NSPP 2017 JUDGES ANNOUNCED
Poets in Nigeria (PIN) is pleased to announce Professor Akachi Ezeigbo, Mallam Denja Abdullahi, Oladele Babajamu, Ismail Bala, Ceri Naz, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, Bassey Asuquo and Okeke Job Izuchukwu as judges for the 2nd edition of the Nigerian Students Poetry Prize.
Profiles of members of the judging panel chaired by Professor Akachi Ezeigbo are shared below:
• Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo was born and raised in Eastern Nigeria, but now lives in Lagos. Raised partially in a rural environment and partially in the city, she combines these two factors, as background and setting for her children’s stories and adult fiction.
She obtained her Bachelor of Arts (BA) and Masters (MA) degrees in English from the University of Lagos and her Ph.D from University of Ibadan, in Nigeria. She also has a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) from University of Lagos.
A lecturer, writer, novelist, critic, essayist, journalist, and administrator, she was appointed a professor of English at University of Lagos in 1999. She has taught in this university, in the Department of English, since 1981. She headed the English Department in 1997 and 1998, from 2002-2005, and 2008-2009.
In September 2015, Prof Ezeigbo relocated to Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ikwo, Ebonyi State, in South-East Nigeria, where she has continued to teach students and mentor younger lecturers.
• Denja Abdullahi is a poet, playwright, literary essayist and culture technocrat. Born in August, 1969 at Idah, he hails from Agbaja in Lokoja Local Government Area of Kogi State. He has been writing poetry for over two decades since his days as a student of English and literature at the University of Jos, Nigeria, where he was the best graduating student of the 1990 set. He also has a Masters in Literature-in-English, acquired at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria in 1992. His poems and other literary pieces have appeared in anthologies such as A Volcano of Voices (1999), Uncle Bola’s Promise (2003), Confluence Blues (2004), Abuja Acolytes (2000), Five Hundred Nigerian Poets (2005), Camouflage (2006), Crossroads(2008), Pyramids (2008), Fireflies (2009), Agogo (2009) and in several other newspapers, reviews, journals and magazines. His first published poetic volume Mairogo: a Buffoon’s Poetic Journey around Northern Nigeria (2001) received honourable mention for the prestigious ANA/CADBURY 2001 Poetry Prize. Denja Abdullahi published two poetry volumes in 2008, The Talking Drum (February, 2008) and Abuja Nunyi (This is Abuja; May, 2008). His other published works are A Thousand Years of Thirst (2011), Hajj Poems (2014) and Death and the King’s Grey Hair and other Plays (2014).
Abdullahi, a playwright and theatre director, transferred his service in 1998 to the National Council for Arts and Culture, Abuja-Nigeria where he presently works as a Director. Denja Abdullahi’s play Death and the King’s Grey Hair won the SONTA/Chris Iyimoga Master Playwright Prize. Denja Abdullahi has attended international literary festivals, cultural workshops and residencies in Ghana, Senegal, Zimbabwe, Algeria and South Korea. He is a UNESCO certified expert and facilitator on Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
• Ismail Bala writes in English and Hausa. He teaches English at Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria, where he specialises in modern and contemporary poetry, and literary theory. His poetry and translations have appeared in the UK, the USA, Canada, India and South Africa, in journals such as Poetry Review, Ambit, New Coin, Okike, A Review of International English Literature and Aura Literary Arts Review. Born and educated to university level in Kano, he did his post-graduate studies at Oxford. He is a Fellow of the International Writing Programme of the University of Iowa; currently working on his first collection of poems.
• Oladele Babajamu voluntarily retired from the Nigerian Army in 2011 as a Colonel after serving meritoriously for over 30 years. He has a Master of Science Degree in Strategic Studies from University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He has written several military books and literature in different genres.
His poetry collection, Timeless Verses and short story, The Widow’s Wail are widely read in many secondary schools in Kwara State, Nigeria. His poems have appeared in various anthologies including Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Review, Timeless Voices, Timeless Treasures and Five Hundred Nigerian Poets among others.
While in military service, he was awarded the Nigerian Army Chief of Army Staff Commendation Award in 2005, for his consistent literary contributions to the Nigerian Army. He also won the Editor’s Choice Award in 2006 and 2007 of the International Society of Poets (America) for his contribution to the development of international poetry. He is a fellow of the National Defence College of Nigeria.
• Bassey Itam Asuquo is a Nigerian poet from Cross River State. He schooled at King’s College, Lagos, University of Ibadan and University of Calabar. He is a co-founder of the Calabar Literary Society (CLS). He resides in Calabar.
• Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, author of WHAT CAN WORDS DO (2013) and I SAID THESE WORDS (2015) is a Nigerian writer and media professional with experience in journalism, PR, publishing, web/social media management. Kukogho was born in Aiyetoro Ile Ife on the 27th of December 1984 to parents who both hail from Delta State in Nigeria, as the third child and son in a family of four children. He grew up in different parts of the country and speaks Yoruba, Hausa, and a spattering of Igbo, Nupe and Uhrobo.
With two published poetry collections, a legendary passion for promoting young writers, and a massive social media poetry movement called Words Rhymes & Rhythm (WRR), Kukogho is undoubtedly a poet of note in Nigeria. His interest in the arts started with drawing and wood carving. Having picked interest in reading and writing very early, due to the influence of his father who read a lot and made it compulsory for every member of the family to read his numerous books and newspapers, Kukogho soon found himself writing in his secondary school days.
Kukogho has been widely recognized for his contributions to Nigerian poetry. His awards include the Orange Crush First Prize for Poetry, awarded in 2012, and Poetry Writer of the Year, awarded by the Nigerian Writers Awards in 2016. He presently lives and works in Abuja, Nigeria.
• Caroline Nazareno-Gabis a.k.a. Ceri Naz, born in Anda, Pangasinan (a province in the Philippines) is a multi-awarded poet, editor, publicist, linguist, educator, and women’s advocate.
She graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, specialized in General Science at Pangasinan State University. Ceri has been a voracious researcher in various arts, science and literature. She volunteered in Richmond Multicultural Concerns Society, TELUS World Science, Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Aquarium and other charity foundations while she was in Canada.
She received prestigious awards including, 4th Placer Sin World Union of Poets Poetry Prize with 100 participants worldwide, Writers International Network-Canada ‘’Amazing Poet 2015’’, The Frang Bardhi Literary Prize 2014 (Albania), the sair-gazeteci or Poet-Journalist Award 2014 (Tuzla, Istanbul, Turkey) and World Poetry Empowered Poet 2013 (Vancouver, Canada). She has been published in various international anthologies.
Beyond her literary work, Caroline has created the The Ceri Naz Literary Award through which she supports selected students of Pangasinan State University-Bayambang Campus.
• Izuchukwu Job Okeke, born and bred in Anambra state, got admitted into the University of Ilorin in 2013 to read for a Degree in English—with a Major in Language and Communication and Minor in Performing Arts. He graduated from the University in 2006, with Second Class Honours, Upper Division; winning the university’s Senate Award as the second best graduating student in the department of English.
Izuchukwu served as the Secretary of the Kwara chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) from 2009 to 2011 and the Public Relation Officer of the Abuja chapter from 2011 to 2013.
He currently resides in Busan, South Korea as a researcher attached to Pukyong National University. Recently, he joined the International Congress of Writers writing in Hangeul. Also, he is a judge of some poetry contests including the Korea/Nigerian Poetry Contest.
Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
Moderator, NSPP 2017