December 22, 2017.
All doesn’t seem to be well with the organisers of UNILORIN Wordy — the first literary competition in the University of Ilorin, as the mouth-watery prizes of a hundred thousand each for the categories of Play, Prose, and Poetry are yet to be given to the winners and runners up of the competition.
UCJ UNILORIN gathered that the finals of the competition was held in August 2017, and about four months later, the winners are yet to be given their cash prizes. One thing is certain, the winner of the Poetry category, Ambrose Omolola, is yet to claim her prize in spite of all entreaties she claims to have made in reaching out to the organisers.
In this exclusive interview, Miss Ambrose Omolola, bares her mind on the situation, and the extent to which she’s gone in a bid to claim her prize with little or no hope in sight. Enjoy!
UCJ: Can we meet you?
Omolola: My name is Omolola Ambrose, a student of Faculty of Law. I’m currently in my final year.
UCJ: How did you come across the competition?
Omolola: Via whatsapp.
UCJ: How did it feel clinching the poetry category of Unilorin Wordy held last semester?
Omolola: I felt extremely joyous! It was totally unexpected!
UCJ: How much effort did you put into the competition?
Omolola: Quite a lot. Though I had written the poems (I had two entries) before the competition, but I know the sort of mental stress it took me to come up with two works of that sort. I’m not a frequent writer. That should at least give you a glimpse of what I went through.
UCJ: So, how well have you put your cash prize of a hundred thousand to use?
Omolola: “How well… ” (Laughs). I’ve not received a dime of the remuneration promised.
UCJ: You’re kidding, right?
Omolola: Definitely not! The organisers upon announcement of the winners told us they would create a whatsapp group for all winners and the runner ups, we’ll have a hangout, that it’s at the hangout we’ll receive our cash prizes. Lo and behold, this was said in August. This is December, and the organisers have still not paid a dime.
UCJ: What reasons have they adduced for the delay?
Omolola: Sponsors! Sponsors! Sponsors! They said their sponsors haven’t paid yet.
UCJ: I mean, Unilorin Wordy is such a big event to renege on its promises, don’t you think?
Omolola: It was a big event as at that period because of the cash prizes. A lot of people that I’ve spoken to finds it hard to believe that I have not been paid. It’s a very sad situation.
UCJ: Who are the sponsors of the competition?
Omolola: When I contacted the organisers, they refused to divulge the names of their sponsors. So on my own, I did a little research and found some stakeholders in the competition which was listed on the poster.
UCJ: And who are they, if I may ask? I mean the stakeholders.
Omolola: HardyUrbanWears, TakasWorld, and Tranquil Designs.
UCJ: Have you any idea if winners of other categories have claimed their cash prizes?
Omolola: No, I don’t. Since the day of the announcement, I’ve been unable to communicate with other winners.
UCJ: What efforts have the organisers made to address the situation?
Omolola: Well….Nothing that is apparent. They are always laying claim to the delay of their sponsors, that’s what they have been saying for the past 3 months.
UCJ: But we learnt that the assessors of the entries were paid. If they’ve been paid, why not the winners?
Omolola: Oh well! I don’t know o! This is a question only the organisers can answer.
UCJ: Do you think the whole thing is a fraud?
Omolola: At this stage, I don’t even know what to think. I’m so distraught, yet optimistic.
UCJ: Who are the organizers of the competition?
Omolola: I only know of two.
I don’t know if there are others. One certain Mr. Olumide and another whose name I do not know but he’s popularly known as Charisma.
UCJ: What then is your grievance, Miss Ambrose?
Omolola: What else, than for the organisers to pay me the cash prize. They need to have a sense of responsibility and live up to their promises.
UCJ: It’s been about four months since the grand finale of the competition was held, have the organizers made any effort to reach out to the winners on the true state of the unpaid cash prizes?
Omolola: Like I said before whenever I made the efforts to reach out to them they always said its the delay of the sponsors.
UCJ: I mean, ‘they’, the organizers, making a deliberate and non-preemptive effort to reach out to the winners. Have they?
Omolola: I doubt it. Like I said, I’ve always been the one reaching out first before I get any response.
UCJ: What message would you like to pass across to the organizers of Unilorin Wordy in respect of your demand?
Omolola: I just want my money that’s all. I don’t have anything else to tell them.
UCJ: Are you saying no effort was made on their part to keep the winners abreast of the goings-on, even if that translates to creating a Whatsapp page for the winners?
Omolola: Hahahahahaha. They promised to create a whatsapp group. It hasn’t been done. Nothing! They are just being complacent and irresponsible.
UCJ: Are you serious, ma’am?
Omolola: I mean every word I state here.
UCJ: What about other winners, what words do you have for them?
Omolola: Well, I’ve tried to get in contact with them but it has been futile. Please if at the reading of this interview they deem it fit, they may contact me. Probably we could take a joint action against the organisers.
UCJ: We learnt the edition held last session was the first of its kind. Would you support the initiative of the competition should the second edition be held this session?
Omolola: Definitely not! Not with the lackadaisical attitude showed by the organisers! They don’t deserve any support from any quarters.
UCJ: Any parting words to the organizers and stakeholders of Unilorin Wordy?
Omolola: I just want my money! I don’t intend to have any other interactions with them.
UCJ: Thank you very much, Miss Ambrose.
Omolola: You are welcome.
Osuji Chima Francis
December 22, 2017.