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Group holds second award ceremony for satire writing

Group holds second award ceremony for satire writing

A Nigerian satirical platform, Punocracy, in Ibadan on Monday, held the second edition of its annual prize-giving ceremony for satire writing.

The group also celebrated the ‘World Day of Satire’ during a webinar themed The Relevance of Satire in Today’s World.

Like the award event whose maiden edition was held last year, the World Satire Day, celebrated on November 9, is now in its second year after the group declared the day last year.

Punocracy first ran as a regular satirical column styled after Andy Borowitz’s ‘The Borowitz Report’ of The New Yorker at the University of Ibadan by a student under the pseudonym, Tubosun Ajanaku, it said in a release.

The platform had earlier announced the winners of the prize, which was judged by Elnathan John, a Germany-based Nigerian author of satirical blockbuster, Be(com)ing Nigerian; and Chuma Nwokolo, a lawyer, publisher and author who wrote, among others, The Ghost of Sani Abacha.

Oluwatimilehin Odueso, Favour Olajide, and Solomon Nzere, emerged as the top entrants for the prize, Punocracy had earlier announced.

Mr Odueso’s How to raise a true believer was adjudged the overall best entry, followed by Mr Olajide’s The Next Nigerian Leader: A reality TV show, and Mr Nzere’s The Gospelpreneur — Letter to David.

With support from Goethe Institut, the three winners respectively recieved cash prizes of N70,000, N50,000, and N30,000, and Light Multifarious Bookstore complemented the awards with book prizes, the group further said in a statement on Tuesday.

Candidates in the honourable mentions, Jummah Mujeeb and Fatimah Otukoya, each got a cash prize of N10,000 and certificate for their entries in the newly introduced visual art category, it added.

Commenting on the entries, Mr John commended the entrants for their use of wit, sarcasm, exaggeration and irony, which are key elements of satire, in telling their stories.

“Good satire not only ridicules our political failures or cultural foibles,” Punocracy quoted him as saying on its site, “it is also a call to action. For satire to be this call to action, it must avoid things which may distract from this engagement.

“Satire can be subtle or brutal, and can use various styles, but it always has a serious concern. It cannot be flippant. Like a person wielding a weapon, every stroke must be deliberate or one risks harming the wrong person or harming oneself.”

The award winners posing with their plaques

Mr Nwokolo also noted that satire must reflect a distaste for certain societal norm, but first, its delivery must be one to make the public think.

Panellists at the webinar include Victor Daniel, lawyer and features writer at Nigeria Abroad; and Andrew Unger, author of satirical novel Once Removed and founder of Canadian satire website, The Daily Bonnet.

While delivering the welcome address, the group’s lead, Kunle Adebajo, harped on the need for satire in contemporary Nigerian society and the world.

He said the World Day of Satire and by extension the group’s goal was to make the public understand satire, thereby accepting it as a tool to drive social change, tackle societal ills, and trigger political consciousness in the country.

In his session, Mr Unger said humour can either be innate or learnt, but “it requires knowledge and literacy. It requires people to be taught to understand. It is different from slapstick.”

He went to differentiate between satire and false news, saying, “Satirical news are never intended to trick people, but to get people thinking, talking and laughing. Not only are you making a point, you are also making people laugh.”

On his part, Mr Daniel said the media needs to invest more contents, resources and funds into satire in order to create far-reaching awareness of the genre in Nigerian.

“Satire needs to go mainstream (in Nigeria). In America, people use comedy to expose the complexities in the society, from TV shows to entertainment. This will happen when media organisations are willing to give room for satire to thrive. We need more satirists to use social commentaries for the good of all,” he said.

“Writers of satire in Nigeria are one of the best around the world, but bigger platforms need to elevate the genre,” he added. “By this, it will trigger political consciousness in the average Nigerian.”

Although satire is still largely under-explored in Nigeria, a few Nigerians, especially entertainers, are using it to deliver their contents. Some of them are Falz in his “Moral instruction” and “This is Nigeria” songs and Debo Macaroni in his recent skits on #EndSARS.

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