The National Executive Council of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), the foremost Association in the cultural sector in Nigeria, led by its President, Gregory Odutayo, in collaboration with the Abuja Chapter, led by Chris Paul Otaigbe, is set to commemorate the International Theatre Day 2012, in a grand style, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

The annual International Theatre Day (ITD), which is celebrated on the 27th of March every year, all over the world, was initiated by the International Theatre Institute (ITI) in Paris, France, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), for the celebration of Theatre Arts and its relevance in positive global development. It is also a day set aside to call attention to the plight of Theatre Artists worldwide and for generating advocacy and support for the theatre.

Activities lined up for the 50th edition celebration in Nigeria, include, a keynote lecture: “Nigerian Theatre: To be or not to be,” to be delivered by Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO). Discussants on the topic, include, Theatre & Culture bigwigs like Dotun Osunsanya, Tunji Fatilewa, Denja Abdulahi, Dan Omatsola, Tony Shittu and AGN Abuja Chairman, Agility Nwaora.

The keynote lecture holds at the Cyprian Ekwensi Centre for Arts & Culture, Area 10, Garki-Abuja, at 9.00am; and the Special Guests of Honour at the lecture will be Mr. George Ufot, Director of Culture, Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, and Mrs. Nana Tsokwa, Director, FCT Council for Arts & Culture.

NANTAP will also be celebrating its National Distinguished International Theatre Day Personality for 2012 in the person of Senator Suleiman Asonya Adokwe, a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, representing Nasarawa state.

Senator Adokwe was a former Deputy Director of Culture, Artistic Director and Head of Performing Arts Department in Plateau State, who in the course of his service, wrote and/or directed The Bumper Harvest, 1978 Plateau State Entry for the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), held in Lagos; Free Mandela (1986), a fund-raising drama in aid for Anti-Apartheid fund, Plateau State Chapter; produced the Jarawa Dance Group in London and Geneva in 1988 for West Africa Festival Village Project; The Regent of Anah, a historical play which was Plateau State entry for NAFEST 1992 held in Abuja.

In 1993, Senator Adokwe also directed “Tawanda,” a dance drama, cultural co-operation between Ferdelos of Switzerland and artists from France, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, in Zurich. He also directed and produced the Jarawa Dance Group at the African Festival of Music in Congo in 1996. The Distinguihed Senator Adokwe is currently Vice Chairman, Senate Services Committee.

To be also honoured as a Cultural Ambassador for NANTAP and the Cultural Sector in Nigeria is Hon. Rotimi Makinde, a veteran theatre practitioner and member of the 7th Federal House of Representatives, representing Ife, Osun State. Hon. Makinde, who served Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for over 20 years before retiring, has about thirteen (13) films to his credit and had participated in over 200 films. Some of his films include, Ojo Eye, Enikan O Laiye, Eniyan Lo Buruju, Olorun O Sebi, and Aso Iyi, amongst several others. Hon. Rotimi Makinde is the Deputy Chairman, House Committee on Human Rights, as well as Member, House Committee on Culture and Tourism.

Another personality to be honoured as Cultural Ambassador is Mrs. Mosunsola Nkanga, a veteran artiste and Masters Degree holder in Labour & Industrial Relations. Mosunsola started her acting career in 1985 as Sidi in the popular Village Headmaster, where she acted both as Counsellor Balogun’s niece and Sisi Clara’s apprentice. She also featured in Third Eye, a detective TV series alongside veteran actor Uncle Olu Jacobs (MFR).

Mosunsola also acted in Palace in the 90s as Mama Saro alongside Yomi Obileye and Liz Benson. Her other acting credits include, Genius, The Honourables, Ripples, Checkmate, Dishonoured, Schemes, Ayooporo, Valley Between, Kamson & Neighbour, to mention but a few.

The Awards Night, which promises to be a night of glitz and glamour, holds at the Rockview Hotel, Wuse II, Abuja, under the distinguished Chairmanship of High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Executive Chairman, Daar Communications Plc. The Chief Host will be the Honourable Minister for Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke.

Ozioma Godwin Okoli
(Ozi Okoli)
National Director of Publicity