwu of Nollywood receives his award from the Chairman, Dr Obiogbolu

                                                     Krydz Ikwuemesi

                     Dr Ikenna Onwuegbuna, Prof Richard Okafor and Dr Sam Chukwu

                                  Bona Ezeudu (right) receives his award from the Chairman

21 was like a test for the relevance and success or otherwise of the book and
creativity initiative, as there were no guests other than  Chief Alex Obiogbolu, chairman of the occasion,
and Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, famous writer and one of the distinguished
artists of the occasion, in the venue at the designated time of 10am. Though it
was worrisome initially, guests turned up later and filled the auditorium to
capacity and the event went well, against all odds.

 Eze Professor Chukwuemeka Ike, Dr. Alex
Obiogbolu, and Prof Chimalum Nwankwo electrified the occasion. After the
introductory remarks by Prof. Tracie Utoh-Ezeajugh and the opening remarks by
the Dean, Faculty of Arts, who represented the UniZik Vice Chancellor, the
chairman of the occasion took the audience through a beautiful speech in which
he lamented the publishing and reading cultures in Nigeria and the effect of
the situation on human, social and economic development. The same pathos could
be discerned in the presentation by Prof. Ike, who is a distinguished writer
and one who has championed the Nigerian Book Foundation in response to the
neglected book-publishing- reading crisis in Nigeria.

                                                                  Dame Victoria Madukaife

opening speeches were followed by a powerful presentation,“The challenge of enforcing the intellectual
property rights of authors, poets, playwrights and artists through the courts:
The need for a uniform protocol of enforcement for African States”
 by  Barrister Chris Muo an expert on intellectual
property. His presentation focused on the
existing intellectual property rights laws that impact on the intellectual
property rights of authors, poets, playwrights and artists, the institutional
enforcement protocols, the challenges of actual enforcement, the need for a
uniform protocol across Africa. It was virtually
a continuation of his
other talks at various art forums where he had drawn attention to ignorance of
artists and cultural producers in Nigeria, with regard to the essence and
realities of intellectual property laws.

          Prof Traci Utoh-Ezeajugh, Director, UniZik Centre for Excellence in Arts and Humanities
                                  Barr Chris Muo, Legal Adviser, Pan African Circle of Artists

last presentation at the opening was by poet and writer Professor Chimalum  Nwankwo who came all the way from Abuja . He
spoke on “Celebrating the Printed Word:
Books as Germs of Knowledge and Development.” He outlined the role of the book
in the preservation and propagation of knowledge and as one of the driving
forces of genuine and sustainable development.

closing remarks from the chairman, Dr. Obiogbolu, participants were chaperoned
to the Centre for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities where books and some
art and crafts were on display.  On stand
were exhibition of books and art and crafts by the National Gallery of Art,
National Council for Arts and Culture, Centre for Black African Art and
Civilization, Evans Publishers, Heinemann Educational Publishers, the Pan
African Circle of Artists, the Art Republic, Uli Arts and Crafts Foundation,
the Smile of a Child Network, the Grail Centre, Awka, and many other groups as
well as individual writers. 

It was a harvest of intellectual/knowledge production
and creative enterprise. There was also a collection of works displayed at the nearby
Jumac Hotels. Notable artists like Jerry Buhari, Bona Ezeudu, Okay Ikenegbu,
Krydz Ikwuemesi, Cliff Nwanna, Chris Echeta, Angela Udeani and many others
participated in the exhibition. Apart from these masters, other rising stars
were represented in painting, textiles, photography, sculpture, fashion, and
                                                 Dr Peter Ezeh and Prof Damian Opata

                                                               Prof Chimalum Nwankwo

Apart from the book, art and craft exhibition,
there were lectures, workshops, poetry performances and folklore, music and
resource persons with diverse experiences in the arts. Some of the major
sessions and presentations included a roundtable on “Why the Nigerian
Publishing/Reading Culture is in Crisis” where Dr Peter Ezeh and Prof Damian
Opata were key speakers. Another presentation by Mrs. Victoria Madukaife, a
veteran broadcaster, consisted in a celebration of our classicists focusing on
Chinua Achebe, Cyprian Ekwensi, Buchi Emecheta and Chukwuemeka Ike. In two
separate sessions, Professor Chike Aniakor spoke on “Cultural
Production/Reproduction in Contemporary Nigeria”, while C. Krydz Ikwuemesi
spoke on “Art and Craft as
Tools for Cross-generational Conversation: My Personal Dialogue with Two
Cultures”. Although some of the artistes invited from the Nollywood industry
failed to attend, there were discussions on how Nollywood could contribute to
child education and socialization.
The impact of art and craft in the
creative economies of Africa was also discussed in light of the need to break
the mono-causal oil-based economy in Nigeria. Many other sessions, both formal
and informal, focused on socio-cultural issues within the bounds of the
festival’s central theme.

                        L-R Dr Chidi Osuagwu, Prof T.U. Nwala, and C Krydz Ikwuemesi

                       Prof Ben Obumselu (right) receives award from Dr Obiogbolu

the session on music education by Prof Richard Okafor and Dr. Sam Chukwu, HOD
of Music Department at the University of Nigeria, the award giving ceremony
began. Before the award ceremony proper, Prof. T.u Nwala, Dr. Chidi Osuagwu,
and genocide scholar and critical writer Emma Okocha made special presentations.
While Nwala and Osuagwu  dwelt generally
on issues in Igbo civilization the creative enterprise, Okocha who has been
researching and writing on the Igbo holocaust spoke on issues he had raised on
the subject in his thought provoking book Blood
on the Niger
. His presentation also reflected Achebe’s recent book There Was a Country, with all the
attendant criticisms and controversies.

by Dr. Alex Obiogbolu and  Justice Peter
Umeadi, Chief Judge of Anambra, as Guest of Honour, the closing ceremony was a
forum for a critical reflection on the poor publishing and reading culture in
Anambra State and Nigeria. In his welcome remarks, C. Krydz Ikwuemesi , acting President
of Anambra Book and Creativity Network, lamented government’s apathy as it
concerns knowledge production and dissemination as well as the lackluster  attitude of politicians to intellectual and creative
enterprises. He had a critical word for all: the government, publishers,
reading public, and “bread-and-butter” politicians. Decrying what he called the
scourge of “political arrogance and onslaught of pentecostalist nihilism”,   the artist reaffirmed that development is not
only defined by physical infrastructure and in the decentralization of violence
and corruption in the name of democracy, but should seriously incorporate
sustainable human development on which all other forms of development can

Obiogbolu and Guest of Honor Justice Umeadi and others at the award ceremony
echoed the same concerns in various ways but also enjoined participants to
strive for creativity and excellence as germs of sustainable development.  Everyone present marveled at the quality of
the line up of activities at the event and generally praised the quality of the
visual arts and crafts exhibited. They also pledged their support for future
editions, as they expressed their faith in the book and creativity festival to
contribute meaningfully to holistic development in Anambra State and Nigeria.
                                                Justice Peter Umeadi and Emma Okocha

list of awardees was impressive and lengthy, covering various aspects of the
creative enterprise and human Endeavour.  Categories and recipients included Anbukraft Patrons (Prof Ben Obumselu, Chief
Dr Alex Obiogbolu), Patron of the Arts (Alhaji Abdulaziz Chivuzo Ude). For the Awards
of Creative Excellence in Literature/Non-Fiction,  there were: Emma Okocha (Blood on the Niger), Prof Damian Opata (Ekwensu), Prof T.U. Nwala (Igbo
), Prof. C. Onukaogu, Prof Ben Obumselu, whie poetry went to Prof
Chimalum Nwankwo and Ikeogu Oke.  Tracy
Osokolo ( author of Red Pepper and
English Tea
) got the award for fiction and publisher Chief Agwuncha Arthur
Nwankwo received the award for publishing. For Film (acting, play writing,
directing, scriptwriting), recipients included Prof Emeka Nwabueze, Teco Benson
MFR, Austin Faani Ikechukwu, Jim Iyke. In the Art, Art Administration, Craft, and
Musicology categories of the Creative Excellence awards, awardees were Dr Chike
Dike, Prof Chike Aniakor, Prof Jerry Buhari, Bona Ezeudu, Sculptor Okay
Ikenegbu, Prof Cliff Nwanna, and Prof Richard Okafor. Also, Burgeoning Musician
Chukwudi Udoye received an award for his upcoming album, while international
journalist and anthropologist Peter Ezeh received the award for a Book in an
Indigenous Language in recognition of his Filamenti
na Ndi Otu Ya
(Igbo translation of Moliere’s Les Malades Imaginaires). Awards for Excellence in Service to
Humanity went to High Chief Dr. Senator Ben Ndi Obi (Special Adviser to the President
on Inter-party Affairs), with the Life Time Achievement Award going to His
Excellency Amb. Chief Arthur C.I. Mbanefo, Ezeh Prof Chukwuemeka Ike, and DameVictoria

told, the first Anambra Book and Creativity Festival was a success given the
resources available to the organizers. I am told that the highest financial
support came from His Excellency Amb.
Chief Arthur C.I. Mbanefo (Former Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the
United Nations)
,  followed by
donations from Nnamdi Azikiwe University and Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former
secretary General of the commonwealth. Further assistance was received from the
Art Republic and some members of Anambra Book and Creativity Network. But there
is need for improvement if the festival must have the desired impact. This will
certainly require a huge outlay. Although funds for cultural projects in
Nigeria are almost non-existence, the organizers can try. With what was done in
the first edition, they seem to have the will, the spirit, and energy. But all
that is not enough. For as Prof Ben Obumselu once said at the opening of an
exhibition at the Russian Cultural Centre in 1996, the history of art is not
written on the pages of history books but on bank ledgers.

Egbe is an artist and writer based in Enugu.

  1. Myne says

    What a great first start. And a well written review too. Well done.

  2. onepageafrica says

    Yes! A great start that should be encouraged to help improve the reading and creativity culture.

  3. krydzopendiary says

    WE look forward to that encouragement, really. But Debby, we missed you at the conference. Thanks publishing this review.

  4. Eya Ayambem says

    Hi Debby, Well done on the Review. I pray that this great start will not meet road blocks in years to come.

  5. onepageafrica says

    The invite came rather late and I couldn't cancel earlier scheduled appointments. But Krydz, I trust your organisational strength and hope that the organising committee will perfect arrangements for the art writers ahead of the next edition. Thanks.

  6. onepageafrica says

    Amen! Dear Eya, I think there is greater awareness among people today for the need to have such book and creativity festivals that could help shape and focus the youths in educational and entrepreneurial developments. We are watching and willing to speak!

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.