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BusinessDay 04 Mar 2018

C002D5556 Sunday

C002D5556 Sunday 04 March 2018 20 NewsmakersOfYesteryears Hubert Ogunde: Father of Nigerian theatre SIAKA MOMOH Hubert Ogunde at close range I had the rare priviledge of seeing and feeling Hubert Ogunde at close range during my toddling years back home in Ikare Akoko, Ondo State, in the fifties through sixties. And I have watched him on stage in Ikare and also in Warri, at a later age in the seventies when I violated the rule of not taken pictures of artistes and was almost caught. ‘Na God save me o. My eyes for see wen’. Megida Ilori Momoh’s residence (part of the sprawling homes that made up the Palace of the Olukare of Ikare) was free home to Hubert Ogunde and his retinue of wives, children and others who made up his theatre group whenever they came to town for business. Not that Ogunde could not afford to pay hotel bills; I guess it was economically expedient for the Ijebuman to save some Pounds (Naira was not born then) and by extension, keep the group well afloat because informed commentary claim he was not fully in it for money. He was a nationalist fighting for the liberation of Nigeria from colonial subjection. Please note that no offence is meant here by calling the doyen an Ijebuman. After all, prudence is a good trait. And the offer was freely given by Prince Ilori Momoh, who was renowned for his generosity, particularly to non-indigenes – to Hausa/Fulanis, Urhobos, and indigenes of present Kwara State. He was one landlord, whose tenants didn’t pay rent! In fact, he built a mosque for the Hausa-Fulani community in the town (which is still being used by them to date) and gave out plots of land freely to the Hausa-Fulanis. So looking back, it is bewildering to me that we are now engulfed in ‘battle’ with these our Nigerian brothers. Amiable personality Handsome tooth-gapped Hubert Ogunde, out of bed in the morning, stood out there in our home’s expansive front lobby, exchanging pleasantries with passersby. He was such an amiable personality whom we interacted with freely. It was pleasing having the advantage of seeing and chatting with the doyen of Nigerian theatre out of stage. Actor, playwright, theatre manager, and musician According to historical records (Wikipedia): Chief Hubert Adedeji Ogunde (10 July 1916 – 4 April 1990) was a Nigerian actor, playwright, theatre manager, and musician who founded the first contemporary professional theatrical company in Nigeria, the African Music Research Party, in 1945. He changed the name to Ogunde Theater Party in 1947 and Ogunde Concert Party in 1950. Finally, in 1960, he changed it to Ogunde Theater, a name which remained until his death in 1990. He has been described as “the father of Nigerian theatre, or the father of contemporary Yoruba theatre”. In his career on stage, he wrote more than 50 plays, most of which incorporate dramatic action, dance and music, with a story reflecting the political and social realities of the period. His first production was a church-financed play called The Garden of Eden. It premiered at Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos, in 1944. Its success encouraged Ogunde to produce more plays, and he soon left his job with the police force for a career in the theatre. Hubert Ogunde ficials Ogunde’s theatre was a theater of Southern political agitators who must be discouraged from staging in the North the play ‘Herbert Macaulay’, and from teaching Northerners how to strike and all their other political ideologies. So Hubert Ogunde was not just an entertainer, he was a nationalist per excellence. Celluloid film In the late 1970s, Ogunde was spurred by the success of Ija Ominira and Ajani Ogun, two pioneering Yoruba featurelength films, to co-produce his first celluloid film, Aiye, in 1979. He released Jaiyesimi, Aropin N’tenia and Ayanmo, feature-length films influenced by Yoruba mysticism, thereafter. Ogunde starred in Mister Johnson, the 1990 motion picture that also featured Pierce Brosnan. The movie was shot on location in Toro, near Bauchi, Nigeria. Early life Ogunde was born in Ososa, near Ijebu- Ode, Ogun State, Nigeria,] to the family of Jeremiah Deinbo and Eunice Owotusan Ogunde. His father was a Baptist pastor and his maternal grandfather was a priest of Ifa, an African traditional religion. Ogunde briefly lived within Plays and political commentaries In the 1940s, he released some plays with political commentaries: The Tiger’s Empire, Strike and Hunger and Bread and Bullet. During the 1950s, he toured various Nigerian cities with his travelling troupe. In 1964, he released Yoruba Ronu, a play that generated controversy and earned him the wrath of Chief Ladoke Akintola, Premier of the Western Region. The Ogunde Theater was banned in the Western Region of Nigeria for two years as a result. This ban was only revoked by the new military government of Lt. Col. F. A. Fajuyi on the 4th of February, 1966. Ebun Clark wrote “… Ogunde’s attacks on the Whiteman were directed solely at the political masters, namely, the official agents of colonial rule, not once did he direct his attack at missionaries. Ogunde objected vehemently, as many Southern Nigerians did, to political subjection and all the evils of colonial domination. According to Ebun Clark, “Ogunde’s preoccupations with the projection of the cultural as well as the political identity of his people were enough for the nationalist movement to call him ‘a genius’ who did not seek ‘wealth or fortune… nor self inflation or any other artifice (of) fame’, a genius who was once a poor police officer, perhaps one who shared with three others a “ten by eight”. She argues that to some of British ofthe precincts of his grandfather’s compound and was exposed to Ifá, Ogun and many other traditional religious celebrations. Both the Christian and traditional religion of the Yoruba influenced his upbringing. He had his education between 1925 and 1932, attending St John School, Ososa, (1925–28), St Peter’s School, Faaji, Lagos, (1928–30) and Wasimi African School, (1931–32). His first contact with performance art was as a member of Egun Alarinjo during his elementary school days. After completing his education, he worked as a pupil-teacher at St. John’s School, and was also church choirmaster and organist. He later joined the Nigerian police force in March 1941 in Ibadan but resigned later to focus on his love – the theatre. Ogunde married more than ten wives and had many children. The Ogunde Theater was largely a family run business, and all the wives and children took part in the productions at one time or the other. He was ill during the shooting of the film “Mr. Johnson”. Chief Ogunde died on the 4th of April, 1990, at London’s Cromwell Hospital following a brief illness. Siaka Momoh, a media consultant, is pubblisher; 2348061396410

Sunday 04 March 2018 Comment C002D5556 21 comment is free Send 800word comments to PUBLISHER/CEO Frank Aigbogun EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Prof. Onwuchekwa Jemie EDITOR Zebulon Agomuo DEPUTY EDITOR John Osadolor, Abuja ASSISTANT EDITOR Chuks Oluigbo NEWS EDITOR Patrick Atuanya EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SALES AND MARKETING Kola Garuba EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS Fabian Akagha EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DIGITAL SERVICES Oghenevwoke Ighure ADVERT MANAGER Adeola Ajewole MANAGER, SYSTEMS & CONTROL Emeka Ifeanyi HEAD OF SALES, CONFERENCES Rerhe Idonije SUBSCRIPTIONS MANAGER Patrick Ijegbai CIRCULATION MANAGER John Okpaire GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (North) Bashir Ibrahim Hassan GM, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT (South) Ignatius Chukwu HEAD, HUMAN RESOURCES Adeola Obisesan EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD Dick Kramer - Chairman Imo Itsueli Mohammed Hayatudeen Albert Alos Funke Osibodu Afolabi Oladele Dayo Lawuyi Vincent Maduka Wole Obayomi Maneesh Garg Keith Richards Opeyemi Agbaje Amina Oyagbola Bolanle Onagoruwa Fola Laoye Chuka Mordi Sim Shagaya Mezuo Nwuneli Emeka Emuwa Charles Anudu Tunji Adegbesan Eyo Ekpo TAYO OGUNBIYI Ogunbiyi is of the Lagos State Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja Public security is the necessary foundation for economic growth and social development of any society. It is the primary duty of any government and its primary goal is to ensure the protection of every citizen, organizations and institutions against threats, injury, crime, hazards, disasters, crisis, and all such activities that could endanger lives and properties. The public security status/consciousness of any government is ultimately an indicator of its public acceptance. This is because public security is one of the most prominent factors that determines good governance and guarantees the extent of socio-economic growth and development. The lack of viable public and safety mechanisms in any given society makes sustainable socioeconomic development a very difficult task. Without a doubt, these are, indeed, difficult times for our beloved nation in terms of public security. While we seem to be heaving a sigh of relief that the Boko Haram insurgence has been duly taken care of by the nation’s military, then came Nigeria and the imperative of collective security like a thunderbolt the worrying news of the abduction of 110 pupils of the Government Girls Science and Technical College in Dapchi, Yobe State, on February 19. This news is such a great set back on current onslaught against insurgency in the Northern part of the country. Besides this sad episode, skirmishes between herdsmen and farmers across the country represent yet another huge sore point in the public security situation of the country. Though, there are other sources of worry in respect of the nation’s public security status, but the Boko Haram insurgency and herdsmen farmers’ crisis seem to be the most complex. It needs to be stressed that it has now come to a stage where we cannot saddle our security agencies alone with the onerous task of public security. With the insufficient manpower of the police in particular, it is quite obvious that relying on the police to sufficiently protect the country would amount to getting water out of a rock. Latest data shows that the entire Nigerian Police Force does not have up to 450,000 personnel in its fold. It is yet to be seen how such a limited number of people could effectively secure a nation of over 140 million people. This is why many are not really surprised that about 114 pupils could be abducted in a school at the same time with such an ease. This, indeed, is a reflection of sorry state of public security in the country. It is, thus, based on this situation that one is advocating for a collective approach to public security in the country. In-spite of various initiatives of all tiers of government to boost public security in the country, more grounds evidently still needs to be covered. This explains why one is canvassing for the citizenry to embrace the principle of collective security. Collective security guarantees the security of everyone in a given society and operates on the philosophy of being your brother’s keeper. It is like an insurance system in which all residents are bound to protect one another. It clearly implies collective measures for dealing with threats to peace. The underlying principle of collective security is ‘One for All and All for One’. Therefore, aggression or crime against any one is a war against, thus all are to act collectively against every form of threat to security in the state. One vital way through which this can be achieved is for everyone to be vigilant about security in their respective neighborhood. In this way, strange movements and activities across the state could easily be detected and reported to appropriate authorities. This would, no doubt, help in nipping in the bud plans and operations of criminals within the state. It is, therefore, crucial that every segment of the society embraces collective security by supporting governments across the country and all security agencies so as to enhance the country’s economy drive and ensure effective public security. An effective public security cannot be obtained without the active involvement, participation and support of every section of the society because public security is the responsibility of all individuals, groups, communities, organisations and other units that constitute the state. Criminals are not spirits, they dwell in our midst. We must, therefore, observe and report every strange movements and activities in our neigbourhood to the appropriate authorities. It is only when we develop collective fortitude towards public security that any investment in security could be effectively harnessed. Meanwhile, it is important that we come to term on the need to urgently decentralize the present federal policing structure. If we are really serious about overcoming current security challenges in the country, we need to re-examine the issue of state police more earnestly and objectively. Given the required political will, we can successfully and efficiently operate State Police in the country. The time has come for us to give the subject the desired attention. God bless Nigeria. Ogunbiyi is of the Ministry of Information & Strategy, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos NEWS ROOM 08022238495 } Lagos 08034009034 08033160837 Abuja ADVERTISING 01-2799110 08116759801 08082496194 ENQUIRIES SUBSCRIPTIONS 01-2799101 07032496069 07054563299 The Brook, 6 Point Road, GRA, Apapa, Lagos, Nigeria. 01-2799100 LEGAL ADVISERS The Law Union MISSION STATEMENT To be a diversified provider of superior business, financial and management intelligence across platforms accessible to our customers anywhere in the world. 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