By Ibrahim Ramalan
On Thursday, 26th of this month, barely 17 days to go, all roads will lead to Makurdi, Benue state, where writers from across the country would converge for the purpose of cross-fertilization of ideas about issues that concern them.
Th e theme of this year’s convention is: ‘Canons Prizes and Boundaries: African Writers and African Writings in World Literature’, which will be delivered by the Keynote Speaker, Prof. Saleh Abdu Kwani of Gombe Federal University.
According to the President of ANA, Malam Denja Abdullahi, during the convention there will be a presentation of the Nigerian Writer Series, Flag-off of A-book-A-child Nationwide project, excursion and cultural extravaganza and many more thrilling activities are lined up for this year’s convention.
Th e convention promises to be funfi lled and hitch-free, especially as it could be recalled that recently, a fi vemember delegation was at Makurdi to assess facilities ahead of this year’s International Convention.
Th e delegation was received at the ANA State Secretariat by members of the Local Organising Committee for the convention, chaired by Professor Idris Amali who conducted them round the facilities.
In the faces of the LOC members were looks of happiness and near fulfillment that the 2017 Convention was gaining grounds especially with the arrival of the National Executive members few days after the LOC met with the Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom who approved funds for the event.
Professor Amali told the National Officials that the LOC had put all the necessary machinery in place such as securing venues for activities, hotels and printed some pre-convention materials among other things for them to make input and carried out advocacy visits to Individuals and groups to sensitise them about the convention.
Th e Don at the Federal University Lafi a, along with the Vice Chairman of the LOC and former National President of ANA, Professor Jerry Agada conveyed the Committee’s appreciation to Governor Samuel Ortom for, despite the economic situation, approving substantial funds for the hosting of the convention.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Media and ICT, Mr. Tahav Agerzua was also on hand at the Secretariat to welcome the National Offi cials of ANA during which he reaff rmed Governor Ortom’s commitment to the Writer’s body, urging members to continue to develop the knowledge base of the State as the World could partly survive through ideas.
Thereafter, the National Offi cials proceeded to hold a meeting with members of the LOC at Hotel Bobec Makurdi where the template for the event already developed was presented and considered with improvements made, corrections effected and approvals granted to some proposals.
On the second day, the National Offi cials embarked on a tour of facilities where hotels identified, were visited.
Th e team also visited the JS Tarka Foundation where the arrival cocktail and convention Play is expected to hold on the f rst and second days of the convention respectively.
Th e team equally visited the Auditorium of the College of Health Science, Benue State University, Makurdi to access the venue for the Convention grand opening ceremony.
Th e tour was rounded off with a visit to the Royal Choice Inn, the proposed venue for registration of delegates to the convention where the 1000 capacity Hall proposed for the dinner and award night was also assessed.
Addressing members of the LOC at the Presidential Wing of Royal Choice Inn, Makurdi, the National President of ANA, Mallam Denja Abdullahi expressed satisfaction with the facilities proposed for the convention.
Mallam Abdullahi stated that in view of the diffi cult times, it would be better to plan the convention within the means of available resources in order not in cure over bloated expenses in the end that would cause the LOC sleepless nights.
He advised ANA members against late registration, pointing out that those in the habit of attending conventions and registering on the spot would be doing so this year at their own peril.
“Th is year is an election year,those coming for the convention must get registered on time as adequate preparations would be made for them, and those in the habit of coming for conventions to gatecrash, would suff er the consequences of their action “Mallam Denja noted.
Th e National President thanked the Benue State Government for approving funds to support the Association to host a successful convention and expressed hope that the funds would be released early to enable the LOC put everything in place before the event.
“It is one thing to approve funds,it is another to ensure their earlier release,we have had situations whereby funds are released a day to our convention which adversely aff ected planning.
But with the commitment shown by your State Governor,we are optimistic that he will release the funds on time so that the best convention ever would take place in Benue”Denja maintained.
He advised members of the LOC to be in constant touch with the National Secretariat with the view to strengthening planning until the event is over,saying that the Committee on its part,deserved commendation for doing a wonderful job,urging members to keep the tempo.
Chairman of the LOC, Professor Idris Amali had earlier while receiving the National Officials,assured them of a unique convention in Benue next Month,stating that the Committee under him cannot aff ord to fail in that regard, thanking the Benue State Chapter of ANA for the confidence reposed in him.