With over 100 specially invited guests seated in the banking hall of their head office in Victoria Island, Providus Bank highlighted their literary bonafides in an evening of poetry tagged “World Poetry Day with WS.”
Welcoming guests Walter Akpani, MD of Providus Bank described special guest of honour, Nobel laureate, Wole Soyinka, as a pioneer and icon.
According to him “pioneers have shaped and directed and forged society forward not out of a need for fame…but because every fibre of their being is designed to inspire the world with something new.”
The event, which had Dafe Ivwurie and Jahman Anikulapo as comperes was an evening of intergenerational poetry that took the form of scathing indictments, irreverent musings and pithy reflections on what it is to be female, male and alive in today’s Nigeria.
Delivering his opening remarks, Wole soyinka said “we live in very ugly times.”
But the poems from young, old, female and male poets were anything but ugly. They were definitive and reflective of the times we live, a time in which 300 female students are still in Boko Haram’s captivity and Leah Sharibu is still missing.
Poets who read included members of four poetry collectives – Loudthotz, Poets in Nigeria, AJ House of Poetry and Bariga Poets Collective. The 5 major poets included Res Tha Poet, Iquo Diana Ekeh, Ucha Uwadinachi, Salamatu Sule and Sammy Sage Hassan.
Wole Soyinka treated guests to a special rendition from his latest poetry collection, A Humanist Ode to Chibok, Leah” released the same day.
After reading from a section that riffed on Leah Sharibu’s travails, Prof. Wole Soyinka was overcome with emotions and had to be taken aside to recover.
Returning to the stage he said “a few years ago I lost a daughter, so I get emotional when I talk about Leah” before adding jocularly “This is the first and last time I will read this poem in public.”
Special guests included Emeka Anyaoku, Mrs. Akpani, Newton Jibunoh, Prof. Pat Utomi, JK Randle and many others.