It may well be called “year of the men” since only one of five ladies among Top 50 contemporary Poets who rocked Nigeria in year 2018 was close to making top 20; yet she was hitherto relatively unknown to many, considering the fact that she was never nominated for #EGCtop50 until year 2018. It could also be said to be a year that many boys became men, because many budding Poets made raves and reviews in the year and some of the older Poets who used to dominate (probably) retired to the background or took nap.
We have just 3 honorary mentions this year. One is Eriata Orhibabor, for his works with Poets in Nigeria (PIN); he could have been among the Top 50 Poets but his age is above 50. Another is Amu Nnadi, though nominations might not take him to the Top 50 list, his mention numerous times is worthy of note. Last is EnigmaTic Olumide, who was nominated into the Top 50 list, especially for his works in Cinematography and poetry promotion, but he was removed from the list because he was behind collation of EGC Top 50 list.
A. PAGE POET OF THE YEAR
ROMEO ORIOGUN clinches this for the second year running. He could probably be described as the rose that grew on concrete; after surviving unwarranted attacks for his Brunel winning poem a year ago, he grew to become a Harvard University study Poet. The other Poets who made Top 5 in this category are:
(2) Logan February,
(3) Rasaq Malik Gbolahan,
(4) Kukogho Iruesiri Samson,
(5) Graciano Enwerem.
B. SPOKEN WORD POET OF THE YEAR
TOBY ABIODUN wins this. He is no doubt one of the hottest spoken word artists in Nigeria right now. Beyond winning Slams, he could stand his own on any spoken word poetry platform. Other Poets in Top 5 here are:
(2) Graciano Enwerem,
(3) Dike Chuckwumerije,
(4) Efe Paul Azino,
(5) Wayne Samuel.
C. POETRY PROMOTER OF THE YEAR
OLULU aka The King Not from Zulu probably deserve this, not because he is the “loudest” poetry promoter in Nigeria, but for his tenacity and doing all he could to promote the art, when it pays and when it doesn’t. Other Top 5 Poetry promoters in Nigeria for year 2018 are:
(2) Efe Paul Azino,
(3) Kukogho Iruesiri Samson,
(4) Graciano Enwerem,
(5) Dike Chukwumerije.
D. CROSS OVER POET OF THE YEAR
KUKOGHO IRUESIRI SAMSON wins this. Remembering he won GTBank’s Dusty manuscript prose competition should make all to see he deserves it. Aside literature, which he is now known for, KIS also, has potential in media. Other Cross Over Poets in Top 5 are:
(2) Sage Has.son,
(3) Dike Chukwumerije,
(4) John Chizoba Vincent,
(5) Edaoto Agbeniyi.
EGC TOP 50 LIST 2018
Firstly, if you have not seen the list for year 2017, please click. Now to the annual Top 50 ranking: we congratulate everyone who made it this year; if you could get to Top 50 list after numerous nominations we received from various categories were collated altogether, it means you are doing something right. We also want to appreciate everyone who sent in nominations; you are the real people who rock Nigeria! It is important to note that description given to every Poet who made Top 20 on the list is mostly words written by some of those who sent in nominations. Lastly, before going to the list, remember we are all part of a global puzzle when it comes to development of our art; whatever your hand finds to do, do it well:
50. Foursyte Bogani
49. Kolade Olanrewaju Freedom
48. Lawal Kafayat Gold (LKG)
47. Phillip Peace
46. Su’eddie Vershima Agema
45. Iquo Diana-Abasi Eke
44. Bash’ Amuneni
42. Ibukun PENAWD
41. Soul E' Rhymez
39. Dami Ajayi
38. Balogun Gemini
37. Titi Matthews
36. Victor Adewale
33. Poethick Samurai
32. Rudolf Ruddapoet Adidi
31. Ayokunle “Komsons” Komolafe
29. Falade Kolawole Oluwaseun (Pariolodo)
28. Otatane-oso "2'WYTH" Andrew
27. Adigun Olusola Clinton
26. Andrew Patience
25. Fragile Dogubo
24. Servio Gbadamosi
23. Adedayo Adeyemi Agarau
22. Adegoke Adeola
21. Stephanie Bawo
20. AJIJOLA DA BELOVED
Taking a leap from being rated 33rd last year to 20th this year, Da Beloved may well become “the greatest spoken word artist of all time” that he declared to becoming soon. He was listed as 7th spoken word poet that rocked Nigeria in nominations for year 2018. The CEO of BOOM Poetry was among standout Poets on stage in the year and promoted Poetry in his own little way.
19. SADDIQ DZUKOGI
He was rated 12th Poet that rocked Nigeria last year. He was listed as 6th page Poet for this year. The Othmer fellow and doctoral student at University of Nebraska-Lincoln used to reside in Niger state before relocating to USA. He has been published by numerous international journals. His journey to America was in itself was connected to his dexterity in poetry.
18. WAYNE SAMUEL
He was not rated last year, but for someone who won “WoW” Slam back to back in about a year, he no doubt deserves a place here. He was listed as 4th spoken word Poet that rocked Nigeria this year. His Spoken word mixtape “Sunday Service at the club” was released in 2018. He also made shortlist at some poetry competitions and is expected to release couple of works ranging from spoken word to fiction in 2019.
17. SAGE HAS.SON
Nigeria’s premiere spoken word Poet, as he is fondly called, was rated number 10 Poet that rocked Nigeria in year 2017. Though he likes to call himself a learning Cinematographer, he was listed as number 2 Cross over Poet in Nigeria for year 2018, obviously for his works in that line and his fiction. He rocks more as a teacher and mentor nowadays.
16. JIDE BADMUS
Jide was rated 34th poet that rocked Nigeria and was listed as 10th page Poet in year 2017. He leaped to 7th page Poet and 16th poet that rocked Nigeria this year. The author of “There is a Storm in My Head” published “Scripture” in the outgone year and it was applauded by many. He was a guest at various poetry platforms across the country all through the year.
15. REZ DA POET
He was rated 25th Poet that rocked Nigeria in year 2017. This year he was regarded as the 10th top poetry promoter in Nigeria amidst other nominations. Rez is not new to Nigerian Poetry circles, but based on nominations his works probably got more recognition outside his immediate poetry clique in the year. His high point in the year was probably being a guest at Lipton and Literature party, couple of shows on TV, his book, and his own monthly poetry event.
14. AYEYEMI TAOFEEK AKA ASWAGAWWY
He was rated number 21 Poet that rocked Nigeria in year 2017. This year he was listed as number 8 page Poet that rocked Nigeria while taking leaps up. The Law graduate is rumored to be dexterous in page as well as teaching Poetry. Though he looks a bit reserved, he has his way of connecting to other Poets.
13. EDAOTO ADENIYI
He was rated number 26 Poet that rocked Nigeria in year 2017. He leaped up this year after being listed as number 5 cross over Poet in Nigeria for year 2018. His ROWE event is main reason for nominations as well as musical exploits both within and outside Nigeria. Eda is often seen as a carefree, social, Poet who turned into a musician.
12. JOHN CHIZOBA VINCENT
He was rated number 28 Poet that rocked Nigeria for year 2017. This year he was listed as number 4 cross over Poet that rocked Nigeria as well as 12th Poet in the annual ranking. JCV as he is often called was rumored to write about two poems a day all through the year and he shared most of them. But his main exploit is crossing into cinematography, though often times working with some more experienced cinematographers.
11. BANKOLE KOLAWOLE (aka BankHALL)
He was rated number 19 in #EGCtop50 for year 2017. This year he leaped to number 11 while being listed as number 7 poetry promoter that rocked Nigeria. BankHALL was helpful to other Poets especially in South West Nigeria in promoting their shows through the year, and he held his own SOS Slam too. He also performed at various events, most of the time adorning his Yoruba traditional “agbada”, and, often times playfully dancing offbeat to songs.
10. LOGAN FEBRUARY
He was not rated in #EGCtop50 for year 2017. He crashed in this year narrowly beaten to number 2 page poet in Nigeria by Romeo oriogun. This young man was relatively unknown by most people in Nigerian Poetry community until later part of the outgone year, yet he has been doing exploits long before then. Like many said in their nominations, “It will be difficult to believe this guy is 19 years old.” His work has appeared in The Adroit Journal, Vinyl, BRITTLE PAPER, Kabaka Magazine, The Raleigh Review, etc. His book “Mannequin in the Nude” will be released by PANK Books in year 2019.
9. RASAQ MALIK GBOLAHAN (RMG)
8. PAUL WORD
He was rated number 6 top Poet in Nigeria for year 2017. This year he took two steps down but was listed as number 6 in both poetry promotion and spoken word category. The Uniben Poet held poetry shows of his own tagged “AWKWARD” while he continued to promote poetry with his kulikuli.com with additional exploit in kulikuli radio on WhatsApp. He also retains his prowess as a dexterous spoken word artist and a slam champion. Paul was a guest at many spoken word events in the outgone year.
7. ROMEO ORIOGUN
Romeo was rated as number 8 Poet that rocked Nigeria in year 2017. This year he retained being listed as number 1 page Poet in Nigeria while taking a step up in the annual #EGCtop50 ranking to number 7. Romeo is that tall dude who used to grace Nigerian spoken word poetry platforms to read long “tiring” poems in gathering of spoken word artists who often frown at his ‘non-conventionality.” This is one Poet you could say his people are divided on loving him or hating him because most Nigerians are not fans of gay rights and the LGBT poetry that won him Brunel University poetry prize about a year ago. Now that he has become a study poet at Harvard University more because of the LGBT matters, one hopes his new lovers will surpass his haters.
6. TOBY ABIODUN
He was rated 11th top Poet in Nigeria for year 2017. This year he leaped to 6th position while being listed as number 1 spoken word Poet in Nigeria, narrowly beaten Graciano to that award. Toby may well be called the king of pun in Nigerian Spoken word poetry community, but he is fast becoming a dreaded slam poet (a title that used to belong to Kemistree who was MIA in the year probably because of NYSC). With multiple slams to his belt, it will not be a surprise if he lasts “too long” atop the spoken words circle. He won a Poetry slam in the year and was rumoured to have been offered a contract to perform spoken word poetry for Heritage Bank afterwards. He was also active online and real time dishing out inspiring and entertaining poems.
5. OLULUHe was rated number 24 on this list for year 2017. But he returned to the league of top 10 poets while being listed as number 1 poetry promoter in Nigeria for year 2018. His “War of Words” poetry slam that holds in Lagos usually gets entry from across the country. Though he didn’t organize his usual WordUp poetry event in the year, he was able to rock the country with the slam and invitations to some other events to either perform or talk. Olulu is seen as striving too hard to make poetry pay by some, but he is not deterred and often express his belief that it may well pay him soon. He changed his stage name to “King Olulu” sometime ago more to state what he actually wants to be when it comes to spoken word poetry promotion in Nigeria.
4. EFE PAUL AZINO
He was rated number 9 on this list last year. This year he moved back up and was listed as number 5 spoken word Poet and number 2 poetry promoter that rocked Nigeria. Described as a Poet who is doing everything right in some quarters, Efe remains one of the most influential spoken word artists that Nigeria has at the moment; a “kingly” title he shares with Dike Chukwumerije, little wonder the first is often called king in the south and the latter called king in the north. This year, his Lagos International Poetry Festival (LIPFEST) gathered more follower-ship. He remained one of the highest earning Spoken word Poets in Nigeria, if he is not the highest.
3. DIKE CHUKWUMERIJE
He was rated number 1 Poet that rocked Nigeria for year 2017. This year he was listed as number 3 spoken word Poet, number 5 poetry promoter, and number 3 cross over Poet. Dike has edged his name in Nigeria’s sands of time as one of the hottest spoken word artists with his “Made in Nigeria” shows and “simply poetry”. As suggested by those who sent in nominations, Dike is arguably the hottest poet on stage right now in Nigeria. Aside performances at the highest stage a poet can dream of, beside the vice president of Nigeria and other high profile dignitaries, heheld his own at his base in Abuja with occasional shows at selected cities. While the saying that “what is not broken does not need fixing” may well work for Dike since what he has been doing well for about two years now are still working very fine, his fans yearn for something new from him. Perhaps an addition to the 3 dexterous spoken word videos he has on YouTube or a DVD collection.
2. GRACIANO ENWEREM
He was rated number 3 on this list for year 2017. But he jumped to number 2 position this year with nominations as number 5 page Poet, number 2 spoken words Poet, and number 4 poetry promoter that rocked Nigeria for year 2018. With performances at 46 events within a year, and most of them being outstanding poetry shows, one could say he definitely deserves a top spot. Sir Grrrr, like his protégées often call him, prefers sound devices to depth in spoken word poetry performances. He may well be right judging from the invitations to events that he receives yearly. He continued to impact budding Poets as he has been doing since he came into limelight with trainings, editing manuscripts, even calling for people to vote people he knew in competitions. At the end of the year he launched his long awaited book, “Spoken Word Poetry 101”. The book is still selling and has been gathering good reviews. His flop in the year however may be the flop of his own FOS Rendezvous held at The Polytechnic Ibadan later in the year; the attendance was not commensurate with the hype. Being someone who attracts audience to other events, one would hope his own event would be the largest.
1. KUKHOGO IRUESIRI SAMSON
He was rated number 2 position last year in #EGCtop50. This year, he jumped back into number 1 position he occupied some years ago while being listed as number 4 page Poet, number 3 poetry promoter, and number 1 cross over Poet that rocked Nigeria. Aside beating about two thousand writers to win Farafina and GTBank’s Dusty Manuscript competition in year 2018, with the book “Devil’s Pawn” expected to be published by their imprint in year 2019, he is fast becoming owner of a publishing firm that stands shoulder to shoulder with the older influential ones in Nigeria. His WRR published more books than previous year, which made him admit he made more profits at the end of the year. He held his annual Feast of Words at International School Ibadan, with the one day event gathering a large attendance and he fed everyone at the event with Yoruba traditional amala and gbegiri. He also gave out free books to all attendees. KIS, as he fondly called is also a philanthropist based in Abuja; but as much as he is loved by the people he gives to, some still complain about him being proud and saying his thoughts without minding who he may hurt.