These are what the past winners of War Of Words Season 1, 2 and 3 said.
Titilayooluwa Mabogunje (a Nigerian citizen, born in England and 16 years old) Winner of War Of Words Season 1:
I absolutely did not expect to win. In fact, I sent my audition tape doubting I would be shortlisted into the competition. I was amazed and dumb-founded when I won. I was and still am truly grateful to God who gave me the gift of poetry.
When I first started writing, I would write a few lines and then stop. Poetry has helped me build what I call ‘writing stamina’. I can certainly write much longer poems than I used to since I started performing. I have become bolder and can interact with people more easily.
There is so much potential for poetry in Nigeria and I think in 5 years, when spoken word poetry has spread, there will be a lot more artists and it will be used for advertisements, news, and maybe even politics. I really think the Spoken Word industry will grow quite rapidly. And 5 years from now, I will probably be in the University, but I will still be writing poems and perhaps, performing them.
Onwuasoanya Chika Jones (a Nigerian, born of an Igbo father and Yoruba Mother and a student of Mechanical Engineering in Federal University of Technology Owerri) Winner of War Of Words Season 2:
When I was announced as winner, I was quite happy, it felt unreal, I had made a lot of sacrifices to be there, but I never expected to win, I just wanted to do my best. And yes, the experience taught me the value of putting forth your best, and that poetry must have content, or it will just be like rap.
In the next 5 years, I want to be established as a spoken word poet in Nigeria, one of the best. And spoken word poetry in Nigeria, in the next 5 years should be able to compete with the comedy industry as regards size, impact and influence.
For young people who want to be poets, I would advise them to know why, they want to be poets, define why, and you’ll be successful. Nigerian youths should know that there are a million ways of expression, and that a society with a variety of means of expression, is a beautiful society. So I would advise the youths to read, read, read and then read some more.
Graciano Gracious Sean Enwerem (from Orogwe, Owerri West LGA of Imo State) Winner of War Of Words Season 3:
Friends advised me against entering to compete at War Of Words 3. I was told that it was a “LAGOS-LAGOS” thing. But following the result now, with myself (from PH) emerging the winner and Aquila also from Port Harcourt emerging as the first runner up, I very well doubt if any further rumoured talk against the ingenuity of War Of Words will ever hold water.
It’s no longer news that poets should be able to write poems that can appeal to any kind of audience irrespective of their educational echelon. A poet should know what “deep” is as well as what “lucid” is and find the balance between the duo. Only education does that!
Aside from the basic quality of marrying truth and beauty, I feel a good poem is that poem that could be understood and appreciated by majority of the audience and its thematic preoccupation must be relevant in solving a societal problem, else it will be a composition of a beautiful linguistic noise!
The future has always been and will be an untapped goldmine. Hence, God willing, I see myself encouraging, developing and empowering budding poets.
I’d advise them to read and write like they’ve not prayed and pray like they’ve not read or written anything… Publish or Perish!
When you win War Of Words Season 4, what will you say? But first, are you sure you have what it takes to win?
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Our Spoken Word Poetry show, WORD UP, is now on the NTA Network (i.e. DSTV, Startimes and Local) from August 2014. The TV show is aired every Sunday by 3pm, with repeat broadcast on Wednesdays by 10am and Fridays by 5.30am. Please tune in.