We say hearty congratulations to Jesuferanmi Igbinigie, Winlade Isreal, and Funmilayo Obasa for emerging as top entrants in the maiden Punocracy Prize for Satire writing competition.

The grand prize-winning entry, Igbinigie’s When You Speak of Africa, was described by one of the judges as “a really good entry that strikes at the heart of the satirical”.

Let the Good Works Continue authored by the first runner-up, Winlade Isreal, was noted to have used “effective ironic subversions that offer a witty and funny sense of the state of things in Nigerian politics”. “Creatively fascinating,” the second judge said about it. “The speech format adopted shows a very distinct element of creativity.”

Coming third place, Obasa’s Because You are Alive was said to be a “good work with a solid gendered argument”. “A pretty brilliant, unpretentiously feminist intervention. Good prose,” another juror remarked.

Ranked right after the three submissions are:

Abdurrahman Bello Onifade’s Open Letter to Mr President: Let’s Talk About the Muhammadu Buhari University: 4th place.

Ayodimeji Ameenat’s Marital Rapists are Like Bras; Here’s Why You Should Love Them: Joint 5th place.

Mazpa Ekejiuba Ejikem’s Becoming a Privileged Nigerian: Joint 5th place.

Timothy Edaki’s Satire 101: Introduction to Wife Battery and Assault: Honorable mention.

Obi Joy Ogechi’s A Day in the Life of a Kafayan Legislator: Honorable mention.


James Yékú’s brief note on the shortlisted entries:

The overall quality of the entries is quite good, although I expect that in subsequent editions, there would be stricter criteria that ensure the best submissions, especially entries that pay more attention to a certain standard of language expected at this level. Some of the best entries in the shortlist are unfortunately undermined by a communication style impervious to the most elementary details of punctuation and grammar.

One of the chief aims of satire—whether in literature, or any other means of artistic expressions is the way in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule. Ideally, this shaming of individuals or society should lead to improvement. Many of the entries in this collection do not really appear to have this intent clearly demonstrated, even though it is an implicit strategy most of them employ.

Rather than the more caustic Juvenalian tradition of satire that seeks to provoke anger with a view to inspiring change, most of the entries are Horatian in their orientation—provoking mere laughter even as they hold up society to constructive ridicule.


The top trio will be receiving cash and book prizes at the award ceremony next month, while all top eight entrants are entitled to receive certificates of excellence.

The ceremony/get-together is scheduled to be held at the University of Ibadan on Saturday, November 9, 2019. (Look out for the soon-to-be-released registration link!)

Hearty congratulations to the winners, once again, and to everyone who had enough courage to give it a shot.

Let’s do this again next year!