Bang! It was an afternoon held spell-bound with variety of battalion hard knocks. Knocks from punchlines and maxims seemingly endless at the maiden edition of PortHarcourt Literary Society Poetry Slam #PHLS 2018.
The 15 poets that made the final cut from over 50 entries prove they were no mere word slingers and players, they were gods....this was obvious in the words of Efe Paul Azino, one of the four pre-selected judges, after the slam, he went like * "Toby, brilliant fucking poet, what a career you are going to have"*
The slam had entries from across states in Nigeria; Lagos, Benin, Bayelsa, Ibadan, Osun and Oyo. Toby Abiodun, Envoy and Olayinka Samson Aremu (PoeThick Samurai) came 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively at the opening round.
At the 2nd Round, it wasn't surprising to see Toby coming top again, judging from his wealth of experience at Abuja Literary Slam (ALS) where he had made several failed attempts to emerge at least top three (3) before finally snatching the 2nd Runner-Up spot at the second quarter of 2016, then heading to Lagos, he emerged Winner of the maiden edition of SOS POETRY SLAM as at August, 2016.
High-scoring Vivian Braide, Envoy, McFragile, Poethick Samurai followed Toby closely in that order.
Although, the judges seem miserly as no contestant aside Toby Abiodun had a perfect score of "10" from any of the sitting judges at both first and second rounds, though, the audience had a swell time, snapping fingers, whistling and even shouting the stage names of their favorite contestants when the need arose. Toby had the audience screaming at this round with his trademark "punchlines that punch lives to life".
Final round again had Toby spitting fire through his pidgin poem on 'hustle', almost bagging a perfect 10 each from the 4 judges, save for his breaking the 2 minutes rule with 12 seconds past; he was duly penalized though, still he had the highest score of 10, 10, 9.8, 9.7 equaling 39.5 from the obtainable score of 40.
The slam wasn't lacking in drama, glamour and glitz. The contestants with varying styles of jubilation, reactions to scores from the judges and the eventual winner, Oloruntobiloba Abiodun (Toby) found himself lying with his back on the ground, obviously soaked with anxiety missed with a pleasant surprise after his final score was announced... (pictures speak volume)
McFragile won the 1st Runner Up slot with a take home prize money of N75,000 (Seventy-Five Thousand Naira) while Envoy the 2nd Runner-Up smiled home with N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira).
The other teens category had Ude Ugo, a female 15 year old student of New Total Child Academy all the way from the capital city of Yenagoa, Bayelsa State coming top, earning the prize money of N10,000 while three other runner-ups went home with N5,000 each, totaling N25,000 (Twenty-Five Thousand Naira) cash prize as promised by the organizers.
PHLS slam set a new tone in the record books of poetry slams in Nigeria, giving each of the fifteen (15) contestants the sum of N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) as consolation for participating in the slam.
Pictures and videos coming soon. Kindly follow @phls_openmic on Facebook and Instagram for more updates.
Bankole Kolawole “BankHALL”
Poet, Essayist/Spoken Word Artist based in Lagos-Nigeria.