Archive for September, 2008


September 22, 2008


87 Lawyers to Defend Man With 86 Wives
From George Oji in Kaduna, 09.21.2008

Kaduna-based coalition of rights groups under an umbrella ofa human rights group will represent each of the 86 wives, the 87th counsel would stand in for Pa Masaba himself, who the group has described as prisoner of conscience.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna at the weekend, lead counsel of the 87 lawyers Mohammed Sanusi said they would remain observers for now in the trial but would step in once their services are needed.
According to Sanusi, the legal services to Pa Masaba by himself and 86 other colleagues of his comes free of charge.
Pa Masaba is being presecuted under Sections 210, 383 and 386 of the Penal Code. He was arraigned last week before the Sharia Court and orderd to be detained, an action the rights groups are picking holes from.
Sanusi explained that “putting Masaba in jail without granting him bail on the first day he was presented before the Upper Sharia Court , to us, is a breach of his fundamental human rights.”
He said “Even the Constitution of Nigeria, Section 36 sub-section 5 presumes him to be innocent.
Accordding to Sanusi, “As it is now, since Masaba did not plead guilty to the allegations against him, he should be taken to be innocent and under all the provisions of the law, that is the Penal Code, he was arraigned before the Upper Sharia Court , he has the right to be granted bail. But for him now to be refused bail, shows that there is something fishy and that is why we believe the Civil Rights Congress has come in.”
According to the group the first step Pa Masaba’s ought to have taken would have been to ascertain from him reasons why he married the many wives and if this fails to satisfy them before they would proceed with the lefal option.
“He may have explanations for his actions and if the offences alleged against him are purely under the Islamic Law, he needs not be prosecuted under the Penal Code. Under the Islamic Law, there are specific provisions under which he could be prosecuted and I believe even our constitution approves that.
“So, if he’s going to be prosecuted under the Penal Code, then he should be granted bail. At least they have to consider many things, including his age, his enormous responsibilities to his family, more than one hundred children, his wives and other dependants around. All these things ought to have been considered before remanding Masaba in prison,” the groups explained.
While not disputing the obligations of the Niger State government to have initiated the Pa Masaba’s prosecution Sanusi argued that, “The Niger State Government has the right to complain but their complaint is on whose behalf? Their complaints must be on behalf of the children or the wives or even the relatives of these wives or their parents. That is the provision of the law. So, who is the complainant?
“If the police or the government are complaining for the purpose of public peace, such public peace is on whose interest? Has anybody reported that the man has encroached on anybody’s land for farming to take care of his family? There has not been anything like that. Has anyone complained that the man stole anything from anybody for the purpose of feeding his family? So, prosecuting the man is not in anybody’s interest.
“If they want to prosecute for perhaps offending one of the provisions of the Quran or the Hadith, these are laws, he should be prosecuted purely under these laws in the Quran and not under the Penal Code.
“If you are bringing him under the Penal Code, then it’s becoming the interest of Nigerians, it’s becoming the interest of the law. But if it’s purely under Islamic Law, we have the provisions of the Hadith and those of the Quran. And if somebody views a situation that this is what he thinks, he may be right and he may be wrong, based on his own belief or his own interpretation.”
According to Sanusi, “Our first action in this matter is that we are going to file a motion on notice to get this man out of the prison, at least to give him back his freedom and to respect his rights. After getting him out of the prison, we’ll now proceed to file preliminary objections to the entire case itself to be struck out because it’s not genuine because under Section 141 of the Criminal Procedure Code, as I said earlier and I still maintain my stand that there must be a human being that must have complained under these Sections 383 and 386 of the Penal Code.
“And if no human being has complained about his act and if he’s to be prosecuted under the Penal Code, the action is void altogether. So, we are going to file preliminary objection to strike out the case against him. That is what we intend to do and that is why the CRC has cause to go into the case to observe and then take the proper actions. We are filing the motion on Monday at the Upper Sharia Court, Minna.”


September 22, 2008


Nigeria: Wives, Children of Man With 86 Wives Protest in Minna – Leadership
Fifty wives and 23 children of Alhaji Bello Masaba on Thursday stormed the Niger State secretariat in Minna to protest what they called the “illegal detention” of their bread winner.
Author: baysol2000
Why can’t they just leave this man alone! He lay his bed let him suffer the consequence! Where were the superfine islamists when he got his fouth wife?

Weren’t they suppose to councel him and preach the tenet of islam to him then? People must desist from doing the job of Allah for him, thereby in themselves commiting crime in murder of the innocent and like in this case illegal incaceration of a freeman.

Let him go back to his problems, this is nobody’s business, as none of this superfine islamists can boast of feeding his wives and children, neither is he to my knowledge a burden to the state, shikena!

Author: mazianyaogu


September 22, 2008

FROM vanguard newspapers originally but found at

Nigeria: Man with 86 wives: Northern Human Rights Groups Accuse Niger Government of Persecution

Vanguard (Lagos)

21 September 2008
Posted to the web 22 September 2008

Emeka Mamah and Wole Mosadomi

Human rights groups in the north have faulted the trial of Islamic cleric, Bello Masaba, under the Penal Code law instead of Islamic law saying that the case is not genuine and accused the Niger State Government of persecuting the 84 year-old man, for marrying 86 wives.

Lead counsel to the Coalition of Human Rights, Mohammed Sanusi, who made their position known at a news conference in Kaduna, weekend, also faulted the non-admission of Alhaji Masaba to bail as the offences which he is alleged to have committed are bailable. Sanusi said the legal team would file a motion tomorrow, for the case to be struck out as the government has no genuine intentions in prosecuting Masaba.

Masaba was arraigned before an Upper Sharia Court in Minna for allegedly marrying 86 wives, contrary to Islamic tenets. His wives and children, however, protested the trial of their breadwinner saying that they did not complain to anybody that Alhaji Masaba cannot take care of his large family.

Sanusi said, “I’m the lead counsel and representative of human rights groups under the auspices of Civil Rights Congress. We are ready to provide our services to all the 86 wives and Masaba himself. Our observations in respect of his case, more particularly the offences alleged against Masaba. The offences were quoted under sections 210, 383 and 386 of the Penal Code.

“Since these offences were quoted under the Penal Code and not purely under Islamic Laws, there must be a complainant. But in this matter, who is the complainant? Under all these sections of the Penal Code, there must be a human being that must have complained of any offence, of any act or of any wrong against Masaba himself. The complainants should be his wives and children but unfortunately, his wives are not complaining. Recently, they even protested at the Ministry of Justice and the House of Assembly in Niger State against the detention of Masaba. The question now is: who is the complainant?”

Continuing, he said, “Let us take it that the government, the police or the local government or even the Emir are the complainants now, but in whose interest? The whole thing still goes back to the wives and children. But they have never complained against the man. And more importantly, putting Masaba in jail without granting him bail on the first day he was presented before the Upper Sharia Court, to us, is a breach of his fundamental human rights. Even the Constitution of Nigeria, Section 36 (5) presumes him to be innocent. As it is now, since Masaba did not plead guilty to the allegations against him, he should be taken to be innocent. Under the provisions of the law, that is the Penal Code, he has the right to be granted bail.

“But for him now to be refused bail, it shows that there is something fishy and that is why we decided to intervene in the matter. He may have explanations for his actions and if the offences alleged against him are purely under the Islamic Law, he needs not be prosecuted under the Penal Code. Under the Islamic Law, there are specific provisions under which he could be prosecuted and I believe even our constitution approves that. So, if he is going to be prosecuted under the Penal Code, then he should be granted bail. At least they have to consider many things, including his age, his enormous responsibilities to his family, more than one hundred children, his wives and other dependants.”

According to Sanusi, “By God’s grace we are going to do our best to render all the legal services we can provide to protect the rights of Masaba and his wives. The legal services we are going to render to Masaba will be purely on humanitarian grounds. So, it is going to be free. The Niger State Government has the right to complain but on whose behalf are they complaining? Their complaints must be on behalf of the children or the wives or even the relatives of these wives or their parents. If the police or the government is complaining for the purpose of public peace, such public peace is on whose interest? Has anybody reported that the man has encroached on anybody’s land for farming to take care of his family?

‘If they want to prosecute for, perhaps, offending one of the provisions of the Quran or the Hadith, these are laws; he should be prosecuted purely under these laws in the Quran and not under the Penal Code. If you are bringing him under the Penal Code, then it has become the interest of Nigerians or the law. Even under Islamic Law, there is provision to render defence to an accused. We are not saying he should not be prosecuted but it must be through due legal process. If you look at the whole issue, that man has been getting married, and the people who gave him their daughters knew that the man was married to several other women. So, why can’t those people too be prosecuted? They have aided and abetted him and so have committed the same offence. So, if we are to actually prosecute, a lot of people will be involved too. The case should be struck out because it is not genuine, under Section 141 of the Criminal Procedure Code.”

Meanwhile, Muslim youths in Bida, home of the octogenarian, Alhaji Abubarkar Belo Massaba with 86 wives and over 100 children, took to the streets of Bida on Friday with placards not only to disown his action but to pass a death sentence (Fatwah) on him.

Association of Muslim Lawyers of Nigeria, in a press conference in Minna, yesterday, also vowed to give free legal service to the Shariah commission in the on-going legal battle between the commission and Alhaji Massaba.

In Bida, after the youths had embarked on the peaceful demonstration carrying placards with inscriptions such as, “Massaba must die”, “Bello is not a Muslim”, “Bello must vacate Bida town”, ended up at the Bida local government secretariat to exhibit their anger to the chairman of the council who was represented by his vice, Alhaji Bako Ndayawo.

Speaking at the secretariat, the leader of the Muslim youths, Abdulrahman Aboki, said they had passed fatwah on Massaba “because he has blasphemed both God and Prophet Mohammed and he deserves to die”. He, however, said the sentence could be lifted if he repents by divorcing his wives and reducing them to four as proscribed by Islamic injunctions, adding that, most of the children were born outside wedlock.

The protesters were shepherded by heavily armed policemen as they went round the town. Immediate past chairman of the council, Mallam Edota, who also addressed the youths, threw his weigh behind them, saying, “Even if Massaba is released, he should be banished from Bida because he is not part of us”.

The Association of Muslim Lawyers, in their press conference in Minna addressed by its National President, Alhaji Dauda Adekola described Massaba as, “not part of us because he is not a true Moslem”.

While condemning the human rights groups for supporting the octogenarian, the lawyers described them as hypocrites and should hands off the case.


September 22, 2008


Nigeria rights groups find 86 lawyers for man with 86 wives Wed Sep 17, 11:10 AM ET

KANO (AFP) – A coalition of Nigerian human rights groups has mobilized 86 lawyers to defend the country’s most married man, currently detained for unlawful marriages and inciting contempt of Islamic religious laws, an activist said Wednesday.

“The coalition of 27 human rights groups in the north has mobilized 86 lawyers to defend Bello Masaba against the charges brought against him and the threat of banishment,” Shehu Sani, a human rights activist and playwright, told AFP in a telephone interview.

“It is our determination to protect his fundamental human rights as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution and international law,” Sani added.

Sani is the director of Civil Rights Congress, a rights group based in the northern city of Kaduna and a member of the coalition.

He said the identities of the defence lawyers would not be disclosed for fear of blackmail and intimidation, adding that the coalition “will go to any length to defend Masaba whom we believe is a political prisoner and prisoner of conscience”.

Masaba, 84, was whisked away from his home town Bidda by police and arraigned before an Upper Sharia court in the state capital Minna “for incendiary contempt of religious laws and contracting unlawful marriage to 86 wives”, a court clerk told AFP.

Masaba came to the limelight two months ago when he admitted in the media to having 86 wives and 170 children, insisting that his marriages did not contravene Islam which allows a man to get married to up to four wives.

The news attracted sharp criticism and indignation from all over the north, particularly from Islamic clerics, with the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), the Nigerian Muslim umbrella body slamming a fatwa or death sentence on Masaba.

Two weeks ago, Masama agreed to divorce 82 of the wives and keep four, the maximum Islam allows, following a two-day ultimatum issued to him by the influential traditional chief of Bidda to either choose four among the 86 wives or leave the town.

“The choice of 86 lawyers is deliberate. For each wife, Masaba will have a lawyer,” Sani said.


September 20, 2008


My ups and downs – Tunde Kelani at 60
Friday, April 11, 2008

Tunde Kelani

For the maverick cinematographer, Tunde Kelani, whose name is synonymous with quality in the Nigerian motion picture industry, life may well begin at 60. The leading filmmaker and director told Daily Sun at his Lagos, MainFrame Productions’ office recently: “I could say my professional career and life begin at 60”.

He explained further “everything I have done previously from Ti Oluwa Ni Ile to The Narrow Path to me, was an era and that era is now closed because it was in standard definition.”
The ‘new era’, according to the ace filmmaker opens a new chapter of technology with Arugba, his new film which is billed for release soon.

A sneak preview of the film revealed the rich inspiration, which Kelani drew from the yearly Osun Osogbo Festival but which he has chosen to tell from a more contemporary, creative angle.

Members of the artistic community were not left out, penultimate week, as friends, relations and fans gathered at O’jez Night club, National Stadium, Lagos to honour the ace filmmaker at a birthday reception organized by Committee for Relevant Art (CORA). The monthly highlife party also honoured actor-cum-scholar, Sola Fosudo, who turned 50 this year.

Romance with technology
Owing to certain circumstances in Nigeria, we have decided to adopt the video format for film making. Of course, it is not really appropriate professionally and I can understand why most of my contemporaries and peers shied away from the video and chose to do nothing.

So, it was a challenge for me, because apparently I was more interested in using any technology available to continue to tell the stories. Within the last 15 years, there has been tremendous advancement in media technology. In fact, everything I have done previously from Ti Oluwa Ni Ile to The Narrow Path to me, was an era and that era is closed because it was in standard definition.

Although, after a while, the Nigerian industry has come to standardize in digital video but we are still in standard definition. What the new technology has afforded us is that we now have the capacity to move on and take advantage of the low level digital format. It is an exciting period for me to have access to high definition format within a fairly low budget. So, from this year on, we have started a new series based on high definition and the first film we produced for television on Environment in England is Life in Slow Motion written by Tunde Babalola. The latter is based in England and my new work Arugba benefitted from this aspect of technology for the first time. I can confidently promise Nigerian audience of the highest quality and standard within a moderate budget.

Place of culture in my works
It comes from a degree of experience and maturity. I have witnessed almost all the technologies and I can now see things from a better perspective. I can see where we stand and where we can continue to be relevant in the scheme of things. All along, I have been influenced by my cultural experiences and I think that is the way forward. I hope to pay more attention to the promotion and preservation of our cultural experience as well as package our stories for the global audience. Also, with the advantage of technology, I think it is possible for me to do more within three years what I have done in the past 15 years. Collectively, Nigeria stands at the threshold of breakthrough because within the next two or three years, it will be a challenge to us all.

Osun Osogbo and Arugba
Of course, I am interested in the new generation and I am greatly influenced by my cultural experience. For somebody like me who was raised and fed with Yoruba literature, I think we have not exhausted all the available resources. I am also concerned about the issues of women who are under-represented in all spheres of our life. I am also interested in cultural diversity, which will continue to pilot anything I do from now.

There are so many other aspects to Arugba, apart from the symbol of purity which it is known for. First, when there is a tumult in the society, our parents would perform a sacrifice and look for someone to carry it to the river. In this case, the Arugba being a traditional symbol goes to the river carrying the objects of worship followed by thousands of people who in any case are disoriented, who are in search of significance, who are confronted by all sorts of global influences on their lives and are in need of purification.

They are scattered and rudderless and hopefully when the Arugba returns from this trip, there will be some kind of change or process of reorientation. It is working at so many levels especially with the usual issues confronting us today such as millennium goals, eradication of poverty and disease. Others include preservation and promotion of indigenous cultures. My own point of reference in Arugba is the South-west. And that is because after we lost Hubert Ogunde, who was a cultural icon and who installed minimum standard, nobody has done anything close to what Ogunde did if we agreed to use him (Ogunde) as a bench mark. But Arugba will try to meet that standard which I think Ogunde would be proud of.

Production of Arugba
For the first time, the production of Arugba was a different experience for me. Although, we recorded last February in Abeokuta for over 20 days, the project had started for over a year after the submission of the script by Ade Adeniji. What we later tried to do was to handle all artistic departments after we had taken care of the literary aspect.

The next was to look at the performances. Many of the actors who have played kabiyesi in the past have been overused and we needed to inject fresh talents from different backgrounds.

So, we wanted Peter Badejo, whom we flew in from U.K and who was very cooperative despite his crowded schedule. Also, we had a new discovery in Bukola Awoyemi, a graduate of Theatre Arts Department, under the tutelage of Professor Ayo Akinwale. We were stunned with her performance on the role of Arugba although I am not surprised because Nigeria is blessed with many talents. The discovery of this girl also led us intossing her in a creative way, we were very lucky to have her. She was level headed and very cooperative and is always willing to work.

Of course, we had about four companies that provide all the resources and the man power we needed. And then, playing opposite role to Bukola Awoyemi is Segun Adefila, who leads the Crown Troupe of Afrika and currently running his Masters degree at University of Lagos. Adefila is a passionate young man who continues to impress me. Apart from participating in the film, he also supervised all the music and choreography.

We also have Pat Nebo, who did the production design. There is also Bisi Ogunde, who worked on the costumes because we wanted to make a statement with the costumes. We had talented technicians both within MainFrame Productions and outside. These include: Lukmon Abdulrahman, whojoined me to handle the camera and photography, Bode Odeyemi on sound and Oluwole Olawoyin on gaffer/grip. Some of the equipment were supplied by DVWORKS. The rough cut is being handled by Akeem Olowokere (Jungle Studios) and the duration of entire work is put at 120 minutes.

Moments of despair
The first challenge was being able to show on the screen what the possibilities are. THis is not to say that my professional career has been on a smooth sail. I have also had terrible downs. I am just lucky because there have been some people who have consistently held my hands and always pulled me up each time I was down. That is why Arugba is special to me because I owe it to one young man, Dr Olatunji Olowolafe, who is our executive producer. It is true the arts suffer a lot, particularly the motion picture industry. But with people like Dr Olowolafe, who is willing to support, I think this year would be a wonderful one.

UNESCO declaration
Actually, UNESCO has declared 2008 as the year of languages. Most of what I have done usually fall into documenting culture. For instance, The Narrow Path is not just an adaptation of Bayo Adewale’s novel, The Virgin, it is for me, an opportunity to document almost all what I have seen while growing up. Now that I have managed to put these together, I feel fulfilled in that sense. White Handkerchief was only 17 minutes, and I felt we have not just done justice to the source material hence we decided to do the full version in The Narrow Path.

Training and experience
I was employed by the former Western Nigerian Television as a Film Cameraman in 1970. Walking into that historical place which was the first television station in Africa, I was accepted as a member of the family. They all took me as an adult and a colleague and taught me all they knew. Our general manager then was Engr. Teju Oyeleye and others who came later include Chief Ayo Ogunlade, director programmes, Sam Adegbiye, and most importantly Tunde Adeniji, head, Film Unit, whom I worked directly with. He gave me the necessary confidence and foundation as a professional. There were other people like Hamzat Lasisi who was the chief cameraman and a number of other people who taught me all I knew and, of course, Engr. Vincent Maduka, who later took over as G.M. After that, I joined NBCTV Victoria Island, Lagos where I continued to work with great influential people.

Passion for film making
As a film addict, I found a new pastime in visiting the cinemas when I moved to Lagos. I saw a lot of American films which made lasting impression on me such as The Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra, The Ten Commandment, The Helen of Troy among others. I learnt through those films that there was a lot of difference between the films we shot for TV and the ones I watched in the cinemas. This encouraged me to study The Art and Technique of FilmMaking at the London Film School. Two years after my programme, I went into freelance (independent) film making.

About retirement
I can’t start to talk of retirement now because some of the film icons who are my forebears and who I respect are still working. For example, British-born Christopher Doyle who is in seventies and is still shooting films. For me, I could say my professional career and life begin at 60. God’s willing , with long life and good health. People should expect from our stables films like Arugba, Life in Slow Motion, Dog on Lions Trail(An Adaptation) and many more.

© 2008 THE SUN PUBLISHING LTD. This service is p


September 20, 2008


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Kelani Caricatures OBJ In Arugba
THERE’s no mistaking the parody of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in the action of Peter Badejo’s character in Tunde Kelani’s newest film, Arugba, screened at the University of Ibadan’s Arts Theatre last Wednesday.

In the presence of Obasanjo’s close aide, Afe Babalola, who was guest of honour at the event, one of the series commemorating the University’s 60th anniversary, Kelani presented the story of a king of an imaginary small town, somewhere in Nigeria’ s southwest, who makes a loud splash against corruption, rigorously prosecutes an economic reform and handily welcomes foreign investors. But the word on the street is that the fruits of the reform don’t trickle down, the Kabiyesi deeply distrusts people, including his assistants, believes in his own gut feeling and has enough weakness for women to compromise on his own core principles. The leadership portrait emerges as the key subplot in a love drama featuring the Arugba, the virgin who carries the sacrificial calabash during the Osun Osogbo festival and a young dancer intent on winning her. Bukola Awoyemi is fresh as a sea breeze as the Arugba and the movie benefits from its wide array of experienced stars, including Lere Paimo, Kareem Adepoju, Bukky Wright and Badejo, himself an accomplished artiste, who is making a debut in Nigerian movie project. There’s applause for Segun Adefila’s choreography and his direction of the winsome Crown Troupe in segments that feature as drama within the drama. But Adefila’s portrayal of the Arugba’s suitor is rather casual and comes up rather plain in this gripping, fast paced feature. Kelani is a brilliant arranger of pictures (the sequencing is consistently neat) and an ardent promoter of the Yoruba worldview. He’s also a gadgetry freak. The film is shot in High Definition format (with Panasonic P2 HD/DV) which can be outputted in 35-mm celluloid print. “The technology is getting more exciting,” the filmmaker enthuses. Arugba feels, like most TK’s other films, an intimate story telling, something gorgeous for the family around the dining table at home. But what stops this outstanding filmmaker from reeling out a grand, sky hugging, vast vista of a movie, with crowds that actually look like real crowds in big festivals, with festival rehearsal scenes that are close to frenetic preparations that actually happen before a mammoth feast like Osun Oshogbo’s, with picturesque sites that are comparable with Osun groves, and an airy landscape that take the movie outside of intimate, family drama? At the height on which he stands in African cinema, Kelani can raise the money for such a movie.

Osofisan, Ishola Tackle Fagunwa On Stage

THE playwright Femi Osofisan is directing the play Langbodo, Wale Ogunyemi’s adaptation of Daniel Fagunwa’s epic novel, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irumole. Akinwunmi Ishola, the professor of Yoruba studies, will be directing a stage adaptation of the same novel, in Yoruba. Osofisan is running rehearsals with his cast in Ibadan, whereas Ishola has camped his actors in Ile Ife. The premiere is August 15, in Lagos and there will be performances in Lagos, Ibadan and Abuja. It seems likely that the Yoruba performances will run on stages in some key southwest cities. Chams, the electronic card company, is the sponsor.

CORA Holds Book Editing Workshop In October

THE Committee For Relevant Art (CORA), working in partnership with Bookbuilders Editions Africa, is hoping to bring back Dan Izevbaye, emeritus professor of English as well as Gbenro Adegbola, CEO, Evans Brothers, to address participants at the 3rd Workshop On Book Editing, which holds from October 22 to 24, in Lagos. “The two are quite popular with our participants,” says Chris Bankole, head of Book Builders and the workshop’s leading facilitator. “Everyone wants to hear Prof Izevbaye talk about editing a novel and everyone wants to hear Gbenro speak on the publishing process.” The Workshop On Book Editing was started last year for the purpose of developing a generation of fully trained book editors who are expected to energise the book industry. Participants are given a general overview of the editorial process, initial assessment of a book, copy editing, substantive editing, science editing, proof-reading, indexing, grammar and usage, cliches, Nigerian malapropisms. The workshop looks at the challenges in editing creative writing, both of children and adult fiction and has a do-it-yourself segment. Participation fee is N20,000.

ANA Pairs T.M. Aluko With Mandela At 90

THE Lagos Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), wants to celebrate TM Aluko’s 90th birthday by visiting him at home to read from his works as well as from writings of the South African sage Nelson Mandela. It’s not clear why Chike Ofili, the chapter’s chairman wants a pairing of the two men, in Aluko’s Apapa home, on July 26. Other than sharing the same age, the two grandfathers don’t come across as having similar priorities in the prime of their lives. Mandela is not a writer; his Long Walk To Freedom is a product of an extensive interview after 27 years in jail. Aluko did not lead a rebellion, although one of his novels, Conduct Unbecoming is a substantial effort at illuminating where Lagos went wrong and how a once carefully governed city ended up a chaotic urban sprawl whose leaders interprete the phrase ‘mega city’, as something hip when really it means uncontrollable. But you have to give it to Ofili. He looks for material where there appears to be none, just to keep the society, ANA in the public consciousness. He had actually led a team of writers to Pa Aluko’s house on the day of his birth, which was June 14. “Aluko, like Ekwensi, hasn’t been properly attended to in terms of literary scholarship,” Ofili says. “On July 26, we are giving him a home delivery.” Ofili is scouting for those who have Mandela’s writings and any South African resident in Nigeria who happens to be a culture enthusiast. His contact is He also appeals to ANA members who are 50 years and above “to be there by 2pm to partake in celebrating longevity in this season of deaths in the art family.”

© 2003 – 2007 @ Guardian Newspapers Limited (All Rights Reserved).

African Queen Video shows the way black women should be sung to!

September 18, 2008

This is the AFrican Queen Video. It is so elegant
and stunning like it should be. It’s the perfect
idea of how an African princess should be
treated. It’s one of the songs to treasure and
it makes you warm inside.


September 18, 2008


History: What It Felt Like
invesco field and the nomination
August 29, 2008
By Del Walters

Ella Dalton sat, glued to the television, counting the buses. A domestic who spent her life cleaning the houses of people who didn’t look like her, she couldn’t afford the price of a ticket to attend the event in person, and her white bosses wouldn’t give her the time off anyway. Her fear was that not enough people would show up to hear a speech she was told would define the dreams of an entire generation. A speech that she was told would change the way White America looked at Black America. When counting became difficult she prayed.

Then, one by one, the buses started to arrive. She watched as fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers got off the buses, many of them with picnic baskets in hand to watch history. They were not disappointed. They heard a man describe his dream. A dream that one day, America would be different, better, and that the sons of slaves and slave masters would one day walk hand in hand. The day was August 28th, 1963 and the speaker was a young Baptist preacher by the name of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Forty five years later the buses were still coming, only this time those getting off were different. America had changed. They were white, and black, and Asian, rich and poor, young and old. Forty five years later, on the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech, a kid who’s father was from Africa, and whose mother hailed from Kansas stood before a crowd of 84,000 and accepted the nomination of the democratic party of the United States of America. History had come full circle. Once again the speaker did not disappoint.

This time, however, there were more than buses arriving at Invesco Field in Denver. This time they arrived by bus, limousine, and in some cases helicopter. They were divided not along lines of race, but instead age. A younger generation that had read about the civil rights movement came to see a man running for president who just happened to be black. Those old enough to remember the dogs, and hoses, and lynching’s and “whites only” signs came to witness history.

Isiah Leggett grew up in that segregated South. “I grew up in the racist Jim Crow South,” he told me. “My hometown of Alexandria, Louisiana was located less than fifteen miles from Jenna,” he added referring to the now infamous Jenna Six. Leggett, who is now the County Executive for one of the largest and most successful counties in America, said “He never dreamed he would see this day.” If Barack Obama becomes president, Leggett will be there, because his county houses some of Washington’s wealthiest residents. For Leggett, the time to celebrate was now.

One solitary figure arrived in a stretch white limousine. Slumped over in a wheelchair, he flashed his trademark smile at the mention of a single word. “Champ!” “Muhammad came here because this moment is momentous,” Lonnie Ali told me. “He had to be here,” she continued. Ali should know. It was Ali, who along with King, sacrificed his youth for a country that saw black first and fighter second. Ali spent his prime in prison, rather than take part in a war he opposed. Ali watched as his sacrifice came full circle.

This was more than a presidential speech, or nominating process. This was history. This was one of those times, one of those stories that children will tell their children about. They will remember where they were when they heard these words:
“I accept your nomination for the presidency of the United States,” Barack Obama said to thunderous applause that at times was so loud it echoed through the stadium.

And with those words a dream, almost five decades old, was fulfilled. Barack Obama became the first African American ever to be the nominee of a major political party. The recipient of the dream then paid homage to the dreamer, “It is that promise that forty five years ago today brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand gathered on a Mall in Washington before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.” The torch was passed.

Eighty four thousand people watched as history was being made, and unlike forty five years ago, millions more watched on TV, or through the internet, or on their cell phones. Much has changed in forty five years. Much has not. When the speech was over, there were fireworks and platitudes. Some say it was one of the greatest speeches ever given. Others undoubtedly will argue otherwise. Ike Leggett had his own opinion and he offered it without words.

As the fireworks exploded, Leggett could be seen waving a small American flag as if he were a schoolboy reciting the pledge of allegiance for the very first time. He continued to wave his flag long after the fireworks had ended. Many of Leggett’s generation sat in their seats soaking up the moment. Several wept openly.

History has its own judges and what happened here on this night will find its place when and where the time is right. But on this night, two hundred million cracks in a glass ceiling that shackled the sons of slaves and the sons of slave owners were made, and, because of it, there can be no turning back. On this night America was no longer the sum of its separate but unequal parts, but for once appeared to live up to the mantle of “the melting pot” the nation’s founders once dreamed of.

Ella Dalton never lived to see all of the buses arrive. Forty five years is a long time to wait for people who picked cotton, mopped floors, and labored to build a nation that denied them basic human rights. Instead the job of counting those buses was passed on to me and those like me. Those, like Barack Obama, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before, and left seeking nothing in return. Ella Dalton was my grandmother and I know somewhere, she and the rest of her generation stopped counting.

The stadium was full. Their dream was fulfilled.

Del Walters is an Emmy award-winning investigative reporter, journalist and filmmaker.

19 Responses to “What It Felt Like”
08.29.08 at 9:26 AM
emiliana says:
Look up to give all hope and victory for all notions and race this World.
08.29.08 at 11:05 AM
DeAngelo says:
This was a helluva piece, Del. Sorry I missed while you were out here. Maybe when I get to DC in the fall.
08.29.08 at 3:07 PM
JanN says:
Great historical and personal perspective. I hope you are so right, that no matter the outcome of the election, those cracks Obama made in the glass ceiling will ensure there is no turning back.
08.29.08 at 5:51 PM
RosalindW says:
The thought of seeing someone who actually looks like me get an actual party nomination is excellent homeage to a generation of people that saw only the hardship of a nation that was to be equal in everyway. I thank God for this time. May the dream continue to live.
08.29.08 at 6:46 PM
Tammye Butler says:
Thank you Del. Thank you. Though I wasn’t there to witness it in person, I’m glad you saw what I saw, but more importantly I’m glad, unlike “our” grandmothers, that I was alive to witness it. I was so dismayed at some of the comments by Julienne Malveaux regarding Obama “white washing” his speech. He never spoke more honestly. Obama is running for the United States of America, not just the United States of Black America. I’m black and I’m proud of Obama, and I’m proud to be an American.
09.02.08 at 12:59 PM
cindy says:
i wasn’t there for the speech. but, after reading your article, i feel as though i was there. i have goose bumps and pride that america has made progress.
09.02.08 at 1:00 PM
cindy says:
i wasn’t there for the speech. but, after reading your article, i feel as though i was there. i have goose bumps and pride that america has made progress.
09.03.08 at 12:24 AM
June says:
I had to work the night the Sen Obama speech was broadcasted. Where can a buy a copy of his speech.
09.03.08 at 1:13 PM
DeeDee says:

Here is a link to a copy of Barack Obama’s speech.’s%20speech&st=cse&oref=slogin
09.03.08 at 3:15 PM
Pam says:
I hope Barack Obama’s wins the Presidential Campaign. This will open the doors to all black people all over the world and it is time of change. Being a Londoner I have watch the campaign with great interest. We are rooting for him over the otherside of the “Pond”.
09.04.08 at 10:10 AM
terry glover says:
June and DeeDee,

just to the right of this article is a link to the Obama transcript and more.
Don’t touch that mouse…
09.07.08 at 4:51 PM
J Glenn says:
Kudos, Del! You have captured the feelings of many Americans with your article. There is a sort of calm now in America. Yes, we still have to fight hard to keep the
Dream going, but we have to make sure the children of this generation understands all of the sacrifices made so that they can live the way they do now. Yes, we have a Black man running for President and we should support him whole heartly.
09.10.08 at 12:49 PM
JoAnne Roberts says:
I live in Denver CO. And I have to say, that I am one proud Black Woman. I listened to Barak Obama’s speech and was in tears. He delivered that speech as if it was his last speech ever. Thank You Del Walters for that awesome piece of work that you did
09.11.08 at 9:39 AM

09.11.08 at 9:44 AM
Nora Fagin-Ned says:
Love you Barack & Michelle. How do I get any brochures, literature, bumper stickers, signs or anything with OBAMA OR OBAMA/BIDEN on it.
09.11.08 at 9:59 AM
Miss N says:
My phone number is (863) 885-1707. My address is 780 W. Lincoln Ave., LaBelle, FL 33935. Please send me buttons, bumper stickers, yard signs, etc. Where I live there is absolutely nothing is OBAMA name on it, except my t-shirts I wear everyday!


September 18, 2008


Restoring The Dignity Of Africa

BY Sule E. Egya

Brain Gain for the African Renaissance, Edited by Okello Oculi and Yakubu Nasidi; published by Ahmadu Bello University Press, Zaria; 447 pages.

What we know of socio-cultural and scientific civilisation today, it has been established, started from Africa. Per Ankh, the house of life, in the ancient Egypt was a brain-home from where knowledge spread to other parts of the world. World-class African thinkers such as Cheik Anta Diop, Ayi Kwei Armah and Theophile Obenga have persistently forged a narrative to connect us to that glorious past. Regrettably, their narrative, what Armah calls “the way,” is countervailed by forces that have retrogressively reduced the height of Africa. The Africa that housed intellection in the past, as absurd as it sounds, is now a pitiable shadow of itself, its intellectuals driven to continental self-enslavement. During the slavery of the past, the white people came and captured Africans, but in the present slavery Africans willingly present themselves to the white people as slaves. It is the exodus to the West; it is the brain drain Africa suffers from.

To stem the tide of intellectual erosion as a result of the brain-drain phenomenon, Africa Vision 525, a non-governmental think-tank based in Kenya and Nigeria, has initiated what it calls Brain Gain book project. Part of the objective of this project, according to Okello Oculi and Yakubu Nasidi, editors of the first book in the series, is “to contribute to ameliorating [the crisis of brain drain] by drawing back into African universities intellectual products of the African Diaspora and Africanist scholars resident outside Africa” (ix). Contributions by outstanding scholars on the continent are also brought into the pool of intellectual productions the project injects into a system that is practically comatose. This first volume of the project demonstrates the feasibility and, indeed, the fruition of a concerted effort to reconstruct the canon of intellection in Africa. Here is a conscious response to a continent’s moral, ethical and intellectual failures; a measured criticism that validates the notion of inward positivism and a pragmatic approach to Africa’s solutions to Africa’s problems.

The theme of this volume is “Issues in Governance.” A crucial angle from which to begin the business of renaissance in Africa, you may say. The choice is vital. Governance is perhaps the most derailed sphere in the evolution of nationhood in Africa. It is a continental weakness—really, an insurmountable vice—that reduces one of the wealthiest continents in the world to beggardom. The choice of scholars to tackle these issues Brain Gain has made is both appealing and gratifying. The names are intimidating: Ali Mazrui, Toyin Falola, Okwudiba Nnoli, Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja, P. Anyang Nyongo’o, Okechukwu Ibeanu, Crawford Young, and others. In their diverse themes and styles, tones and tenors, these intellectuals engage the readers in profound dialogues that evaluate and define the course of governance in Africa.

Falola’s “Writing and Teaching National History in Africa in an Era of Global History” is a primal discourse. The eminent, globe-trotting scholar returns home, patriotic, having been exposed to the sophistry of globalisation. Beginning his argument from the existence of nation-states, in spite of what he refers to as the “ambiguities” surrounding them, Falola harps on the conspiracy of the globalists to undermine, and consequently nullify, national historiography. In doing this, he undresses globalisation and presents her to us in her full nakedness, with all her ugly joints. The scholar informs us that “[it] is the weak nations [in the sense we see all nations of Africa] that are being asked to adjust, to subordinate their national histories to the threatening agenda of a global world and a global history” (58). In this design, globalisation weakens weaker nations and strengthens stronger ones, insofar as the concept of globalisation is continuously fashioned and manoeuvred by the powerful nations of the world. A powerful nation, then, upstages her history to what Falola calls “metanarrative”. In this premise, the less powerful nations must evolve a history to confront the many lies and infamies of globalisation, and with resilient intellectualism and vigorous historiography. A further antidote, pragmatic in its chemistry, is offered here:

We have to keep decolonizing African historiography, to turn to indigenous creativity and ideas, to empower the marginalized voices, to shed light on the tremendous energy and success represented by popular cultures, market women, craft workers, and local cultivators, among others. Oral history should not be abandoned in the face of global history. Students and researchers must contribute to our understanding of a variety of topics: migration flows within Africa and nation-states; regional conflicts; ethnic and religious divisions; inter- and intra-national relations within Africa; development and modernization; processes of democratization and participatory practices; neoliberal reforms; cultural transformations; market and economic networks; the Cold War and its aftermath; ecological history and sustainable development; and mass communication. (Italics mine, 77-78)

It seems like a thesis that will liberate nation-states in Africa from what one may call globalism i.e. the dishonest rhetoric of globalisation. But many Africa-based students and scholars, as some of the essays in Brain Gain attest, have been engaging in the enterprise Falola proposes, except that the overall socio-political climate of Africa does not welcome—and, indeed, kills—intellectual activities meant to forge a liberated and equitable nationhood.

It is this hostile climate in Africa that Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja draws our attention to in his “Challenges to State Building in Africa”. His discourse is clear and familiar to us. His first sentence opens the wound we have been nursing for long: “After three to five decades of self-rule, the people of Africa have yet to see the fulfilment of their expectations of independence for full citizenship rights” (87). This is painfully true. The eminent scholar goes on to outline some of the factors responsible for this condition. The problems are home-based, though mostly engendered by the hypocritical posture of the West, Africa’s chief coloniser. Greed and Dishonesty, the twin sisters, are the hot-legged prostitutes cradling African leaders on their laps. They caused the disillusionment of the post-independence era, lengthened to destructive militarisation, which has begotten anaemic democracies in Africa. Nzogola-Ntalaja neatly ties this to the globalisation-syndrome Falola has expounded: “contrary to the political vision of Amilcar Cabral and other progressive founding fathers of African independence, post-colonial rulers have not transformed the inherited structures of the state and the economy to serve the deepest aspirations of their peoples instead of the interests of the dominant classes of the world system, with which these rulers tend to identify” (88). The gist is simply that African leaders, since independence, have set their visions abroad to cater for their greed and the interest of their colonial masters. Nzogola-Ntalaja believes that Africa is yet to severe its umbilical cord from the West and that is one of its greatest problems. He harks back to the early rhetoric of Pan-Africanism, reminding us of the good intentions of the fighters of independence, giving us an insight into the stupendous wealth waiting for Africa at the dawn of independence, and he regrets that Africa today is a famished continent whose children troop to the West in search of food and survival. Really, every section of Nzogola-Ntalaja’s essay echoes the ignominy that Africa Vision 525 intends to redeem with its book projects. Part of Nzogola-Ntalaja’s suggestion for a better Africa is that “a successful development strategy [for Africa] requires a radical break with the past, that is, with the authoritarian and predatory character of the colonial state, as well as the promotion of egalitarian and participatory values” (107).

Some of the essays in Brain Gain are very revealing. Okechukwu Ibeanu’s “Petroleum, Politics and Development in the Niger Delta” is an eye-opener for non-Nigerians whose knowledge of the Niger Delta conundrum is what the radio brings to them. The depth of Ibeanu’s research and the clarity of his language are such that you will see, most graphically, the situation in the Niger Delta today. “ECOMOG Operations in the Resolution of Conflicts in West Africa”, by Gani Yoroms, is another eye-opener for those who have heard much but have known less about Africa’s peace-keeping operations in Africa. Deftly expository, Yoroms’s essay is different from most others because of its tone which is less critical. Yoroms is interested in furnishing us with facts with which we can conclude that Africa, after all, can tackle its crises, although what we see of Somalia and Darfur today confounds us. But no matter what we see today, if we read Yoroms’s essay, we are likely to agree with him that “it is important to acknowledge that ECOMOG operations were indeed path breaking approaches to peace keeping in Africa” (373).

Other essays, such as Kristen Timothy’s “Defending Diversity, Sustaining Consensus: NGOs at the Beijing Women’s Conference and Beyond”; P. Anyang Nyong’o’s “Good Governance for Whom? How Presidential Authoritarianism Perpetuates Elitist Politics in Africa”; and Adagbo Ogbu Onoja’s “The Commonwealth Intervention in the Zimbabwe Land Reform Crisis: Africa’s Security in the Post Cold War Era” give us profound education on issues that are here with us and yet we know just little about them. Beyond the depth of the researches collected in this book, the spread, which is an attempt to embrace all facets of political life of Africa, is a commendable feat.

With about fifteen essays, the book is one that every scholar and thinker, irrespective of the field of specialisation, ought to possess and give it a prominent space on his/her shelf. Perhaps, those who need the service of this book most are the politicians and the policy-makers of present-day Africa who have become persistently noisy and noisome about reforms. The book will help them reform themselves, and give them a lead-way towards the evolution of a genuinely democratic norm in Africa.

Sule E. Egya, Ph.D, writer and scholar, teaches in the Department of English, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Nasarawa State.


September 17, 2008


From Langbodo with blood and gold
By Akeem Lasisi
Published: Wednesday, 17 Sep 2008
At the maiden show of The Adventure in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons, an adaptation of D.O. Fagunwa‘s novel, Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, the audience have a taste of magical realism.

A scene from the play.
With the magnificent structures dotting its vast edifying ambience, you can hardly mistake the MUSON Centre, Lagos for any other entertainment arena. So it was for members of the public that trooped into the complex on Saturday to watch The Adventures of a Thousand Demons, Femi Osofisan‘s theatrical adaptation of D. O. Fagunwa‘s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole.

But on hitting the entrance of the Shell Hall, which was the venue of the performance, the story changed. A colony of trees on your right, an empire of stones on the left, you were spontaneously transported into a wild forest. It was this forest that ushered you into the expansive hall that also wore the garment of an unfathomable wilderness – dripping with bitter laughter and sweet tears of supernatural spirits.

On the sprawling stage lying ahead of you was a sacred foot path winding meandering through a network of sacred woods. On the roof, and entirely covering the walls of the hall, were ewele mats, which reminded learned members of the audience of the type that Egbere, one of Fagunwa‘s spirit characters wield in the novel. More important, however, was the fact that the eerie stage would soon become the battle ground for the die-hard principalities and brave men on excursion to Oke Langbodo, the ultimate destination of the Fagunwa‘s seven hunters in the mother script. As if you were no more at the MUSON, lions roared, elephants boomed just as wild, wild birds shrieked intermittently to warn the uninitiated of the dangers ahead.

But because the transformation was a make-believe, drums also roared. Tongues wagged in penetrating songs just as practised legs rolled in dance, invoking applause from the audience who were once again jolted back into the beauty of stage plays.

Such were the spectacles that the much publicised play invoked. It was the English version of the script commissioned by Chams Plc, which announced its arrival in the world of theatre promotion and development recently. Simultaneously, revered scholar and writer, Professor Akinwumi Ishola, was asked to write a Yoruba adaptation of the novel, with Tunde Awosanmi and Kola Oyewo directing respectively.

Coming in two parts, Osofisan‘s Adventures into the Forest of a Thousand Daemons captures the trials and triumphs of Akaraogun (Toyin Osinaike) and his hunting colleagues who go in search of a metaphoric Langbodo, for the sake of their fatherland for which they are out to attract resources that will invoke progress.

Since no good thing comes easy – and that is one basic lesson that both Fagunwa and Osofisan teach in the work – they encounter stiff adversity on their way. They have to wrestle with many daemons in the forest. But they too are very much prepared. Apart from physical strength, each of the adventurers has a special natural trait that proves very useful each time the chips are down. For instance, while Kako‘s invincible club can knock even an elephant, Olohun Iyo‘s sweet-singing voice can lure the most dreadful cobra to sleep. Imodoye, a name derived from knowledge and wisdom, is in the team to think and reason intelligently each time his people are in trouble. Very cleverly, Osofisan not only retains such values that Fagunwa wants the reader to pay attention to in human and societal development, he also develops the character of Akaraogun in such a way that he is a symbol of quality leadership – demonstrating determination, perseverance, and sowing no seed of hatred among the hunters he leads.

Among others, the battle with Agbako is hell hot. But for the helping spirit played by Ify Agwu, none of the adventurers would have survived his punch.

Apart from Osinaike, a thoroughbred actor, in the cast were tested hands such as Gogo Ombo Ombo (Elegbede Ode), Taiwo Ibikunle (Olohun Iyo), Martins Iwuagwu (Kako), Simileoluwa Hassan (Efoye) and Afolabi Dipeolu (Imodoye).

Also in action were Tunde Adeyemo (Oba), and actress and poet, Ify Agwu, (Iranlowo), who inspiringly carried the helper spirit that saw the hunters through the promise land.

Although Osofisan is that loyal to the spirit of the novel, he asserts freedom in certain significant areas. For instance, he introduces a lot of songs and dances. Besides, he brings in folklores that he employs to ventilate the structure of the play, while also using such to teach morality. But where he seems to have been extremely creative – or is it the director that should claim the kudos – is the point he introduces the ritual poetry, Iremoje, which hunters use to celebrate a dead colleague.

As fate would have it, the hunters lost three of their members, among who is Kako, whose hot temper remains his insatiable albatross. Now, on returning to their town after about 20 months of search for Langbodo, the hunters burst into Iremoje, and the attempt is very close to the way Yoruba hunters perform the ritual poetry in real life.

Osofisan‘s radical approach can also be seen in his interpretation of Oke Langbodo itself. Speaking through Akaraogun and Iranlowo, the playwright‘s message to the audience is that Langbodo is not a place. It is a moment of revelation, wisdom, knowledge and understanding of what brings peace and progress for the individual and society.

Altogether, The Adventures in the Forest of a Thousand Daemons is a successful exercise in attempting to revitalise live theatre in Nigeria.

Perhaps, the play can be tightened a bit, and this can be achieved by reducing the number of dramatised folklores. Besides, a fat person should have been made to play the role of the elephant.

On the part of Chams, theatre lovers can only hope that it will be able to sustain the project.

According to the company‘s Managing Director, Chief Demola Aladekomo, who led the company‘s workers dressed in dazzling green uniform traditional dresses to the show, it decided to rally the practitioners to the stage because of the roles that drama plays in the society.


Chams resurrects the theatre Muson Centre
By Super Admin Published September 22, 2008

Forest of a Thousand Daemons

The expectation was already high long before Adventures into the Forest of a Thousand Daemons opened to audiences for two days last week in the commodious Shell Hall of Muson Centre in Lagos.

A preview at Ibadan weeks before had writer and journalist, Maxim Uzor Uzoatu, gushing over with praises, declaring the performance as “a rousing advertisement of total theatre.”

Since then, the cast and crew have been beavering away, fine-tuning Professor Femi Osofisan’s adaptation of Daniel Olorunfemi Fagunwa’s Ogboju Ode Ninu Igbo Irunmole, helpfully translated into English for non-Yoruba readers as The Forest of a Thousand Daemons by Profesor Wole Soyinka.

And when the English version of the play finally opened on Saturday, September 13, the effort of the production crew was not in vain. Neither was the audience disappointed.
And for the sponsors, Chams plc, an acronym for Computer Hardware and Management Services, an information and communications technology company known for its card-based services, e-commerce and mobile payment schemes, it was an unparalleled success.

Guests arriving at Shell Hall that evening were treated to something refreshingly different from the usual fare of concerts and wedding receptions at Muson. Instead of the usual red carpet, there were rolls and rolls of mats, yes mats, leading to the foyer where leafy trees and palms lined the way to the auditorium.
Standing close by the trees were painted dwarves along the aisles, and barefooted maidens in green outfits with plaited hair ushering guests to their seats. Strewn here and there were clay pots containing cowries and shells. And on the stage itself were hefty trees forming the backdrop for a play whose action takes place mostly in a forest.

In the opening scene, we see Akaraogun, an intrepid hunter whose motto can be likened to that of the British SAS (“Who dares wins,”) recounting his exploits to and from the forest of demons, the dangers encountered. Played with gusto by Toyin Oshinaike, he returns to a hero’s welcome by the villagers who are eager to hear his exploits.

Afterwards, there is merriment. While this lasts, the Oba, already chaffing presumably because of Akaraogun’s overwhelming fame, dares him with another challenge – a journey to the summit of Mount Langbodo. Since he is the bravest man in the village, why not take on this new adventure to Mount Langbodo?

A man ever in quest of the unknown, Akaraogun accepts but agrees to ascend the mountain along with five other notable and equally fearless hunters in the community, Olohun Iyo (Taiwo Ibikunle) Kako (Martins Iwuagwu) Efo Iye (Simileoluwa Hassan) Imodoye (Edward Afolabi Dipeolu) and Elegbede Ode (Ombo Gogo Ombo).

Adventures into the Forest is not just a play about an individual with cojones. It is about other human traits of compassion, gratitude, wisdom and, above all, team work. Where the hunters battle Agbako (Martins Iwuagwu) individually and fail, they overwhelm him as a team, thanks to the sagely counsel of Iranlowo.

All the actors acquit themselves creditably, with outstanding perfomances by some. Ify Agwu is one of them. Reminiscent of a Joke Silva on stage, she gave a virtuoso performance in her role as the guardian spirit behind the adventurous hunters such that the audience gave her a spontaneous applause when she curtsied at the end of the play.

Interpersed with song and dance, poetry and proverbs, Adventures into the Forest is a masterful production that professional Thespians like Prof. Osofisan are known for, despite working with a cast of nearly 30. With productions like this, Chams is already living up to their boast of reviving Nigerian’s interest in the stage.

A delightfully long production, the producers/ sponsors were gracious enough to show a documentary on Chams, thus allowing the audience time to reflect on the first part of the performance – as in classical Greek drama – as well as get informed about the ICT company now deeply involved in the arts.
A worthy effort by Chams, no doubt, the production was marred by the choice of Shell Hall. Without the raked seats as you have in the nearby Agip Recital Hall, some of us had to crane our necks to follow the transaction on stage, coupled with ushers who partially blocked the actors from view.

On hand to watch the production were over a hundred members of staff of Chams Plc, distinguished from others in their green outfit and led by the MD/ CEO, Demola Aladekomo and his wife. Mr Tayo Aderinokun, MD of Guaranty Trust Bank, turned up with his wife. There were many more bankers, captains of industry and guests from the academia, as well as Dr. Ahmed Yerima, GM of the National Theatre and laureate of NNLG prize for drama.

As a production, Adventures into the Forest was a success through and through. Endorsed by the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, this is one stage production that is sure to revive interest not only in the theatre but also encourage cultural continuity.

For as Awosunmi writes in his directorial note, “only the ghosts of the likes of Fagunwa and Tutuola can help resurrect our collective sense of responsibility and restore our national right to cultural continuity.” For Osofisan, also, staging Adventures into the Forest would not have been possible without Chams.
“Chams is rendering an immeasurable service to the preservation of our culture, at a time when our country like others in the so-called Third World are faced with the menace of globalisation. It is such projects as this that will help the process of our cultural rebirth. Fagunwa has shown us that we have our own folklore and fables, our stories and sagas and heroes as authentically rich, and enriching, as any other in the world.”

In the coming months, Chams will take Adventures into the Forest to Abuja, Ibadan and Ife. Based on what transpired on the Muson stage last week, this is one production audiences in those cities should be reasonably anxious to watch.

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