When we did Top 50 Contemporary Poets Who Rocked Nigeria in Year 2012, it was the first time such a thing will be done for Nigerian poets and, it was indeed an exciting experiment. Click to View.
Hopefully, it will grow to something where awards will be given live someday. More than last year, we had 158 poets nominated for this edition. Click to View.
Learning from the little flaws of last year (i.e. people nominating people who were actually writers but not poets) this year we had 3 major mediums for ranking Poets. We called for nominations especially from fellow poets; rated views and comments of posts by poets featured on EGC blog in year 2013, and involved selected writers to carry out detailed research with us. When submissions were made and poets were rated say 1 to 5, we inverted the score say 5 to 1; then we added total score of each poet to reach final score cum ranking of each poet. Like we did in the past year, we want to state beforehand that some of you might have reservations with this ranking, yes we know, but you must have known that individual opinion differs. The people who submitted nominations too have different poets they rated as number one poet (that’s why it is justifiable that the poet with highest ranking be applauded for having the highest score). Yet it is worthy to note that the top 10 Poets in this ranking appeared in top 10 of most of the nominations they were mentioned.
We thank our co-researchers, especially those who gave detailed nominations, such as Su’eddie Agema, Mabel Okpaefi, Olayiwola Olanrewaju, Stephen Adinoyi, Ekemini Joseph, Da More, Big Sam Rolling Pounds from USA, etc.
And so in assessment of Nigerian Poetry fans, these Poets were the ones who rocked Nigeria in year 2013…
50. Afam Ake
49. Amu Nnadi
48. Owoade Adewale
47. Peter Akinlabi
46. Myne Whitman
45. Dami Ajayi
44. Richard Ali
43. Chiedu Ifeozo
42. Rahaman Taoheeb Abiola
41. Street Poet
40. Adetimilehin VicAdex Inioluwa
39. Kemi (aka. Kemistry)
38. Saint Rhymes
37. Okwy Obu
36. Prince Adewale Oreshade
35. Ndukwe Onuoha
34. Obari Gomba
32. Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
31. Jumoke Verisimo
30. Oguntoyinbo Shola Phebian
29. Ali Chibuzor Orji
28. Madu Chisom Kingdavid
27. Rasaq Malik Gbolahan
26. ‘Dolapo Ogunwale
25. Yommy Bishop
24. Torpedo Mascaw
23. Ife Olujuyigbe
22. Oku Ola Paul
21. Promise Ogochukwu
She recently performed at a United Nations gathering. She is seen as a blog Queen and literary personality; also one of the organizers of WordUp & Chill n Relax in Lagos.
She was argued to be the queen of spoken word poetry in Nigeria. She was seen only in the big poetry events and heard on radio.
The photographer and Poet was never a disappointment any time she steps on stage to perform.
17. Iquo Eke
Unarguably the most visible female poet in Nigeria in year 2013. She made NLNG and ANA longlists for poetry 2013; plus performances in Lagos, Abuja, and Ibadan to mention a few.
16. Razaq Ivori
Aka Ivory Critique. His style is different, his appearance traditional and his performance breathtaking. His book, Blood & Kin, was also launched on Amazon in year 2013.
15. Eriata Oribhabor
One Hundred Thousand Poets for Change (Abuja) host,Naija langwej promoter and Chairman of Abuja Chapter of ANA was a visible force on the poetry scene. Present at a lot of books launches in Abuja. He owes his popularity to his passion to feature young poets.
14. Su’eddie Vershima Agema
A writer, a blogger, a poet… though he does not perform often he stands out as an inspiration to upcoming poets. He was longlisted for the ANA 2013 Poetry Prize and shortlisted for the PEN/Saraba 2013 Poetry Prize. He also performed in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and Makurdi.
13. Ola Writes
He is a masses-motivated poet. Eg., His poem, “A Beggar’s Bread Need no Butter” accentuates the ponderings of the wretched. Though he claims he is yet a learner, some see him as already being a teacher.
Aka. Jeffery Jaiyeola remains in line with his lines. This gentleman knows how to weave words beautifully and present them in such a way that his audience would be transfixed. He is the brain behind Chill n Relax in Lagos, though he currently resides outside Lagos.
He is young, he is free, he is creative, he is Nathaniel. This young man whose poems received accolades through the year is well-horned and is characterised by philosophical tastes. Eg., his “I am-by SIN” is an analogous comparism of human origin and their true nature.
10. Olulu Holloway
He became the biggest success when it comes to promotion of poetry in Nigeria as if it was an overnight success, though his name was not new in the spoken word poetry quarters. Those who know him well admire his determination and restlessness. Olulu the King not from Zulu as he is fondly called, is one of the Spoken word poets who rocked Nigeria in 2013 more because of the events they organized and the platforms they created for upcoming poets via WordUp, War of Words, Chill n Relax, etc. Apart from securing few sponsorship deals, He has taken his time, energy, money and resources to ensure that spoken word poetry becomes an industry to reckon with in Nigeria’s near future, by writing, performing and encouraging others to perform too.
9. Moses Chibueze Opara
His poems are characterised by pastiche and imitation of the older poets. However his originality is unfolding. He could be regarded as a silent poet because he comes out on poetry platforms rarely, yet when he comes, he stuns poets and non-poets alike. He is also ethnic and ethical when it comes to poetry delivery. Moses Okpara is another Poet passionately campaigning against the oppression in his fatherland called Nigeria, through his poems from the city of Abuja.
8. Sage Hasson
He is widely regarded as the most celebrated spoken word poet in Nigeria. He is also known in some quarters as the father of Nigeria’s modern day spoken word poetry. Some argue that he is the first and the best of all spoken word poets. Yet when others don’t concur they agree that he has etched a place for himself in the sands of time as regards poetry in Nigeria. He is a fine man who remains a visible and invisible inspiration to others. Quiet a lot this year yet he is force on stage, and once you remember that it makes you applaud him again. Those who saw his Spoken Words Poetry video on Soundcity Tv will testify to this. His book, Dream Maker, was launched in year 2013.
7. Bob Ekat
He is a well-mentioned poet whose social empathy becomes an element to be mentioned. His most popular poem, “Tears from an Old Man’s Eyes”, resonate the plights of many through the eyes of a sage. The poem is echoed in a meditative tone typical of a sage. Bob knows the art of poetry and practices it purely. Generally described as energetic and full of life; this Cross Riverian is very creative, academically relevant and entertaining. He was featured in many poetry events in Lagos throughout year 2013.
6. Tade Ipadeola
This Ibadan based poet is one the few old time poets who survived and maintained relevance with the new generation of poets. He is a much heralded legal practitioner whose “The Sahara Testament” won him the biggest literary prize in Nigeria – the NLNG –at the price of $100,000. His work is tagged “a remarkable epic covering the terrain and people of Africa from the very dawn of creation, through the present to the future.” UncleTade, as he is fondly called by protégées, is seen as a very humble Poet and an ever present source of motivation for up and coming poets via advice, encouragement, etc. He is the grand support behind programs such as Artmosphere, Sankofa magazine among others.
5. Enigmatic Olumide
He is known for creativity, originality, and believed to make this list more for his promotion of poetry than anything else. He was strong in ensuring that lines found a clearer hearing. A master at what he does; his delivery is rumoured to be effortless, apt and enjoyable. He is a written/performance poet, who hosts a quarterly program called Be blessed, an annual 31 Days of Poetry, and the brain behind the group called EGC – which was also created to promote new poets/writers. Though some argue that he is basically religious even in his poems, some others do not concur as they see him as an outstanding poet who is trying to reach out to all without compromising his faith. This poet who shuffles between Lagos and Ibadan is one of the few who has taken the course of the relevance of spoken word poetry up to ensure that the spoken word industry becomes a formidable one in the near future. He writes, he performs and he encourages others to perform too.
4. Efe Paul Azino
Widely regarded as one of Nigeria’s finest. He organized the Poetry/Music arm of Lagos Book & Arts festival. Apart from featuring in other events such as Ake Books & Arts Festival, WordUp, radio shows and magazines, he runs his own event called ‘Unchained Voices’. Many of the already established contemporary poets even look up to him. He is a performance poet with ebullience and verve. His deep allusiveness and utopian quest for perfection and justice is made known in his poem, “Justice Has Been Kidnapped.” This poet has an alluring and poetic appearance, his performance is real and he has remained relevant in the Nigerian spoken word industry for about a decade.
3. Dike Chukwumerije
This master poet, performer and writer is widely regarded as Nigeria’s King of poetry at the moment. Poem after poem in written and performed state kept dropping. There’s the video tribute to Chinua Achebe that has left a huge amount of new followers to poetry… Not surprisingly Dike made the longlist for the ANA Poetry Prize 2013 (Let’s not mention that he won the ANA Prize for Fiction). He was also visible through the year with many literary activities. A far-soared performance poet whose poetry owes much to deep allusiveness and revolutionary quest; at times his poetry exudes some iconoclastic and cynic undertones. His use of music and rhymes also cannot be over-emphasised. He is an established writer and a poet, both in spoken form and written form. Though he grew up on the streets of Lagos, When you say Poetry in Abuja, a name that will surely ring a bell in response is Dike Chukwumerije.
2. Uche Uwadinachi
This Lagos based Poet is rumoured to have the highest number of awards amidst contemporary Nigerian Poets. A well known poet in his generation; he sets no barrier for himself by ensuring he gives his all at every opportunity he finds to show his poems. His works are embodied in African values. His poem, “Africa” is an attestation to this. At some quarters he is also seen a revolutionist. Uche is both a written and a performance poet, and he does both excellently. He is that kind of a guy whom you will see as cool headed till he is given a microphone to perform poetry. He is very dramatic, and he is another poet who knows his onion.
1. Kukogho Iruesiri Samson:
He is mainly a written poet; naturally the social media particularly blog space and Facebook were his turf. He was the most visible online promoter of poetry in year 2013. He has also brought about change in the poetry life of Nigerians, especially youths, by ensuring they voice out their thoughts via the platforms he created. He
manages three facebook pages and blogs 24 hours a day to achieve this. The winner of the Orange Crush Prize for Poetry 2012 and curator of the Words Rhythm and RhymesGroup added another feat to his year’s cap with the publication of his collection ‘What can Words do?’ He is also the man behind concepts such as Poectivist, and Verse up against women abuse groups which all support poets and publish poem according to the bracket accepted by each group. His latest project, Authorpedia, is an online resource for authors, writers, critics, publishers alike. His poems owe much to rhymes and quest for social change. “Grand Papa Dick” attests to this. KIS as he is known by his fans has created an indelible mark in poetry mentoring, editing and promotion. He read his poems in a lot of shows in year 2013 and he stands out as a strong inspiration to hundreds of poets nationwide.