Dr Kennedy Obohwemu

Dr Kennedy Oberhiri Obohwemu is a multiple international award-winning author, public health physician, researcher, publisher, editor, novelist, playwright, poet, essayist, literary critic, entrepreneur, humanitarian, activist, motivational speaker, social commentator, blogger, and leadership coach (1-29). He is regarded as author of Africa’s first full-length futuristic romantic suspense novel (1-4). The Nigeria-born literary genius gained wide recognition and critical acclaim for writing over two thousand poems in a calendar year (7, 30-39), a feat unmatched by his peers.

Dr Kennedy Obohwemu

A man of many parts, Dr Kennedy has experience across healthcare, education, civic leadership, policy formulation and legislative drafting, business and entrepreneurship, community development and youth empowerment (40-57).

EDUCATION

Dr Kennedy is among the set first of medical graduates from Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria. He was the Valedictorian at the graduation ceremony, giving a rousing speech in his usual pattern. He holds a Doctorate in Public Health (PhD) from the University of Sunderland, United Kingdom (40-50). He had his Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Roehampton, United Kingdom (40-57). He also has a postgraduate certificate on Leadership and Management in Health from the University of Washington, USA (40-57). On the literary front, he has a certificate in Fiction Writing from The Open University, United Kingdom, as well as a certificate in Script Writing from the School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom (44-57).

Dr Kennedy hit the airwaves when he won the 2022 Three Minute Thesis Competition (TMT) that was open to all doctoral and postdoctoral students across all three campuses (Sunderland, London, and Hong Kong) of the University of Sunderland (8, 47, 49-68).

Currently a Lecturer in Public Health at the Faculty of Health Science & Wellbeing, University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, Dr Kennedy teaches and supervises undergraduate and postgraduate students in the field of public health (44-59). As Lecturer in Health & Social Care, he also taught and supervised students at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Institute of Inner City Learning, Birmingham, United Kingdom in the fields of psychology and health and social care (44-57).

Dr Kennedy attended Government College, Victoria Island (GOCOVI), Lagos, Nigeria where he served as Senior Prefect. He effectively utilised this position to win laurels for the school, participating in and winning various Quiz Competitions, Essay Competitions, and Inter-School Debates. A much-travelled personage, he has visited virtually every medical school in the country, exchanging vision and ideas. In 2006 he was among 18 delegates that represented Nigeria in the National Convention hosted by Federation of Ghana Catholic Health Trainees, University of Ghana Medical School, Accra. He repeated that feat in 2009, leading 24 delegates to another edition of the Conference (44-57).

He was the National President of the Federation of Catholic Medical and Dental Students (FECAMDS) in his undergraduate days. He is also the Founder and Emeritus President of the Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA) (5-29, 44-57).

BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

A writer of colour, Dr Kennedy enjoys stories of love, adventure, mystery, and suspense. His internationally acclaimed book TWISTED was published in the United States and won the 2015 Readers Favourite Award within one year of its publication (57, 69, 70). His first novel, Every Time We Meet is regarded as Africa’s first full-length futuristic romantic suspense novel (1-4).

As an author, Dr Kennedy has the following thrillers to his name:

  • Every Time We Meet (2010) (1-4)
  • Frozen (2014) (9, 11, 71-86)
  • Nightfall (2014) (12, 88-101)
  • Twisted (2014) (9-11, 53-57, 102-113)

Twisted

Cover art can be a big determiner of whether or not to pick up a novel; so, it’s worth mentioning the exceptionally memorable cover image of Twisted, featuring a giant businessman sitting amongst small urban buildings, head in hand, with lightning sparking all around him and a subtitle that compels: “Before things went sour, he needed a minor miracle. Now, he needs the Red Sea to part…”

Twisted by Dr Kennedy Obohwemu

And that’s just the opener and draw for Twisted, which is inspired by actual events, and which integrates themes of terrorist plots with romance and a man unwittingly caught in a net of intrigue and shocking revelations about his past.

Twisted, the story of Mofe Esiri, follows the brilliant and handsome author as he falls prey to the seductions of Nollywood actress Daisy Igho. Mofe’s life had been charmed, he had money, success, fame, and the love of his childhood sweetheart, Omotola Benson, but because of some choices that he makes, he finds himself in the impossible situation of negotiating with terrorists to protect all that he loves. Further adventures with time travel, the mafia and dealing with a cold-blooded murderer twist Mofe’s life into something he barely recognizes and can barely negotiate. You’ll find yourself wondering what could possibly happen next to this poor man, but also realize that all of his misadventures are due to choices he made himself.

Don’t expect your usual thriller format, however; for protagonist author Mofe Esiri’s only starting his impossible journey with these revelations: a trip that includes time travel, family ties, a clever killer with international and mafia ties, and more.

At times it feels that Mofe is trapped in so many ways that he will never untangle the twisted web he’s spun for himself through his actions and investigations. Nigerian culture permeates the story line, from the blossoming film industry that is ‘Nollywood’ to the pageantry of rising wealth and the country’s blossoming tourist industry. Against this backdrop, Mofe’s impossible world emerges; one that evolves from his status as an acclaimed Nigerian writer who lives outside of his country, and which follows his unwitting entry into danger after having lived a peaceful life filled with rare (for a Nigerian) literary acclaim.

It seems inevitable that anyone who sits in the hot seat of success will experience a downfall – but not the kind of downfall any could expect from Africa’s most successful author, who serves as the role model of achievement for his generation.

In her review of Dr Kennedy’s masterpiece, Diane Donovan of Midwest Book Reviews (USA) (109, 110) hailed the incredibly suspenseful nature of Twisted:

“Expect a story line replete with the ups and downs of success and failure, with some of these elements coming from personal achievement and others stemming from romance. Expect, also, a story filled with intrigue and action; a surreal thriller couched not just in the spectre of international intrigue, but the daily challenges of infidelity, oppression, court cases and police activities, and one man’s unwitting involvement in a criminal outfit more than capable of murder.

Within such a scenario the seeds of human bonds and relationships are born. Against the threat of violence emerges love. And as the hopes of a man tempted to live out his erotic fantasies becomes inexorably entwined with the world of assassins, he finds himself not just navigating a strange land, but manoeuvring through the changes it will introduce to a life seemingly laced with good luck and unprecedented literary success.

Anyone unfamiliar with Nigerian politics and culture will find Twisted a welcome introduction, while those with a degree of knowledge about Africa will find it replete with truths about the state of affairs affecting not only its citizens in-country but the expats who live outside its borders.

It holds all the trappings of mystery, suspense and romance without the usually Western settings and sentiments that permeate these genres, and it offers both believable and absorbing protagonists with a locale steeped in Africa’s rich social and political milieu.

The result will especially please literary-minded readers who enjoy all three genres, but who seek more depth than the usual thriller affords.”

Chris Fischer of Readers’ Favourite (USA) (57, 111) had this to say:

“Twisted is certainly a fast-paced and exciting read. The twists and turns that Mofe Esiri is forced to take while negotiating his life after making less than good decisions will keep you engrossed, wondering where his life will end up. This intense novel includes story lines of lust, betrayal, sadness, and finally, murder, and some parts will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will appreciate learning about Nigerian culture and everyday life through this entertaining book as well. Somewhat fantastical in some scenes, especially those in which Mofe time travels, this book would especially appeal to those who love an adventuresome quick read. Author Kennedy Obohwemu certainly has an inventive mind, and one that we hope he will continue to use to write entertaining fiction like Twisted.”

Kathlyn Kelly of Celtic Lady’s Reviews (USA) (112) was awestruck by Dr Kennedy’s ingenuity:

“This novel is a compelling story that captures the intensity of living, loving, and creating a family in today’s world. A richly textured material that astounds the imagination, the thriller leaves you spell-bound and ultimately makes your heart pound faster with each page. The story captures the very essence of human relationship, the ability to sow a seed in the life of the person next to you. It brings that bond to the center stage in a real-life situation and admits how incredibly complex and how conflicting the images could be.”

Twisted is a blockbuster novel that spans three genres: mystery, suspense, and romance. It is devoid of offensive language, crassness, obscenity, and extreme vulgarity such that the younger audience could explore its contents without their guardians expressing fear of untoward effects (109-113).

The novel is unique for its incredibly complex plot, a suspenseful story, with remarkable twists and turns. The plot and subplots are designed to tickle your senses, place you on a high, knock you out and ultimately leave you breathless (109-113)!

It is important to understand that the premise for this novel is centered on a character that lived all his life abroad. Everything about Mofe was foreign: his ideas, his ideals, his fantasies! He believed in the American dream, and he lived out that dream. America made him who he was, and he would always be grateful to America. The young man was a superstar who was made overseas, and he hardly visited his own country (109-113).

To many outsiders Africa remains a complex conundrum, and a good number of our citizens out there are unwilling to return home. This is largely due to reports often received from the media — civil wars, dictatorships, poverty, and all the other favourite stereotypes of Africa in the press (109-113).

Mofe’s homecoming was necessitated by the death of his father. And by a gradual process of self-discovery, he got to realise that his motherland was a gold mine in itself (109-113)

Though it was not specifically written for the younger ones, the novel is suitable for adolescents and adults alike. It is a novel for everyone to read and enjoy, irrespective of age, social class, or religious inclination. Whether young or old, single, or married, you’ll find this novel a most worthy companion (109-113).

Poetry

Nigeria is blessed with abundant natural and human resources. Many Nigerians both at home and in diaspora have excelled in all aspects of human endeavours such as innovations, science and technology, engineering, health, inventions, oil and gas, academics, among others.

Such is the story of the prolific writer Dr Kennedy who decided to throw himself a personal challenge. He planned to write at least 1,000 poems before the end of 2005 (7, 20-39).

Yes, you got that right – 1,000 poems!

In simple maths, he needed to write at least 3 poems a day to reach this target.

To make the challenge more difficult, each poem was to consist of seven stanzas, and each stanza was to have four lines, with a fixed pattern of rhyme.

So, he needed to produce at least three poems every single day for 365 days; each poem made up of twenty-eight lines with the ABAB rhyming scheme (his personal favourite).

There was no motivation from any source. No financial reward, no social groups to tap inspiration from, no mentor… nothing! Just a personal craving to do the impossible!

That same year he was billed to write his first professional MBBS exams, and if he failed, he would be at risk of being kicked out of medical school.

So, the self-imposed poetry challenge was a risk in itself. It was literally mission impossible, a totally unrealistic task, but he decided to commit himself to its execution.

In May of that fateful year, he wrote more than half the total number of poems he needed to write for the entire duration of the challenge.

Yes, he wrote more than 500 poems in May 2005 alone (20-39).!

The highest number of poems he wrote on a single day was 54 (achieved on May 31st, 2005). On the 18th day of that month, he had written 44 poems, beating his previous tally of 40 which he had written on May 13th (20-39).

By the end of the year, he had written more than 2,000 poems, twice the target he had set for himself. One of the poems he wrote that year, They Came From Afar, won him his first international award for poetry (7, 114-116). And the rest, they say, is history.

And yes, he did pass his medical school exams. If he didn’t, he probably wouldn’t be telling this story himself. The story, which broke out on YouTube, has been watched more than one hundred and twenty thousand times (39)!

Research Works

As a researcher, Dr Kennedy has the following publications:

  1. Knowledge, Attitude and Practices of Sexually Transmitted Infections: Perceptions of Sexual Behaviour among Undergraduate Students in Lokoja, Nigeria, published by the International Journal of Investigative Research & Development (IJIRD) (117-119).
  2. Parental childhood vaccine hesitancy and predicting uptake of vaccinations: a systematic review, published by Primary Health Care Research & Development, an open access journal run by Cambridge University Press (66, 120-125).

He presented his PhD research at the Public Health England’s 2021 Public Health Research and Science Conference held from Monday 24th May to Thursday 27th May 2021 (124, 125). The video of that presentation has garnered over forty thousand views on YouTube alone. The research was also presented at the 2nd Annual Postgraduate Research Conference of the University of Sunderland which was held on 15th September 2022 (126).

His most recent research explores the attitudes of parents towards childhood vaccinations (119-125). The survey covers key vaccination issues, such as your feelings about vaccinations and whether you plan to get vaccines for yourself or your children, for diseases such as measles or COVID-19.

The research, which was conducted as a systematic review, used Protection Motivation Theory (PMT) and the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) Working Group (WG) model as theoretical frameworks for understanding vaccine hesitancy and its drivers. PMT suggests that people will be likely to protect themselves (e.g., by obtaining a vaccine) if they have firm beliefs about the threat posed by the disease itself (severity and vulnerability). PMT predicts behavioural intentions based on attitudes and perceptions. The SAGE WG’s 3C model of vaccine hesitancy centres around 3 different types of vaccine hesitancy determinants: confidence, complacency, and convenience. Grounded in the 3C model and other validated vaccine hesitancy and acceptance models, the 5C model retains the terms “confidence” and “complacency” but replaces “convenience” with “constraints”. The final Cs on the 5C model are “calculation” and “collective responsibility” (119-123).

The search process and resulting analysis followed the PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic reviews and Meta-analyses) approach, with the initial search conducted from December 31, 2020, to January 21, 2021. The publication dates of interest were limited to the period between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2020. The starting year was chosen as it was the year of publication of Andrew Wakefield’s since-retracted article that linked the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine with the occurrence of autism and behavioural abnormalities in children. The controversy fuelled the anti-vaccination movement (119-123).

Using PRISMA guidelines, 34 papers were included that focused on childhood immunisations, employed multivariate analysis, and were published in English in a peer-reviewed publication. Relevant research about vaccine hesitancy was found across all WHO regions, and there was an increase in research on parental childhood vaccine hesitancy across all these regions over the period 1998-2020 (119-123).

The 34 studies recognised the complex nature of vaccine hesitancy, evidenced by the range of factors identified as determinants of vaccination behaviour (see Table 5 in the paper). These factors clustered around the core concepts of commonly used social cognitive models such as the Health Belief Model (HBM), Theory of Reasoned Action, Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB), Social Cognitive Theory, Health Action Process Approach, and the PMT. With respect to the objectives of this review, these findings validate the determinants of vaccine hesitancy outlined in the SAGE WG model (119-123).

Dr Kennedy, working with his PhD supervisors Prof. Jonathan Ling and Dr Floor Christie-de Jong, observed that only a few of the studies expanded the field of vaccine hesitancy research using novel approaches drawn from the core concepts of social cognitive models. For example, a cross-sectional study in the Netherlands was conducted to determine parental attitudes towards future childhood immunisations. Guided by the HBM, the authors developed a questionnaire for distribution to 800 highly educated parents of children attending day-care centres. This study highlighted the need for continuous health education to ensure the success of vaccination programmes. However, the low predictive capability of HBM variables was evident in this research, given the lack of depth of the questions used to assess and predict behaviour change among the respondents (119-123).

Significant challenges to vaccine uptake or intention were identified in the 34 studies. In brief:

  • Contextual influences included: socioeconomic factors; communication and media environment; and trust in pharmaceutical companies.
  • Individual and social group influences, including:
    • Past experiences: Negative past experiences with vaccination services, such as side effects, poor continuity of care, or lack of compassionate or comprehensive care, were significant predictors of vaccine hesitancy among parents in 12 of the studies reviewed.
    • Beliefs and attitudes: All 34 studies characterised beliefs about vaccine safety and efficacy, as well as general attitudes and trust, as significantly associated with the vaccination status of children. For instance, having a positive attitude towards vaccination and a belief in the scientific efficacy of vaccines was identified as a promoter of vaccination.
    • Knowledge and awareness: Knowledge about the severity of a disease and awareness of disease susceptibility were important determinants of the vaccination status of children in several countries studied in the review’s papers.
    • Risk-benefit perception (perceived threat vs perceived rewards): Several studies highlighted the influence that perceived risks and benefits have on vaccination behaviour. These determinants are in line with the Threat Appraisal Pathway of the PMT: Perceived Threat (Severity, Vulnerability), and Perceived Rewards (Intrinsic Rewards, Extrinsic Rewards).
    • Vaccination as a social norm: Vaccine uptake was influenced by the presence of peers or relatives that are in support of vaccination.
  • Vaccine- and vaccination-specific issues included: accessibility, introduction to a new vaccine, and role of healthcare professionals (all 34 studies acknowledged that advice or recommendation from health professionals could be an important determinant of vaccine acceptance) (119-123).

Thus, several determinants of vaccine hesitancy were identified by the studies included in this review. All the explanations for not being vaccinated as stated by the 5C model were recognised as major barriers to vaccine acceptance. Constraints and calculation, however, were less significant drivers. “Campaigns aimed at raising parental vaccination intention would most likely be effective if they emphasise building confidence and collective responsibility while reducing complacency” (119-123).

Based on the constructs of relevant theoretical models, the researchers emphasise the need for parents and stakeholders to be actively engaged in the vaccination decision-making process from an early stage. “It is clear, however, that additional information sources are needed to ensure these models adequately account for the influence of broader contextual factors, particularly in regions with limited peer-reviewed literature” (119-123).

On that note, no single algorithm was applicable to all studies, as each factor was independent and varied across time, place, and vaccines, reflecting the complex interplay of other variables and the context-specific nature of vaccine hesitancy. Understudied themes were also discovered during the review. Different research methods were applied, and most of the studies were cross-sectional, thus making it difficult to draw conclusions about the influence of single or multiple determinants of vaccine acceptance at the individual or collective level. Per the researchers, future research should consider qualitative studies to help fill these gaps and contribute to existing knowledge and understanding of the many factors that influence parental decision-making (119-123).

Dr Kennedy and co. suggest that theoretical approaches to quantifying vaccine hesitancy “will continue to strengthen the body of knowledge needed to develop successful evidence-based interventions. The efficacy of vaccine advocacy campaigns could be increased and the burden of VPDs [vaccine-preventable diseases] could be lowered by adopting clinical, patient-centred techniques to measure and overcome vaccine hesitancy. A combination of local, regional, and universally driven initiatives will be critical in the early detection of parental concerns” (119-123).

In conclusion, when the findings of this systematic review are integrated with conceptual frameworks such as the 5C model, important revelations about modifiable behaviours can emerge.

LEADERSHIP

Dr Kennedy was selected among thousands of applicants from around the world to attend the 2017 Summer Youth Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City, USA (40-57). He was also selected among hundreds of young African leaders to attend the 2017 International Conference on Climate Change in Bellevue, Washington (40-59). The event was co-hosted by The Alliance for Climate Protection and The Climate Reality Project, a U.S. non-profit, public charity founded by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

Dr Kennedy was the Kogi State Chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) (2017-2019) (127-139), a literary organisation founded by Chinua Achebe. As leader of the organisation, Dr Kennedy successfully executed the 2017 ANA/ROTARY LITERARY CONTEST FOR SCHOOLS & COLLEGES in partnership with the Rotary Club of Lokoja Metro (129-139). The history-making multi-staged literary competition was geared towards encouraging healthy academic rivalry among youngsters. It was open to all public and private Secondary Schools spread across all 21 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Kogi State. The state-wide competition kicked off in the month of May. It covered five categories: Essay Wring, Poetry Contest, Quiz, Debate, Spelling Bee. For the First Stage of the competition, students were made to write an Expository Essay on the topic: ‘The Power of your Vote: A catalyst for a stable and united Nigeria’. No less than 1,000 essay entries were received from students spread across the length and breadth of the State (130-131, 135). The next stage of the competition, which was the Sub-Regional Finals, kicked off on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, with schools in Kogi Central Senatorial District locking horns at Abdulazeez Aah Memorial College, Okene. For Kogi East, schools competed at Bedrock International School, Anyigba on Wednesday, July 5th, 2017. For Kogi West, schools met at St. Monica’s College, Kabba on Wednesday, July 12, 2017. The Sub-Regional Finals produced champions in each of the 21 LGAs of the State. The Regional Finals produced winners in each of the three Senatorial Districts (Kogi Central, Kogi East and Kogi West). The champions from each LGAs were made to lock horns against each other in the Regional Finals which followed a month later (127-139). At the end of the keenly contested race, the following emerged winners:

KOGI CENTRAL

  1. 1st Place – Demonstration Standard College, Onyukoko
  2. 2nd Place – Ruth Elton Secondary School, Obangede
  3. 3rd Place – Government Science Secondary School, Ogaminana

KOGI EAST

  1. 1st Place: St. Kizito Minor Seminary, Idah
  2. 2nd Place: Aleka Academy, Ankpa
  3. 3rd Place: Biraidu Community Secondary School, Dekina

KOGI WEST

  1. 1st Place: Faith Academy, Zango
  2. 2nd Place: Ijumu Anglican Science Secondary School, Iyara, Ijumu
  3. 3rd Place: Cruise Memorial College, Mopa

The first-place winners in each of the three Regional Finals competed in the Grand Finale that was held on Saturday, October 14th, 2017. Several mouth-watering prizes are available for winners of the historic competition, including scholarships worth one million naira, fully equipped library, laptops, educational materials, branded souvenirs from sponsors like PENKUP Foundation, Grace FM 95.5, Confluence TV, NNPC, DHL, 7-Up, Glo, Nestle, Thermocool, Scanfrost, Treasures Bakery, etc. Teachers at winning schools also went home with as much as N100, 000! It was a spectacular never-before-seen event (130-139)!

Dr Kennedy has held numerous leadership positions, even while in medical school, and most of his achievements are still unsurpassed (15-32):

  • Senior Prefect (Head Boy), GOCOVI, Lagos (1999 – 2000)
  • Best Senior Prefect (Head Boy) Ever, GOCOVI, Lagos (2000)
  • President, Our Lady Mother of Good Counsel Praesidium (Legion of Mary), St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Oratory, 1004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos (1997 – 2001)
  • President, School Christian Fellowship, GOCOVI (1999 – 2000)
  • Founder & First President, Science Students’ Union (SSU), GOCOVI, Lagos (1999 – 2000)
  • Founder & First President, Catholic Dramatic Society (CDS), St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Oratory, 1004 Flats, Victoria Island, Lagos (2004 – 2006)
  • Founder & First President, Federation of Catholic Medical & Dental Students (FECAMDS), DELSU Chapter (2005 – 2007)
  • President, Catholic Youth Organisation of Nigeria (CYON), Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Abraka (2004 – 2007)
  • Member, International Society of Poets (since 2004)
  • Honourable Speaker of Congress, Delta State University Medical & Dental Students’ Association (DUMSA), Abraka (2005 – 2006)
  • President, Rotaract Club of Delta State University, Abraka, Rotary Shares Board, 2007/2008
  • National President, Federation of Catholic Medical & Dental Students (FECAMDS) (2008 – 2010)
  • Founder, Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA), (2007)
  • National President, Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA), (2007 – 2020)
  • Emeritus President, Life Patron & Board Chair, Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA), (2007 till date)
  • President, Association of Resident Doctors (ARD), Federal Medical Centre, Lokoja (2015/2016)
  • President/CEO, PENKUP FOUNDATION
  • President, Rotary Club of Lokoja Metro (2017/2018 Rotary Year)
  • Chairman, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Kogi State Chapter (2017 – 2019)
  • Founder & National President, National Association of Young Authors (NAYA), (2022)
  • Founder & International President, Global Association of Young Authors (GAYA), (2022)

CHARITIES

Dr Kennedy is a Rotarian. He was President of the Rotary Club of Lokoja Metro (2017/2018 Rotary Year) (140, 141), where he spearheaded campaigns to kick polio out of Nigeria. He executed numerous community development projects during his time as leader of the organisation, including the 2017 ANA/ROTARY LITERARY CONTEST FOR SCHOOLS & COLLEGES (129-139) and the renovation of the Bus Stop at Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja (140).

Dr Kennedy is the Founder, Emeritus President, Life Patron, and Board Chair of the Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA), the National Association of Young Authors (NAYA) and the Global Association of Young Authors (GAYA) (40-57, 141-153). As head of these charities, Dr Kennedy oversees the organisation of the ANSA World Cup (141-153), a revolutionary writing contest for young aspiring writers. This international literary contest takes the format of the FIFA World Cup, hence its name. It is the first of its kind in the world, a purely innovative concept (142-154).

The ANSA World Cup offers a ray of hope to young aspiring writers in a fast-changing world. It is intended to inspire young writers and promote the spirit of healthy academic rivalry among them, to encourage young writers to pick up their pens and start writing again, to help young writers discover the fun in writing, to encourage young writers to come out of their shells and tell the world their stories (142-154).

Billed as the most seismic battle of wits in modern literature, staged in the 21st century’s grandest and most compelling literary theatre, the ANSA World Cup offers young writers from across the globe the opportunity to showcase their writing skills and get rewarded for doing what they know how to do best (142-154).

The contest idea was originally conceived by Dr Kennedy himself to mark his birthday celebration (April 9) (130). Writers are pitted against one another in a head-to-head multi-stage literary combat. They are made to produce original and creative pieces of literature (poetry, prose, play, etc) on diverse genres within a limited time (142-154).

Now in its fifth year, the ANSA World Cup features previous winners like Maymunah Kadiri (who currently serves as ANSA National President), and a host of other budding writers from Africa and other parts of the globe (142-154).

Dr Kennedy runs several NGOs under the umbrella name PENKUP International, which aim at empowering young people to realise their lifelong potentials in areas of health, education, psychology, leadership, and entrepreneurship. The organisation has over one hundred and twenty thousand followers on Instagram alone (156). A number of outfits of the organisation exist, including PENKUP Foundation, PENKUP Media and PENKUP Stores (57, 142-154, 157-160).

ACTIVISM

Dr Kennedy has been a human rights activist all his life. During his spell as President of the Rotary Club of Lokoja Metro and President of the Association of Resident Doctors (ARD) in Federal Medical Center, Lokoja, he was often at the forefront of campaigns to boost the overall public health of communities. He raised alarm over the re-emergence of Lassa fever in Nigeria after the last outbreak in 2012 which claimed many lives (160-169).

The Federal Ministry of Health had revealed that Lassa Fever had claimed 63 lives out of 212 suspected cases reported from 62 local government areas in affected states. No less than 17 states had been affected since the 2015/2016 outbreak, including Bauchi, Niger, Taraba, Kano, Rivers, Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Plateau, Gombe, Nasarawa, Lagos, Delta, Ekiti, Ebonyi, Zamfara and Kogi. That an ailment which originated in the country about 47 years ago could resurface, despite advancement in medicine, shows that Nigeria’s healthcare system is weak in disease prevention and control. The death rate attributed to Lassa fever was then put at 43.2 per cent, a rate considered very high by all standards (160-169).

Dr Kennedy urged governments at all levels, NGOs and health professionals to step up advocacy on Lassa fever to all stakeholders including market men and women, traders, food vendors and hawkers, etc such that they have sufficient knowledge on how to prevent rats from gaining access to food in stores and warehouses, especially uncooked food such as garri, groundnuts, biscuits, meat, fruits, etc which can easily be contaminated by rodents. He always emphasised the need for urgent measures to intensify awareness creation on the signs and symptoms of the disease as well as general hygiene measures (160-169).

Dr Kennedy lamented the poor state of refuse disposal in the state, especially as these unhealthy sites serve as breeding grounds for the vectors (rats). He called for receptacles to be strategically located for ease of refuse and other waste disposal. He advocated for clinicians and relevant healthcare workers in the state to be sensitized and mobilized in areas of patient management and care. He implored management at all levels to take practical steps to ensure routine infection prevention and control measures, including provision of functional isolation units and visible personal protective apparatuses. He enjoined family members and health care workers to always be careful to avoid contact with blood and body fluids while caring for sick persons. He called on the general public to ensure that persons presenting with any of the preliminary symptoms are taken to the nearest health facility for prompt medical attention. He believed the public needed to ensure high standards of personal and environmental hygiene as well as avoid any exposure to rats. Since the Lassa Fever scourge has been linked with rats, the only logical way for residents in the state to ward off rats in their surroundings is to keep the environment clean and healthy. He called on residents to properly maintain their soak-away and other channels which are very convenient spots for convergence by rats. Only such safe practices would guarantee a clean and healthy environment in the state as well as ward off the incursion of rats and other undesirable pets into homes and surroundings (160-169).

AWARDS

Dr Kennedy has received multiple literary, educational, and humanitarian awards, in recognition of his unique writing skills, multi-talented streams, and humanitarian gestures.

He was nominated as Outstanding Personal Academic Tutor and Most Inspirational Member of University Staff at the 2022 Student Nominated Teaching Awards (SNTA) organised by the University of Sunderland. He also won the 2022 Three Minute Thesis Competition (TMT) that was open to all doctoral and postdoctoral students across all three campuses (Sunderland, London, and Hong Kong) of the University of Sunderland (47, 59-68).

Dr Kennedy bagged a State Merit Award for his outstanding performance during his National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Year (174). He is a Fellow of the Young African Leadership Institute (YALI), Regional Leadership Center (West Africa), a global initiative of former President Barack Obama of the United States. He was rewarded with the highly coveted Obama’s YALI Leadership Award in recognition of his exceptional leadership skills and managerial prowess (40-57).

Frozen by Dr Kennedy Obohwemu

His thriller novels Frozen and Nightfall were considered for the e-Book Cover Design Awards (March 2015) for their exceptional covers (175). The covers were designed by Tatiana Fernandez.

Nightfall by Dr Kennedy Obohwemu

Some of Dr Kennedy’s awards are highlighted here:

  • NYSC/Kogi State Government Merit Award for Outstanding Performance & Excellent Services (2013)
  • Readers’ Favourite Award (2015) for his thriller Twisted
  • Award of Excellence by Rotaract Club of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja (2016)
  • Symbol of Excellence Award by Federation of Catholic Medical & Dental Students (FECAMDS), Nigeria (2017)
  • 2016/2017 Alumnus of the Year Award by Federation of Catholic Medical & Dental Students (FECAMDS), Nigeria (2017)
  • Most Reputable Rotarian of the Year Award by Rotaract Club of Kogi State Polytechnic, Lokoja (2017)
  • Personality of the Year Award by Rotaract Club of Lokongoma Central, Lokoja (2017)
  • Exemplary Leadership Award by Rotaract Club of Federal University, Lokoja (2018)
  • Former U.S. President Barack Obama’s YALI Leadership Award (2018)
  • Ideal Online Personality Award by The Ideal Teens Forum (TITFOR) (2018)
  • Personality of the Year Award by the Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA) (2019)
  • Outstanding Achievement Award by the Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA) (2020)
  • Exemplary Leadership Award by the Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA) (2021)
  • National Merit Award by Federation of Catholic Medical & Dental Students (FECAMDS), Nigeria (2022)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Nigerian Student Authors (ANSA) (2022)

 

REFERENCES 

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  2. Celtic Lady’s Reviews: http://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/2014/08/twisted-by-kennedy-obohwemu-book.html?spref=tw 
  3. PENKUP News: https://penkup.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/exclusive-interview-with-africas-first-full-length-futuristic-romantic-suspense-novelist/
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  44. Telegraph Media Group: https://books.telegraph.co.uk/Search/Search?Author=Kennedy%20Obohwemu
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  77. Book Buzzr: https://bookbuzzr.com/books/19209/Frozen-Twisted-Book-1
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  82. Hugendubel: https://www.hugendubel.de/de/ebook_epub/kennedy_obohwemu-twisted_book_one_frozen-22861505-produkt-details.html
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  111. Readers’ Favourite: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/twisted/2
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  143. Kogi Reports: https://kogireports.com/32-young-writers-battle-for-prizes-in-ansa-world-cup/
  144. Kogi Flame: https://kogiflame.com/2021/11/04/32-young-writers-battle-for-prizes-in-ansa-world-cup/
  145. The Nigerian Post: https://thenigerianpost.com.ng/2021/11/04/32-young-writers-battle-for-prizes-in-ansa-world-cup/
  146. The Nigerian Tribune: https://tribuneonlineng.com/32-young-writers-battle-for-prizes-in-ansa-world-cup-literary-competition/
  147. The Reflection: http://thereflection.com.ng/2022/11/09/2022-ansa-world-cup-over-n250000-cash-prizes-to-be-won/
  148. Vital News: https://vitalnewsngr.com/2022-ansa-world-cup-over-n250000-cash-prizes-to-be-won
  149. Onward News: http://www.onwardnews24.com/2022-ansa-world-cup-over-n250000-cash-prizes-to-be-won/
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  152. Kogi Reports: https://kogireports.com/2022-ansa-world-cup-over-n250000-cash-prizes-to-be-won/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=2022-ansa-world-cup-over-n250000-cash-prizes-to-be-won
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  154. This Age News: http://thisage.com.ng/2022-ansa-world-cup-over-n250000-cash-prizes-to-be-won/
  155. ANSA News: https://ansa.com.ng/forum/birthday-ansa-founder-national-president-life-patron-doctor-kennedy-oberhiri-obohwemu/
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  172. PENKUP News: https://penkup.wordpress.com/2016/02/09/victimization-in-nigerias-health-sector-the-case-with-federal-medical-center-fmc-lokoja/
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  174. PENKUP News: https://penkup.wordpress.com/awards-2/
  175. The Book Designer: https://www.thebookdesigner.com/e-book-cover-design-awards-march-2015/

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