Published By: Ana Publicity Committee

29th Nov. 2022

Director of Information in the Ministry of Finance, Alhaji Salisu Nainna Dambatta has said the heroic commitment of the slain soldier-poet, Mamman Vatsa, in collaboration with foremost Nigerian writers has paved way for a renewed hope for enduring legacy for literature in Nigeria. 


He said this while commending the worth of the paper presented by Tunde Olusunle, a journalist and author, during the just-concluded international conference of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), held at Writers’ Village, Mpape, Abuja. 


In a recent mail he sent to Dr. Bukar Usman, former Permanent Secretary in the presidency, Danbatta recalled how the celebrated former ANA president, late Alhaji Abubakar Gimba assigned him to follow up the application of a plot of land for the Nigerian Writers’ Village. 


“I read Tunde’s. It gives a vivid image of the scene and the Convention itself. I knew Olusunle, poet, journalist, scholar, author and member of the Association of Nigerian Authors, (ANA). 


“How I wished I was there. I can recall with nostalgia how Alhaji Abubakar Gimba as President of ANA assigned me to follow up the application for a plot and the allocation paper for the plot on which the convention took place. I did that. He came to my house from Minna to pick up the papers,” he said. 


He further commended the efforts of Dr. Usman as a pillar of reference in the growth of African culture and literature. 


His words: “You linked me to him (Gimba) when I was the ANA Chairman of the FCT. Thank you for involving me in so many important activities, Sir.” 


In a paper he titled: ‘ANA, Vatsa, Mpape And The Fruition Of A Dream,’ Olusunle said Vatsa made a great impact that cannot be forgotten. 


The paper partly read: “Fortuitously, Vatsa had engraved his name and memory, in the sands of time, before his unfortunate dispatch. Since its establishment in 1981, as the brainchild of the revered master storyteller himself, Chinua Achebe and half a dozen other like-minded writers, ANA desired an ideal creators’ resort. Achebe’s co-founders of the association June 27, 1981, included: John Pepper Bekederemo-Clark; Timothy Aluko; Femi Osofisan and Niyi Osundare. Two Kenyan writers, the iconic Ngugi wa Thiong’o and Gacheche Wauringi, also attended that premiere. 


“This is the eventual reincarnation of that indomitable soldier-poet, 36 years after his unfortunate liquidation via martial pronouncement. You meander through tar-paved, snaky roads, ascending, descending, taking in the humongous physical development being undertaken in the village. 


“The association wanted a congenial atmosphere where writers could observe their hideaways and listen to their Muses for inspiration. The FCT under Vatsa’s watch, hosted the Sixth Convention of ANA in the last quarter of 1985, just months before his arrest. The event was held within the geographical space of “Usuma dam,” in Bwari Area Council, FCT. Vatsa had acceded to the request of the association, by allocating a sprawling expanse of land in contemporary Mpape district, for the development of its dream, purpose-built writers’ village.” 


The international conference with the theme: “Literature And National Consciousness: The Story As A Catalyst,” began on Wednesday, October 26 and ended on Saturday October 29, 2022. 


The keynote speaker was Abdul Rasheed Na’Allah, Vice Chancellor of the University of Abuja, (UniAbuja).