Nigeria Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) on Wednesday presented $200,000 prize to six winners of its “Nigeria Prize for Science and Literature’’.
Mr Ikeogu Oke emerged the winner of the Prize for Literature and received a cash prize of 100,000 dollars for his poetry ‘The Heresaid’.
For the Nigeria Prize for Science, three works jointly won the award for the competition which has as its theme: “Innovation for Malaria Control”.
The 100,000 dollars prize would be shared by the five authors – Chukwuma Agubata, Olugbenga Mokuola, Bidemi Yusuf, Ikeoluwapo Ajayi and Ayodele Jegede.
Speaking at the public presentation of the winners in Lagos, Mr Sadeeq Mai-Bornu, NLNG deputy managing director, said that the prizes were aimed at bringing Nigerian scientists and authors to public attention.
“Nigeria Prize for Science, Nigeria Prize for Literature and Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism sponsored by NLNG, are to celebrate excellence in scientific breakthroughs and literary accomplishments in our country.
“At NLNG, we believe that the NLNG Science Prize will provide leaders with answers to crucial issues in development, improve the standard of living and re-energise the scientific community to seek solutions to national problems.
“With Nigeria Prize for Literature and Prize for Literary criticism, it is expected that the quest for a prestigious prize will improve the quality of writing, editing and proof-reading.
“It will also have positive outcome on publishing with far-reaching positive effect on print and broadcast journalism,’’ he said.
In his remarks, Mr Ayo Banjo, Professor emeritus and Chairman, NLNG Literature Prize Advisory Board, said that Oke emerged the winner for 2017 after diligent consideration and critical, objective application of the guidelines and criteria by the judges.
“Oke’s poetry, ‘The Heresaid’ was outstanding and the decision for its winning was based on its apt topicality, relevance, artistic heft and the pursuit of artistic provenance.”
According to Banjo, in a world increasingly threatened by encroaching totalitarianism and even bare-faced tyranny and intolerance, the wit, wisdom and message of the poetry ‘The Heresaid’, are infinitely crucial.
“It is our hope and goal that the kind of vibrancy found in the collections of poetry submitted is enough vital evidence that NLNG is making unprecedented difference in the intellectual development of Nigeria.
“The Heresaid, published by Kraft Books, employs the epic form in questioning power and freedom,’’ Banjo said.
Also speaking at the presentation, Mr Akpoveta Susu, Chairman, NLNG Science Prize Advisory Board, said the winners were selected after diligent consideration and critical application of guidelines and criteria.
Susu, a professor, represented by Mr Barth Nnaji, a former Minister of Power, said that due to the very high standards set, none of the entries on their own could be adjudged the winner.
“The judges acknowledged that some entries which were believed to have significant contributions to the effective control of malaria could become better with more work in consonance with the progressive nature of science.
“Therefore, to encourage researchers, three entries were recommended as the winners for the 2017 Nigeria prize for science.
“The works include “Improving Home and Community Management of Malaria: Providing the Evidence Base’’ by Ikeoluwapo Ajayi, Ayodele Jegede and Bidemi Yusuf.
“The “Multifaceted Efforts at Malaria Control in Research: Management of Malaria of Various Grades and Mapping Artemisinin Resistance’’ by Olugbenga Mokuolu also came through.
“Another entry, “Novel Lipid Microparticles for Effective Delivery of Artemether Antimalarial Drug Using a Locally-Sourced lrvingia Fat From Nuts of lrvingia gabonensis var excels (Ogbono) by Chukwuma Agubata, also won the prize,’’ Nnaji said.
Mr Ogbonnaya Onu, Minister of Science and Technology, represented by Elizabeth Ibezim, said that the current socio-economic challenges in the country required scientific researches to solve.
Onu commended NLNG for promoting excellence in scientific breakthroughs as this would encourage scientists in the country.
“Nigerian scientists have continued to demonstrate that they can defend their space and provide lasting solutions to national problems.
“The ministry will continue to support and provide the enabling environment for organisations such as NLNG to complement government’s efforts toward promoting scientific researches in the country,’’ he said.