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Winners of the Poetry & Writing Contest

Ken Saro-Wiwa Candlelight Vigil

Shell to Sea Note: [Shell to Sea was proud to be asked to have one of our number be a judge for this contest in memory of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the rest of the Ogoni Nine. Cornelius King of Shell to Sea was one of the 9 judges. Congratulations to the winners]

All of the entries to the Ken Saro-Wiwa Poetry and Writing Contest have been tabulated.  To ensure the integrity of the competition, we sent the judges only the entry and the name of the author.  Our judges were from the following three countries: United States, Ireland, and of course Nigeria. We had a total of 9 judges to signify the Ogoni 9. Only one of our judges was a professional writer, so we were judging purely on the message conveyed in the art. 

After receiving the entries, we determined that we could not compare the poetry pieces to the short stories, so we opted to provide 2 First Place awards. Also, due to the number of entries, we decided that we should recognize our second place authors as well. 


Our first place winners will receive 7,500N and a Certificate of Achievement. In addition, these 2 pieces will be narrated at the Ken Saro-Wiwa event in Houston on November 10. Our second place winners will receive a certificate of accomplishment.  And, because there were so many beautiful pieces, every author's art will be distributed in the Ken Saro-Wiwa Event Program, which will be distributed at the event.


So, without further are the names of your winning authors, as well as a short biography on our first place winners.


First Place - Poetry

Kenechukwu Obi

"The Evergreen"

Kenechukwu Obi is a Nigerian writer of the Igbo extraction, currently living in Enugu State.  He was born in Lagos, where he attended Pedro Primary School.  From there, he attended Nnewi High School, In Anambra State, and then proceeded to further his studies at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he obtained a degree in Crop Science.  Kenechukwu says, “I write  prolifically and envision exposing my works internationally." 



First Place - Short Story

Uwaoma Eizu

"The Last Days of Nenesi"

Uwaoma Eizu is an IT, brand consultant and management professional of the Igbo extraction.  Eizu was born in 1986 in Abia State and is currently living in Akoka, Lagos.  Eizu attended Hope Primary School - Ikoyi.  From there, he attended Falomo High School, and then proceeded to further his studies at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Imo State.  He is a graduate of Mathematics and Computer Science and a member of the Nigerian Institute of Management, a certified member of the Institute of Strategic Management of Nigeria, and a member District 9110, Rotary Club of Ikoyi. Eizu is also a Co-founder of the renowned NGO called Foundation 360, and initiator of the Potters Lounge Project which is a centre in Ikoyi for young people to hang out weekly as they find a purpose driven life.


Second Place - Poetry

Uche Uwadinachi

"Rain Ken Saro Wiwa"


Second Place - Short Story (There was a tie, so there are 2 recipients)

Ogwo Augustine Chinedu

"Road to Martyrdom"


Sylva Nze Ifedigbo

"Life Before Death"


Copies of the Ken Saro-Wiwa Event Program, which includes all of the entries, will be available by e-mail after the event.  If you would like a copy, please send an e-mail to





The Evergreen
Author: Kenechukwu Obi
Enugu, Enugu State


God could not have made a mistake by giving us someone like you

You live on

The giant that dared the tyrant’s gun

You spoke on

Even when the tyrant hijacked instruments of power

And turned them to tools of terror

You live on

You stood tall

You stood firm

You spoke right

Even when the tyrant chose an act of cannibalism

As punishment for dissident voices

You are still speaking

And you will never stop

As long as the fire you fought to extinguish still burns

Your spirit hovers around our Delta

A land of abundance

But a palm tree with its sweet wine rushing down

To shattered chins of its drinkers

You are a symbol of our Niger Delta that should soar like an eagle

Well and above its ruins and decays

You are a gem whose memory time can never efface

In our collective consciousness

You truly live on

Ken Saro-Wiwa

Your sweat and blood you shed and your tireless toils

Shall never be in vain

You truly live on




The Last Days of Nenesi

Author: Uwaoma Eizu, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos State


This is a story of a woman by the name of Nenesi.  She’s believed to be a reincarnate sent once again by divinity to continue an unfinished quest for liberation. In her last days, she was left half dead and trapped naked amongst other men in a cell. Plus the nights were so cold that she always did urinate on herself, just to stay warm. She was without food or water and she didn’t care except that she didn’t have a pen and a pad. All she had left on her was a tortured body, a strong mind with a soul that kept her love to write as she gently took a bite off her own skin just to bleed. She cried and bled happily as she wrote with the blood. She took the blood as her pen just to document the truth in her thoughts. She constantly wrote on the walls of the prison, knowing that a lot will come after her when she dies.

She was from the oil rich Niger delta and all she wanted was for her people to be treated fairly and at restored peace with their polluted environment. She fought with her life and pen but the problem was that the people she fought for with her life and writings could not read. And to think that she made a lot of sacrifice for her people that barely lived because they died to survive. Everyday drew her closer to death but the comprehension of this fact was beyond her as she tried to hold onto life. Every day came with pain, at some point she wanted to die, but couldn’t as divinity made sure that through all her trauma, that she stayed alive to complete her purpose.

Her perpetrators were her own countries corrupt and cruel government inspired by the exploitations of the oil business system owned by the western community. The single aim of all these was to shut her up just so they’d carry on the tradition of exploitation. But then, killing her would also have so many rippled effect and consequences.  It was a usual sight to see her handcuffed tight to the bed, through her skin as they constantly tortured her. Her perpetrators wanted her alive so times and again, they made sure she stayed that way with torments. After every torture they’d take her to the clinic with her eyes held open tight.  She literally became blind from the batters. She barely knew where she was or would be. They moved her from room to room. This, she could tell by smell and by bright lights.


She had a choice to live like a slave, but she’d rather die free. Every day she rebelled, she’d feel the pressure of guns to her head and in every word she’d get hit. "Will you quit!?" was what they always asked her, while always putting tear gas mixed with liquid peppered mace in her eyes as they’d threaten to blast her. She held on to her believes in freedom knowing that they couldn’t kill her, as every of the tribulations meant medications to kill her body while healing her soul that is.

She knew that one day things will be alright although she wasn’t sure if it’d be either in this life, the next or in eternity. It was deep how she loved to close her eyes   just so her mind could race to her fantasy, a place of peace and solace. But whenever she summoned the courage to let her soul voluntarily open her eyes to reality comes her clinging on lost hopes.  After a while, it became normal to see herself lay next to a dead person, most times someone she knows, perhaps a relative or best friend.  This to her was a reminder of where she might be next.

Everyday, Nenesi will wake up with hurt mixed with anger. But survival was a reflex as she was locked up alone in solitary confinements. For days she’d stay without sleep and finally, just when she’d be about to catch some sleep in the middle of the night, they’d awaken her with chain crackling and more torture till they’d take her. Everyday saw her deeper into misery. Though she kind of knew of the troubled journey she chose to go deeper into, just for the sake of freedom, especially for her people.

One more time they took her away along with more pain and trouble. This time, what made the ride a bit more peaceful was the fact that she had a blurry chance to see that the trees were still green; the air was still fresh as the skies forever remained blue.  On arriving to an underground tunnel about six in the morning, with unease, they pushed her to the second underground floor of a cell. All that this cell had was one cot, no window except the one facing hell. She was put in the basement of a prison with some sets of sex starved males and the smell of misery, pit toilets and centipedes. Again she started another chronicle of writing as once again she'd exercise her thoughts by using her blood to paint, with her scream and tears dripping from her blood, she’d inspire others after they had been satisfied with their gang rape on her.  After a while, she made them begin to read as deep down she knew she was a vital part of history. Right in one of the cells, she taught them of a plot to help them break out of jail as a means of getting the rest out. She taught them about knowledge and freedom and always reminded the inmates to take others with them in their struggle. One of the nights, this plot was found. The inmates were all killed but the warders decided to take her away to another sole confinement.



She stayed two years alone in the prison hole and then her soul started to grow weak. Right there she stayed on her own and away from people for so long that she started to forget how to speak.  With so much technology in her innermost philosophies and spirit, she used this to discover telepathy and spiritual communication. She discovered how freedom could be an unspoken sound. She knew that the prisons were nothing but walls and can be broken. All of a sudden, she started going for trials once again. She found peace in the other criminals of fortune she went on trial with, one of the brothers she even became pregnant for.

From the day of that intercourse, she knew her kind will come. Everyday she’d communicate with the unborn baby, making chants and prophesies like the African she was. She was good, deep and positive with a direct communication to the spiritual, this she considered as what religion should have been. She everyday communicated with her unborn child and didn’t care about the foulness they would feed her with. Perhaps they thought that she'd lose her seed.

 A night before the day she was to deliver her son, she had a dream and in that dream, she saw a man. The realm in that dream she later realized was heavenly with people who died untimely for their positive struggles but needed a part of them to return to earth. This man in this dream she also came to realize was a man by  the name of ken Saro Wiwa, he looked so alive and happy in his white robe that shined like the sun’s reflective glint except that a form of electromagnetic field separated his realm with hers in that dream.  The nearer she came to him, the weaker she began to feel, as if a terrible fatigue lied in the baby she carried in her belly so she fell to the ground with an Increasing weakness.  Her spirit was intent on getting closer to him as a belief sprang up inside of her that if she could get him to make her stay there, all her problems would be over.  Saro Wiwa tried also reaching closer as she tried to touch him but the pregnancy she carried made her so heavy, at that point she knew that was home but a stronger voice than that of Saro Wiwa’s asked her to go back, drop her child on earth and immediately return as the world needed that child to complete the struggle for the emancipation of Niger Deltans.  Suddenly she woke up sweating in the pains of pregnancy labor.  At that point she knew the time was right for her to go as she pushed the last muscles of her womb to bring forth her child. There was nobody to help her so she gave up immediately she heard the cry of the child. She died for her new born son to live, knowing that the fight would live through that seed.

Minutes later they found her dead in her cell, and beside her was a note on top of her new born baby, that note was written with what is believed to be the last blood dripped from her umbilical cord  and it said “My son, I name you Saro Wiwa, and may our struggle continue.”