Write 'Scientific' Poems - Prof. Andrew Nok Challenges Writers.

Yunus MC

Prof. Andrew Nok, the Commissioner of Education for Kaduna State has challenged Nigerian teen writers to write poems on his scientific feat. Prof. Nok is the winner of the 2009 NLNG Prize for science in Nigeria,  awarded to him for developing a vaccine for the cure of sleeping sickness.

Prof. Andrew Nok at the YEF Workshop
The Professor of Biochemistry gave the challenge at the opening of a creative writing workshop for teen writers in Kaduna State on 6th June, 2017 organized by the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation, a Not-for-profit organization focusing on literary creativity and women literacy programmes. The Foundation which is a brainchild of the wife of the governor of Kaduna State, Hajiya Hadiza Isma El-Rufai was established in memory of her late daughter, Yasmin.

Prof. Nok who pledged his support for the Foundation expressed his happiness for being amidst student-writers as well as seeing his former student, Diego Okenyodo mentoring them in the art of creative writing. Diego who facilitated the workshop along side BM Dzukogi, trained as a Pharmacist and has over the years been productive in the arts world.  “It is in this spirit that I challenged teen authors in Nigeria to write a poem about my scientific feat for which the winner would be awarded N100, 000 through the Yasmin Foundation.” he declared.

Teen writers at the YEF Writing Workshop
The Yasmin Foundation has taken this up by creating an annual prize called ANDREW NOK SCIENCE POEM PRIZE for secondary schools in Nigeria. The prize requires a teen author in a secondary school to write a narrative poem on a phenomenal scientific feat by any scientist around the world starting with Andrew Nok’s discovery of a vaccine for sleeping sickness. The prize would be sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Kaduna State through YEF. In the subsequent editions, YEF would set the criteria and the scientific feat to written about annually.

Mallam Sulaiman, the Coordinator of the Yasmin El-Rufai Foundation gave reasons why the Foundation is seizing this opportunity to popularize the new prize saying it will make science, inventions, science research and experimentation attractive to youth from school age. “It is also to reunite science with art for peaceful uses and fast understanding of processes involved in the breakthrough by secondary school students.”

Workshop Facilitators with officials of the YEF
Sadiq Dzukogi, Poet and the Creative Writing Programmes Officer of the Foundation also weighed in with enthusiasm on the new prize “it is our place to bring forth new ideas and innovations for development. Here, we are serious about exploring creativity for development. Creativity does not respect age; it is everywhere, in everybody. So, at this administrative point of our life, we are to be adventurous in engaging literary art to enable us catch up with the fast world. Educational planners should seize on this experiment and join us. We hope to come up with a book on the poems to be entered as a science motivational material for secondary school students. We shall announce the call for entries anytime soon.”


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