Eriata Oribhabor is a poet and frontline promoter of Naija languej. He started off writing poetry in the indigenous Nigerian Pidgin currently being standardised as Naija languej. Writing in the languej, he authored; “Abuja na kpangba and Oda puem-dem (2011), edited, “IF YU HIE SE A DE PRIZIN” (poems) and “AMEBO YAD” (collection of plays).
A former chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Abuja Branch, Eriata Oribhabor is the author of two poetry collections; “Beautiful Poisons” and “CROSSROADS & THE RUBICON”. He is the Editor, WUSHAPA – Beating the Drums of Peace, Who Shall I Make My Wife (collection of Food related poems), and a passionate lover of the streets where he once hawked various items in Warri, Nigeria; his place of birth.
How long have you been writing? What drew your interest into it?
I started writing for publication since when I came to Abuja way back in 2005 and published my very first work entitled Abuja na Kpangba and Oda Puem-dem in 2011
What inspires the kind of poetry you write?
The inspiration for the poetry I write comes from interaction with people, activities and environments.
Have you ever written a poem which left a lasting impression on your immediate environment or beyond?
I have written several poems living etched impressions for people and societal uplift. Mentioning them will be uphill. However, the book WUSHAPA – Beating the Drums of Peace (Anthology of poems) edited by me is one book I treasure. It was born from my passion for use of poetry in changing society for good.
You’re a well-known philanthropist who gives selflessly for poetry, where does this generosity for poetry stem from?
I have had to answer same question in the past. My personal disposition values support for one another irrespective of causes. Accordingly, I have always believed that ideas never blossom into realities except watered by one form of boost or the other.
Ideas and initiatives flow from millions of young Nigerians needing necessary push.
Here lies the essence of generosity going by your word. Regarding the source, I will say, it’s God’s doing.
You are also a big time promoter and sponsor of many poetry contests and events in an industry that cannot be referred to as a money spinner. How do you get returns? Is this venture even profitable?
This is purely a selfless enterprise and am neither seeking nor expecting monetary returns in the business perspective. Orientations changed for good are my returns on investment. However, I am a believer of what you sow, is what you reap. Therefore, if doing well won’t bring good, the aforementioned words on marble would have lost its meaning. God pays all for doing right things vis a vis.
You’re known to have authored a number of collections plus you’ve also edited a number of works. Can you give us a rundown of these works?
Abuja na kpangba an Oda puem-dem (puem fo Naija languej) – 2011; IF YU HIE SE A DE PRIZIN – Antoloji of puem fo Naija languej.-2012 (Editor); CROSSROADS & THE RUBICON – 2015; Beautiful Poisons – 2015; WHO SHALL I MAKE MY WIFE? – (Food related poems) – 2015 (Editor); WUSHAPA – Beating the Drums of Peace (Anthology of Poems) – (2015 Editor); and AMEBO YAD – (Antoloji of ple fo Naija languej) – 2016 (Editor).
You run a Publishing outfit, Something for Everybody Ventures (SFEV). How has it been faring?
I have been faring well especially when cognizance is taken of the fact that, we only recently started testing the waters of publishing in Nigeria. We hope to give publishing a new lease favorable to young and upcoming poets.
You promote a kind of poetry that is written in a language referred to as Naija languej (Standardized Nigerian Pidgin). Tell us about it.
As captured, Naija languej is Nigerian Pidgin Backed by an autography guiding its spelling for uniformity. The coinage was one of the outcomes of the first Conference on Nigerian Pidgin organized by IFRA (Institute for French Research in Africa, June, 2009. The conference was held at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. Details could be got on the following:
Facebook pages: OL FO NAIJA, NAIJA LANGUEJ PROMOTER, ERIATA ORIBHABOR and RAIT FO NAIJA LANGUEJ
You are one Poet who is constantly travelling, even with your avid travelling and tight schedule you manage to create time for poetry. Where do you get your drive from, this energy you possess, where does it come from?
Hahahah! Haba! The energy I possess draws from my passion for the things I love and do. With God’s Hands on any one, everything is possible but showing sincere personal drive, counts.
What do you do if you aren’t writing poetry? What do you do for a living?
If I am not writing poetry, I am probably writing or reading poetry or short prose.
Do you believe that poetry is a powerful tool, powerful enough to effect societal change? Or are they mere words?
I strongly believe that poetry is a sensitive tool if well handled, could lift mountains.
Where do you see yourself going with poetry in the nearest and in the distant future?
I see poetry taking centre stages in the scheme of things. I see poetry taught as a subject in primary to tertiary institutions. I see every high profile event in this country commencing with a rendition of poetry to the admiration of audiences.
Anything new you will like to let us in on Sir? Anything new coming from the Eriata Oribhabor Poetry Stable?
The newest thing coming from the stable of Something for Everybody Ventures (SFEV) are three books to be published within this month: The Farmer’s Daughter – Awodiya Funke; The Peculiar Girl – Nanman Philemon Kash; AMEBO YAD and oda ple – Eriata Oribhabor.
What advice would you offer to young upcoming writers/poets? What should they do to advance?
Like you already noted, moving slowing and measurably upwards, requires reading, reading and writing whilst amenable to new ideas and corrections.
Facebook: Eriata Oribhabor