The Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), yesterday, 2nd July, 2019, had their second annual Nigerian Literature International Conference at Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike (AE-FUNAI) to brainstorm on Nigeria’s Literary Criticism in an Expanding Space of Creative Writing and Digital Production in the 21st Century.

President of the Association, said this year’s international conference is organized in memory of Prof. Pius Adesanmi, a member and victim of plane crash. Earlier in their courtesy call to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Chinedum Nwajiuba in VC conference room, Mallam Abdullahi thanked the Vice-Chancellor for his pragmatic, cooperative, encouraging, open-hands and supportive qualities he extends to the association. “I will have to say that what the Vice-Chancellor has done and is doing to us is total service delivery”.

Prof. Nwajiuba addressing ANA delegation

The Vice-Chancellor, in his response noted that literature as a discipline makes people to be cultured, refined and civilized; adding that whoever fails to embrace literature in a cultural form has a missing link. He thanked ANA for honouring him with the courtesy call and pledged the university’s support and encouragement to the association as a way of cementing the already existing cordial relationship.

President of ANA, Mallam Denji speaking during courtesy call.

Representing the Vice-Chancellor at the university’s Auditorium, venue of the conference, Prof. S.I. Osakwe, Dean, School of Postgraduate Studies, noted that African Literature has created much impacts from ages by transforming the society through visualized and critical thinking and writings starting from Chinua Achebe, who wrote extensively about African traditional and socio-cultural background. He encouraged participants to listen attentively to thought-provoking presentations so as to grab necessary ingredients of life. He further charged participants to attend conferences, especially International and more importantly, those ones held in AE-FUNAI. He finally declared the conference open.

Prof. S.I. Osakwe representing the Vice-Chancellor













In his keynote address, Prof. Olufemi Obafemi who was represented by Prof. Abubakar Abdullahi said that Nigeria’s literary criticism in an expanding space of creative writing and digital production in the 21st century have not been fair in their critiques. He maintained that critics should be positive knowing the background or the original source of the story to enliven and educate the audience.

Abubakar Abdullahi presenting keynote address

“Consequently, criticism as another arm of creative writing focuses on educating the universe about Nigeria, her wealth of culture and comparable indices to the civilized nations without recourse to building the nation. This loss of focus displaced literary criticism as a pungent public socio-political instrument among ordinary Nigerians, because the language and target are foreign.

“In spite of the warning by Booth, critical perspectives on Nigerian written literature were substantially preoccupied with the derogation of indigenous elements, through the use of foreign literary concepts. Criticism of cultural aesthetics in the literatures were glossed over or portrayed as banal and uncivilized. The mode of dressing, language, education and general orientation were also compromised. Most importantly was the effects of this critical approach to the traditional setting, which formed the premise for indigenous performances and criticisms”.

Prof. Abdullahi noted that there is a disparity in the critical tools and medium of modern literature. According to him,“the keynote address attempts to establish screaming gap between creative and critical outputs in modern Nigerian literature in comparison with the situation in the precolonial era. It discovered that the disparity in the critical tools and medium of modern literature are inappropriately adopted to mediate the textual contents. As a result, the expected nexus between a creative work and its criticism is lost…”

Prof. Ernest Emenyonu, Patriarch of African Literature, successor of Chinua Achebe and a Professor of African Literary Studies, who was present at the conference thanked ANA for coming up with such a vision and prayed the conference will be taken across the globe. He stressed that the ANA conferences were long overdue in Nigeria and chided scholars of African Literature for their deficiencies and ineptitude to emerge winners of African Literary Awards having failed to submit articles for appraisal in 3 years backdate.

Prof. Emenyonu speaking at the conference

Responding to submission of Prof. Emenyonu during writers/Critics Forum, Dr. Obari Gomba of the Department of English Studies, University of Port Harcourt, observed that Nigerian academia depend on their ‘deified’ personalities to succeed during appraisal in ranking and journal publications. He also noted that Nigerian issues are not tackled in the publication but referred to western society for publications who do not know the problems of our society.

Group photograph of ANA delegates with VC.

Leave a Comment