Saturday, 16 April 2016


Read Across Nigeria is an annual worldwide chain of events administered by the Society of Young Nigerian Writers designed to celebrate a notable Nigerian writer every year across Nigeria.

It is also an avenue of promoting reading culture in the country as Read Across Nigeria is expected to be celebrated in schools, offices, markets etc.

This maiden edition was in honour of Dr. Wale Okediran born on the 14th of April, 1955. Dr. Wale Okediran has 12 books to his credits.

In Abuja, the reading event was in conjunction with local chapter of Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) and Arojah Theatre in the hall of prestigious Korean Cultural centre. it was well attended as a lot of literary enthusiasts showed up; Prof. Jerry Agada, Prof. Mabel Evierhoma, Prof. Vicky Sylvester, Prof. Chudi Uwazurike, Chief Eddie Onuzuruike, Uche Akunebo, Theresa Ameh, Benjamin Ubiri, Abubakar Adam, Abdulazziz Abdulazzizz, Mr. Kanico, Mr. Ahmed Maiwada, Dike Chukwumerije, Samson Kugogho, Time Bello, Dr. Okey Ikechukwu, mni, Joan Oji, Ikeogu Oke and a host of others.  

The program which was anchored by Chinyere Obi-Obasi kick started with the reading of Dr. Wale Okediran’s citation.

Wale Okediran was born on April 14 1955 in Oyo, Nigeria. He attended the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife) where he qualified as a medical doctor.

After working in a number of government and private hospitals for a number of years, he went into private medical practice in 1987 by establishing the Cornerstone Medical Centre in Ibadan. He remained in active private practice until 1999 when he went into active politics and was appointed Chairman, Oyo State North Hospitals Management Board. He remained in this position until 2003 when he contested for a seat in the Federal House of Representatives, Abuja where he represented his constituency from Oyo state from 2004 till 2007.

His writing career started way back in his secondary school where he was an active member of the school’s press club and debating society. At the University of Ife, he edited a campus newspaper, Rip Off”.

He has published till date twelve novels out of which nine are adult fiction and three are for children. Many of the books are on the reading lists of several Nigerian Universities such as the University of Lagos, University of Ibadan, University of Agriculture Abeokuta, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nasarawa State University and University of Maiduguri among others.

In his positions as the National Treasurer, General Secretary and later National President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, he contributed in no mean measure to the development of Literature in Nigeria through the establishments of ANA branches, organisation of Literary Seminars, Conferences and Publications.

In June 2010, together with a few friends, he established the first Writers Resort in Nigeria; The Ebedi International Writers Resort in Iseyin, Oyo State.

He is currently a Consultant to the National Assembly in charge of the Senate Committee on Health and the House Committee on HIV, Malaria and TB.

His Publications include:
i.            Rainbows Are For Lovers (Spectrum Books 1987)
ii.           The Boys At The Border (Spectrum Books 1991). Shortlist for the 1992 Commonwealth Literature Prize.
iii.         Storms of Passion (Evans, 1995)
iv.         The Rescue of Uncle Babs (McMillan, 1998) Winner of the 1999 ANA/Matatu Prize for Children’s Literature.
v.           Ten novelettes on the HIV/AIDS theme (Longman, 2001)
vi.         Sighs of Desire (Caltop, 2002)
vii.        Dreams Die At Twilight (Malthouse ,2002) Longlist for the 2004 NLNG Literature Prize. The book was also adjudged as one of the 25 best books in Nigeria in the last 25 years by  Spectrum Books in 2004.    
viii.      Strange Encounters (Heinemann PLC, 2004) Winner of the 2005 ANA Prize for fiction.
ix.         After The Flood (Longman Nig. Ltd, 2005)
x.           The Weaving Looms (Kraft Books 2005) Shortlist for the 2008 Wole Soyinka Prize For African Literature.
xi.          The Riot And Other Stories (Mosuro Books, 2006)
xii.       Tenants Of The House (Nelson Books, 2009) Co-Winner of the 2010 Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature.

His collaborative works include, Human Rights Educational Book for Children (Amnesty Int., Nig. 1995) and Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literature in English (Routledge,11 New Fetter Lane, London).


This section kicked off with 10 year old Chinedu Obi-Obasi, who read her story HOW THE LION BECAME THE KING OF ALL KINGDOMS!

Next followed 12 years Chukwuemeka Obi-Obasi’s poetry rendition of KNOCK KNOCK by DANIEL BEATTY.

Rudolph Adidi gave a spoken word performance entitled Precipice of Life.

Mr. Njoku Emmanuel Ikechukwu aka Mr.  Nice  read from a portion of his book THE TALE OF A CRYING DOG.

Joan Oji also gave her good will message while using the opportunity to tell us how the origin of Lion Share came about in Spanish folktale.

Prof. Jerry Agada made opening remarks where he took time to trace his relationship with Dr. Wale Okediran as per ANA activities. He also commended Dr. Okediran for being consistent and putting writing above everything that he does.

Prof. Mabel Evierhoma FSONTA, FCAARS of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja delivered a 9 paged paper wherein she x-rayed some of Dr. Okediran’s works.

In her paper she noted that out of the existing Physician writers according to M. Faith McLellan, ‘Some writers began, but did not finish medical school; some finished their studies but never practiced; some eventually abandoned practice for full-time writing; and a very few managed to juggle both occupations throughout their lives.’

She surmised that Dr. Wale Okediran writer and newspaper columnist fell into the second and third categories as seen in the three novels chosen for exegesis by this writer. After the Flood, Strange Encounters and Tenants of the House hybridize medical practice and wide-ranging matters on the vicissitudes of human existence. That meant Dr. Okediran does not believe in the theory of Arts for Arts Sake. Arts is to be used to better the lives of the people.

Prof. Mabel Evierhoma concluded thus; ‘on a more serious note, I believe underneath the shy mien is a kind benefactor who stands tall in the assembly of facilitators of destinies and helper of lives. Okediran is a healer through his writing, laying bare our sores and ailments for healing. Happy Birthday, Dr. Okediran.’

For this effort, Prof. Mabel Evierhoma got a standing ovation.

Prof. Sylvester spoke about how Dr. Wale Okediran’s selflessness in setting up Ebedi Residency has assisted people like her to complete her works and commended him for his industry.

Mr. Ikeogu traced his relationship with Dr. Wale Okediran who assisted him in no small measure and has remained consistent. He thereafter read a poem to honour him.

Mr. Denja Abdullahi sent in a goodwill message which was read by Halima Usman.

One of Dr. Okediran’s children Seun Okediran gave the vote of thanks. She thanked everyone for making out time to honour her father and said she was really proud of him.

By the time the event ended by 6pm; 2 hours after it started, the guests were truly entertained and resolved to read and write more. Guests were later served with some refreshments while taking the opportunity to buy up large quantities of Dr. Okediran’s books on display.



Kukogho Iruesiri Samson said...

I was there and it was fun.

Kukogho Iruesiri Samson said...

I was there and it was fun.