- Category: PA 2009
Odia Ofeimun was born in Iruekpen-Ekuma, Nigeria, in 1950. He worked as news reporter, factory labourer and civil servant before studying Political Science at the University of Ibadan, where his poetry won first prize in the University Competition of 1975.
Ofeimun has worked as an administrative officer in the Federal Public Service Commission, as a teacher, as Private (Political) Secretary to Chief Obafemi Awolowo, leader of the Unity Party of Nigeria, and as a member of the editorial board of The Guardian Newspapers in Lagos.
After a stint at Oxford on a Commonwealth fellowship, he returned to Nigeria at the annulment of the 1993 election, and wrote columns for The Guardian On Sunday, The Nigerian Tribune as well as contributing to many other newspapers. He was chairman of the editorial board of the defunct daily, A.M. News as well as The News and Tempo magazines, proud exponents of guerrilla journalism, during the locust years of General Sani Abacha's regime. He has been publicity secretary (1982-84), general secretary (1984-88) and president (1993-97) of the Association of Nigerian Authors.
Ofeimun's published collections of poetry include The Poet Lied (1980), A Handle For The Flutist (1986), Dreams At Work and London Letter And Other Poems(2000). His poems for dance-drama, Under African Skies (1990) and Siye Goli(A Feast Of Return - 1992), both of which engage themes across African and South African history, were commissioned and performed across Britain and Western Europe by Adzido, the London-based Pan-African Dance Ensemble in the early nineties.
A proud Lagosian, and keen watcher of the “citiness of cities”, he wrote the primary text for the coffee table book, Lagos, A City At Work and has edited two themed anthologies of poetry including Lagos Of The Poets , on the city of Lagos, and Salute To The Master Builder , on the personage of Obafemi Awolowo.