By Omiko Awa
WHILE many in his age bracket dream of leaving Nigeria for Europe and America under the illusion of searching for greener pasture, Kelechi Nwosu believes there are a lot of potentials in the country for any youth to tap from and make a decent living.
The multi-talented artist, designer, poet and social crusader, who in the past, had organised shows to campaign against girl-child abuse and other social ills, is planning an assemblage of poets across the globe in Lagos, for Festac Poetry Festival (FESTPOETFEST).
With Sharing positivity across boundaries as theme, the University of Ibadan, History graduate hopes to use the event, which holds on November 18 and 19, at Victory Park, Festac Town, Lagos, to promote acquisition of skills among Nigerian youths, while hammering on the need for them to make positive impact on their communities with their talents.
Why the use of poetry to pass this message? “It is an inspiring artistic expression that has telling influence on the audience. It’s actually an event that will showcase the three main elements — tourism, people and culture — of the country. A lot of misconceptions have been weaved around these elements. We want to use it to tell the world that Nigeria is not all about bombing, political crises and other negative things that are always reported by the foreign media about the country, Africa and the people.”
Kelechi, who has participated in a lot of creative events, which include Anthill 2.0, Bespoke, Wordslam, Taruwa Poetry and others, informed that the three elements —tourism, people and culture — are the most important anybody coming into the country would want to pay attention to. “I picked these three because they speak volumes about the country. In fact, they are the image of the country. Anybody visiting the country would want to know how the people live, their history, value and social system, and their level of technology,” he remarked.
To some observers, the event may likely be an all-talk affair, especially with the use of poetry as medium of delivery. But the poet counters, “it’s going to be a medley creative expressions. We are going to blend poetry with some selected genres of music such as hip-hop, jazz, soul, R‘n’B and others to tell our stories to our foreign guests and as well as inspire our youths to live their dreams,” he assured.
On whether the choice of elitist genre of poetry will be most suitable for the accomplishment of the objectives of the programme, Kelechi says: “Findings have shown that a lot of people listen to poetry and use its lines in their writings, speeches and even daily conversations.
“Apart from that, different organisations will showcase their products and services; there will be live band performances, exhibitions of different items from the health sector, hotels, hospitality services, tourism, food, books, lifestyle items and others.
“It’s going to be a beehive of activities and guests will have a lot to savour. It is going to be a well-rounded event that is connected to people in the UK and Africans in the Diaspora. It would also be shown live on local and international TV as well as on the internet: www.festpoetfest2011.weebly.com.”
PATTERNED after international poetry festivals in cities such as Vancouver and others, the social crusader is optimistic that the event will be staged yearly. He therefore solicits the support of individual and corporate organisations to assist in translating the dream to reality. He envisions that as a yearly event, the poetry festival will be attracting poets, scholars and tourists across the globe to the country.
His words: “poetry is universal and we want to key into it to bring other aficionados to the country. Besides, we are looking at the long-term effect when it would be like the Austin and Vancouver international poetry festivals held yearly. So, we need the support of organisations and private individuals to effectively carry it out.”