By NBF News

In a bid to establish a vibrant atmosphere of national development through intellectuality and sustenance of literature in Nigeria, the Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr Mu'azu Babangida Aliyu, will be hosting a convergence of Nigerian writers today in Minna, Niger State, at the Justice Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre.

The event, which begins at 10 am, will hold all day, and it seeks, among others, to redefine and celebrate the intellect as definer and pathway to discovering the arts, philosophy and science of leadership. 'This idea is remedial for a nation at crossroads, considering the growing national risks: the ethnic, religious and regional sentiments, alignments and distrusts that have now become very chaotic. Consequently, recognition of the pen, as mightier tool than the swords brandished by the threatening militant and terrorist groups, only sets the nation away from the path of tragedy,' said Gimba Kakanda, spokesman for the organizers, in a statement.

Invited as guest speaker for this maiden edition is the social critic, poet, writer, essayist and journalist, Odia Ofeimun, to shed light on 'Building Intellectual Power to Fix Nigeria', a stratagem to discover where we go wrong in the rush to nationhood.

The host/initiator is Professor Muhammad Kuta Yahaya, Chief of Staff, Niger State; and the event will be chaired by Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, Vice Chancellor, Bayero, University, Kano.

Discussants for the opening event include Professor Tanimu Abubakar, ABU, Zaria; Dr Vicky Sylvester, University of Abuja; Dr E. E. Sule, University of Abuja; and Dr Salihu Bappa, ABU, Zaria. A number of writers will be performing at the event. These include Prof. Karen King Arbisala, Akeem Lasisi, Sage Hasson, Greg Nmbajiorgu, Terfa Danjuma, Saddiq Dzukogi/Jimoh Olawale, G. S. S. Minna, G. G. S. S. Old Airport, Yoruba National Anthem, Star Kids, Minna and Delight's Kid Photographer.

Other notable writers and scholars to grace the occasion include Prof. Abubakar Rasheed, VC, BUK, Kano; Prof. Tanimu Abubakar, ABU, Zaria; Prof. Ahmed Yerima, renowned Playwright, Lagos; Prof. Kanchana Ugbabe, University of Jos; Prof. Haruna Faruk Rasheed, Provost, COE, Minna; Alhaji Abubakar Gimba, Trustee, ANA Niger, Dr. Wale Okediran, former President, ANA; Dr Salihu Bappa, ABU, Zaria; Bayero University, Kano; Poet, Abuja, Jude Dibia, novelist, Lagos; Moses Tsenongu, Benue State University; Ahmed Maiwada, ANA Abuja; Alhaji Yahaya Dangana, Trustee, ANA Niger, among others.

The 1st MBA National Literary Colloquium will feature different events and sessions. The second event of the day is will centre on the theme, 'Defining Poetry: The Chaos of Perceptions in the Nigerian Literature'. Panelists include Ahmed Maiwada, Jumoke Verissimo, Dr E. E. Sule, Akeem Lasisi. It will be moderator by Alkasim Abdulkadir.

The second session on 'Fiction and the Philistines: Revisiting the Arts for Art's Sake Proposition' will begin at same venue. Panelists include Abubakar Gimba, Jude Dibia, Onyeka Nwelue, Dr Wale Okediran, Dr Vicky Sylvester and Abdullahi Ismail Ahmed. It will be moderated by Omale Allen Abdul-jabbar.

The third session on 'The Babel of a Nation: the Future of Writing in Indigenous Languages' will feature the panelists Ibrahim Malumfashi, Moses Tsenongu, Jare Ajayi, Rabi Talle, Zaharadeen Kano and Ndagi Abdullahi. It will be moderated by Odoh Diego Okenyodo.

The fourth session will focus on 'Of Criticism, Condemnation and Praise: What's Literary Criticism?' the panelists include Ismail Bala Garba, Kamar Hamza, Richard Ali and Professor Tanimu Abubakar. The moderator will be Sulay Nsubong.

'Play-ing Around the Stage: the Fate of Drama in the modern Literature' is the focus of the fifth session with the following panelists: Ahmed Yerima, Yahaya Dangana, Bose Tsevende and Almamun Mallam. Ezekiel Fajenyo will be moderating.

The sixth and last session will dwell on 'Printing to the Digits: Publishing in the Digital Age'. The panelists include Hyacinth Obunseh, Steve Shaba, Richard Ali and Ahmed Maiwada. It will be moderated by Onyew Bongos Ikwue. The general rapporteur for the events is the poet, Gimba Kakanda.

Over the years, Niger State governor has become one of the best literature-friendly governors in Nigeria. He was the first governor to attend the Annual Schools Carnival and Festival of Songs (ASCAFS) created by ANA Niger in 1995, which led to the production of a CD documentary distributed to schools in 2008.

Also in 2008, he gave a grant of N3m to ANA Niger to go round the 25 local governments of ANA Niger Read-to-the-Child Campaigns. He also published seven titles of children's works to be distributed at the Read-to-the-Child Campaign, published the report into a book and distributed to schools and MDAs in 2009.

In 2008, he gave N6m to ANA Niger to organize the 1st Northern Nigeria Writers Summit. In addition, he offered 23 hectares of land to ANA Niger to build a writers resort, as well as put up a facility once ANA commences development (2009).

In 2009, he provided N10m to ANA to organize 2009 ANA convention in Minna (2009) and another N1m to National ANA as contribution to Abubakar Imam Colloquium in Kaduna (2009).

Interestingly, he has appointed writers as heads of book development units of the state government from 2007-2011. In 2010, he gave ANA Niger an 18 seater bus. He has also provided the state branch office accommodation at the Abubakar Imam Library complex. The governor has continuously used ANA and book-related activities as his form of celebrating recent birthdays.

In addition, he has published more than ten writers who have requested the government to publish their manuscripts from 2009 -2011.

Currently, Governor Mu'azu Babangida is sponsoring the 1st MBA (Muazu Babangida Aliyu) National Literary Colloquium to promote dialogue.