Tuesday, November 10, 2009



Reading The Nation Of Poverty

Date: November 13-15, 2009

Venue: National Theatre, Lagos

Time: 9am - 6pm daily

FEATURING: • Panel Discussions • Dialogues • Conversations




9am: The Green Festival Opens Featuring CATE and the Children workshops

11am: Opening of Festival Exhibitions: CLOSURES and DISCLOSURES

12noon: Mentoring The Young:
Theme: The Book In My Life - Mentoring Kids By Funmi Iyanda

What's In The Book? Three Student Finalists from Our Teenage Book

Review Sessions (Book Trek) Discuss School Texts:
• J.C. DeGraft's Sons and Daughters
• Chimamanda Adichie's Purple Hibiscus
• Eghosa Imasuen's To St Patrick

Guest Writer: Eghosa Imasuen
Prize award to The Most Literate Student Of The Book Trek

4PM: COLLOQUIUM: Theme: Can A Book Make You Rich?.

Reviews, readings and discussions of:
• Wale Adeduro's Billionnaires Go To School,
• Tom Friedman's The World Is Flat
• Ogbo Awoke Ogbo's Financial Freedom For The Youth
*Richard Branson's Business Stripped Bare.

Proposed discussants:
Wale Adeduro, Bayo Akinpelu (ex Director, Chevron), Ogbo Awoke Ogbo, Edna Agusto (M.D. Manna Books).
Moderated By: Deji Toye

6PM: REVIEWS: Folk Tales, Moonlight Stories and Contemporary Literature:
Do Today's writers still get inspirations from Grandma's storytelling?
Reviews and Discussions of:
• Nnedi Okoroafor Mbachu's Zarah The Windseeker,
• K. Sello Duker's The Hidden Star
• Ahmadou Korouma's Allah Is Not Obliged
Proposed discussants: Tade Ipadeola, Chike Ofili, Kola Fabiyi, Sewedo Nupowaku,

Moderator: Lanre Idowu



Conversation around:
• Isi Joy Bewaji's Eko Dialogue,
• Teju Cole's One Day Is For The Thief,
• Odia Ofeimun's Lagos Of The Poets
• Sefi Ata's Swallow
Proposed discussants: Ore Somolu, Tolu Ogunlesi, Claire Odia,
Odia Ofeimun

Why I Publish What I Publish
10 Publishers present 10 authors who discuss their books
BOOK PRESENTATIONS by new and old Writers

* Segun Sofowote @ 70
* Frank Okonta @ 70
* Sammy Olagbaju @ 70
*Mahmoud Ali Balogun @ 50
* Nobert Young @ 50
*Afolabi Adesanya @ 50
* Segun Ojewuyi @ 50
*George Uffot @ 50
*Edmund Enaibe @ 50
* Kunle Adeyemi @ 50

Music By:
Fatai Rolling Dollar

DAY 3:

11am: Youth Conference: Creativity and Empowerment
Featuring a panel of young Creative Artistes, and Art Managers, Art Entrepreneurs
Convened by: Positive Development Foundation, PDF & Youth Bank

How savvy marketing can snuff out bootlegged art:
• Featuring a panel of Culture and Art Producers, managers and entrepreneurs

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The US-based Actor, Theatre Director, and currently Head of Directing at the Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Prof. Segun Ojewuyi, was 50 on Monday, June 15. Typical of the activist theatre man, he literally ‘directed’ all his friends not to as much as utter a word about his attainment of golden age. But trust the artistes community to ‘obey’ orders (only in reverse), even from the most insistent director of Ojewuyi’s calibre, they still went ahead to celebrate the man, who has done much to put theatre directing on a high pedestal. The tributes, which were collected from colleagues, friends and admirers from across the ocean -- spanning Nigeria, United Kingdom and the United States, were collated by Florida US-based Culture activist and photo-documentarist, KOLE ADE-ADUTOLA, who told The Guardian that he embarked on the project as a ‘way of encouraging the proper narration and documentation of the history of contemporary art practice in Nigeria”. Ade-Odutola, who in the nineties, championed the formation of the Coalition of Nigerian Artistes, CONA, as a platform to give a communal voice to the interest of the collective of Nigerian artistes, said he was particularly motivated to start the series of documentation, because he had noticed that some artistes or pseudo-artistes practising today, appear to be in a haste to peddle uninformed narration of the true history and struggle of the genuine members of the Nigerian artistes community -- as had been noticed in some media interviews that they (the young artistes) had granted of recent. It is necessary, said Ade-Odutola, to challenge those false stories and conclusions -- not by shouting back but by embarking on a project that would properly document the legacy and contribution of those artistes while they are still alive. Ojewuyi’s is only a starting point, promised Ade-Odutola.

Patrick-Jude Oteh, Artistic Director of the Jos Repertory Theatre

I have nothing against Segun Ojewuyi! I have always believed that there are some people that the very day they apply for a visa to leave this country called Nigeria, all the embassies should be shut down and they should be denied such visas! Segun Ojewuyi falls into this category. I mean the category of people that should not have been allowed to leave this country under any guise.
To tell the truth, the Segun’s in this category should be placed perpetually under “house arrest”. Not of the Gulag Archipelago or Ita Oko type but putting it more succinctly, they should be put under ”professional arrest”. All they require would be put at their disposal from money to wine to women to family to anything they care to name and it would be provided for them at little or no time and at no cost.
The Nigerian state is the loser for it the day I heard that Segun Ojewuyi was making preparations for a possible long sojourn in the US, my young heart bled. Why?
My thinking then and it has not changed was that ultimately, the Nigerian theatre would be the loser for it. Over the years till this very moment, my thinking has been proved right. Hopefully, it is not too late but I believe secretly that for one of Segun’s temperament, it is too late. He has tasted the forbidden fruit of an academic and a scholar who has all at his beck and call from current journals to works that challenge the brains and to colleagues whose heads are brimming with new ideas of what new experiments to conduct and what new methods of theatre theory and practice should be put into practice.
Would Segun Ojewuyi have still been content to continue to teach Aristotle as a main issue in this part of the world to students whose heads are full of the next star steps? Would he have been content to go for departmental meetings where all that is discussed is the fact that the University does not have water or diesel to power its generators? I doubt if Segun would thrive in these climes. Or to debate whether the federal government has honored an agreement it willingly signed to give the lecturers a better deal? Or who is being sexually harassed and what new tactics the students have developed to entice their lecturers or vice versa?
Segun Ojewuyi is clocking 50 in the US just be rest assured that I have nothing against Segun Ojewuyi.
Segun Ojewuyi our own bundle of intelligence, our own impatient (with mediocrity) minstrel Yes, I can rightly say that for the likes of Segun Ojewuyi, the Nigerian nation is the loser for it.
I ran into Segun Ojewuyi in the University of Ibadan. I had come in as a green eyed youngster to read a Diploma in Theatre Arts and I was determined to be the best at it. Segun I quickly found out was simply put not the best but one of the very best. He was brilliant, he was good at what he was doing and he was also very political. I think my real full consciousness of him was when he became the ATAS President. How could one forget that voice that forced you to turn and look what about the level of reasoning of his thoughts? Brilliant. I made up my mind that I was going to work with him before he leaves the department.
The opportunity came when he asked me to be his stage manager in the ATAS production of Bode Osanyin’s The Shattered Bridge which was our entry for NUTAF. Was I happy? I celebrated at the SUB with some certain rascals that I would not dare name in print – it was during the performance that I discovered something else about Segun he could be very patient! The extent of his brilliance shone very clearly in that epoch production and we all went away with mutual respect and satisfaction for ourselves and of course a healthy respect for Segun Ojewuyi.
Shortly after he left for the compulsory NYSC but he was back soon enough for his Masters, which he got in no time. I was still in the department but my eyes had opened. I remember telling my friends that if I was ever going to be ATAS President, I would model my footsteps after Segun’s reason being that he could very aptly combine his studies with his politics and still not miss a step.
Shortly after, I heard he had been employed as the resident stage manager of the Center for Creative Studies in the University of Lagos. Was I happy? I was overjoyed and I saw this only as an extension of what he had been doing at the University level.
Our paths were to cross so soon after again I was on NYSC at the PEC Repertory Theatre and shortly after the Chuck Mike revolution was to shake the nations’ theatre circuit.
I had joined Chuck Mike after the brief stint at PEC and the office we had was in USIS on Broad Street in a section that was called the American Theatre Revue Secretariat. Guess? Segun Ojewuyi was to be the assistant cultural officer in USIS and my thoughts were such that I simply felt that the combination of Chuck Mike and Segun Ojewuyi would take Nigerian theatre to its rightful position.
There was a basis for this assumption Segun had been a part of the initial ATR dream when shortly after HOME, he was to be Associate Director of all the plays for the maiden Festival of Black American Drama in 1989. He subsequently directed another play for ATR. This was during the season of African American Nigerian Drama 1991 when he directed J.C.de Graft’s Through A Film Darkly
There was a very good relationship between Segun Ojewuyi and Chuck Mike before Segun berthed at the USIS but somehow the coming of Segun to USIS did not continue this relationship with Chuck. It was almost as if from the moment he stepped into USIS, a cold war started between Chuck and Segun. I never got to know the genesis of that beautiful quarrel but the closest I believe I have seen is the falling apart of August Wilson and Lloyd Richards at the Yale Repertory Theatre. I remember trying to talk to Segun about the relationship with Chuck but he was adamant that on the long run Chuck would see reason with him. Trying to talk to my boss and friend, Chuck also met a stone wall that only said sooner or later Segun would realize the damage he is doing not only to the fledgling Collective Artistes but to the Nigerian theatre. Shortly after, our funding at USIS was stopped and ditto for Funso Alabi’s work on the theatre circuit in Nigeria. I do not believe that Segun was instrumental to the stoppage of the funding but he was merely a circumstantial participant in events over which he had no control. But this investigation will be left to history on a later date. The above did not stop or decrease my respect for Segun.
Another incident was to further increase my confusion about Segun’s temperament – this was when Odu Themes under the direction of Dr. Bode Sowande got the nod to produce Amos Tutuola’s epic My Life In The Bush of Ghosts as Nigeria’s entry to the Africa ’95 Festival in London. I had thought that it was a good one for the Nigerian theatre but Segun was at the forefront of people that opposed the play being ceded to Odu Themes instead of the National Theatre and I remember that a press conference was actually organized where Segun under the auspices of NANTAP opposed the play being produced by Odu Themes. When later we met in Lagos and I asked him about this opposition, he said there were some things in the theatre circuit that I would not understand just yet. The matter was laid to rest on that platform.
I wonder if Segun had been in Nigeria when some group of people were toying with the idea of selling the National Theatre, they would have bought “fire” aplenty from Segun Ojewuyi alone.
One would safely think that Segun Ojewuyi is a towering giant but Segun is only a little above 5ft 5ins. This I believe is his selling point there is so much energy in that frame that belies his age and restlessness.
All things considered, Segun meant well for the Nigerian theatre. He meant well for his friends and family he is only one of a rare kind. The kind of person who once an idea is conceived and he believes in it, he does not spare resources to prosecute the idea.
It was thus no surprise when I heard that he was asked to direct Akinwunmi Ishola’s adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman, which was translated into Yoruba as Iku Olokun Eshin, I went to Lagos from Ibadan for that particular production. Reason being that Segun’s works are not mere trifles they speak volumes and I was not disappointed. My interest also stemmed from one major factor I was privileged to see Segun’s final year directing project in Ibadan before graduation. It was Wole Soyinka’s Death And The King’s Horseman. Even my own productions of the play are yet to rival what our eyes beheld that night in the Arts Theatre! In all subsequent productions of that play that I have seen, I am yet to see the trance scene when Elesin dances towards death come so alive as in Segun’s own version. With the live chicken that was been used and the ‘agbe bo adie’ chant, it was simply remarkable. I was curious to see what the difference will be between the English version and the Yoruba version it was remarkable. The Yoruba version under Segun’s direction simply took its own flight and I still believe strongly that it is one of those plays that after seeing Segun’s version, other directors are intimated with trying to put up the play.
Amongst the things I believe about Segun, I believe that over the years, he must have made Tessy and the kids a good husband and father. He has always been a perfect gentleman even when in the Theatre Arts department we all had roving eyes! Do not get me wrong Segun had double roving eyes but he never threw these in anybody’s face! He was very diligent about it. I doubt if the passage of time has blunted any of these remarkable qualities, which is so much in short supply in subsequent generations.
What did the Nigerian theatre lose? We lost the vibrancy of someone who is extremely passionate about his craft and his knowledge of it not just the practice of it but also the theoretical aspect. Who are the direct losers in this? All his students in the Department of Creative Arts in the University of Lagos. We lost genuine theatre activism that is focused and embracing. These days we find a lot of people in the name of theatre or arts activism pursuing personal interests which ultimately lead the collective nowhere. We lost one of the most vibrant voices in the Nigerian theatre circuit I am sure that even if the hands of the clock were wound back by thirty years, and the Nigerian situation was in the mould of a country like Ghana, Segun would not dare dream of leaving the shores of this country but that is what this country consistently does a country that kills its young ones in their infancy. Someone like Segun would have wondered out aloud in that resonating baritone of his how do you dream in this place?
What we lost, the American society has claimed with utmost glee and I am sure that his protégées in that society are laughing at us all or out rightly sympathizing with us over our loss. But all is not lost he would be back! One notable example will suffice Segun in his characteristic generosity donated some books to the NANTAP when I saw the quality of those books I was amazed because those were the kind of books that a lot of theatre departments in Nigeria Universities crave for yet they do not get. I believe that Segun with his fertile mind must have spent time to source for those books. They were rich and I kind of know how much Tade Adekunle the then President of NANTAP spent in conveying those books to Lagos but I must report to Segun that some charlatans in the name of seeking for funds or money for NANTAP practically sold off all those books and little or nothing is left and those they could not sell they converted to their private libraries which do not in any way benefit the collective. That is part of the poverty that the likes of Segun will continue to run away from.
Segun will be 50 in June. We all rejoice with you and bid you a deserved welcome to the golden club. We are yet to see the best of your creative vibrancy I also am convinced that one day very soon you will be back here. Forget the present gloom you will rise above it, people like you always do and I am sure that if you find the situation stifling enough, your seat will always be waiting way back in the US.
Perhaps, who knows? In an uncertain society like ours should we invite you to run the National Theatre of Nigeria? What exactly will you do? Now is the time to leave legacies – yours will be rich and enduring.

Teju Kareem, Theatre Designer, managing Director, Z-Mirage Company

On this occasion of his 50th birthday, let me look back before I look forward. I remember meeting Professor Segun Ojewuyi almost 3 decades ago. Having interacted closely with him for almost a decade academically, professionally and personally, I was entranced with his writing style and directorial interpretation and jokingly started calling him “prof”. In retrospect, I was predicting the obvious. Some of our memorable collaborations are “The man who never died”, “Death and the kings horseman” and others.
Segun Ojewuyi and I also worked together as President and Secretary General respectively of NUTASA (Nigerian University Theatre Arts Students Association). His belief at that time that the future of the theatre rested on the seriousness of the student practitioners is borne out by the fact that till date, he remains in the practice not only as a theatre director but also as a professor of the thespian art. His trademark is the depth of his directorial interpretation of the plays such that even his student performances ranked at par and often rivaled professional productions. His style was inspirational such that not only the actors but even the stage designer, costumier and every other person involved were motivated to measure up to the standard that existed and which he insisted upon. Many of those who excel in the profession today are those who caught the fever of Segun Ojewuyi’s professionalism. The reputation he left behind was such that even students who joined the theatre arts department of the University of Ibadan after he left ensured that every production they put up lived up to the benchmark Segun Ojewuyi met, maintained, and improved upon by constantly bringing the consciousness of his co-students to the tradition of theatre per excellence as taught by Soyinka, Adedeji, Adelugba, Oduneye,Sofola, Sowande, Osofisan, Fatoba, Umukoro and a host of others, whose immense concern for the reputation of theatre practice at the University of Ibadan and the academic success of its students pushed us to the edge so much so, that we cynically wondered if our success would result in some personal gain for these theatrical heavyweights; the league to which Segun Ojewuyi now rightly belongs in the far away land of the United States of America.

Ayo Oluwasanmi: Producer, Director

HOW do you describe someone that even if you don’t see for years is always there playing his normal role in your life. Segun Ojewuyi, l know and very much so too that if l must confess whatever l say about him is going to be subjective but be that as it may, l will try.
Segun and l must have met shortly before FESTAC 77 while he was with the University of Lagos Centre for cultural studies and l was with the Unibadan Masques of the Dept. of Theatre Arts University of lbadan.
We were working on a production of Bode Osanyin’s The Shattered Bridge and l played the role of Daodu while in the UNILAG version of the same play, Segun played the lead role of Lawuwo.
Segun has been the friend as they say who constantly looks out for each other and can look at you straight in the face and say it as it is, that, l enjoy more than anything in Segun. l remember at a time when what would have become our very first and testy quarrel came l never even allowed Segun to hear a thing about it. Segun was at the USIS then and people came to me to tell me how he vowed never to give me the opportunity to travel to America because he was in charge of who goes for the exchange or not but unknown to people Segun and l discuss virtually all subjects on earth and that singular occasion made me realize that in life we need to be wary at all times. Is this not one of the reasons that lead to disharmony in homes and nations too? As I reflect on the past I can say without equivocation that one does not pick one’s friends who are unique in one’s life; God does. I lived with Segun at Gbagada and at that period was the time the changes in our lives from boy to men started to unfold and we never had a day of acrimony.

Tade Adekunle, ex-President, NANTAP

I met Segun Ojewuyi in 1995, a solid ten year after Kole Ade-Odutola met him. He came back for his Master’s programme at the University of Ibadan and before then a lot has been said about him with respect to his final year project which was a production of Wole Soyinka’s Death And the King’s Horseman. It was a reference point even for some of us that did not see the production. We were told that he is one student that dared to tread where other students fear to.
I came to admire him while acting under his directorial guidance in Bode Osanyin’s The Shattered Bridge, the production was later taken to National Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF) in Zaria (1996). While other student directors laboured to defend their productions, it was accolades from various quarters for Segun’s interpretation of the play. I worked with him again in Lola Fani Kayode’s Mind Bending where he was assistant director, I assisted him in ITD production of Femi Osofisan’s Morountodun (1991) and we both worked together on a collage of different Wole Soyinka’s plays for Collective Artists season of plays in 1992.
Various actors he worked with know that you have to justify your action at any point in time and be consistently faithful to your interpretation of words and actions as agreed or else you may see the other side of him. This is the time you will wonder whether Segun wants to grow taller than he really his.
Though trained under the tutelage of such erudite scholars like Prof Dapo Adelugba, Prof Yinka Adedeji, Carol Dawes, Prof Ebun Clark etc, he has carved out a clear identity for himself that even before he left the shores of Nigeria, he commanded respect not only as a director but also has a theatre critic who has a clear understanding and opinion of theatre beyond the shores of Nigeria. He is a man who combines theory with practical.
Segun Ojewuyi has a great character that even if you disagree with his view point you will still admire him for his eloquence in marshalling his view points.

Akin Adesokan: Turning tragedy of exile into positive theatrical tool

SOME years ago, during a telephone conversation, Segun Ojewuyi and I talked about the meanings of exile. It was one of those probing conversations which arise from a certain kind of sense of loss, but which, agonizing being pointless, end up as an affirmation of life. We were both of the opinion that though it was tragic to be forced out of one’s home by the kind of conditions contemporary African migrants know so well, one had to turn that tragedy into a positive tool. We agreed that there were children being brought up in Lagos by parents who were born in other places: what home would they claim when they grew up? Who knew where they would grow up?
I’ve thought about that conversation many times since 2001, and must confess that I’m more conflicted now than I was at the time. It is true that Nigeria has both lost and gained from the mass self-scattering of its citizens to different parts of the world in the last twenty years. The gain may even have outstripped the loss from an economic point of view, Nigeria being the second African country (after Egypt) with the highest remittances. But, as Africans say, “Money makes one wealthy, but wealth in humans is of a higher value.” Although people have left their homes from time immemorial in order to make a better life for themselves, the implications of migration in our time are very different, and unless something drastic is done to reverse the trend, I doubt that Nigeria (or any of the other countries) will ever recover from those implications. We have not recovered from the scandalous tragedy of the slave trade.
Segun Ojewuyi is a fine, accomplished theater director, among the best in his generation. The man knows his onions from the inside leaf out. Theater is in a serious crisis in Nigeria at the moment. The other day, in another conversation, we tried to take a stock of the active theater companies in the country. Apart from Patrick-Jude Oteh’s Jos Repertory Theater, and the fledgling initiative by Yemi Akintokun at the New Culture Studio in Ibadan, the only other company we noted was the group led by Wole Oguntokun in Lagos. There may be others, surely, but that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the argument that theater is in crisis in Nigeria. For the crisis is a symptom of something deeper: the degradation of social life in the country at large. Ojewuyi has remained highly productive as head of directing at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois, and he is involved in other productions elsewhere, as far afield as Oregon and Florida. Last year, he put up a production of Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman, seen by the playwright, and as the performance progressed, one kept wishing that he had done this in Lagos!
And one wishes he were working in Nigeria at this crucial turn of his life, engaging the traditions that have shaped him, and of which he is very, very proud. I wish he were because I wish I was, too. What a difference that would make, provided one could work under the present conditions! There’s a school of thought, which holds that the best way to relate to a tradition in which one is deeply invested is to depart from it. You glimpse this philosophy in Soyinka’s The Strong Breed, when Eman says, “A village which cannot produce its own carriers contains no men.” But you have to have that tradition in yourself, as the German writer Theodor Adorno, says, to know how to hate it properly. Currently, Nigerian theater artists are in the process of celebrating the life and work of the distinguished theater director, Professor Dapo Adelugba, who trained Ojewuyi and numerous others. The enthusiasm for the events, slated for December 2009, has been incredible and unprecedented, an uncanny compensation for the state of things in the theatre profession. Adelugba turned seventy in March. Will there be a platoon as dedicated and involved as this when it is Ojewuyi’s turn?
Ojewuyi comes from an illustrious family of alarinjo, the masquerade artists, in Ikirun, Osun State. His grandsires became Nigerians because that was the British order of their day. He is now the father of American children, and though he is committed to the US in a way his grandsires were not required to be committed to Nigeria, he is also interested in making those children know that they have a home elsewhere.
That is a cause for celebration; it is as important as turning 50, and hopefully it offers a provisional answer to the question in the previous paragraph.
Here’s a song for the celebrant:
m eleegun ni wa o e e m eleegun ni wa o a a, Awa la s’oje ma ma b’oja je o
Omo eleegun ni wa! Happy birthday

Kole Ade-Odutola: Close –up with Mind Bending

I met Ojewuyi many years ago around 1985 or there about, at the Centre for Cultural Studies, UNILAG, later I became the mid-night photographer for Ajo fest and Segun played one of the roles in the written by Fred Agbeyegbe and adapted for stage by Jide Ogungbade plays. I may not have all the pictures but I promise to re-construct what my camera saw during those long nights of rehearsals.
The last semi professional contact I had with him was when I worked as the ‘production house boy’ on Lola Fani Kayode’s TV series: Mind Bending. He was LFK’s right hand man (the assistant director) since both finished at UI and I finished at UNIBEN, you can imagine!!! Yes oooo, I learned a lot from these two brilliant minds...so that is part of my story and I promise to keep writing...but I want to invite you all to this initiative.

Laide Olaniyan: The Segun Ojewuyi I know

MY first contact with Segun was in 1981 as a young banker transitioning to the thespian art-a crazy choice then … for all my friends who thought I had a brilliant career in banking ahead of me. To me, he was the kampala or adire wearing baritone voiced diminutive trouble maker who was intensely popular among his mates. Closer contact changed my opinion well made my opinion more positive. Segun was a lecturer’s delight and friend and inspiration to other students. Forget the escapades! Tessy I hope you are not reading this…we all had some adventurous times before our spouses of today came in. How time flies this was before Yetunde met Sola Fosudo. Yes some of us were old enough to know the beginning of certain things. Happy 20th Anniversary Sola and Yetunde.
Not to forget Segun’s matter as I write this short note in the early hours of June 15 2009 (in my house in North Carolina US ) when this Professor of Theatre Arts turns 50.
I remember Segun who on my migration to Lagos during NYSC in 1988 gave me an opportunity to perform on the National Theatre Stage The Man Who Never Died. Before then, Ojewuyi had marvelous outing with Ajofest. It is getting to look like ages now. The nocturnal rehearsals somewhere in a shed near a dingy guest house in Ebute Metta… Ayo Oluwasanmi where are you? Then the MA year, the NUTASA Presidency that was won and handed over to Sola Fosudo. He presented and fought for my selection for the post of Financial Secretary of NUTASA. I remember the smile on his face when I told him I had facilitated the opening of the first ever bank account for NUTASA before Zik Okafor and Sola Fosudo edged me out No harm meant oooo. And his disappointment about that regime. He said I warned you all. But then he still supported us. Segun you will remember your coffee flask in a Video studio in Ojuelegba where you did V/O for my Documentaries for Dotun Adegbola’s Teleprom.
And when fate brought us together again in US where we both live now we spoke from 1100PM to 5.00 AM one night in 2006. Segun you came to my house later in 2006, travelled thousands of air miles and abandoned your hotel accommodation to stay with me. Remember our meeting after many years at the Greensboro Air port and it was same vintage Segun that I met again. We spoke last week and your sense of humor is still as sharp as it used to be. Wasee Kareem come over to US if you can and let us celebrate this young man that indulged you and Henry Foluso in your Kuti Hall days. Ayo Oluwasanmi come over some day let us celebrate your brother and roommate of many years at Agbowo, Gbagada and may be, Idi oro.
Happy Birthday, My Friend ,My Brother and the only Professor of Theater Arts that I know in USA. Omo Baba Ojewuyi ni Ikirun, Bi eguugun ba pegba Ologbojo ni Baba won. Pele o Ose ndagba Oje..na nuu. Igba Odun, Odun Kan Mo gbadura pe ko ma ti inu ola de inu ola. Mo mo Oje tire ti wa fehin ti Jesu Oduro gboin gboin. Egun Alare se ti nkorin igbala oni sise Wa dagba, Wa fowoo pawu . A o dijo ma gburo ara wa pe titi kanrin kese. Ireoo!

More on www.dapoadelugba70.com


Monday, March 9, 2009

To Our Own Very Baba ADELUGBA... at 70

Today, i am swimming in emotion. I have been like this in the past two weeks since the arrival of the 70th birthday anniversary of 'my own very father' in many respects, Dapo Adelugba, dawned on me. But today my cup of deep emotional introspection runneth over.... i am lost at words on how to pay the most deserving tributes to my Mentor, My Teacher, My Guardian, My Guider, My Uncle, My Father... a man, whom, of all the men i have met in my short 40something sojourn here, has meant more than a god to me...

My father is 70 today, and i am in the deep trying to dig out those words... oh, were my grandmother -- Iya Ilaro-- to be alive today... she would have blessed me with those timeless Yoruba wise sayings with which to pay homage to one who is very much responsible for my person today...
While at this deep search, here is what i sent as sms to Uncle Dapo Adelugba, my own very Baba:








(more are still coming in, and will surely come as many of the students in different parts of the world, begin the teething steps towards a grand celebration of Adelugba in DECEMBER)

Adelugba: Toasting The 'Baba' Of Theatre @ 70

BORN on March 9, 1939, Professor Dapo Adelugba had his education at the University College, Ibadan where he studied English. While at the university, apart from taking part in a lot of productions such as Wole Soyinka's Swamp Dwellers, where he acted as the Blindman, he was president of University College, Ibadan Dramatic Society, where he adapted Moliere's Les Fourberies de Scapin (The Trickeries of Scapin) to That Scoundrel Suberu. In 1964, he submitted his Master's degree dissertation at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he wrote on Nationalism and the Irish Theatre. He later joined the teaching services of the University of Ibadan, where he retired in 2004. He is currently with the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. As part of the celebration of his 70th birthday anniversary (which falls due tomorrow), former and current students of Theatre Arts in all the Nigerian universities, as well as other theatre practitioners whose careers have been affected by the work of Adelugba, have started mobilising resources and energies towards the celebration, which is scheduled for December. Among other activities, play productions, conferences and lectures have been scheduled. Also planned is a A Nite of Tributes and production of a short documentary film on his life and work. A call has gone out for a Festschrift (tributes, essays) on the theme: The Adelugba I Know, Theatre Practice in Nigeria: Celebrating Dapo Adelugba, which is scheduled for launch in December.


A toast to Uncle D @ 70 and to his birthday "daughter mate", Francesca Duro-Oni @ 53.

My first contact with Prof. Dapo Adelugba was in the very early 70s as a young student in the Department of Theatre Arts at Ibadan, which had just metamorphosed from the then School of Drama. He certainly was not the "Baba" that is being celebrated now but a dashing young "Uncle D" who was the favourite of the lecturers. He took us out regularly on social outings and the price we had to pay, sometimes, was pushing his green Volkswagen car back to campus! Somehow the car didn't seem to start after a few drinks!

He was certainly the quintessential lecturer of directing, acting, dramatic literature and criticism. His directorial skills when we came in was manifest early when in 1971he directed the J.M. Synge plays; The Tinkers Wedding and Riders to the Sea and the epic production of Wale Ogunyemi's Kiriiji with a cast that included Tunde Oloyede (Fabunmi), Niyi Osundare (Aduloju) and yours truly as Ogunmodede who had to ride a live horse on stage!

Professor Adelugba's contemporaries at Ibadan have included, over the four decades that he spent there, Professors Geofrey Axworthy, Wole Soyinka, Joel Adedeji (late), Martin Banham, Demas Nwoko, Dexter Lyndersay (late) Funmilayo Ajayi (nee Sowunmi), Bayo Oduneye, Prof. Femi Osofisan and Dr. Sunbo Marinho. Others have included, Dr. Bode Sowande, Drs. Jide Malomo and Femi Fatoba (both late) and a host of others; Drs Lanrele Bandele, Mathew Umukoro, Hyginus Ekwuazi and Remi Adedokun, Dr. Esohe Omoregie with Dr. Chuks Okoye. There are of course others too numerous to mention in this brief tribute.

On a professional level, Prof. Dapo Adelugba directed Langbodo, Nigeria's drama entry for the FESTAC '77 with a cast of about two hundred drawn from all over Nigeria. That production remains till date a textbook exercise on how plays should be directed. Sam Loco Efe, as the young Akara Ogun, cut his acting teeth in the production. In the late 90s, Uncle D also directed the NIB/Citibank production of J. P. Clark's Oziddi. What was significant about that particular production, which was very well funded by the bank, was that the production funds were released in four installments. First, when the rehearsals were to start; second midway through the rehearsals and third when the group was ready to arrive Lagos and the fourth and last at the end of the production. By the time Adelugba and his team arrived Lagos, he had only collected the first installment!

I recall a personal encounter with the kolanut-chewing, gala-eating and coke-drinking professor of theatre arts, when in 1984, I went to his residence on the UI campus to intimate him of my impending wedding. I knocked on the door and the unmistakable soft voice asked me to come in, which I did. Only problem was I could not find Uncle D in the room! He was embedded in literarily hundreds of books, projects, dissertations and thesis in his living room!

Trying to recall the number of students that have passed through Dapo Adelugba would be an uphill task. He meant different things to many of us, but we all agree that he was an articulate and brilliant lecturer, kind-hearted and jovial. On occasions he will run into a student who graduated several years earlier and remind him of an outstanding assignment yet to be submitted.

To date he is known to have supervised, while at Ibadan, the largest number of Ph.D's. The number of Theatre Arts Professors that he has sat on their interview panels is also too numerous to count, but they span the entuire country; from Maiduguri to Sokoto, Zaria to Ilorin, Calabar to Portharcour and Lagos! We all owe him a debt of gratitude.

On Sunday March 1, 2009, a group of former students of Prof. Dapo Adelugba met at the University of Lagos to make plans for his birthday celebrations for later in the year. The encomiums and enthusiasm was electrifying. It was an array of graduates who left in 1972 to as recent as 2004. We were all united in the celebration of a theatre icon. Some of his former students who were present included Ihria Enakimio, Wasee Kareem, Tade Adekunle, Jahman Anikulapo, Pamela Udoka, Gregory Odutayo, Longley Evru, Don Pedro-Obaseki, George Ufot, Tony Afokhai and Kemi Koyejo.

The workaholic Uncle D, or shall we join the younger generation and say "Baba D", after retirement has relocated to the Department of Drama and Theatre of the Ahmadu Bello University to continue his work with post graduate students, while still maintaining his active link with the International Theatre Institute in Paris, the International Federation for Theatre Research, Helsinki and the African Theatre Association in London.

Oni, Theater Designer and teacher, is Head of Dept of Creative Arts, University of Lagos


Dear Dapo,

Welcome to the ranks of septuagenarians - albeit several years after me! Your colleagues, in their various messages, remember and celebrate so many aspects of your life and times, and obviously the wonderful Scoundrel Suberu is often fondly recalled! I remember that, of course, but perhaps I'm one of the few who will also recall - with huge delight - your performance as the Company manager in our UI Travelling Theatre production of A (sic) Taming of the Shrew - our version of Shakespeare's comedy, directed, of course, by our great friend, the late Geoffrey Axworthy.

The opening 'joke' that you played on the audience was to come on stage and apologise for the non-arrival of the actors due to a (entirely plausible!) breakdown on the road. This provoked cries of disappointment from the audience. However, you told them, you had the scripts and a hamper of costumes, so if any of the audience would care to volunteer to come up on stage and play the parts, that would be fine! Some indeed volunteered and came up on stage, before the real actors, planted already in the audience, 'volunteered' themselves boisterously: the audience fell apart with laughter at having been tricked, and the show got off to a splendid start! And not to forget your appearance at the end of the play as 'The Widow' - so small a part that we pretended we had forgotten to cast it, and you saved the day and the play by throwing a shawl over your head and playing the part!

Fond memories! Geoffrey and I owed so much to you and your fellow students in welcoming us to Ibadan and helping us to find our feet in the rich world of Nigerian performance and culture. I have watched the growth of Theatre Arts at Ibadan over many years with great pride, and know what a considerable contribution you made to it as scholar, director and supremely - teacher. I shall open a very good bottle of wine on your birthday and drink your health!

Emeritus Professor of Drama & Theatre Studies, University of Leeds


On the Nature of Babaness - Dapo Adelugba Coming of Age

Dear Prof, this week, a number of scholars, dramatists, colleagues and students of yours will be paying tributes on the pages of newspapers, by phone and in person to celebrate your 70th birthday. I shall not be with you in Zaria, sharing your kolanut and soft drink, talking about the different directorial approaches for 'Adelugba @ 70, the Musical' or the technicalities of methodology of research in theatre. But if I cannot be there with you, it will not mean that I am absent, or that I do not care. This letter, in fact, is to inform you that my own celebration has already started. Yes, in these days, when many friends and colleagues of yours, and ours, have closed their eyes and turned their backs to the vagaries of our epileptic nationhood, it is a great accomplishment to reach that proverbial age. I remove my abeti-aja and raise my calabash of palm-wine. Palm-wine, not the beer that you taught us to drink with relish, with that unforgettable phrase - "Have another beer!"

Who can ever forget to celebrate you and what you have done for theatre in this country?

My first experience of seeing your work was on television. That was in 1977. We all gathered round the box, watching Nigeria's drama entry at the Second World Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC), watching this group of energetic young men as they quested for peace, in your interpretation of Wale Ogunyemi's Langbodo. Your version of that story reinforced my understanding of the Daniel Fagunwa original and renewed my patriotic belief in this country.

That play launched my Promethean path to do all I can for my country, at the risk of having my liver pecked to nothingness by a vulture. I am still waiting for Ogun to come and rescue me....

But, I still wondered: who put these people together? Who coordinated the tasks? Who had the ability to pose his thoughts for the appreciation of the whole world?

Posing the innermost thoughts for public contemplation, for that is what theatre is.

Many people are going to be singing your adulation this week, talking about your achievements, remarking your humility, discussing your professionalism and scholarship, wondering at your enormous stamina, ruminating at your sense of humour, speculating on where you find the time to examine theatre dissertations all over the country and perhaps, just perhaps, marvelling at your noted ability to avoid notice, to avoid confrontation and to be quietly influential.

A lot of people call you DA, Prof, Arts Director, Dapo, Daodu or Baba. This newspaper is emblazoned with "Baba" in bold frills on this your birthday. Not many people however know the origin of your "babaness", and a pica ninny lately out of diapers - that's me - is not going to start recounting the story here, Old Man Bero. But, I can admit, even proclaim, that you are a "baba" to me.

A baba cuts a figure of leadership. A leader not only leads but displays traits of followership. A leader guides with knowledge and compassion, with honesty and dignity, with love and pain, and most of the time, with the burden that his actions are going not going to be accepted, or at most, misinterpreted. It's such a lonely existence.

But you are appreciated. What did our Kongi say about you when he was nabout to embark on one of his famous "hide and seek" trips? He wrote an important letter and, risking arrest, drove to your pad in the interior of Ibadan, knowing you would know what to do. You would know what to do. That was in the 1960s during the infamous Masked Gunman episode of our "penkelemes" era. Do you recall, Silent Revolutionary? Or, do you prefer Revolutionist? I knew you would remember....

I am going to remark that unique caring nature of yours. Do you remember that day, in the faculty of Arts of the University of Ibadan, when you dropped out of a meeting you were cheering to take a student to the university clinic for an emergency treatment? You did not have to do that, but you did, saving me again from agony, as you had done many times before.

Again, many years ago now - and you have probably forgotten the incident - during the rehearsals of Wole Soyinka's Opera Wonyosi in 1988, you left Ibadan for a few hours to travel to a small village in the interior of Osun state, to see an elderly man who was ill. It was the last day of rehearsals and, frankly, we were all producing a harvest of butterflies. I was playing the role of the DeeJay.

Yet, you took some medicine and some fruits for that man. You came back to the rehearsals later in the day - only to find that some 'unteachable Ijeshaman' had not been learning his lines, and the music director couldn't find the tone of one Ibadan boy on the musical scale (neither of which was me, by the way). With your experience, you knew these tiny niggling things occur few hours before any performance.


I remember how you flew into one of your characteristic rages, biting off huge chunks of kolanut and threatening to cancel the production and hazard the professional development of fine actors, reducing some to tears and driving a few to the hiding places that only the habitu�s of the Arts Theatre know. What I remember most vividly was that twinkle at the corner of your eyes, and I knew you were only showing your 'babaness'.

A few weeks later, I found out why you missed the rehearsals. I was now angry; I could not understand why you did not tell me that my father was ill. Was it so that the show could go on? Or did you do it, like the Professor in The Road, out of the goodness of your heart? No, I didn't understand. Now, I do.

I have since found out that it is second nature to you to care, no matter the inconvenience to yourself. And that is why, on this your 70th birthday, I am having a special celebration, a mightily enjoyable 'inconvenience'.

No doubt some of your students still owe you essays and assignments, not because they are not capable, but because they are scared of those close markings that notice the un-dotted '"i" and the un-crossed "t".

They are frightened of your dreaded black pen detecting the subtle changes in inflection or thought pattern. Me? As a birthday present - which I know will delight you - I do not owe any assignments. Yippee!

DA, now that you are 70, can I ask you, as you so often do - "What's new?"

Many happy returns.

Adeyemi teaches a tthe University of Leeds


I could not agree that the above title adequately captures my tribute to a man who shaped my life, like many others who passed through his tutelage as I began writing in the wee hours of today, but write I must as a mark of honour to the one many of his younger contemporaries loved to call Uncle D, and many of his students called Baba Adelugba, even long before he turned 50!

If Baba had the privilege of being appointed a Vice Chancellor during his career, he would have been an advocate of a year-round academic calendar, simply because he loves the four walls of the Ivory Tower! Here is a man who initiated us I mean my set at Ibadan in 1988 into the Holiday Players when he was chosen to direct Wole Soyinka's Opera Wonyosi for the 40th anniversary of the University of Ibadan. Coming exactly ten years after his Festac '77 exploits, I was sure even as a theatre neophyte that he was set to make another history.

His passion for making somebody out of new and 'green' talents I the theatre is beyond comparison, as a theatre director. Baba gave me a privilege of playing the role of one of the Beggars n the play as Lawyer Alatako and I must say that I enjoyed the role and he like my interpretation, even as a 200 level student then. That opened up new vistas of opportunities to play alongside great actors like Femi Ogunjobi in the role of Emperor Bokasa, Yinka Smart-Babalola as Macheath and Sola Adeyemi, my fraternal co-traveler.

After the production, we had the rare privilege of being considered for accommodation in our respective halls of residence then, on the VC's list. I recall that as soon as three of us - my classmates: Osa Ologbosere, Tope Adeboboye and I - took the list to Zik Hall, the then Hall Warden, Dr. Tayo obeyed with immediate alacrity, telling the crowd of yelling and struggling, room seeking-students that he had to attend to the three 'VIP students' whose names came from Emeritus Prof. Ayo Banjo, the then VC. That was the extent of the man's subtle influence with the authorities on campus. It was actually his little way of appreciating the sacrifice we made by staying throughout the holiday period to put the production together. To all of us the beneficiaries, it was more than little as we were saved the harrowing experience of squatting for that session.

I don't know why Baba loves challenges. The seemingly complex and large productions such as Wonyosi was made simple for us like the scripture says in the book of Isaiah, chapter 40, verses 4 and 5, by infusing the Music Department of the neighbouring Ibadan Polytechnic to bring out the robust sense of opera in the theatrical interpretation. Some years later, in the same tradition, he took on J.P. Clark's Ozidi, one play which to me can be read as the Ijaw version of Amos Tutuola's My Life in the Bush of Ghosts and leveled the language and dramatics for another set of holiday makers. And more recently, in the wake of the Niger Delta militant uprising and kidnapping, he did a nationwide tour of All for Oil by the same author to the admiration of the viewing publics.

In the classroom, Baba was meticulous, conscientious and transparent, almost to a fault. In fact if there is any academic fit to take this country out of the morass of corruption through the ICPC (after all, he is a Justice of the Peace, JP of many decades standing), Dapo Adelugba would have been a ready choice by majority of opinion poll bloggers. He would make a sense out of nonsense submitted by his student ad would assess and grade your term paper, essay, continuous assessment, and even examination scripts even to the last decimal point, and then award you a deserving A++, B+, B-, or C+, as the case may be. As a student, I sometimes wished and preferred that he marked all our papers because he did not know how to mark his student down.

He once upon a time saved me from myself in the inadvertent use of stimulants for reading. I think I was either in 300 level or the final year. I had caught the flu of taking coffee and kolanut to drive away sleep in preparation for exams. On that fateful day, it happened that I went in for the paper; as usual, I placed my head on the desk to pray before attempting the questions. And that was all I remembered. Sleep, that shameless thief that can pilfer a child's cherished toy with impunity, crept in and took me away. After about two hours or so, I sensed a tap on my shoulder from a far away land. As I came to, I saw Baba standing by me. Understanding my predicament, he graciously offered me more time to tackle the exam paper as most of my colleagues, whom I could not blame for not waking me up earlier, had finished. He was prepared to wait on me. ALONE. What a fatherly disposition. Thank you may not be enough.

Baba was equally instrumental to a generational shift in the leadership of the old Oyo/Osun Chapter of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA, when in 1994, we sought to offer service to the body, under the aegis of Folu Oyewusi, who would be happy to be part of this celebration, Osama Ighile - all of us of the Sketch Press Limited, of blessed but unfortunate memory, Ebika Anthony, Biodun Obisesan, and a veterinary medicine student then, and a few other like minds. The erstwhile executive of the late Wale Ogunyemi, (MON), as chairman and Jare Ajayi as secretary had stayed longer than necessary. Delegates at the Convention had gathered and elections were about to commence, when someone observed that none of us vying for offices was a published author as specified by the constitution, except on the pages of newspapers.

Dapo Adelugba it was, who in his wisdom, intervened and opined that any writer who has had his work performed on stage, or read at a gathering of writers as in poetry and fiction qualified to be referred to as a published author. After all, he argued unequivocally, what a publisher does is to "make public" any work through the print medium. That intervention, many of the principal actors then would agree, saved ANA Oyo/Osun from going the way of the gods as it was already showing signs of lethargy.

I must confess that we did not let Baba down as some of us later went on to hold other positions in ANA both at the state and national levels over the course of time. By the time we were done in 1996 for the first term of office, he was proud of our humble achievements. It was about the same period that we made him the chairperson of NEP-READ, a non-governmental body committed to the promotion of the reading culture in Nigeria.

Adedapo Adelugba, the scion of Ile Owa in Esa Oke, where the late Cicero, indefatigable and irrepressible Bola Ige hailed from, means any different things to very many people. He can be a disciplinarian and at the same time, a genteel old man. But above all, he is a quintessential discoverer and encourager of new talents. He instilled in us the virtue of hard work and sincerity, exemplified by his thoroughness and sense of punctuality, which has helped me thus far in my career as creative writer, journalist, lecturer and now public servant for the better part of two decades. The last time I saw him was in Kano in November 2005, during the ANA national convention when he led ABU students with a play production at the British Council courtyard theatre and he was still his ebullient self, even in retirement.

Baba was one teacher who would come to class on the 27th of December and deliver his lecture to an empty classroom because of his orientation that Christmas celebrations end on Boxing Day and no university is empowered by law to declare holiday beyond those two days. He once did that for my set.

He gave me the first dose of confidence as a playwright in 1988 when my group presented my teething script as a THA. 103 Workshop I think) production out of three. Despite the flaws, he asked me to come and see him later in his book-infested office on the topmost floor of the faculty of Arts building and we read through line by line until he was satisfied I had the innate ability to become a good playwright. A few of my classmates would recall his prediction in our final year, to the effect that a Nobel Prize was in the offing for me in the year 2056 or so. I only hope it would come to pass.

The man who was fond of calling me 'an un-teachable Ijesa man' even though he is also Ijesa by birth perhaps due to my penchant for constructive argument, had conferred on me the title of "Professor of Dramatic Literature" as early as 1994, immediately after our Masters programme, whenever our paths crossed for reasons which I will not wish to disclose herein.

I want to agree with Tunde Phillips in his tribute posted on www.artfricana.com that Baba's contributions to the study of Theatre Arts in Nigeria are enormous and cannot be quantified. One can only sense the excitement and enthusiasm amongst all his students across the globe as demonstrated as dapoadelugba70@googlegroups.com He understands your trials as a student, gives compassion and makes you work for your grade. It does not get any bigger than Baba Adelugba, yet his humility surpasses his achievements.

70 hearty, gentle and coca-kola-pied coke, kolanut and meat pie cheers to the living legend! May Olodumare grant this icon much more grey hair as he reaps the fruits of his labour to humanity.

Ademiju-Bepo works with the Nigerian Film Corporation, Jos, Nigeria.

The 'Uncle' Dapo Adelugba we know

Today, the renowned theatre scholar, Professor Dapo Adelugba, celebrates his 70th birthday. Some of his old students in Theatre Arts and the allied courses, including all those who had at one time or the other had interaction with him, either as direct or indirect students, actors in his many directed plays and those whom he has mentored in the field of performing and literary arts in over five decades that he began his active career in the theatre, pour tributes and encomiums, to the man popularly called 'Baba' Adelugba.


THE question 'who is Dapo Adelugba?' is, like Art itself, largely subjective. Of course, it would be reasonably objective to say that he was born on March 9, 1939 in Ondo; attended the famous Government College Ibadan, the no-less-famous University College Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan), and the University of California Los Angeles; taught at the Ibadan Grammar School and the Department of Theatre Arts of the University of Ibadan where he retired as a professor of Theatre Arts in 2004 ... And so on. The Man, however, is not this objectively simplistic. His phenomenal achievements, especially in the theory and practice of drama and theatre in Africa, are rather obvious, but The Man himself is by no means obvious.

The Man 'Baba', 'Dapo', 'Uncle Daps', 'Prof', etc. - as he is variously known to many - is a grand puzzle, very like the masquerade dancing in the square. As Chinua Achebe tells us, to truly see the whole of the performing masquerade you must copy its movements in the square. To truly see the whole of The Man being celebrated today by the entire 'tribe', to even come close to copying his dynamism, you must indeed be exceptionally mobile. Any student who has followed ('pursued' rather) Professor Adelugba from the 'Faculty' to the 'Department' is bound to take this statement more literally than metaphorically.

In any case, I am convinced that no one can convincingly claim to exhaustively 'see' the whole of The Man. This 'seeing' is, of course, only metaphorical. After all, he does not physically present much to the sight. Is he not the man Wole Soyinka described as Opelenge in his book Ibadan: The Penkelemes Years, and wondered how he ever managed to tuck away volumes of alcohol in his rather diminutive frame? Some, however, would swear that The Man they know never touched alcohol.

This depends, of course, on what part of the square you are watching the masquerade from. But those who were his students from the late seventies or early eighties, and later became his junior colleagues in the Department of Theatre Arts, certainly witnessed the continuous thinning of the glutton described by Soyinka into a teetotaller.

First, it seems he gave up Star for Coca-Cola (is this also when he gave up the regular meal for meat pie?), held unto '555' cigarette and Kola nut awhile, and then settled only for Kola nut.

In a viva voce or any such fairly formal situation, one is often surprised so see The Man sitting demurely, one leg crossed over another, suddenly dive under the table or chair in search of something obviously very important to him. (Baba would never be completely settled if he fails to find it.) So, Junior members of the panel would scurry after the lost pearl, only to discover that indeed it was a very tiny piece from Baba's precious Kola nut.

For obvious reasons, many are still concerned over The Man's unhealthy choice of dreary snacks over sumptuous meals; for Coke and meat pie, or the occasional egg-burger (straight bread and fried egg), over the wide expanse of choice dishes that proudly populate Nigerian cuisine.

The answer is simply, I think, that The Man is too busy to eat. And yes, he is a confirmed workaholic. I remember Theatre Director Chuck Mike saying that one of his ambitious projects is to actually find enough time (and money, I think) to research Baba's mountainous notes and make invaluable books of them.

People wonder why The Man slept in his office. But it would indeed be great if the man ever slept at all, wherever. If he is not reading a book or a student project behind the mountain of books on his table, he is spiritedly scribbling, in his elegant but virtually illegible hand-writing, on a copy of the university examinations answer booklet.

If you peer over the mountain you would see him hastily tear the cover off the booklet, squeeze it, or do something sometimes indecent to/with it, throw it into a bin if there was one, empty or not, or simply fling it anywhere, daring it to find accommodation in his bursting office.

The Man is a man of extremes. He is extremely selfless, kind, and generous. This is perhaps the only man in Nigeria who would return some money given to him for a production on account of it being too much. But you would live to hate yourself the day you become the butt of Baba's anger.

Today we celebrate Dapo Adelugba, The Man neither hard work nor stint diet could harm. But rather, unlike Nostradamus who saw tomorrow, Baba is going yesterday, sauntering backwards in time, looking and feeling 60 at 70.

Dr. Okoye is a lecturer at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan.


What thrills me most about a tribute, unlike an obituary, is the fact that the character eulogised is alive to read it. What pains me most is that this tribute, unlike Adelugba's term paper assignment, submits itself to the limitations of space.

For those of us who were lucky to meet the agile man in his "555" days in the Dramatic Theory and Criticism class or Comedy and other Comic Forms lecture hall, memories of Aristotle's Coislinian Tractate are still fresh.

Many cherished Adelugba's engagements with Yeats, but I revered his academic teachings of the Wesker Trilogy, especially I'm Talking About Jerusalem. Still green in my memory was his radiant mood when delivering Chips with Everything.

Though obsessed with the "Yorubanglish" spectrum in his Dramatic Literature discourses, Prof. Adelugba falls within the range of Yoruba people who are more Nigerians than Yoruba. It seems that this attribute was taken into consideration when he was chosen to direct Ogunyemi's Langbodo, Nigeria's Drama FESTAC entry.

Professor Adelugba is a scholar, theorist, editor, author, critic, academic, theatre director and dramaturg, but above all, he is a mentor par excellence.

From 1974-1979 (the years of the Bamtefas, Oroks, Amatas, and the Enendus) I passed through the academic grill of this theatre guru - he is a wizard at compiling final year results (GPA). From 1985-1988, I was immersed in a hot bath of his supervision of my doctoral dissertation. He made me!

When Prof. Adelugba subjected me to reading Eric Bentley's The Theory of the Modern Stage (pp. 1-498), I regarded him as a mischievous person - little did I know that Georg Brandes's 1871 "Inaugural Lecture" which I read in the book will form the "opening glee" of my 2007 Inaugural Lecture in South Africa. Thanks DA! Professor Dapo Adelugba was a Master at students' development and support. In his outcomes-based students' development strategy, he dealt with students as self-regulated learners, academics and as persons imbued with emotions. He never hesitated to address students' social problems that were likely to impact on their academic progress.

We cherish everything you passed onto us except turning some of us into night-a-holics and workaholics.

Congratulations on your 70th Birthday Celebration. Live Long - Ashe!

Ebewo, Head, Dept. of Drama and Film, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa.


I think Prof Adelugba is a prophet of a theatrical nature. I remember our departmental auditions where his question after each student's piece, was: "What is your career plan?" I had this speech prepared as per my interest in technical theatre, working closely with Wasee Kareem (my classmate) and Sumbo Marinho (one of the technical theatre lecturers) how I'll like to follow that career path.... Story. He did not ask me any such question. In fact, he did not ask me any question at all. He just said (in his characteristic voice and accompanying characteristic hand gestures) "Inaicyra, take her away. Pamela, follow her. Go and dance" (followed by his characteristic laughter) Na wa for Prof.

Pamela is of the National Troupe/National Theatre of Nigeria


Celebrating the 70th birthday of that bearded Professor in his ankara agbada, the man I walked up to so many years ago as a secondary school pupil of Abadina College, University of Ibadan, to enquire about studying theatre arts, will be great. Dapo Adelugba means different things to different people. The last major production I did in Nigeria was Ozidi, which Adelugba directed for the now rested Nigeria Industrial Bank (NIB) theatre series. It is not surprising that Dapo Adelugba has managed to keep tabs on most of us, even after so many years, and for so many years. He even sent a covert message to me several years ago to enquire about my welfare in the UK, which I got. So, to Uncle D, happy birthday.


I am glad at the warm reception of the Dapo Adelugba @ 70 project. For his invaluable investment in us all, Uncle D is worth all the celebration and elaborate preparation being made to ensure its huge success. This man, who cares so much about others and yet so little about himself, is surely worth all the efforts to be put in the whole project. I remember how quick he always was, and still is, to celebrate excellence in others to the degree that while in the Faculty of Arts at Ibadan he initiated and saw to the completion of many festchrifts. His late friend and senior colleague, Professor Ifie of Classics, put up one for him when he was 60. Uncle D occupies a special place in my long list of my mentors. He is a foremost stage director Nigeria has ever produced. His works and those that passed through him here at Ibadan, and currently, ABU, Zaria, are eloquent testimonies of uniqueness in Theatre practice in Nigeria and beyond. A great man with a great mind, yet amazingly humble. It foregrounded the five-year-long interview I had with him, which was published by Ibadan Cultural Studies Group of the Faculty of Arts, in 2003, and revised in 2007. Something that amazed me throughout the series of interview was the fact that I was able to source for about 90 per cent of his numerous published papers, which I read closely and threw questions at him. He answered all the questions ex-tempore, and as close as possible to his held positions on issues raised in the publications. I shall be willing to donate copies of the revised editions to the organisers.


Happy Birthday 'Baba' Adelugba. One cannot forget this man that has a memory that is very sharp. He remembers everyone who owes him an assignment, this is where I think I might get in trouble - I am not so sure I am in the clear. Students often marvel at how he can remember that a certain paper was not turned in long after they have left school. He will stylishly inquire, and let you know that he is still waiting on the paper. Baba's contributions to the study of theatre arts in Nigerian are enormous and cannot be quantified. He understands your trials as a student, gives compassion and makes you work for your grade. It does not get any bigger than Baba Adelugba, yet his humility surpasses his achievements.

May the one that sits on the throne of life grant your heart desires. Amen


March 9th, 2009 marks the 70th birthday of one of Nigeria's renowned theatre icon and scholar, Professor Dapo Adelugba. Baba Adelugba, as he is fondly referred to by his uncountable number of students, was born on March 9th, 1939. He had his formal education at the University College, Ibadan where he studied English. While in school he was the President of the University's dramatic society and he took part in various productions. He also adapted Moliere's "Les Fourberies de Scapin " to the Scoundrel Suberu.

Baba Adelugba did his Masters degree at the University of California, Los Angeles and later joined the University of Ibadan where he retired in 2004. Professor Adelugba's soft spoken nature has made him a model of a father to all his aquintances. He will speak almost inaudibly but firmly with a smile before the end of his sentence, he has a way of asserting his personality in a way that does not intimidate you.

Baba Adelugba also has a memory that is second to none. He remembers everyone who owes him an assignment, this is where i think I might get in trouble--I am not so sure I am in the clear. Students often marvel at how he can remember that a certain paper was not turned in long after they have left school. He will stylishly inquire, and let you know that he is still waiting on the paper. Baba's contributions to the study of theatre arts in Nigerian is enormous and cannot be quantified, one can only sense the excitement and enthusiasm amongst all his students across the globe as demonstrated at dapoadelugba70@googlegroups.approachable, understands your trials as a student, gives compassion and makes you work for your grade. It does not get any bigger than Baba Adelugba, yet his humility surpasses his achievements.


Coordinators for the events can be reached at the email address mentioned above or via telephone Greg 0707-629-0507, Pamela 0803-307-8250 and Jahman 0802-201-6495 Please include international code plus country code if you are calling outside Nigeria.

Tunde Phillips

Monday, February 23, 2009

Rapturous excitement over rap poetry at WordSlam

Rapturous excitement over rap poetry at WordSlam

By Anote Ajeluorou

IT was a perfect scene for a perfect occasion reminiscent of a moonlight tale at the fireside in the village. However, there were no old men or women conducting affairs here. Only one old man was present and he took the stage when the young ones had held sway; perhaps, a sign of times. The only regret was that it was an African tale being told on a foreign ground. Aside that, the first edition of Word Slam this year was a huge success.

Word Slam III is a live performance of poetry, an open reading and oral performance that brings poets and poetry fans alike together to enjoy the rich tradition of a verbalised art form. And at the Geothe Institut on Victoria Island last Saturday, a large number of Nigerian youths gathered to give expression to their repertoire of poetry to an appreciative audience. There was much to savour by the huge audience in the various readings and performances. The god of poetry walked tall on stage that evening under a tree on an evening with a stretch of water behind the podium to add picturesque excitement.

If anything poetry is the least beloved form among the three literary forms. Prose fiction takes centre stage while drama follows. Poetry is usually seen as being too intellectual and academic. But the evening in view lost that boundary. It was an evening where poetry came down from its exalted height and shook hands and smiled with all.

With a scintilating opening of an oriki chant by Turayo with Seun Idowu on the drum, the show got underway. And from one performer to the next, hiphop rap seemed such a poor imitation of oral performance. Then Fransisca thrilled the audience to 'Do you know my mother?', where a mother's supremacy was re-enacted. Kelechi's 'Colourless' tells of a world that should be without needless boundaries for a free flow of humanity and oneness. Brainstorm added his 'Huzler' angle to the performance to address a world locked in hard times and how a probable could be found way out of the mess.

Award winning poet Uche Nwadinachi added a romantic touch to a gathering excitement when he performed his 'Ebony Goddess'. When he conducted an ebony black lady to the podium and knelt before her to tell of his fervent love for her, the audience exploded in wild ecstasy. Then he sang, also of love with a lady to a gathering dusk that heightened his romantic act.

During the interlude, Ade Bantu, Germany-based Nigerian rap artist, had commented on the talent shown by the different performers at the workshop he conducted a few days before. He said Nigerians youths were highly talented and called for support for them so they could excel. Instead of engaging in 'Yahoozee' activities, he said, youths could actually be better preoccupied horning their talent as wordsmiths. "I'm pleasantly surprised at young people performing poetry," he enthused. "It is something creative and away from Yahoozee; they need to be supported so they can do their own thing."

But it was budding stage-impresario Segun Adefila who put the performance in philosophical and Afro-centric perspectives. He also debunked the notion that poetry is too intellectual or academic. Adefila opined that African has been taken out of its roots and is now couched in European guises. This, he explained was what was responsible for poetry's seeming difficulty, and why a lot of people tended to run away from it.

Poetry, he said, was an African thing with its roots firmly rooted in African culture. The proverbs, stories and words of wisdom, he said, had African origin until colonial mentality rob us of them all. He said, "Our fathers brought poetry, expressed themselves in poetry; the proverbs, the stories and witty sayings have always been African. Now we're doing it under a tree, like the good old days; it's the heartbeat of our people, to communicate and connect with our people. But the written one is colonial poetry; and we're performing it here. Goethe is reviving our own poetry, it's funny. What is the National Theatre doing?

"So, young people would want to be part of the revolution at giving back poetry to the people, giving back their voice to them."

Dagga Tolar, teacher and Ajegunle community activist agreed with Adefila. But he went further to say that the pop culture was a dead one and that it was natural for youths to migrate to a more fulfilling, purer field, which poetry offered. "When you chain people down for far too long, they begin to express themselves. Hiphop is one-directional; now poetry makes a break from that direction; it's capable of turning this country around. There's hope for the future with this break from the dirt that is hiphop."

Another young poet Efe Paul Azino, who preformed 'In fellowship with the masses', which earned him a loud ovation, stated that Africans have a natural knack for the arts and that the young ones were at its behest. He also echoed Adefila in affirming that poetry has its origin in African thought process. "The spoken word or poetry evolved from us; it's a natural thing for us. People love poetry; it's entertaining and inspiring and easy to identify with," he said.

Elizabeth Hasselgren, an American expatriate found the performance interesting. As a scientist, she said, it was refreshing to see poetry being spoken live.

For Jumoke Verissimo, a poet and copywriter, times have changed and poetry was no longer dreaded as before. She was confident Nigeria would produce the next poet laureate in the world given the outpouring of works coming out everyday. Verissimo also felt that the session was a way of gauging the depths of feelings amongst us, how our environment was treating us and how we were responding to it. "It's a way of trusting people to listen to our different woes," she said. "There's a lot of sad poetry today; it's in response to our psychology. Perhaps with development, a poet laureate might come from Nigeria. Word Slam is beyond rap or hiphop; it's not just about loud music but thinking deep. There's the purity of the mind in poetry."

Verissimo touched on one important point in her summation. It was the depth of themes the various poetry performers dwelt on. There was love and there was what veteran actor, Lari Williams termed 'revolutionary' poetry. Literature is a reflection of life; there was an abundance of that all through the evening as various aspects of Nigerian life was put on display. And as Verissimo commented, it was the 'woes' of Nigerians that were mostly on display, the struggles that sometimes almost amounted to nothing. Perhaps, it was Adefila's 'Malu's Dilemma' a captivating performance that best captured it, of a nation stuck in under-development, of a people toiling vainly to make ends meet. It was a sombre mood interspersed with love and emotive pieces. So that while the performances were themselves a thrilling experience, they were also a sad commentary on our lives, which appears to be half-lived under the grueling circumstances and times we live in.

But there were light-hearted moments as well. Williams' performance of 'Lone walk' from his new collection Heartlines of Drumcall had the trapping of love under the moonlight night. Also Iquo Abasi Eke's 'Earth, Wind and Fire' pulled not a few heart-strings as the audience ululated to its powerful emotional suggestions. Williams also advised young ones to take time to study grammar properly so as not to have a hard time with poetry, which he said posed a problem to most students because they were careless when studying it.

There was background music that accompanied all the performances to give them authentic setting for oral performances of old. Talking drum, guitar and the keyboard were mellow and never interfered with the spoken word.

Word Slam III was a production of Culture Advocate Caucus and hosted by the German Cultural Centre, Goethe-Institut. It is the plan of the organisers that excelling poets from the performance will be deployed to schools to assist in grooming students in the delicate art of live poetry performance. This, they also hope, will help to make poetry a lovable subject to students, who otherwise dread poetry. There was also a feeling of eagerness from all quarters about the next edition of Word Slam. Performers came all the way from Awka in Anambra and Kaduna states just to be part of the literary feast.

Culled from: The Guardian Newspaper
23rd February, 2009
Posted by EniOlorunda at Monday, February 23, 2009 0 comments Links to this post