A TIMELINE OF SERVICE, 2011-2015
By Remi Raji
On December 3, 2011, at the Abuja Convention of ANA, the 2011-2013 ANA National Executive Committee was elected, with Prof. Remi Raji-Oyelade as President.
• ANA secured an annual N3m grant for four years, 2012 – 2015, from Barrister Yusuf Ali, SAN. To prosecute the ANA/Yusuf Ali Reading Campaign for three years, the sum of N150, 000 each was disbursed to sixteen state chapters of the Association (in 2012), fifteen state chapters (in 2013), and fifteen state chapters (in 2014). In 2015, ANA shifted its focus to the Creative Writing Campaign among students in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions. Mr. Ali’s benefaction has gone a long way to popularise the culture of reading and literary competition in over 300 secondary schools across the country.
• ANA secured a four-year sponsorship for the ANA/NECO Teen Author Prize from NECO to run till 2015.
• On January 31, 2012, the President released a note, “Retooling ANA: Letter to the Diaspora” directed at a cross-section of Nigerian writers seeking their support for the vision of literary renaissance and collaboration across divides.
• For the first time in the history of ANA, method of judging literary prizes changed. Only writers of a particular genre were allowed to judge their specialized area. The longlist and the shortlist were also presented ahead of the Convention.
• In June 2012, for the first time, the meeting of Council of Chairmen and Secretaries of ANA held in Ilorin, Kwara State, coinciding with the launching of the ANA/Yusuf Ali Reading Campaign.
• ANA secured publishing fund for its project, the Nigerian Writers Series, through the benefaction of His Excellency, the Chief Servant, Governor of Niger State, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu. Four publishing houses were selected as partners in the prosecution of the Nigerian Writers Series scheme.
• ANA secured a N3m grant from Young Shall Grow Group of Companies, in support of its historic Annual convention which held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
• ANA initiated the New Teen Prize from YSHGHubs (Young Shall Grow Group). The prize was to commence in 2014, and the winners designated as the ambassadors of YSHGHubs’ Ebooks marketing campaign. The programme did not take off.
• On, February 1, 2012, in a landmark judgment, the disputed ownership of the land originally bequeathed to ANA in 1985 was formally restored to the Association by a court order.
• On July 12, 2012, ANA President released a document entitled “ANA LAND, OURS TO SECURE AND DEVELOP: MATTERS ARISING” detailing the story of possession, loss and repossession of the property.
• On August 11, 2012, ANA announced the National Teen Authorship Scheme (with a grant by Hajiya Jummai Babangida Aliyu). The ANA/Teen Authorship Scheme was flagged off in Owerri, Imo State. Five state chapters – Abia, Osun, Taraba, Katsina and Kogi – were selected as participants in the scheme to publish original works submitted by secondary schools in their areas.
• The Constitution of the Association of Nigerian Authors was officially ratified at its 31st Annual Convention in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on November 10, 2012.
• On January 24, 2013, ANA laid the foundation for the development of its Mpape Land in Abuja. The event was attended by two ANA former Presidents among other distinguished members of the Association.
• The second meeting of the Council of State Chairmen and Secretaries held at Ilorin, Kwara State, on Saturday 29, June 2013. This second and consecutive meeting was the first of its kind in the history of ANA.
• ANA took active part in celebrating the 79th birthday of Professor Wole Soyinka with an event held by Ogun State Chapter of ANA, on July 13, 2013.
• ANA took active part in all aspects of the programme for the burial of our late Grand Patron, and first President of ANA, Prof. Chinua Achebe, from March 21 to May 24, 2013.
• ANA National supported and took active part in the 2nd Northern Nigerian Writers’ Summit at Birnin Kebbi, Kebbi State.
• On August 3, 2013, ANA signed an agreement with four publishing firms on the Nigerian Writers Series.
• On October 1, 2013, ANA nominated two new Trustees to replace former Trustees T. M. Aluko and Chinua Achebe who were deceased. The nomination of Professors Ernest Emenyonu and Kole Omotoso was ratified at the 32nd annual Convention of the Association in Akure the following month.
On November 9, 2013, at the Akure Convention of ANA, the 2013-2015 ANA National Executive Committee was elected, with Prof. Remi Raji-Oyelade returned unopposed as President.
• On April 2, 2014, ANA President set up a committee to resolve the Abuja ANA Crisis of Leadership, with a press release entitled “Peace and Equity for ANA Abuja: Posterity will Remember both Pacifist and Warmonger”. The chief arbitrator was former President, Dr Wale Okediran.
• On June 8, 2014, the third meeting of the Council of State Chairmen and Secretaries held at Ilorin, Kwara State. Apart from disbursement of funds to state chapters, issues discussed included updates on the ANA land development, NWS Publishing, new modalities for hosting rights and registration of delegates.
• On November 12, 2014, ANA released ten new novels by ten authors under the Nigerian Writers Series.
• On December 12, 2014, the Nigerian Writers Series authors were hosted at ANA’s annual Convention in Ibadan.
• For the first time in its history, ANA published the presentation of its keynote lecturers: Prof. Toyin Falola (2013) and Prof. J. O. J. Nwachukwu-Agbada (2014).
• ANA initiated new literary partnerships with other associations and literary groups on the African continent: Ake (Nigeria), Jalaada (Kenya), Babishai (Uganda).
• On May 4, 2015, ANA endorsed the film adaptation of Wale Okediran’s novel, Tenants of the House, stating that the project will “contribute to the enhancement of the nation’s cultural and tourist potentials”.
• ANA introduced two new literary prizes, viz: the Maria Ajima Prize for Literary Criticism, and the Abubakar Gimba Prize for Short Stories.
• ANA national executive committee supervised the state conventions that led to the election of new state executive councils in some state chapters including Lagos, Ogun, Imo, Abia, Oyo, Niger, Abuja, Nasarawa, Benue, Edo, Delta, Ebonyi, Bayelsa and Zamfara.
• Represented by its Vice President, Alhaji Denja Abdullahi, ANA formally renewed its cooperative ties with PAWA, the Pan African Writers Association, based in Accra.
• ANA secured a grant of 40,000 USD from PAWA. PAWA released the grant in recognition of ANA’s commitment to the growth of literature in the country.
• On October 24, the ANA/Yusuf Ali Creative Writing Workshop held in Abuja, with twenty promising writers drawn from seventeen universities nationwide.