The President of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), the umbrella body of Theatre Arts lecturers in Nigerian Universities and other Tertiary Institutions, Professor Emmanuel Dandaura, has said that the theatre profession can never be neglected when it comes to proffering solutions on insecurity problems in Nigeria.
Stating this at the opening ceremony of the Society’s 25th Annual Conference, SONTA 2012, at the Conference Hall, University of Calabar, Cross River State, Professor Dandaura said, that theatre is a key factor to tackling the current security challenges in the country and called on professionals to rise up to the challenge, adding that theatre remains a unifying factor of all endeavours of mankind.
His words: “The conference is SONTA’s Jubilee Celebration. This is 25 years of the existence of our great society. We decided to choose our theme to touch on security, because the security problem in Nigeria is a complex situation. The problem, in all its ramifications, has affected our national growth and development. It has affected our existence as a people. All manners of intervention have been made, but violence has continued and peace is continuously threatened. The multiple ethnic nations we have in the country are supposed to be an advantage to us as a nation. But this has become a problem because the kind of unity we should have is not there. There are sectarian crises among several ethnic groups. The deployment of theatre will help stop these. Theatre can enthrone peace in a society. Theatre can harness all the areas and bring about security in the country.”
In his remarks, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor James Epoke, commended SONTA for the initiative of channelling burning national issues as a theme, saying, the University of Calabar is happy to play host to all theatre arts lecturers in Nigeria, and invited participants to enjoy the culture-friendly and serene atmosphere of Calabar, “the Paradise city.”
Those present at the event included the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, Dean, Faculty of Arts, UNICAL, Professor Uminma Angray, HOD, Theatre and Media Studies, UNICAL, Professor Chris Nwamuo.
Others were Professor Kalu Uka (UNIUYO), Professor Eddie Iji (UNICAL), Professor Molinta Enendu (UNICAL), Professor Ayo Akinwale (UNILORIN), Professor Mabel Evwierhoma (UNIABUJA), Professor Sam Kafewo (ABU), Professor Sunday Ododo (UNIMAID), Professor Victor Dugga (Lafia), Professor Charles Nwadigwe (UNIZIK), Professor Alex Asigbo (UNIZIK), Professor Tracie Utoh-Ezeajugh (UNIZIK), Professor Emmanuel Emasealu (UNIPORT), Professor ABC Toni-Duruaku (Alvan Ikoku), Dr. Ama Gowon Doki (BSU), and Dr. Tor Iorapuu (UNIJOS), among others.
Many Universities, Colleges of Education and Institutes were present, which include, Universities of Port Harcourt, Benin, Jos, Abuja, Uyo, Ilorin, Maiduguri, Calabar, Nigeria, Nsukka, Ahmadu Bello University, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Federal University (Lafia), Imo State University, Nasarawa State University, Anambra State University, Osun State University, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), and Alvan Ikoku College of Education (Owerri), among others.