By Rasaq Gbolahan*
On World Poetry Day, March 21, 2017, Ibadan had an indelible literary event in celebration of Prof. Niyi Osundare, who recently turned 70. The symbolic event was held at the historic Faculty of Arts Quadrangle, where Osundare and other eminent literary pioneers like Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, JP Clark, Christopher Okigbo and many others cut their teeth in literary scholarship. More than 50 literary enthusiasts and poetry lovers graced the event.
It was anchored by Prof. Remi Raji, who spoke about the twin celebration of World Poetry Day and Osundare, whose birthday was the pivotal reason for the gathering. Among those who performed were Funmi Aluko, who started by reciting her poem ‘Source,’ Adeeko Ibukun rendered ‘Waterfall,’ while Ayodele Olofintunade intrigued the audience with her poem ‘Another boring love poem.’ Also, Rasaq Malik did a performative reading of his poem ‘What my Father Says Every Night,’ Odugbemi Ibrahim dazzled the audience by chanting and rendering his poem ‘Ibadan’ and O’Busayor rendered ‘How we became smokers.’
Other guest poets, who read poems included the author of a newly published poetry collection Do Not Preach To Me and a lecturer at the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Charles Akinsete, editor of The Page, Oredola Ibrahim, a final year student of Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo University, Oladele Noah, a PhD student at the Department of English, University of Ibadan, Aniemeka Martins, and president of Association of Faculty of Arts Students, University of Ibadan, Ojikutu Shola.
Among the lecturers in attendance were, Prof. Fashina, Prof. Ayo Kehinde, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi and Dr. Aguoru. An award-winning poet and a passionate lover of orality, Fashina, spiced up the event by reciting one of his traditional poems. Benson Eluma, Nurudeen Aribisala, Ridwan Olamilekan Bello, Sulaimon Muhammed, Ogbeni Lasun Azeez, Kanyinsola, Kolade, Servio Gbadamosi, Batholomew Akpah were also present at the event.
Originally scheduled to hold for two hours, the event stretched, however, on, as Prof. Raji allowed people to recite their poems and feel the spirit of poetic communalism. At the end of the poetic celebration, the audience was happy to have had a feast of poetic offerings and the double luck of having to relish the incredible taste of palmwine to draw the curtain with the promise that the event would be a monthly one.