In promoting poetry as an expression of cultural and linguistic diversity, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Nigeria and Lagos Education District One, on Thursday 21 March 2019, observed the World Poetry Day with a Poetry competition on “Combating Climate Change and its Impact in Nigeria”, involving all the ninety-nine schools in the District. Speaking at the occasion, the Director of UNIC, Mr Ronald Kayanja, called on schools and stakeholders in the education sector to revive the oral traditions of poetry recitals.
Mr Kayanja who was represented by the National Information Officer, Dr Oluseyi Soremekun, explained that poetry not only unlocks the creative potentials in people, it also contributes to language skills development, builds confidence in public speaking and asserts people’s identity.
Poetry, according to him, has no particular language. “Poetry is universal. It can be written and recited in any language, including indigenous languages.” He noted, “Poetry speaks to our common humanity and our shared values, transforming the simplest of poems into a powerful catalyst for dialogue and peace.”
Towards achieving the objectives of the World Poetry Day, especially as related to restoring a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, the fifteen finalists from fifteen schools, in their presentations, demonstrated the convergence of poetry, theatre, dance and arts to convey the message of climate change and its impact in Nigeria.
Addressing the audience comprising of students, School Principals and teachers, the Tutor General/ Permanent Secretary of Education District 1, Dr Mrs Olayimika Ayandele, expressed gratitude to UNIC for its consistency in educational programmes and FABE International Foundation, for providing prizes made of upcycled wastes recovered from the environment.
At the end of the recitals, Miss Favour Ocheje of Oke-odo Senior High School got the 1st position; Mr Basit Saba of Ikotun Senior High School came 2nd while Mr Ayomide Fadairo of Ijaiye Ojokoro Senior High School came 3rd. All fifteen finalists were issued Certificates of Participation.
Explaining the prizes given to the top three winners in a message sent to the event, the Founder of FABE, Mrs Temitope Okunnu said, “The first prize is an upcycled Ottoman made from discarded type; the second prize is upcycled pouf made from PET plastic bottles and the third prize is our ‘Spoontastic’ Mirror made of plastic spoons.” She added that those prizes were aimed at rewarding excellence and challenging the winners to pay more attention to the environment as well as promoting eco-solutions that can mitigate the effects of climate change.