(This piece is dated and is published here for archival purpose only)
The Benue State Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (Benue ANA) paid a courtesy visit to the National President of the Association, Professor Remi Raji in his office at the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. Represented by the Vice Chairman of the Benue Association, Su’eddie Vershima Agema, the visit afforded the two parties to get abreast of issues at both the National and Benue State level as well as share ideas on the way forward for the association.
Su’eddie informed the Raji of the change in leadership at the state level and informed the President that a few meetings had already been held by the Executive in order to chart a course to move the association forward. Su’eddie mentioned that ANA needed lots of more literary sparks in order to be the true number one literary body that it is in Nigeria. He proffered some ways in which this could be achieved.
Responding, Raji congratulated the entire Benue ANA EXCO and the outgone EXCO led by Sam Ogabidu on the peaceful elections. He said that the Executive of National ANA was poised to take the Association to higher heights and had since gone into action doing several projects. He mentioned that the Executive had gone on a working visit to Minna and had seen the Governor and other stakeholders. It had been a very successful outing full of promise. He further said that the association had gotten a grant of three million naira from Yusuf Ali to sponsor a secondary school campaign across the country. Fifteen states had been chosen from the various geo-political zones of the country including Abuja, Lagos and Oyo which are the centre of literature in the country including capitals of sorts. Benue had also been added in order to show the full arms of fellowship that the association was poised to show. All the beneficiary states are to send a list of the schools they expect to reach out to, the books they intend to buy and the programme they hope to pursue. He said that a list of literary prizes for the 2012 ANA Annual Literary Awards had also been released. All this was in addition to the constitution being worked on. Professor Raji stressed the fact that there was an audit process going on and the state was meant to register all her members and collect dues appropriately and send list of same to the National Secretariat so that there would be a unified list that would forestall any problems at convention and the like in the future.
Su’eddie at this point commended Professor Raji on all the efforts of the National Executive and prayed that far more would be done to make things better for both the association and its members. He commented on particular aspects of the draft constitution that were somewhat faulty. He quoted in particular, among others, the reference to the creation of a branch needing to have 250 willing sponsors at the State level and 150 of same at the local level. Professor Raji agreed that this was outrageous and definitely needed amendment. He asked that the Benue ANA put all their thoughts on aspects of the constitution that they thought needed amendment to paper and present it to the National Secretariat. He also noted that there would be a meeting of ANA National Executive and State Chairmen and Secretaries on 2012 28th April in Abuja.
A copy of Benue ANA’s poetry publication, Bridge for Birds was given to Professor Raji who appreciated the gesture. A few pleasantries were shared with promises that Benue ANA and the National ANA would be at their best to do their bit in taking ANA to higher heights.
29th March, 2012