Oct 11, 2011 – Adeleke Adeyemi Wins Nasara wins LNG Nigeria Literature Prize
At a Press Conference held today at Eko Hotels and Suites, Lagos, officials said Adeyemi’s book, The Missing Clock, written under the pen name Mai Nasara, was best among the 126 books entered for the competition. They described The Missing Clock as “a genial heartwarming account of how a young boy’s simple acts inspire his family to fortune”.
Chairman of the panel of judges, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, a professor of English at the University of Lagos and past co-winner of the prize, said “The Missing Clock celebrates ingenuity, hard work and sparkles in its prose.” He called Adeyemi, “a gifted story teller.”
The highly rated Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored the Nigeria LNG Limited, was initiated in 2004 to “improve the quality of writing, editing, proof-reading, and publishing in the country”.
The prize rotates yearly amongst four literary genres: prose fiction, poetry, drama and children’s literature. This year’s entries were taken from writers of Children’s literature were considered based on “Language, editing, characterization, plot, relevance, core values, and illustrations”.
The process for the selection of this year’s winner began in March when 126 entries were received. A panel of judges led by Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo was inaugurated. Other members included Prof. Lekan Oyegoke of Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Ogun State, Prof. Yakubu Nasidi of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Prof. David Ker, Vice Chancellor The Catholic University of Nigeria, Obehi, Abia State and Prof. Ini-Obong Uko, Department of English, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. After a series of screenings, three books made the final shortlist. They included The Missing Clock by Mai Nasara (Adeyemi), Eno’s Story by Ayodele Olofintuade and The Great Fall by Chinyere Obi-Obasi.
Adeyemi whose winning work is his first published book said he was “pleasantly surprised” when he was announced winner of the Prize. He said he entered the competition “with sheer hope, perhaps along with the conviction that, finally, I had something to turn in for assessment”.
Although his win guarantees him about N15 million, Adeyemi said his focus is on making one million copies of The Missing Clock available to readers by next year. He also plans to produce a comic version as well as an animated movie of his story.
“My plan has always been to use this story, which is timely, to help children grow as human beings. This is why money is not my motivation,” he said. “In fact, 10% of all proceeds from sales of the book will be used to fight malaria and promote girl-child education, especially in Northern Nigeria.”
No good enough scientists
But while Adeyemi was excited about his win, contenders for The Nigeria Science Prize did not have a good day as officials announced that none of the 25 entries for the science Prize achieved the level of excellence required.
Chairman of the panel of Judges for the science Prize, Prof. Awele Maduemezia, said the panel was “unable to recommend any of the works for the Nigeria Prize for Science”.
Professor Umaru Shehu, the chair of the advisory board for Science, told reporters that the board witnessed “ups and downs, especially with dearth of good research to evaluate”.
The failure to find a winner this year makes it three times since the science Prize was initiated in 2004 that Nigerian scientists have failed to meet expectations. In 2005 and 2007, there were no winners for the Prize.
Last year, however, Prof. Akaehomen Ibhadode of the University of Benin won the Science Prize for his work entitled Development of New Methods for Precision Die Design. “In an industrializing economy like Nigeria, the products of the precision die process are particularly important in the development of small and medium scale enterprises on which the economy depends for its accelerated growth,” the judges had said.
Atom, an alumnus of St. Gabriel’s in Makurdi, Benue state, is a writer who comments on public issues in his spare time.