Romeo Oriogun was revealed to be the winner of the NLNG Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022 at a glittering ceremony in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, October 14, 2022.
The Nigeria Prize for Literature, sponsored annually by oil firm NLNG, was started to honour Nigerian authors in the four genres of fiction, poetry, drama, and children’s literature in 2004. The prize worth US$100,000 makes it the richest in African letters today. Over the last few years, winners have been Cheluchi Onyemelukwe-Onuobia (2021), Jude Idada (2019), Soji Cole (2018), Ikeogu Oke (2017), Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2016), Sam Ukala (2014), Tade Ipadeola (2013), and Chika Unigwe (2012).
The judging panel for 2022 comprised Prof Sule Emmanuel Egya (Chairman), Toyin Adewale-Gabriel, and Dike Chukwumerije. The advisory board includes previous winner Prof Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo (Chair); Prof. Olu Bafemi, and Prof. Ahmed Yerima.
This year, the prize focused on poetry and those in the longlist selected from 237 entries was announced on July 8 before the shortlist was revealed on August 26. The winner was unveiled at a glittering event in Lagos at the Eko Convention Centre at the Eko Hotel &Suites in Lagos, Nigeria. It was not an evening just for the literary arts as the Nigerian Scientists of the year were also feted. The winner was declared to be Nomad by Romeo Oriogun who received the accolade from his base in Iowa, USA.
After winning the award, Oriogun said on social media, “I give thanks to the judges for finding “Nomad” worthy of the 2022 Nigeria Prize for Literature. I give thanks and congratulation my brothers, Saddiq and Su’eddie, for their poetry and for the many journeys ahead of us. And as agreed upon, I will be sending 20,000$ out of the prize money to Saddiq and Su’eddie.”
Also feted on the evening was the winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism, Dr Sakiru Adebayo. Dr Adebayo is an academic who focuses on African and African Diaspora Literature, Postcolonial Studies, Trauma and Memory Studies. He received the N1,000,000 prize money.