Wednesday, 30 November 2016


The much awaited celebration of Flora Nwapa’s Efuru which is 50 years this year has begun. The celebration which kicked off in Lagos was well attended by members of the university community, family members of Flora Nwapa, students, literary enthusiasts and special guests.

The event billed to take off by 10am was delayed by a few minutes due to technical hitches beyond the organisers control but once it took off, ran smoothly till the end. Chinyere Obi-Obasi was the Master of Ceremony.

The event began with opening prayers by the eldest daughter of Flora Nwapa, Ejine Nzeribe while the Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairman, Prof. Hope Eghagha gave the welcome address.

The Chairman of the Occasion Mrs. Bisi Fayemi, a well-known gender activist, a Flora Nwapa scholar and the former first lady of Ekiti State and wife of a serving minister used the opportunity to urge the young girls present to make something meaningful out of their lives as being a first lady was not an achievement.

She spoke glowingly of Flora Nwapa who she described as a pacesetter and ahead of her time in the area of feminism.

Next was the final of the Quiz organised by the Association Authors, Lagos Branch. At the end of which Lagos City Senior Secondary School, Eletu Odibo High School, Odibo, Ikosi Secondary School, Ikosi and National College, Gbagada came 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th  respectively.

There was an outstanding poetry performance of AJA on the theme Bring Back Our Missing Chibok Girls by Adeyemi Bukola Comfort; a performance poet.

The key note address preceded by citation by Dr. Wale Okediran, was given by a popular historian and gender activist Prof. Bolanle Awe. She began by recounting her personal relationship with Flora Nwapa.

She stated that Flora Nwapa was 2 years her senior in secondary school. As a senior, she was tolerant and protective of the junior students. Flora Nwapa had gone on to become a teacher, administrator, public servant and a mother among many other things.

She commended Flora Nwapa for her industry such that despite her tight work schedule, she was able to write many novels, collection of short stories, plays and essays.

She told the audience how Flora Nwapa forayed into the world of publishing which before then an exclusive preserve of men and foreigners.

She noted that Flora Nwapa’s book Efuru was so highly in demand that between 1966 when it was published till date, it has been reprinted over 8 times. This is in addition to being translated into many languages.

Prof. Awe used the opportunity to emphasize that prior to the advent of colonial masters who insisted that good women and mothers were expected to stay a home and not participate in government; Nigerian women were respected as resourceful women with business acumen. It was this ugly development by the colonialists that led to the Egba uprising led by Mrs. Funmilayo Kuti and the Aba women’s riot led by Margaret Ekpo.

She stated that Efuru was Flora Nwapa’s own way of protest.

She believes women are underrepresented in government despite having risen in the economic, social and political ladders.

There were paper presentations by many erudite scholars – Prof. Tony Afejuku, Gabriel Otsemobor, Temitayo Onojobi, Fadare Nureni which dealt with a wide range of issues like feminism, gender, culture, women empowerment, and others.

Isaac Ogezi the rapporteur gave a brilliant account of the proceedings.

The DVC, Academics and research of University of Lagos- Prof. Toyin Ogundipe who represented the Vice Chancellor who was unavoidably absent urged everyone to maintain their integrity in order to preserve their good name so that in future, they can be celebrated like Flora Nwapa.

Uzoma Nwakuche son of Lora Nwapa thanked everyone who turned up to honour their mother and stated that indeed they were blessed to have such a world respected personality as a mother.

A lot of important dignitaries graced the event- J.P Clarke, the 3 children of Flora Nwapa (Ejine Nzeribe, Uzoma Nwakuche, Amede Nzeribe), members of the National Organising Committee- Dr. Wale Okediran, Ikeogu Oke, Salamatu Sule, Chinyere Obi-Obasi who acted as the MC and Isaac Ogezi who was the rapporteur, Prof. Muyiwa Fateye the Dean faculty of Arts, Paula Uimoren the Associate Professor from university of Stockholm, Patricia Egbuson and Mrs. Ngozi Omeruah, former students of Flora Nwapa at Queens School, Enugu, Obodoejina and Nky Ukpabia Asika, Lanre Nzeribe, Ngozi Caulcrick, Maureen Egbuna, Helen Adeleye, Sylvester Mbamalu, Janet Nzeribe, Uzoeshi Kalu, Mrs. Anozie, Mr. Onyeabo, Jenny Ronne, Enuma Okoli, Mr. and Mrs. Oni NNaji and many others

The celebration moves to University of Maiduguri on Thursday, December I, 2016. It is noteworthy that Flora Nwapa was once a visiting Professor at the university.

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