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By Mazeed Mukhtar Oyeleye

Sokoto Books and Arts Foundation, convener of the Sokoto Book and Arts Festival (SOBAFest), in conjunction with Teach For Change Nigeria (TFCN) and 21st Century Entrepreneurs Hub, on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, organised a poetry slam for secondary school students in Sokoto state.

Having kicked off the maiden SOBAFest season in 2021 with a secondary school literary quiz, the foundation opted for a Poetry Slam for schools that did not contest in the first season’s competition to drive inclusion.

Cross section of participants

The participating schools were seven, including Forth International School; Government Day Secondary School, Gidan Igwai; Government Girls College; Optimum Success International School; Sheikh Abubakar Gummi Memorial College; Sultan Muhammadu Maccido Institute for Qur’an and General Studies; and Unity Comprehensive School.

Taking turns to wow the judges and audience, representatives of the seven schools slug it out, delivering scintillating and emotional performances whilst addressing the contest theme, “Contemporary Nigeria”.

Some of the performances at the slam

Performances by the students were on issues of insecurity, education as well as politics and governance.

The contest ended with the judges pronouncing Olusanya Iyanu of Optimum Success International School as the slam winner, followed by Asma’u Malami Ahmad of Forth International School and Aisha Suleiman Ilo of Unity Comprehensive School in second and third places respectively.

Winners of the Slam

The event featured stellar performances from other students in attendance, teachers, members of the audience and a special rendition by one of the judges, Aishah Abdulkareem, the author of Yar’fari.

The slam was graced by the Usmanu Danfodiyo University Sokoto Poetry Don, Professor Tahir Mallam, who gave an insightful keynote address. Emelife Jennifer Chinenye, the founder of TFCN, was also present at the event, albeit virtually, and she gave an inspirational talk to acquiesce to the efforts of the participants and their respective schools. A patron of the foundation, Dr Mansur Isah Buhari also graced the occasion.

Organisers of the slam

The event was fully sponsored by Teach for Change Nigeria in partnership with 21st Century Entrepreneurs Hub and media coverage by Dreams Imagery.

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