By Babatunde Odubanwo
On Monday February 15, 2016, all roads led to the Virgin Rose Resort on Victoria Island where history was made not only for the two pioneering poets in residency – Adefolami Ademola and Ewo Chidibere but the entire art community in the metropolis.
Poets in Nigeria, a non-governmental literary organization under the auspices of the Eriata Center for Literary Education and Entrepreneurial Development in partnership with Virginrose Resorts partnered together for this poetic chronicle in Nigeria.
The Choice of Virginrose Resorts is all welcoming as the proximity to the beach side is astute and the serene ambiance may aid all literary proficiency.
The event anchored by Funke Awodiya, a member of the poets in Nigeria organization made the roll call of distinguished guests such as Dr. Wale Okediran (pioneer and founder of writers’ residency in Nigeria), Juliet Ugboja (GM of Virginrose Resorts), Ayokunle Komolafe (MD Komson Studio), AJ Dagga Tolar (poet, spoken word artist and founder of AJ house of poetry) and Dr. Victor Enilama (rep. Zonal Operations Controller, Department for Petroleum Resources).
The first person to grace the stage with a love poem titled ‘WhatsApp Love’ was Trust Tonji, followed by a serenading guitarist. A female voice-solutionist also aired her piece. Samuelconco with his piece to eschew the country’s treacherous rulers was quite ascetic about the reality of life as opposed to indulgence in mindless fantasy.
In regards to the residency and opening event, Eriata Oribhabor says “It is a tea party”. “Poetry is art of earth whose health is vital to the world,” he continued. Furthermore, he reiterated that the residency pact was pertinent because it will avail poets the enabling environment to complete their ongoing works in an atmosphere of serenity and tranquility.
Oribhabor also challenged the management of Virginrose Resorts to create a book corner where tourists and visitors alike could sample good literary experiences by reading the collection of poems that will be drawn from poets across the country.
The keynote address was delivered by Dr. Wale Okediran, a seasoned medical practitioner, a sportsman, parliamentarian, well decorated author and pioneering founder of the First writers residency in Nigeria- EBEDI RESIDENCY in Iseyin, Oyo state. In his address, he outlined the three types of residencies namely: Self Directed, Instructional and Mixed Residency.
Earning over five years in residency management, the Ebedi Writers Residency boasts of over 60 writers from 6 different countries. Insisting that consistency is the only sustaining tool of ground breaking mileage.
There have been 5 previous writers’ residencies in the country but Virginrose Residency, Lagos is the first of its kind dedicated to the development of poets. The residency period ends February 28, 2016.
Babatunde Odubanwo is a Lagos based freelance journalist and poet. He is a lover and fan of all things travel, art and Nigeria.