Osinbajo reveals ‘love story’ that ended literary dream

Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Lola Shoneyin pictured at the opening day of Ake Festival in Lagos on Friday
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Lola Shoneyin pictured at the opening day of Ake Festival in Lagos on Friday

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday revealed his ‘poetic side’ when he shared an intimate story of how his mother ”beat the poetic genius out of him”.

Mr Osinbajo disclosed this while giving the keynote address at the Ake Arts & Book Festival holding at the Radisson Blu, Ikeja, Lagos.

“I would have had a mildly successful career as a poet but for a traumatic experience when I was 10,” Mr Osinbajo revealed.

“I wrote a poem for a girl whom I thought I could give my life for but my mother found out and beat the poetic genius out of me. My capacity for writing poetry was diminished.”

The vice-president’s intriguing story of a love poem gone wrong sent the crowd cheering with excitement.

Speaking afterwards, Mr Osinbajo also revealed that the federal government was putting structures into place to help the creative sectors thrive.

“Creatives are the ones with the profession with the most reputation, as they do not let anyone put them in a box. We have a policy group which takes into account the views and things that creatives need.”

In her welcome address, the visionary of the festival, Lola Shoneyin, said it has always been her aim to create a festival that could transcend physical spaces.

She noted, “Different people come to the festival for different things. There’s something for everyone. We don’t have a lot of that on the continent. We hope to make you happy this year.

”We will like to see creativity accorded pride of place because these are the things we call our own; these are the things that define us. There has never been a better time to invest in creativity than now.

”This sector must consistently benefit from strategies that create a nurturing environment. We are not making the needed investment to develop the sector. We would like to see creativity be awarded. These are the things that define us.”

Renowned novelist Somalian author, Nuruddin Farah is headlining the three-day festival, which is sponsored by Sterling Bank.

Themed “Fantastical Futures and events”, the organisers said the conversations would focus largely on a re-imagined African future, whilst exploring the exciting wave of Afrofuturism across the continent.

This year event lineup includes the memory room, panel discussions, drama, film and documentaries; feature book chats and art exhibition.

The itinerary also includes a stage play, an in-depth interview, school visits, stimulating panel discussions, a musical concert and a night of poetry performance.

Guests also have the opportunity to experience all the activities once they have fully registered.

The editor of Ake Review, Molara Wood also presented the 2018 Ake Review, which features art, prose and poetry that reimagines an Africa future at the gathering. During her presentation, she said she it was her desire to see it become a collector’s item.

Founded in 2013, the Ake Arts and Book Festival is the biggest annual gathering of African literary writers, founders, editors and art enthusiasts in Nigeria.

The festival has proven to be an attraction for activists, musicians, dancers, actors, illustrators, and a range of artists and thinkers who storm the event to share their ideas and work.


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