Tade Ipadeola Wins 2013 Nigeria Prize For Literature

The race for the 2013 edition of the
prestigious Nigeria Prize for Literature,
sponsored by the Nigeria Liquefied
Natural Gas (NLNG), which kicked off
February, 2013, came to a positive
conclusion Wednesday with The Sahara
Testament authored by Tade Ipadeola,
emerging winner.
The Ibadan based legal practitioner and
poet,Tade Ipadeola who was born in
1970 has published three volumes of
poetry-A Time of Signs (2000) and The
Rain Fardel (2005). His short stories and
essays have also been published in
diverse media. In 2009, he won the
Delphic Laurel in Poetry with his poem
“Songbird” in Jeju, South Korea.
His third volume of poetry which is the
Award winning collection of poetry, The
Sahara Testaments-a sequence of 1000
quatrains on the nuances of the Sahara,
is his latest work. The book was
published by Hornbill House of the Arts,
The Panel of Judges led by its Chairman,
Prof. Romanus Egudu adjudged The
Sahara Testament the winning entry for
the biggest literary prize in Africa which
comes with $100,000 cash prize because
“it is a remarkable epic covering the
terrain and people of Africa from the
very dawn of creation, through the
present, to the future.
The text it was explained, “uses the
Sahara as a metonymy for problems of
Africa and indeed, the whole of
humanity. It also contains potent
rhetoric and satire on topical issues and
personalities, ranging from Africa’s blood
diamonds and inflation in Nigeria…” It
was also noted that “Ipadeola’s use of
poetic language demonstrates a striking
marriage of thought and verbal artistry
expressed in the blending of sound and
Ipadeola’s work beat two other stiff
contenders who made the final three;
Ogochukwu Promise and Chidi Amu
Nnadi to clinch the Prize.
Tade Ipadeola
Announcing the winning poet and
collection at a world press conference
held at the Coral Hall of the Ocean View
Restaurant in Victoria Island, Lagos, the
NLNG General Manager, External
Relations, Kudo Eresia Eke, pointed out
that it was in pursuant of excellence that
his organisation is sponsoring the
coveted Prize, so as to galvanise Nigeria
to have more respectable people in the
area of literature, for a better Nigeria.
In his opening remarks, Kudo Eresia Eke,
had earlier noted that the NLNG by
“sponsoring excellence will galvanize our
country to be more reverential of
excellence. We will also inspire other
corporate organizations to do the same.”
With this feat, Tade Ipadeola has joined
the league of past NLNG Prize winner, a
prize that rotates annually around four
genres: poetry, prose, drama and
children’s literature.
Reacting to his win, an excited Tade
Ipadeola said “this is joyful news, joyful
This is the biggest prize in Africa and it is
surreal. I am grateful.”
It will be recalled that out of the 201
entries initially received for the prize
which were first whittled down to the
long list of 11, two female poets,
debutante Iquo Diana Eke and veteran
Promise Ogochukwu were on the list.
There was also a strong showing from
writers in the diaspora like Afam Akeh,
Obi Nwakanma and Amatoritsero Ede.
Last year’s prize was won by Belgium
based Chika Unigwe for her novel On
Black Sisters Street making her the first
foreign based Nigerian writer to win the
With Ipadeola’s feat, the controversies of
2009 when the Panel of Judges decided
that non of the contenders was worthy of
the Prize for Poetry, have been laid to
rest. As it is customary, Ipadeola will be
presented to the public at a date which
will be announced by NLNG.
In attendance at the conference were
Vice Chairman of the Advisory Board, Dr.
Jerry Agada, Chairman of the Panel of
Judges, Professor Romanus Egudu who
were supported by other members of the
advisory board and judges; Professors
Elugbe, Ogundipe Molara Leslie and Dr.
Andrew Aba as well as Professor Kofi
Anyidoho who served as this year’s
International consultant to the advisory
board. Kaine Agary, winner of the Prize
in 2008, was also in attendance.

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