The World Poetry Day was celebrated in style at the Korean Cultural Center Nigeria, Abuja, by awarding the top 10 participants each in the adult and school category of 7th Korean cultural poetry competition.
According to the organizers, the 3-man jury headed by Korea based Izuchukwu Okeke Job, had a tough time selecting just ten poems out of a total of 472 poems received from across the country (including entries from Ghana, Thailand and South Africa).
All the ten participants were given an award of participation and cash prize of one hundred thousand naira for the 1st position, seventy thousand naira for the second position, fifty thousand naira for the third position and other seven participants are to get twenty thousand naira each as consolation prizes. Other prizes given to each participant include several literary books.
The 1st runner-up, Mar’yam Thaoban, expressed her joy at yet another feat, adding that this was her first participation in international poetry competition.
Thaoban, who is a former Amirah in the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, prayed that it would not be her last.
“I have participated in other local poetry competition within Lagos and I’ve always excelled, in fact I had the 1st prize on two different occasions and I was in the top three on the other occasion, and now I came up second in this one, all these are actually as a result of the grace of God and relentless commitment to send a message to the world through poetry,” Mar’yam said.
She added that “the Korean Cultural Centre Nigeria and Arojah concept are to be thanked especially for this opportunity and the Nigerian government through the ministry of culture and information ought to support such a project gladly and not leave it entirely to the hands of our visitors in the country to celebrate the children of the soil.”
She however advised Nigerian youths and other upcoming poets to write with passion and not with the goal of making money.
“It is important that you send a good and clear message through your words stringed into poetry, never get driven by the money, it would kill your passion and turn it into an impure mission,” she added.
She hopes to participate in more poetry competitions especially the international ones, saying, “I have a message, and I would not stop until I drive it home, so help me God.”
The event had in attendance dignitaries like the president of the Association of Nigerian Authors, winner of the NLNG prize award, Barrister Ahmed Maidawa, Hon. (Prof.) Chudi Uwazuruike, and representative of Prof. Jerry Agada among others.