The Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State, has been throwninto mourning following the demise of its Head of Department, Professor Samuel Ayedime Kafewo, the Postgraduate Programme Coordinator, Dr. Martins Ayegba, and a postgraduate student, Ayishatu Nana, in a ghastly motor accident.
The accident, which occurred in Gwari Road, Abuja-Kaduna Express Highway, while the deceased were returning to Zaria after a workshop on Theatre-for-Development (TfD) in Abuja, also involved the Coordinator of the Development Communication Centre (DEV-COM), ABU, Professor Jenks Okwori, a renowned theatre scholar in Nigeria.
However, Professor Okwori survived the accident, sustaining serious injuries with other occupants of the bus, the DEV-COM Centre cameraman, David Adoku, who is a graduate of the Department and the ABU Alumni Association bus driver; and they are responding to treatment at the Gwari Specialist Hospital, Abuja, where they were rushed to.
Nico News learnt that the occupants were returning to Zaria on Friday, February 7, on a 14-seater bus belonging to the ABU Alumni Association, when an Achaba man (motor cyclist) suddenly entered the road; and in the attempt to dodge him, the driver lost control and bus somersaulted, throwing out Professor Kafewo and Dr. Ayegba.
Until his demise, late Kafewo was the Secretary-General of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), the umbrella body of theatre arts lecturers in Nigerian Universities, and was inducted into SONTA Hall of Fame at the 24th Annual SONTA Conference. Late Kafewo, who hails from Olowa in Basange Local Government Area, Kogi State, is survived by his wife, Mrs. Margaret Kafewo and four children.
Late Dr. Martins Ayegba, who had risen to the rank of Associate Professor, awaiting his full professorial chair, was a specialist in Theatre-for-Development (TfD) and Development Communication and hailed from Ayingba in Olamaboro Local Government Area Kogi State. He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Binta Ayegba and three children.
In his reaction, the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma said he was shocked when he received a call from Professor Emeka Nwabueze of University of Nigeria, Nsukka, telling him about the incident, adding that he could not believe it because he had watched on Network news, the previous night, the report of the TfD workshop, which Kafewo had attended with his colleagues from ABU.
Describing the incident as a big loss to Nigerian theatre and NICO, Ayakoroma said: “It is shocking to me, because I saw the report on the TfD workshop they had in Abuja on Network news. Professor Kafewo had great force in the Nigerian theatre as the Secretary-General of SONTA. The body will miss him so much. He was a very sound scholar in the Theatre. As a dependable resource person, he had delivered papers severally in NICO. You can never be bored if he is delivering a paper in a workshop or conference. As a matter of fact, I just finished editing a NICO book in which he contributed a chapter. He had really contributed immensely to the development of Nigerian culture, theatre and literary criticism. While I pray for the quick recovery of Professor Okwori and others, who survived the ghastly accident, I pray for the soul of Professor Sam Kafewo, Dr. Martins Ayegba and the PG student to rest in the bosom of the Lord.”
Nwagbo Pat Obi