Poet, Activist Odia Ofeimun Set for 70th BirthdayConference

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Yinka Olatunbosun

A party of words and wit is on its way as the distinguished Nigerian poet, political essayist, journalist, dance-drama producer, critic, columnist and public intellectual, Odia Ofeimun marks his 70th Birthday Celebrations of Odia Ofeimun, on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Titled, ‘Taking Nigeria Seriously: A Conference in Honour of Odia Ofeimun,’ the celebrations will end with a Special Dinner in honour of the celebrant on March 17 at the University of Lagos Guest House.

The Odia Ofeimun at 70 conference will be a gathering of intellectuals, scholars and academics from within Nigeria, Africa and as well as North America and Europe. The keynote will be given by Professor Biodun Jeyifo, a reputed literary scholar and globally recognised cultural theorist, who until recently was with Harvard University, USA.

The opening ceremony of the conference on March 16 at the same venue will be chaired by Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, the Honourable Minister of Interior of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while the dinner on March 17 will be chaired by the renowned civil rights activist and Senior Advocate of Nigeria,Olisa Agbakoba.

For over four decades, Ofeimun has exerted a phenomenal presence in the Nigerian cultural, creative, intellectual and political space. He served as Private Secretary to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late Nigerian nationalist and politician between 1978 and 1981; was a member of the editorial board of The Guardian from 1983 to 1988, Chairman of the Editorial Board of The News, Tempo and AM News from 1993 to 1999, and President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) from 1993 to 1997.

Ofeimun’s Hornbill House of Culture represents a platform to execute his multi-dimensional activities including writing, dance-drama production, book publishing, cultural promotion and political interventions. He has at least 40 published books which include volumes of poetry, collections of critical essays, anthologies of cultural and political interventions, and compilations of journalistic writings. In 2010, Odia Ofeimun won the Fonlon Nichols award for excellence in writing and human rights activism. He is an exemplary man of letters.