A foremost Nigerian actor, director, and theatre sociologist, Professor Ayo Akinwale of the Department of Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, has described the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, as a powerful figure in the history of Nigerian theatre and performing arts.

Professor Ayo Akinwale, who stated this while appreciating invited guests at a Book presentation in his honour, titled, The Dramaturgy of a Theatre Sociologist: Festschrift in Honour of Ayo Akinwale, at the Department of Performing Arts Hall, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, added that the immense roles Ayakoroma has played, as a man grounded in the theatre, through playwriting, acting, directing both on stage and TV, membership in theatre bodies, as well as being the Chief Executive of an outstanding Cultural Institute, are enough evidences for one to regard him as a don in the theatre business.

Earlier, the ES, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was represented by the Director Administration and Human Resources, Barr. Abayomi Oyelola, mni, said the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), which is charged with the responsibility of researching into culture in all its ramifications, is proud to be associated with the celebrant and his works.

Ayakoroma further described the celebrant, who has written, acted and directed so many plays, both on stage, radio and TV, as a total theatre artist, with a Midas touch, and that the book will be invaluable in the history of Nigerian theatre and therefore enjoined the professor and his likes to always keep the flag flying.

The ES launched the publication with an undisclosed amount and also donated some copies to the Department of Performing Arts Library, University of Ilorin, in order to encourage students to tap from the ocean of knowledge, such as that of Professor Akinwale.

The 435-page book, which was highly recommended for scholars, researchers, practitioners and students in Departments of Theatre, Performing and Creative Arts and in the Humanities generally in universities and other tertiary Institutions, is divided into three sections and parades relevant essays on current issues on the contemporary Nigerian theatre, and also displays the celebrant’s dramaturgy and memorable pictures that connect him from childhood to his present age of sixty.

To add glamour to the occasion, students of the Department of Performing Arts, University of Ilorin, presented a piece from one of the celebrant’s plays, This King must die.

Among dignitaries that were present at the book launch were: the Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research, Technology and Innovations, University of Ilorin, Professor Felix Oladele; the Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Ilorin, Professor Charles Bodunde; the Chairman, Abuja National Carnival and Lecturer with Ekiti State University, Oye, Ekiti State, Professor Ojo Rasaki; Professor Zikky Kofoworola of the University of Ibadan; Members of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Arts (SONTA), as well as Staff of the North-Central Zonal Office of NICO, among others.

Ahmed Mohammed