A Nigerian multi-lingual expert, Dr Ahmad Rufa’i has won the international Arabic poetry competition in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Rufa’i’s classical Arabic poetry was adjudged the best among the other seven finalists. He was presented with the first prize by President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr Bandar Hajjar.
The Arabic poetry competition was organised by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) as part of activities to mark the World Arabic Language Day.
The United Nations had set aside Dec. 18 every year as the World Arabic Language Day to create awareness for one of its official languages.
Two other African nationals – a Mauritanian, and a Sudanese, clinched the second and third positions respectively.
Other finalists who emerged from a rigorous selection process across multiple stages, included a Saudi national, a Yemeni, an Egyptian, two Sudanese, and one Mauritanian.
The competition was supervised by a committee of experts set up by IsDB and which was headed by Prof. Ahmad Masluh, a renowned scholar of Arabic Language and Prosody.
A prodigious scholar and education consultant, Rufa’i had for many years been a TV presenter and regular commentator on public affairs with special interest in international conflict resolution and education pedagogy.
Reacting to the outstanding performance of Rufai, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM) applauded him.
Dabiri-Erewa gave the commendation in a statement by NIDCOM’s Head of Media and Public Relations, Abdur-Rahman Balogun.
She described Rufa’i’s defeat of other contestants, especially from Arabic-speaking countries as legendary.
Dabiri-Erewa said: “With your winning this all-important competition over other contestants in an Arab speaking country, is a thing of joy and pride to us in Nigeria.
“I congratulate you on this wonderful feat, for bringing honour and glory, not only to your family, but to Nigeria as a whole.
“I say to you. Baraka lahu feeh, Mabruk.
“I only hope and pray that your winning this competition has gone a long way in rewriting the negative narrative tag on Nigerians living in Saudi Arabia.
“I have no doubt in my mind that your excellent performance during the competition is a shinning testimony that Nigerians always excel in whatever they do and it serves as an inspiration to the youth of Nigeria.”