Friday, 31 May 2013

‘Mulkin Mata’ and ‘Aikin Mata’: A theatrical advocacy for women taste of leadership in Nigeria

The plays "Mulkin Mata" and "Aikin Mata" were staged by the 200 and 400 level(s) students of the department of the Theatre and Film Arts, University of Jos. The women apparently tired of the men's continuous dominance of the political space, failure of leadership manifesting in crises, lack of portable drinking water, poor health facilities and bad condition of the education sector among other things prompted women to begin to think-out-of-box.   They embark on sex strike which forces men to step aside and allow women to rule over them, and they quickly get their husbands lie down their arms in the interest of peace and progress of the larger society.                                                                                                     The plays were adaptations of a Greek play, Lysistrata which was based on the Trojan war and written by a renowned playwrights Iyorwuese Hagher (Mulkin Mata) and Tony Harrison and Simon James, directed by Victor Anaclechi Anyagu and Ellison Damkap respectively of the Department of Theatre and Film Arts, University of Jos.                                                               
The playwrights adapt the plays to suit the Nigeria and Africans crises and unstable economic situation, using sex strike to address security challenges bedevilling Nigeria and African continent's unstable economic situation. The plays perfectly painted the picture of the agony of women in any crisis situation which they often lose their children, husbands and sometimes being raped as well as x-ray the Africa instability of economic situation charaterized by constant men who are entrusted with leadership responsibility often loot the nation's resources and invest same overseas.  The students present the audience with uncertain issues that compelled the women to embark on sex strike; thus denying their husbands and lovers sex and even stay away from their respective matrimonial homes strategizing on how to dethrone the men which they did in the two plays.   Alhaji Usmanu in the "Multin Mata" took over power from men through barrel of guns thereby imposing herself as the military head of government and upon her emergence as the head of government, she dashed decrees prohibiting sexual intercourse thus, anybody found making love to his/her lover such a person will be sentenced to death by firing squad, ordered for the reversal of domestic work to men though, child bearing and raring may not be possible.                                                                                                     The head of government stressed that the ban on sexual intercourse would only be lifted when the economy improves and those that looted African money and fled to other continents and invest there must be brought back to Africa and the monies are recovered. There will be nothing for men.     Alhaji Saleh and a Professor who both served as Ambassador and other positions represents typical Africans leaders who loot the Africa resources and invest in the economy of other continents and once in a while visit the continents and enjoyed themselves with white ladies.                    
  Interestingly, the plays perfectly captured a situation where those saddled with leadership positions invest aboard thereby strengthening the foreign countries economies and destroying the Nigeria economy with result manifesting in the endemic diseases, especially in rural areas.   Hagher utilises the Lysistratan theme of sex strike for the purpose of social change, economic and political liberation and equality in African society where women are relegated to background and discarded, all forms of dictatorship and misrule by few individuals entrusted with leadership position and advocate for collaborative leadership where all and sundry irrespective of their religion, ethnic and political affiliation should be given sense of belonging in government.
 However, the "Aikin Mata" directed by Ellison Damkap, under the leadership of Magajiya dethrone men through civil means leading to the capturing of the Alkila who represents the head of government.  The women after capturing the Alkila, took an oath under the watchful eyes of their leader, Magajiya vowing never to make love with their husbands until the economy improves and men lay down their arms. But kwaranga who cannot bear the absence of his wife, Mariya and the persistence urge for sex, storms the women's camp in search of his wife and on meeting the leader of the women (Magajiya), he without any pretence begs his wife to come back home for them to continue their night game of lovers.  Mariya insists that she would not let him make love with her or even return home with him until he initiates a treaty between the warring North and South to end the lingering crisis between the duo.  The signing of the treaty by the Northern and Southern Ambassadors led to peaceful resolution of the war and the women's return to their various matrimonial homes and handed over the mantle of leadership to their husbands.                                                                                                  
 The Commander of the Special Task Force on Jos-Plateau crises, Major General Henry Ayoola who represented the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Admiral Ola Saad Ibrahim watched the theatrical performances of the "Mulkin Mata" which literarily means "Women's Reign" and "Aikin Mata" at the Open Air Theatre of the University of Jos was part of the activities line-up to mark the 26th convocation ceremony of the institution. The play "Aikin Mata" was very interesting because the playwright seeks to bring about lasting solution to the desperate situation of war and disintegration using sex strike, as a symbol and weapon towards the attainment of lasting peace and unity in Nigeria, suggesting that if all Nigerians regardless of gender play their parts in the struggle for justice and peace, Nigeria would be a best place to live.                                                                                                  The University of Jos, "Open Air Theatre" was full to capacity as dignitaries from the government cycle, academia, students, parents and guardians, the media, military chiefs both serving and retired; old students of the Department of Theatre and Film Arts as well as businessmen and women watchd the play performance.                                                                                                   
The dignitaries who graced the occasion generally expressed joy with the performances and commended the new Head of the Department of Theatre and Film Arts Associate Professor Tor Ioropuu for introducing new innovation into annual convocation by bringing drama and other activities which they noted was an improvement on the previous convocation pre-activities.                                     However, the Directors of "Mulkin Mata" and "Aikin Mata" Anyagu and Damkap said the process leading to the staging of the plays was a difficult as it took them months of intensive rehearsals with their students but thanked God for the success recorded at the end.                                                                                      According to them, the plays exposed corrupt practice in the African society and abuses of power which prompted the women in the plays text to embark on sex strike and dethrone men as well as reversing domestic work to men while the women pilot the affairs of the African continent with Alhaji Usmanu as the representative of women at helm of affairs.                                                     
The Vice Chancellor of the University,  Professor Hayward Babale Mafuyai after watching the performances remarked that since the outbreak civil hostility in Plateau State and some parts of the country, theatrical performance has proven to capable of advocating for peace and good governance and the military has failed in restoring peace to Nigeria. He therefore, directed that the Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution of the university which has been collaborating with Royal Neitherland should begin to work with the Department of Theatre Arts by visiting the affected communities staging drama that advocate or preaches the need for peaceful co-existance amongst Nigerians irrespective of the ethnic, religion and political affiliation.                                                                                                        To further encourage the Department, Professor Mafuyai announced the commencement of Bachelor of Arts in Music stressing that "Our Students are excelling in the performative industry: Film, Theatre, Dance, Music and the Media," stressing that the university's senate has approved the commencement of a Bachelor of Arts programme in Music in the Department of Theatre and Film Arts in order to complement the Choral group.  The Vice Chancellor equally inaugurated the University Choral Group and Dance Troupe as part of activities line-up to mark the university's 26th convention, described theatrical performances as vital tool for conflict resolution assuring that he would encourage the department to continue to advocate for peace.   However, the Head of Department of Theatre and Film Arts, University of Jos Professor Tor Ioropuu, said the plays "Mulkin Mata and Aikin Mata" were clearfully selected with the purpose of letting the world know that it is possible to achieve peace in Nigeria and that both men and women have a role to play in the restoration of peace. Ioropuu said department is a creative and imaginative one and they exploiting ways of generating funds for the university and department through the Dance Troupe saying "The thinking is that sooner or later people will be hiring the troupe and we are ready to compete with the council of arts favourably." He said the series of activities put in place by the department preparatory to the 26th Convocation was a platform to showcase talents in the department and to entertain dignitaries.     

Intrigues as FG rebrands National Theatre

Plans made to spice up a theatre are usually geared towards meeting the demands of its stakeholders.  ADA DIKE looks at how Federal Government’s recent plan to follow the National Theatre’s original master plan has provoked curiousity.

The world of theatre all over the world has flourished to include many facets. Some to spice up shows to capture the interest of the viewers and more importantly, to ensure that the environment where plays and other interesting shows take place is conducive and modern to attract a large number of target audience.
For the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, which the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, has approved the development of her land in accordance with the original master plan with infrastructures which include a five-star hotel, shopping mall, multi-level car park, land and water restaurant, offices and so on, observers agreed that the arrangement will boost socio-economic activities there if the project is judiciously executed.
Some people describe the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, as a lonely planet that needs neighbours. This monumental edifice supposed to be bubbling with activities on daily basis, but there was no event on the day this reporter visited National Theatre, except administrative activities going on in different offices and about four people doing rehearsal inside it.
Under a tree within the premises, two men were selling artworks including beads of different kinds and shapes, as three ladies and a middle age man purchased assorted beads from them. Few metres from there, a handful of students from the Universal Studio of Arts were under an almond tree, drawing beautiful masterpieces using paints and brushes on canvas.
A source who pleaded anonymity complained that the only two busy spots at the Theatre premises were customised kiosks where food vendors were busy attending to their numerous customers who purchased drinks and foods and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), where companies hold their annual general meeting and other special event take place.
He claimed that all the activities being seen within the premises supposed to be happening inside the theatre that is why government planned to transform the theatre.
He stresses: “Imagine an agency whose job is to gather and disseminate news has turned their media centre to an event centre, where many individuals and oraganisations pay stipend to host their annual general meetings, conferences, thereby making money at the detriment of the theatre. Some refreshment centres there are also making millions naira on a daily basis due to the number of people that patronize them while few events are being hosted inside the gallery. Why should we fold our hands and continue to watch all these things happening when at the actual sense, all these events supposed to be happening inside the gallery?  Where do they expect the theatre to make money from for her maintenance? Individuals and organisation patronise them, thinking that it would be expensive to hire a space inside the theatre. No, it is cheaper. We want to take National Theatre to the next level to make it one of the best tourist centres in the world. The Lagos Rail Mass Transit Project Blue line being constructed by Lagos State Government under a public
private partnership (PPP), from Marina to Okomaiko passes through the National Theatre. So many tourists will stop by and relax at the hotel, attend shows at the theatre before leaving Lagos.
Commenting the rumour concerning the turning of the theatre to a hotel, this anonymous speaker said he’s surprised with the way people mis-interpret issues without confirming the truth from the right source.  He said that the Minister for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, and The General Manager of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, Mr. Kabir Yusuf have granted interviews and had a press conference where they explained that there is no plan by the government to turn the National Theatre to a hotel. “There was a time we were constructing entrance and exit gates to improve security system in the National Theatre, people misconstrued our gesture said we wanted to be collecting toll fee.  That is not fair,” he said.
Daily Newswatch tried to find out from some of the organisations that were given quit notice about their next plan, but most of them declined comment, saying the organisations they are working for are funded and established by government so they cannot comment on that.
Meanwhile, Registrar and Chief Executive of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Alhaji Garba Kankarofi said that government did not give quit notice to APCON because it is situated at the edge of the premises. He said:  “The director said they are dealing with internal issues. What makes it internal is the master plan. The quit notice, according to what I learnt, affected the offices that are within the area they want to develop. Whoever said that APCON was giving a quit notice is not saying the truth.”
But, the Head of News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Lagos, Mr. Isaac Ighure said he had rumours to that effect, “but they are not rumours that I can confirm. Colleagues from other establishments around here granted an interview concerning the issue but when we tried to verify their claims, we could not find any document. Even an official of one of the establishments who promised to get the letter from Abuja did not bring it.
“I head the Lagos office of NAN, my management has not received anything to that effect so I want to believe that it is not true. You may wish to know that NAN has been here since 1976. It was established by decree 19 of 1976 and we became fully operational in 1978. It was from here our headquarters actually moved to Abuja under General Sani Abacha Administration. I shouldn’t be in a position to comment on this because I expect information from my headquarters on this kind of issue. My managing director should be able to throw more light on this issue if you contact her,” he said. But Daily Newswatch’s effort to speak to NAN’s managing director was not successful.
At the Nigerian Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Lagos, students were in their classes studying while some staff members at the Admin section were busy with their works. Commenting on the issue of relocating their office, Director, NICO Lagos Zonal Office, Mrs. Brigitte Yerima, who took over from Prince Bamidele Olusa, said she has just resumed newly and does not know anything about it. “I heard that a letter was brought here and was forwarded to Abuja.”
The Assistant Director, Admin of National Council for Arts & Culture ((NCAC) also known as Artistes’ Village, Mr. Patrick Ajufo, said he could not comment on the issue “because the letter of relocation did not come to me. But, I believe that the issue is internal because we are employees of the federal government. He referred the reporter to Zonal Head of NCAN, Mrs. Abana who also declined commenting on the issue comment.
Recall that the 37-year-old edifice was inaugurated on September 30, 1976, by the then Military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo, and was commissioned few months before the Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77) in January/February 1977.
Shaped like a military hat, the 5000-seater theatre’s main Hall has a collapsible stage, and two 700-800 capacity cinema halls all of which are equipped with facilities for simultaneous translation of eight languages.
In 2001, the then president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo announced plans to privatize the National Arts Theatre and this sparked controversy amongst Nigerian entertainers and playwrights including Professor Wole Soyinka.
Consequently, the recent Federal Government’s plan to engage Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the management of the facility was greeted with protests  and outcry after a quit notice was issued to National Gallery of Arts (NGA), National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN). Many people accused the government of turning the theatre to a hotel, while some people became sceptical, alleging that few people might be interested in building structures in the theatre premises.
Sources stressed that often times, they would hear that government has privatised a project or property and few individuals would end up using pseudo names to acquire such property for themselves.
But, Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, earlier debunked that allegation and said that Transaction Advisor was engaged, to, among others give Transaction Advisory Services for the application of Public-Private Partnership option for the delivery of the necessary services on the land.
He also said that a committee that consisted of representatives of the Federal Ministry of Housing, Infrastructural Regulations Committee and Surveyor General, was set up in September 2012, to look into the possibility of Public Private Partnership (PPP) in the management of the facility and revealed that the committee engaged VGL Consultants, a foreign consulting firm, to look into ways of turning around the surroundings of the theatre.
“The theatre ground had empty space with smelly water, which should be rehabilitated and the land turned into a five-star hotel, a shopping mall, offices, leisure spots and car parks. This was designed 37 years ago, when the theatre was built but because of lack of funds, the plan did not come up,” he said.
The General Manager of the National Theatre, Mr. Kabir Yusuf also revealed that the main bowl of the National Theatre needs about N4 billion to put it back in shape but there is no fund to make it work. “All over the world, no theatre stands alone. So, we have to source for funds, we can’t allow an edifice like that to die just like that. It is a symbol of culture,”
He was asked if they have made any arrangement for the organisations that were asked to vacate from the premises and he said many of them have submitted letters of “Submission of Nominal Roll” for allocation of spaces where the management earlier planned to make available for them.
Stressing further, he said that the affected offices have their headquarters in Abuja, that the offices they are occupying in Lagos are shanty houses and the land belongs to National Theatre.
“All the structures they occupied in the National Theatre are temporary structures. The government did not wake up one day and decided to build a hotel, shopping mall and a car park at the National Theatre.”
He showed the reporter a voluminous bound document that proved that the idea was documented in April 1983. “The contractors will build these structures and use for 20 years to recoup their money, after which it becomes government property.”
Observers therefore, advised the government to ensure that the arrangement is done with transparency to enable both Nigerians and foreigners derive maximum satisfaction from National Theatre.

National Theatre

Artistes Village

National Arts Gallery

Chief Duke

Mass rail blue line

Students working under a tree

Artist uses celebrities’ paintings to draw costumers

His workshop and gallery are situated on a roof top near where he displayed some of his works along Medical Road, Ikeja, Lagos.  One spectacular thing that attract passersby to Fem Creator’s displayed works showed that he derived satisfaction in painting and showcasing works on entertainment celebrities with a few works on President Goodluck Jonathan, dancers, seascape and so on.
Born Femi Ayodele, he learnt the art of painting in 2000 from Mr. Ayo Badeji Ajagbe in Mushin and set up his own gallery in 2005.
Ayodele is a very business minded person. In order to make a successful career in painting, he decided to do works mostly on celebrities which he used to attract buyers. Notable ones among his works are paintings of Nollywood actresses: Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Genevieve Nnaji, Funke Akindele-Oloyede, and Stephanie Okereke-Linus.

Others are painting of popular musicians including 2Face, D’Banj and Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
He sheds light on why he chose celebrities as his unique selling proposition: “Art business is a very competitive one, since my location is a very busy road in the heart of Lagos, I thought of strategies that would help me to break even in my career and decided to display works on celebrities. Though, nobody has bought any of the celebrities’ work from me, when people see them, they know I am good so they give me work. In a nutshell, I use them for advertisement,” Femi said.
He express gratitude to God for guiding Him to choose his career and said he has a lot of costumers who visit his gallery on a daily basis to admire his works, give him work or purchase artworks.
“I have a lot of costumers and people come from all walks of life to patronise me. Since I don’t have any other job apart from painting, I put a lot of effort to do my work so that it will look attractive. Similarly, the prices of my works are competitive, depending on the size of the work, but the cheapest work in my gallery is fifty thousand naira (N50, 000.00).”
The Akure, Ondo State born artist revealed that they were four apprentices during his four years training, but he is doing better than them, presently. The 30-year-old bachelor also said he couldn’t further his education after schooling in Ilupeji Grammar School, Oshodi, Lagos due to finance so he went to learn how to do visual work immediately he left secondary school. He has never regretted doing his work and hoped to do exhibition before the year runs out.
 Fem is confident and aspires to be one of the best artists in Nigeria in the next five years and believed that his contribution towards the promotion of Nigeria’s rich culture and tradition through art would continue to boost Nigeria’s economic growth.

Monday, 27 May 2013

King’s College wins maiden edition of City of Lagos Monopoly Tournament

L-R Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (CBN Governor) Nimi Akinkugbe (CEO, Bestman Games)

 Habib Rabiu of King’s College has emerged as the winner of the 2013 maiden edition of annual City of Lagos Edition of Monopoly Tournament held last Friday at the TerraKulture, Victoria Island, Lagos, .
Rabiu was presented with a sum of One Million Naira (N1, 000, 000) by Stanbic IBTC Plc’s Managing Director, Sola David Borha.
The one-day maiden competition which featured students from King’s College and Queen’s College was used as a tool to present basic lessons in resource management by educating participating students, about the importance of financial literacy and the encouragement of personal financial responsibility from an early age.
It also highlighted the increasing success of the Fast Dealing Property Trading Game in Nigeria that has continued to receive resounding applause amongst enthusiasts. In light of its achievements since Bestman Games launch by His Excellency, Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola in December 2012, Monopoly, according to the Chief Executive Officer of Bestman Games, Nimi Akinkugbe, has proven to be more than a board game.
 The City of Lagos Edition Monopoly Tournament was organized by Bestman Games, the exclusive distributor in Africa with the rights to produce ‘local’ editions of Monopoly, the world famous board game owned by Hasbro, with the support of First Bank of Nigeria Plc, GTBank Plc, the Lagos State Government and Stanbic IBTC Pensions Managers Limited.
The tournament was well attended by many visitors including students, teachers and some special surprise guests including the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the
immediate past Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr.
Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), among others.