By Richard Anyebe 
Nigeria is a country blessed with several great literary Giants. The country parades some of the greatest authors and writers in the whole African continent and the world at large. The likes of Professors Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and Ngozi Adichie Chimamamanda readily comes to mind when the country’s literary books are opened. It was little surprise that in 1986 Professor Wole Soyinka was awarded the Noble Laureate Prize in Literature for his efforts in Literature and critical writings, becoming the first African to bag that honour. Aside that award conferred on Professor Soyinka,  several other Nigerian Authors and writers have continuously won other local, National and international literary awards.
Prof. Ada Ugah 

One Author to have left an indelible footprint on the North Central and Benue Literary arena who many people do not know is Professor Ada Ugah of Blessed Memory.

Regarded by his Alma mater and several others as the symbol of academic excellence and the proponent of the balladic form of writing, Professor Ada Ugah was born on 3rd June 1958 to the family of Ugah Otondo in Iga Okpaya, Apa Local Government Area of Benue. He started his early education at Wesley Transfer Primary School, Iga Okpaya from 1966-1971 and became one of the best in his class. He thereafter proceeded to Wesley High School Otukpo from 1972-1976 where he again obtained Division One in WAEC.

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In pursuit of his academic dreams coupled with a very outstanding result from Wesley High School, Prof. Ugah had no problems getting admission to the University of Calabar in 1976 to study Modern Languages graduating in 1980, and followed it up with an M.A and Ph.d from Universite de Bordeaux III, Bordeaux, France.

He was awarded the University prize as the Best pioneer graduate in Languages in 1980, the Association of Nigerian Authors poetry prize in 1991, Index on Censorship/Skoob books International poetry competition runner-up prize in 1992 and was the official Nigerian Representative in October 1992 at the 8th International poetry festival, Trois-Rivieries, Quebec, Canada.

He taught at the University of Calabar since 1981, where most of his works were used by the university management and other institutions of higher learning. He was a Columnist for Satellite and Sunday Chronicle Newspapers. He served from 1985-1989 on the National Executive Committee of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA).

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His Literary achievements include Naked Hearts, preceded by Anatomy of Nigerian Poetics (Poetry),  Song of Talakawa (Poetry), Reves Interdits Suives De La Revolte Des Griots Et Des Reves Retrouves (Poetry in French), Hanini’s Paradise(Novel), The Ballads of the unknown Soldier (a novel in ballads),  In The Beginning: Chinua Achebe At Work (Literary Biography),  Colours of the Rainbow (a novel in ballads), Errances Sans Frontieres (in French), The Rainmaker’s Daughter and Other Stories (Collection of short stories), How the Fly Lost His Tongue (Novella for young adults), The Ballads of Aadu Oja (novel in ballads), Ufa’s Story (poetry), The Ballads of Benue Consensus (a balladic poem).

Prof Ugah was very instrumental to the establishment of the Benue State chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors and also reputed to be the touch bearer for Benue Authors.

He also had special interest in politics and was indeed a great Politician. He came to his political limelight when he was appointed a Commissioner for commerce and industry and later that of information in Benue State during the military regime. He was outstandingly successful in the discharge of his official responsibilities.


He once tested his popularity by contesting for the House of Representatives seat for Apa/Agatu Federal Constituency. He won the election even to the admiration of his opponents. Unfortunately they were not inaugurated as a result of the military intervention of 1998.

He was President, University of Calabar Alumni Association between 1990-1994, Secretary General, Academic Staff Union of Universities, University of Calabar branch,  1985-1987 and Vice Chairman, Academic Staff Union of Universities,  University of Calabar Branch, 1992-1993.

Most of Professor Ada Ugah’s books and works exhibits some of his greatest talents of writing in a clear, detailed and poignant accounts of his rural community in a language that is lucid, rich, and explicit as to keep the reader entralled till the last page.

The Country’s Literary world was greeted with a rude shock when in April 2005 the renowned Professor of Francophone Literature died after a ghastly motor accident .

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