National Assembly (Theatre)

AS we speak, a controversial deal is being worked through to dash our National Assembly to a Bankers Committee. The building and the 100 hectares of land around it was handed over to the Albert Wigwe-led group two Sundays ago and mum has been the loudest word from the fathers in the creative industry either because of being tired of Nigeria or compromised in some cases.

If the plot succeeds, it may be the total obliteration of the creative centre by buccaneers and at the best we will have choice properties springing up at the heart of the city that have nothing to do with the art.

We cannot forget easily how they took our beachfront from the Brother Jeros and after all fake promises, what we have there today is what my friend called “ a yahoo boys city.”

Every city with sense makes good uses of its beaches. It was breathtaking being inside Dubai Creek Sheraton on the eve of 2020 and being heralded into the New Year with fireworks. You cannot but shed a tear or two for the beach in Lagos at such a moment. There is already a connecting spirit in the beach and the theatre in Chaggourry’s poor village in Lebanon transformed with cash from Nigeria. Herbert Wigwe’s street dots the village in appreciation of its contribution.

If indigenous Lagos sleeps over the theatre like they did on Banana Island, Eko Hotel and Atlantic City, its a matter of time before they fling Iga Iduganran over their heads.

Two companies, Judeas Trust and TopWide Appeas who won concession rights and have signed MOU to work as a consortium after a meeting facilitated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo are now in court after the violation of due process for the Bankers to take over the facility.

While the future of the National Theatre hangs in uncertainty for now, nature is mercifully avoiding a vacuum as the many maladies of Nigeria are creating a creative industry of their own in the many oddities we daily see at the main theatre of our National Assembly.

The plots should make great tragedies in polities that have not lost their souls but we have to laugh at them to maintain our sanity in this hopeless polity.

Great hits have been coming from the National Cinema lately costing us billions upon billions of naira. The blockbuster featuring Joi Nunieh and Godswill Akpabio was a top show and a clear statement in hell hath a fury like a woman scorned.

Nunieh stormed the NASS with all the details of alleged dark activities of the Niger Delta Affairs Minister bordering on violation of due process and financial recklessness. The Minister hit back at her by attacking her temperament which he alleged her led to her being married to about six different husbands.

She took the punch and asked cheekily if the minister wanted to be her seventh husband before she landed a deadly one of how she slapped him when he tried to get down with her in his guest house in Abuja.

The next scheduled appearance of the former Acting Managing Director of the Interim Managing Committee of the NDDC, Joi Nunieh, produced more drama as policemen stormed her Port Harcourt home to arrest her around 4am. She resisted the arrest and called on Governor Nyesom Wike who came to rescue her from the house arrest.

But the greatest drama from the NDDC probe was that of Nunieh’s successor as Acting MD, Professor Kemebradikumo Pondei. The man who had been in office for only 74 days before he was called to come and give account practically fainted at the session. His fainting could have saved him from testifying but did not draw sympathy from Nigerians who now used to such tricks from Nigerian officials when it’s time for them to give account of their stewardships.

Nigerians, who took to social media to express their displeasure, said corrupt Nigerian politicians usually feigned sicknesses when undergoing interrogations about their corrupt activities.

Saddiq Abba said: “I’m beginning to believe we have some comedians and clowns in positions of authority in this country.

“I suspected something like this would happen when he claimed he needed a doctor last week, now this! How much more unserious can we get in this country?”

@Oluomoofderby tweeted: “When he was stealing millions he didn’t collapse. They should pour water on him, fan him and continue the questioning. He should stop making a fool of himself.”

Okeke Ngozi said: “While spending, no fainting. Now that they have called for accountability, fainting has started. Why are they always fainting whenever they are being called to court or for question.

Another popular hit from the National Theatre in Abuja involves Senator Chris Ngige who appeared before the House of Representatives Committee over the NSITF crisis. The Minister of Labour, Ngige, got before the panel and turned the whole session into sheer comedy. He started by telling panel members they were all his younger brothers as only Honourable James Faleke was up to 60 among them. And when Faleke told him he was over 60, he went on “I am at least seven years older than you. I am the age mate of your mentor in Lagos – Asiwaju. He was a Senator and so I was. He was Governor and I was. He was a Minister and I am. You are a small Mushin boy and I grew in Victoria Island. ‘Ki lo nse e’?”

Only in Nigeria would you have such banality.

The truth is that Nigeria has become such a big joke and we are now a butt of practical jokes around the world. I listened to one Hassan Ayariga warning Ghanaians not to re-elect Nana Addo who is 72 and sleeping all the time because he would not be able to government the country. “Nigerians have given their country to Buhari, look at what is happening there. Buhari has killed the country, the country is dead. Are we bringing Buhari in Ghana?”

I can’t laugh though.

Re: Farewell, Koseleri

SOME three weeks ago, in your continued comments on the late governor Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State, titled Farewell Koseleri (2)”, you wrote, inter alia: excessive talk could be one of the failings of Ajimobi; but it is an affliction that is symptomatic of his City of birth….

That quoted portion of your comments was not only unprovable but also in bad taste

if it was intended to be a joke, it was a costly one.

With Mogaji Tewogbade’s mild reaction two weeks ago, and your seeming repentance and apology, in that week’s piece, a wise step would have been to regard the matter as closed.

Rather,you chose to reopen it last week by giving one Adewuyi Adegbite from Ogbomoso, who understandably has some inborn malice against Ibadanland and its people, the wide scope to resort to historical fallacies and abuses.

Our people have a saying: ‘Nwon bi Aditi ti o nta ikoko (big pots) pe elo ni ikoko; Aditi dahun pe ara omo le.’

How relevant to the matter on the ground are the historical falacies and abuses resorted to by Mr Adewuyi?

However one should not waste valuable time and space joining issues with a learned historian “of the calibre of Mr Adewuyi who could challenge the veracity of Ibadan being the capital of old Western Nigeria”, and is wiser than Aristotle”, the immortal Greek philosopher about poetry being truer than history”.

In a democracy and in fact in any civilised community, one is free to criticise individuals and leaders, and expose their shortcomings, if necessary.

But not going as far as castigating or condemning a peace-loving community or its people in bulk.

I advise that when it comes to singing the base song: Ijebus are not good; Ijesas are worse; Ondos are arrogant; Ibadans are illterates; etc.

Mr Yinka Odumakin, as an emerging leader of the people, should follow the admonition of that great English novelist, and be far Away from The Maddening Crowd”.

In parting, an age long journalism injunction states that the voice of opponents, no less than of friends, has a right to be heard.

I hope Mr Odumakin will not only get this piece published, but that it will enjoy the same space and prominence he gave to our friend, the historian “from Ogbomoso”,

Best regards.

—Oyedotun  Oloyede.


My comment:

It is the the law under which I gave Adewuyi space to air his views that I have decided to allow you to say your own my brother. Tolerance of views and respect for one another is key. Readers are sensible enough  to make their judgments.


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