Four poets have emerged winners of the N300,000 worth Words Rhymes & Rhythm GREEN AUTHORS PRIZE 2016 (GAP 2106) for young, unpublished Nigerian poets resident in the country.

The winners are:

  • Hussani Abdulrahim representing ZONE 1 (Benue State, Nasarawa State, Niger State, Federal Capital Territory, Kaduna State, Taraba State, Gombe State, and Plateau State)

  • Siraj Abdulazeez Sabuke
    , representing ZONE 2 (Adamawa State, Bauchi State, Borno State, Yobe State, Jigawa State, Kano State, Katsina State, Kebbi State, Sokoto State and Zamfara State)

  • Joseph Ofejiro Bilabi
     representing ZONE 3 (Abia State, Anambra State, Ebonyi State, Enugu State, Imo State, Akwa-Ibom State, Bayelsa State, Cross-River State, Delta State, Edo State, and Rivers State) and

  • Mesioye Johnson
     representing ZONE 4 (Ekiti State, Lagos State, Ogun State, Ondo State, Osun State, and Oyo State, Kogi State, Kwara State).

The quartet will share a publishing contract worth N300,000 in form of a co-authored collection of poems to be published by Words Rhymes & Rhythm Publishers.

A panel of judges, made up of four respected writers: GOODNESS OLANREWAJU AYOOLA, award-winning author of Meditations; SALAMATU SULE, poet, literary critic, and founder of Fahimta Literary Discourse (FLD) DAVID ISHAYA OSU, a poet and editor at Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel; and UCHE UWADINACHI, an award-winning performance poet and the author, selected the quartet from nearly a hundred submitted manuscripts.


HUSSANI ABDULRAHIM is a writer from Kaduna state. He is presently a student of Pure Chemistry at the Usmanu Dan Fodio University, Sokoto.

Inspired by the works of the late Chinua Achebe, Gabriel Okara, Oswald Mitshali, and a host of others, Hussaini has written a host of poems and short stories. He is really passionate about poetry and literature as a whole.

SIRAJ ABDULAZEEZ SABUKE is a student of English Language at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto. He became interested in Literature and the Fine Arts from his Junior Secondary School days. He is influenced by many writers including Niyi Osundare, Abubakar Gimba, Laura M Kamiski and B. M. Dzukogi who ignited his interest in writing short stories and poetry.

Sabuke sees writing as a life that must be lived. He presently lives in New-Bussa, Niger state.

JOSEPH OFEJIRO BILABI is a poet from Usiefrun in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta state. He is a student of English and literature at the University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria.

Bilabi has many unpublished works of poetry and fiction and is currently at work on his debut novel. He lives in Ughelli where he writes.

MESIOYE JOHNSON is a final year student of Banking and Finance at the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro.

He won the April 2016 edition of the WRR-backed BRIGITTE POIRSON POETRY CONTEST and was in the top 10 of three other editions. He was also on the shortlist of the TONY FERNANDEZ POETRY CONTEST in 2014.


The poems in Hussaini’s manuscript have strong metaphors running through. Their subject matter cut across social cultural, everyday, human conditions. Hussani’s poems are deep; they portray the paradox of life and the problems of the North, Nigeria, and Africa. — SALAMATU SULE

After thorough reading and analyzing the submissions from Zone 2, I was able to get one manuscript – among four beautiful works which stood out, and that is Siraj Abdulazeez Sabuke’s manuscript. It is important to state here that this conclusion wasn’t easy because quite a number of the entries were very good. — UCHE UWADINACHI

This has again brought into light—a rare kind of illumination—of what poetry! And what poetry is. An endless stretch of spirituality. The fusion and formidability of the synergic excellence spelled in the brilliant experimentation—a representation of sort —of the art of poesy by the Green minds of Nigerian poets is an evidence that poetry is salt. Alive here. An effortless redemption of buried depths, daring—of pure and novel inspirations. A moving sense of creativity not served on the platter of imitations. The country is blessed with these undaunted young voices. A confession is of a note. These poems and their creators adjudged worthy of the Prize are sturdy Bridges for the GAP. — GOODNESS OLANREWAJU AYOOLA

Particularly, the obvious sense in Mesioye Johnson’s manuscript is an enthusiasm that seeks to give objects new lives—and so you’d hear him say ”in my heart is a garden with blood .’’ Mesioye is a poet using his eagle eye. Besides the melancholy in some of his poems, a river of hope is running internally—he doesn’t only see war times, he sees and shows forms of love. He is a promise of the unceasing creative flow in Nigeria. I encourage him to keep creating. — DAVID ISHAYA OSU

The GREEN AUTHOR PRIZE, now in its second year, was initiated in 2015 by WRR CEO, Kukogho Iruesiri Samson, as a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of the company, to give upcoming writers, who have been limited by the prohibitive cost of publishing in Nigeria, a chance to get published. It is the only book prize for poetry in Nigeria.

WRR is committed to promoting Nigerian literature through youth-targeted initiatives like the Green Author Prize.


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