Poets in Nigeria (PIN) has announced Ogugua Micah Okoye, Okpara Ugochukwu Damian and Ehi-Kowochio Ogwiji as winners for the fourth edition of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize (NSPP) at an awards ceremony which held earlier today at Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Closing to submissions on 18th March, 2019, the Prize received 504 poems from students representing 96 tertiary institutions including universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, schools of nursing and seminary schools.
Ogugua, a 300-level student of Applied Biochemistry, Enugu State University of Science and Technology clinched the first prize with his poem entitled “Micah” while Okpara, a 400-level student of Anatomy, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli came 2nd with his poem entitled “Suicide Warning Signs”. “An Artefact of a Groin War” authored by Ogwiji, a 500-level student of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development at the University of Ibadan won the 3rd prize.
A 5-man judging panel, including Mallam Al-Bishak (a professor of English Literature, Federal University, Lafia), Professor Hülya N Yılmaz (a retired Liberal Arts Professor, Pennsylvania State University, USA), Kukogho Iruesiri Samson (Winner, GTB Dusty Manuscript Prize, 2018), Dr. Obari Gomba (award-winning poet and lecturer at University of Port Harcourt) and Gbenga Adesina (Joint Winner, Brunel African Poetry Prize, 2016) reviewed the entries to select the top 100 poems for inclusion in the NSPP 2019 anthology.
“As a judge, I was looking for language, for charge and was willing to accommodate at the barest level “familiar excellence”. Echoes of voices here and there. I was looking for a further brilliance within that familiar excellence. I was prepared to be shocked, an aesthetic turn that had something of a kick in it, a turn, a loop, a leap from the familiar into the unmapped, a blast of light from the writer’s heart into mine. I found that,” remarked Adesina.
University of Ibadan, which had the highest number of entrants, emerged as the best participating school. Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, Uli had the highest number of entrants on the longlist and was acknowledged with a trophy as the top-perfoming institution.
The prize winners have been awarded a total cash prize of N300,000 while the consolation prize winners for 4th and 5th placed entrants, Anuoluwa Olusegun Soneye from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife and Ibelachi Franklyn Chinedu from Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Uli will receive N20,000 each.
As sponsors of the NSPP 2019 Awards, Niger Delta University was also awarded a trophy recognizing their immense contributions to the success of the Prize.
Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
Moderator, NSPP 2019