Okowa Congratulates ANA Poetry Prize Winner, Stephen Kekeghe

Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta has congratulated author of ‘Rumbling Sky’, Dr Stephen Kekeghe, for emerging joint winner of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for Poetry, 2021.

Kekeghe, an English teacher at Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, was hitherto a teacher at the College of Education, Warri. He was conferred with the prestigious award at the association’s 40th Anniversary and International Convention in Abuja.

Okowa’s felicitation with the Imode community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta-born poet was conveyed in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, in Asaba.

He said that Kekeghe, a researcher with bias in inter-disciplinary studies, medical and environmental humanities; post-colonial and gender studies as well as creative writing, was one of Nigeria’s rising literary giants, adding that the best was yet to come from him.

The governor lauded the poet whose first and second degrees were obtained from Delta State University, Abraka and University of Ibadan, for his brilliant contribution to poetry genre and for bringing honour and fame to himself and to Delta State.

“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I congratulate Dr Stephen Ese Kekeghe for emerging joint winner of the ANA Prize for Poetry, 2021.

“As a state, we are particularly proud of your sterling contributions to the development of the literary world and it is our prayer that you work harder to win more laurels,” he stated.

Kekeghe is also the author of ‘Pond of Leeches’, a play which has been staged in several universities in Nigeria and ‘Chants of Memories’, a collection of poems already published in different print and online outlets.

Stephen Kekeghe, with Rumbling Sky was the joint ANA Poetry Prize 2021 winner which he shared with Kehinde Akano and his entry, Emirate Blues and Home Resistance

I Am Greatly Inspired By The Beautiful Wishes From The Governor Of My State – Kekeghe

Appreciations!

‘It’s not too late to seek a newer world’– Alfred Lord Tennyson

I am greatly inspired by the recognitions at home and abroad on my joint winning of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Prize for poetry, 2021 with ‘Rumbling Sky’, a poetry collection published in late 2020 by Kraft Books, Ibadan. Your wishes and prayers mean a lot to me. Motivating and demotivating utterances fuel my inspirations. It was at St. Vincent’s College, Okwagbe, Delta State, that my juvenile efforts on writing began. I wove words based on my experiences within that academic community and I received applauses from teachers and fellow students. I was in SS 1 when I became a writer on campus. That was over two decades ago of budding and seeking a healthier world…

In Delta State University, Abraka and University of Ibadan where I earned my degrees, I was, again, motivated by mentors and colleagues. Those praises and high expectations from teachers, mentors and friends have kept me going. I cannot thank you enough! I mean, YOU!

First, I must express my gratitude to ANA as a body and the judges who considered my work worthy of this recognition. The verdict gives me inner energies!

I sincerely appreciate the honour of being celebrated at home. When Nelson Egware, the very humane SSA to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Media, sent me the congratulatory message from the Governor, I felt a very strong urge to do more on the creative path that I have chosen. As a Deltan from Imode, I am greatly inspired by the beautiful wishes from the Governor of my state.

Shortly, after that, I got another recognition which bears a dual outlook– Federal and Senatorial! It came from the Deputy President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who represents Delta Central, my very Senatorial District. It was, indeed, a great honour to be so recognised!

Then, streams of other accolades followed. I received a royal call from the very King of my Kingdom, HRM, Matthew Igbi, the Okobaro of Ughievwen Kingdom. I appreciate the celebratory utterance of Revd Francis E Waive, the Honourable member representing the people of Ughelli South, North and Udu Federal Constituency. He recognised me as his constituent who has brought great honour to the constituency.

I received calls and messages of good wishes from notable teachers, mentors and motivators. I have mentioned a few names here: Professors G. G. Darah, Emmanuel Babatunde Omobowale, Hope Eghagha, Sunny Awhefeada, Ogaga Okuyade, Joel Ayodabo, Muyiwa Popoola, Chike Okoye, Obododimma Oha, Adenike Akinjobi, Dr. Enajite Ojaruega, Dr. Henry Ojogan, Prince Uche Ossamor and many others, whose beautiful words continue to spur me on.

I also appreciate the good wishes from Henry Efe Duku, Special Adviser to DSP, Senator Omo-Agege on Legislative and Plenary Matters and Omonade Matthew, Senior Special Assistant to DSP, Ovie Omo-Agege. To all my friends, brothers and students who flood the social media with celebration of me, I am grateful.

Special appreciations go to Mathias Orhero (Iroro), Nnaemeka C Ezema and Hilary Chika, great fans and promoters of my work.

I also acknowledge the beautiful wishes from Professor Timothy Abiodun Adebayo, the Vice Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Oyo, my primary constituency and Dr. Dickson Onowakpome Oyovwi, Provost College of Education, Warri, the environment that prepared me!

To my lovely family, I appreciate the love, sacrifices and prayers. I am motivated to do more! May God bless you all!

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