Nigeria celebrates World Poetry Day

Temitope Mustapha, Abuja

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, Unesco has called on its 185 member states to support poetic effort which has power to foster unity and settle conflicts in the World.

In her message to commemorate the 2016 World Poetry Day, Secretary General of Unesco, Irina Bokova tasked member countries to promote poetry, which she said is the symbol of human value and promotes common humanity.

Bokova, who was represented by Mrs Anene Maidoh, stressed that every culture of the World has its poetry act adding that poets promotes linguistic diversity.

“Let us all pay tribute to the men and women whose only instrument is free speech, UNESCO recognises poetry and its value as a symbol of the human spirit’s creativity, poetry contributes to the expansion of our common humanity, helping to increase its strength, solidarity and self awareness.”

Ms Bokova stressed that the voices that carry poetry help to promote linguistic diversity and freedom of expression.

“These voices participate in the global efforts towards artistic education and the dissemination of culture, poetry opens a space for the freedom and adventure inherent in human dignity.
I, however, call on all member states to support this poetic effort which has power to bring us together, regardless of origins or beliefs, this which is very core of humanity
” she said.

Oral poetry
Speaking on behalf of the Nigerian government, Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah said Nigeria joined the rest of the World to celebrate 2016 World Poetry Day with a call on her citizens to return to the oral tradition of poetry.

He said the celebration was a measure by the government to inculcate reading culture in Nigeria and mobilise her citizens to read.

Professor Anwukah stated further that the objective is to promote reading, writing and teaching of poetry throughout the world.

“This represents one of the measure by the ‘READ’ Campaign Branch of the Education ministry to inculcate a reading culture in Nigeria and mobilise the citizenry to read.
The objective is to promote the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry throughout the world, this also provides an opportunity to preach the good news of reading.”

The World Poetry Day usually marked on March 21, was declared by Unesco in 1999.