After days of uncertainty, Tanure Ojaide, Frank Porter Graham Professor of Africana Studies of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA, has laid to rest the controversy trailing the Tanure Ojaide Poetry Prize he is endowing.

Affirming the poetry prize in a Press Statement dated December 1, 2013, Ojaide noted that, it was unfortunate that what he conceived and worked hard towards realizing was being drawn into the personal animosities that some faceless individuals had against Dr. Ogaga Okuyade.

The statement read in part: “My attention has been drawn to the publication of the announcement of the poetry prize I am endowing and the subsequent personal attacks on Dr. Ogaga Okuyade, one of the two persons I asked to administer the maiden prize. It is unfortunate that this poetry prize I conceived and worked hard towards realizing is being drawn into the personal animosities that some faceless individuals have against Dr. Okuyade. By the way, the two names who wrote the disclaimer are fictitious and are created to cause mischief because they cannot be found anywhere.”

Continuing, he said: “I want to use this forum to confirm that I am the one that endowed the Tanure Ojaide Poetry Prize and it is a genuine poetry prize to be competed for and won on the basis of merit. I am the one funding the prize. I want whoever has an axe to grind with Dr. Okuyade not to embroil this poetry prize in their problem. However, I ask the public not to trust persons who create fictitious names under cover of email addresses just to attack Dr. Okuyade.”

Concluding, Ojaide said that in the light of the recent development, he was going back to the drawing board, to prepare another announcement about the poetry prize and its modus operandi, adding that this will be done after those to be involved would have been duly consulted.

It will be recalled that the duo of Osahon Egharevba and Onoriode Jim Kpogban had issued a press statement alleging that the Call for Entries for the Tanure Ojaide Poetry Prize by Dr. Ogaga Okuyade, which had an entry fee attached was dubious, not supported by Ethiope Publishing Corporation and Ethiope Foundation, and warned the general public to ignore it.

The statement had also received flak from several academics, especially one Agatha Eka Okoson, who gave her GSM line as +2348098858587, saying it was borne purely out of envy for the rising profile of Dr. Okuyade.
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