The Governor of Rivers State, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi, on Tuesday called on writers in the country to take advantage of the current happenings of missing oil subsidy funds to check corruption so as to change and make Nigeria better.
Amaechi, who was the Chairman of the 3rd Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu International Literary Colloquium in Minna on Tuesday, challenged Nigerians writers to publish books and journals on the serial corruption going on in the country.
According to him: “Literature is about patriotism, pragmatism and realities of life.
“Why are you (Association of Nigerian Authors) not writing about the ongoing and the current Nigerian society?
“Why have you not been able to write about the oil subsidy?
“Is it true that N2.3 trillion was stolen from the Federation Account in the name of oil subsidy?
“Why has somebody not been able to recreate it and be able to compare hunger to the stealing of our wealth?
“”Why was Chinua Achebe able to write ‘A man of the people’, the comedy of Nigerian politicians in the 60s, and nobody has been able to satirise the current politicians now?”
Amaechi, while lamenting that no writer in the country has written any book on the N2.3 trillion stolen from the national purse to serve as historical documents for generations yet unborn, challenged them to shun rewriting history, especially when there are current and challenging issues to write about, adding that the activities that happen now are what will become past event.
He said: “Are our writers too busy in the classroom?
“Are they teaching what Achebe wrote in the 1960s, which is now history, or should they be teaching current history?
“But I told them that if you are a student of history, history is now.
“There is nothing like history.
“History is the record of past event because the activities that happen now are what cumulate to become past event.
“So, history is the study of present event for the phases of reality of the people.
“Why are we not pursuing all those things that will change and make Nigeria better, which Achebe wrote about the military?
“He wrote a book called ‘Anthills of the Savannah’ that was for the caricature of the military.”
Furthermore, Amaechi said: “Literature is about patriotism, pragmatism and realities of life.
“Again, if you people cannot stand up and ask for your right, if all you read is about how wonderful the governors are, you are missing it all.”
Earlier, the keynote speaker, Prof. Kofi Anyidoho of the University of Ghana, charged African youths to stand up and fight for their right so as to develop the continent.
Anyidoho said: “The youth should stand up to know what they will do for their countries like Azikiwe, Nkruma and Nyerere to identify the problems and proffer solutions to their countries’ problems.
“We hope in the young people because they are the leaders of tomorrow and therefore we should do all we can to help them to realise this goal for the development of our countries.
“We should not lose hope because hope is in ourselves.”
Prominent Nigerians, among them former Military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, and the Secretary General of the Pan African Writers Association, Prof. Atukwei Okai, attended the ceremony.