War of Words (WOW) poetry slam is regarded as one of the most prominent poetry competition in Nigeria since inception. It’s mostly the effort of a poet, Olumide Holloway, who many of his admirers call King Olulu. The competition has helped to promote contemporary poets such as Graciano, Samurai, Ibukun Ajagbe, Titi, Clemency Green, BankHall, etc. With judges such as Torpedo Mascaw, Donna, Atilola, Soonest Nathaniel, Benny Finisher, Enigmatic Olumide, etc, the competition also boasts of having used many poets who know their onions as judges.

In December 2017, the organizers or War of Words, i2x media, will be hosting the 6th edition of the competition. And for the first time, the event will be held in 3 weekends: first two weekends (3rd and 10th December 2017) will be used for semi-finals; with 15 slammers contesting on each day. Afterward, the final battle will be held on 16th December 2017.

Poets to slam in the first semi-final are Charlee, Clemency Green, Abdulbaaqee Green, Solar Speaks, Vic’Adex, Mc Naevets Osnon, Olamide Aturu (Pietrina), Ugbana-Awaji Finomo, Obiora Everest, Toby Abiodun, D Rare Breed, Vivian Ofre, Ibrahim Haji Oluwarotimi, Oluwa Seun Tiwistar, and Mariam Akande. Poets to slam in the second semi-final are Bankhall, Vbede, Ajijola Habeed Beloved, Joy Nnebuogo Nwanokwa, Njoky Freezing Paul, Promise Osigwe, Vivian Daniel, Paul Word, Sunsampaul Egwu Philosopher, Wayne Samuel, Mano Prosper, Ajimi Blessing Ewoma, Gibson Benstowe, Abili Cybil, and Stevey Taylor.

Six poets from each group will qualify for the final. The top 5 poets from each group gets automatic qualification into the final, while the sixth position (i.e. the sixth poet from each group) will be determined by online voting (via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram). The 1st Poet gets 50k, 2nd Poet gets 30k, 3rd Poet gets 20k in each of the semi-finals. And after the final the 1st Poet gets 100k, 2nd Poet gets 60k, 3rd Poet gets 40k. There will be a prize for the best poem of the competition and the 2 poets with the lowest points get free mentor-ship and training.

Venue for this free entry event and names of the Judges for the Slam will be provided by November 20, 2017.

But why should all lovers of poetry support this event?

The promoters of poetry around will testify that it has never been easy to organize such events. The sponsors are almost like dinosaurs; you can’t find them. And those who find one can tell you they are lucky to find the unicorn. Most of the fund for poetry events usually comes from the organizers, and the case is not entirely different with organizers of War or Words. Followers of i2x media will also testify that this slam competition should have been held a while ago but it was stalled due to paucity of fund. Yet the organizer kept looking for a way to hold it. EGC caught up with the chief organizer, Olulu, some days ago and the first thing he said was that “The fact that this is what we are meant to do, and the ideas that never stopped” was what kept him going.

On why the event stalled for a while, he said, “Finance is a major challenge. There was never lack of things to do or ideas that needed execution. But finance was the major obstacle.” On how he overcame this challenge he said, “Well, (executed) ideas rule the world, not money. So we are focusing on executing the ideas we have with or without the funds we need.” He also told us Favour and Grace International, supported by First Bank of Nigeria plc, is sponsoring this edition of War of Words.