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Nigerian writer, Jowhor Ile, has been announced winner of the 2016 edition of Etisalat Prize for Literature, the most prestigious literature prize for first-time fiction writers of African origin.

For his novel And After Many Days, Ile was announced the winner at a prize presentation ceremony held on Saturday night, the 20th of May 2017, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. He received a prize of £15,000 and an engraved Montblanc Meisterstück pen among several other rewards.

Another Nigerian, Julie Iromuanya, author of the book, Mr & Mrs Doctor, and a South African, Jacqui L’Ange, author of The Seed Thief, emerged as the runners-up for the prize.

Ile’s announcement followed the unanimous selection of his book by the judging panel for the 2016 Etisalat Prize for Literature chaired by multiple award-winning novelist and poet, Helon Habila.

Habila, while congratulating the winner and the runners-up, disclosed that the prize-winning book met the required standards of originality, creative excellence and African sensibility, in keeping with the objective of the Etisalat Prize, which is to promote literary excellence in Africa.

Chief Executive Officer, Etisalat Nigeria, Matthew Willsher, congratulated the winner and the runners-up, and restated the company’s commitment to continuously offer Nigerians and other Africans the best platforms to express their passion and creativity.

“From the outset, our vision at Etisalat has been to support innovation, creativity and talent development. This is why we have stayed focused on creating platforms that enable people, not only to communicate and stay in touch with one another, but also to express their individual creative abilities in all forms of science and arts”, he said.

Born in 1980 and bred in the city of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, Ile took to writing early and has had his short stories published in McSweeney’s Quarterly and Litro Magazine.  His 256-page novel, And After Many Days, set in Port Harcourt in the oil-rich Niger-Delta region of Nigeria, tells the story of a family whose 17-year old son and sibling, Paul Utu, goes missing during the rainy season of 1995. Burdened with the sudden loss, the family gets torn apart, as their search for answers uncovers several family secrets.

In addition to the prize money, other rewards for Ile include an Etisalat-sponsored fellowship at the University of East Anglia where he will be mentored by Professor Giles Foden, author of The Last King of Scotland’.

He and the two runners-up will participate in a multi-city book tour of three African countries also sponsored by Etisalat Nigeria. Furthermore, Etisalat will purchase 1,000 copies of their books for distribution to schools, libraries and book clubs across Africa.

Past winners of the Etisalat Prize for Literature include Democratic Republic of Congo’s Fiston Mwanza Mujila, for his novel, Tram 83; South African writer, Songeziwe Mahlangu for his novel, Penumbra and Zimbabwean writer NoViolet Bulawayo for her novel, We Need New Names.


For a better society

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History will be made on Wednesday, May 24, 2017, as high profile Nigerians including Kano State Governor, Dr Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II and the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta are billed to witness the first matriculation ceremony of Digital Bridge Institute(DBI), Kano.

The Federal Ministry of Education and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) had last year, given the DBI the green light to operate as an Innovation Enterprise Institution.

A statement signed by Dr Okechukwu Adinde, the Administrator of the institute, said the license enables the DBI to run two-year programmes in the specialised areas of software engineering, computer hardware engineering, networking and systems security, telecommunications technology and multimedia technology.

 “The first set of students were admitted into the programme for the Kano and Lagos Learning Centers in the current 2016/2017 academic session. On completion, graduands will be awarded a National Innovation Diploma (NID) equivalent to Ordinary National Diploma (OND) with which they can pursue higher studies in related fields in the university via Direct Entry admission,” the statement noted.

 Established in 2004 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) DBI has, over the years, become the leading provider of capacity building in telecommunications and information technology in Nigeria and beyond.  

 The curriculum of the programme is uniquely designed with 30% classroom instructional work and 70% practical laboratory and workshop experience to offer students a rich blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills. Upon graduation, students can proceed to a degree programme of their choice via Direct Entry in related fields at any University in Nigeria.

 DBI now has regional centres in Lagos, Kano, Enugu, (Enugu State), Yola (Adamawa State), Asaba, (Delta State). The institution’s facilities include fully equipped training rooms, multimedia teaching aids, and video conference facilities among others.


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The Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa on Wednesday berated the low turn out of the State public schools during the Public Hearing of a proposed law to make the teaching and speaking of Yoruba Language compulsory in the State.
The Public Hearing was organized by the House on a Bill titled, “The Promotion and Preservation of the Use of Yoruba Language in Lagos State and for Connected Purposes.”
The Bill was in continuation of the Yoruba Summit Day organised by the House in 2016 as part of measures to promote and preserve the language and its accompanied customs and traditions.
Obasa who made this remark while delivering his keynote address at the Lateef Jakande Auditorium of the House, stated that it was disheartening that many public schools in the State were lackadaisical to a programme geared towards protecting the native language from going into extinction.
“We have a lot of public schools in Lagos State but many of them are not here today. We need to look at that because it is through them (public schools), we can reach out to the children. I have observed that we don’t have many of them in this gathering,” said the Speaker.
He however explained that that might prompt the House to direct all the lawmakers to go to their respective constituencies to educate residents on the import of the law.
The Speaker further stated that it was saddening to see young children and the elderly at times having difficulty in speaking Yoruba language.
According to him, “I have the privilege to travel far and wide, but do you know what? Other people cherish their natve languages so they are developed and more sophisticated. So the question is, why is it so difficult for us to speak our language?”
Obasa however explained that the proposed law was not to intimidate anybody but “it is to encourage our children to start speaking in our mother tongue.”
While delivering his welcome address, the Chairman House Committee on Education, Olanrewaju Ogunyemi explained that “these decisions are hinged on our observation that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has set aside 21st February of every year as international Mother Language Day.
The Chairman also added, section 1(10) (a) of the National Policy on Education (NPE) states that ” Government appreciates the importance of languages as a means of promoting social interaction and national cohesion; and preserving cultures.”
Ogunyemi therefore argued that in line with these provisions it would be inappropriate for “most schools now regard the use of the native language as a vernacular.”
In his contribution, a representative of the Lagos State University (LASU), Dr. Rufus Olaoluwa observed that section 5 of the Bill which stated that “a credit in Yoruba Language shall be acceptable as part of requirements into any tertiary instition in the State” would be difficult to enforce.
He advised that instead of the provision in section 5, it should be made compulsory to study the language up to SSIII level and listed as one of the core subjects.
Also speaking, the Tutor General of Education District 5, Anike Adekanye explained that emphasis should be laid on teaching the primary schools pupils the language, adding that it would be difficult to lay emphasis on the older generation.
She advised that parents should speak the language to their wards.

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Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has formally unveiled the State Digital Library, reiterating his administration’s commitment to provide access to education for all.

Governor Ambode, who spoke through the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello at the launch of the Lagos State Digital Library held at the Landmark Event Center, Victoria Island, said the unveiling of the first of its kind digital Library was part of the vision of providing access to education.

According to the Governor, the access envisioned would be through collection and curation of digital content by online portal.

He said that the development, apart from complementing the quest for achieving Lagos dream of becoming Africa’s model megacity, would also help in transforming the State to a global economic and financial Hub.

“The digital library will provide a repository of contents which include 2,000 study aids on core subjects from primary to senior secondary school curriculum, over 1,600 tutorials, instructional videos and selected e-books for primary to SS3 approved texts, brief history of Lagos State, online forum, podcasts and exam-mate (A Test Resource).

“The contents also include quality research papers from Lagos State Tertiary Institutions covering a wide variety of topics digitized for the platform in various forms such as vocational videos, entrepreneurship contents, creatively presented history lessons and online courses on coding.

“This portal will be accessible via internet connection on a range of devices, from desktop computers to feature phones regardless of location, age or social economic status,” he said.

He said as part of the government’s efforts to make the State the next technology hub in Africa,  the “Code Lagos” and “Digital Library” projects were initiated, adding that the Digital Library programme was the first of its kind in the State and one of the largest learning platforms in Africa.

The Governor noted that based on statistics available, Africa is expected to reach 500 million internet users by 2020, majority of whom will access internet through a mobile device.

He, therefore, urged students, researchers and everyone interested in knowledge acquisition to make use of the platform which can be accessed from any part of the State and country.

Earlier in his remarks, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Education, Mr Obafela Bank-Olemoh said part of the innovation of the present administration was the introduction of “library initiative” whereby private organisations can adopt a library and improve it.

According to him, the initiative was already yielding fruits with the library at Herbert Macaulay, Yaba and the one at Isolo already taken up by corporate organisations.

The representative of the Governor later logged on to the “www.educatelagos.com” portal to formally unveil the programme at the event which also attracted members of the Organised Private Sector and the Diplomatic Corps.



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