Although Monday, 6th March, 2017, may have come and gone, for the University of Abuja community in Gwagwalada, memories of the play, Ina-aga written by Jerry Alagbaoso, a two-time Member of the House of Representatives, as produced by 200-Level Students of the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Abuja, will continue to linger in their minds.
The production of the play by students of the 2016/2017 academic session came on the heels of a Group ‘A’ Workshop Production (THA 209), organised, produced and directed by Professor Mabel Evwierhoma, the Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Abuja, who is the lecturer for the course at the Open Air Theatre, University of Abuja Mini Campus, Gwagwalada, Abuja-FCT.
In the play, produced in a semi-realistic manner with room given for symbols and representations, the students interpreted the play, which takes a cursory but comic look at motorcycle (okada) operators in the Nigerian transport system, presenting the phenomenon with its attendant problems and recklessness on the part of the operators.
Jerry Alagbaoso, the author of Ina-aga focuses on the need for a mutually beneficial relationship between the university campus and its environs, instead of the parasitic relationship evident in deviance, robbery, cultism and violence among other aberrant behaviours.
The message in Ina-aga portrays how both communities exhibit acts that often cause young female and male students to fall prey to the sexual advances of the owners of businesses out of adventure, poverty or even greed; and therefore proposes value addition by providers of goods and services around citadels of learning.
The central role of the family and challenges of trust, fidelity, money and others, as evident in modern times, are also shown in the play; while the Police is given a role by the playwright to continue to fight against corruption within and outside the force and prove the claim that: “The Police is Your Friend”.
Commenting after the production, Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso expressed deep appreciation to Prof. Mabel Evwierhoma, for directing the play as well as encouraging the students, who had put in a lot of efforts to produce the play.
Further commending the students for the performance, a highly elated Alagbaoso admitted that since publishing the play, it was the first time he had witnessed the production of the play in such an elaborate form, especially given the fact that it was presented in an open air theatre.
Present at the Workshop were Prof. Kwaghkondo Agber, Prof. Saint Gbilekaa and the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was accompanied by Mr. Ibrahim Malgwi (Head of Protocol), Emeka Bokolo (PA-ES), and Ojie Nshokibe (Senior Cultural Officer).
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NICO HQ, Abuja