Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Kutuje-ians do a farm dance before setting off to work-"The Gods are not to blame". Posted by Picasa
The novelist, Araceli Aipoh and her daughter, chat with laspapi, after the 6pm production of "the Gods are not to Blame". Also in the capacity-filled hall were the Music Maestro- Steve Rhodes, TV Show Host- Funmi Iyanda and the Poet-Odia Ofeimun. Posted by Picasa
King Adetusa (Gogo Ombo Gogo) placates his wife , Ojuola, when they hear from the Ifa Oracle, that their new born boy has brought evil to the land. Posted by Picasa
The people of Kutuje express their sorrow when they hear the new born baby, Odewale, has brought bad luck to earth. Posted by Picasa
The people of Ikolu invade Kutuje. Odewale was to save the people of Kutuje from their oppressors. The people in turn, made him, King. Posted by Picasa
Queen Ojuola expresses her grief as she finds she has borne 4 children by her first son. The Priest of Ogun (Bayo Ogundele) goes to her aid. Posted by Picasa
King Odewale (Lanre Dele-Abrahams) and his family. In red is Queen Ojuola (Toyin Olokodana-James) and their four children. Posted by Picasa
Odewale teaches the people of Kutuje to fight back against the Ikolu invaders Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 30, 2006

Mary Atuejide (left) and Ope Lawal, dancers & actors after a performance at the LNG Drama Prize award night on Saturday, 7th October at the Shell Hall, Muson Centre. Mary and Ope were cast members of "The Gods are not to Blame" on the 28th of October, the official drama for the Muson festival.
There'll be pictures of the performance of 'the gods...' shortly on this blog. Posted by Picasa
The play's been done. Ola Rotimi's The Gods are not to blame as the drama presentation for the Muson Arts Festival. Beautiful response from the audience last Saturday. Great feelings of accomplishment from the cast and crew too, numbering about 50. It was my most ambitious project yet in terms of production. Below's a piece Araceli wrote about the play on her blog.

Was woken up late Sunday by a friend's call. Eyimife told me she was in Abuja and a plane had crashed. ADC airlines again. So we have proof once more of one thing, the Nigerian airspace isn't safe. Planes drop like ninepins.

We also know we have an aviation minister who never takes reponsibility. Now he blames the dead pilot for using "his initiative". The Sultan of Sokoto, his Son and Grandson, all gone, along with more than a hundred others. Infants, children, broken dreams. Lives touched in many many areas, all over the country and beyond.

They say it is illegal to import Cars older than 8 years into the country but they allow 23 year old planes to fly. It is a country without many thinkers at the helm.

I hope in 2007, the charlatans who seek to rule, will have no chance. You have to see the posters and billboards of those aspiring for the governorship of Lagos to know the mess we're in. Men who have no light of intelligence in their eyes, no furrow of knowledge on their brows, grimace and leer from hundreds of thousands of posters. Some we know of, already. Some are vaguely familiar and many others are nonentities. The trick is to make a nuisance of yourself and pray someone thinks, 'let's make this one a commissioner', when the dust settles.

In 1999, it was the practice for a few frauds masquerading as leaders of the yoruba race to tell the entire tribe whom to vote for. They handpicked candidates and we (the best educated tribe in the country) followed as if we had rings in our noses. They picked touts, illiterates, outright thieves with huge streaks of larceny in their hearts, murderers and half-wits, and told us which way to go. And these people stole the country blind.

But no more. The doddering fools have been shown for what they are. Mindless buffoons. Its time to stand up and be counted.

The country's reeling and it needs all the supportive hands it can find. Excuse my language. I wrote in pain.
A viewer who couldn't keep her mouth shut - by Araceli Aipoh

(The following was taken off Araceli's blog)

Was at the Muson Centre last night to watch "The Gods are Not to Blame," Ola Rotimi's adaptation of "Oedipus Rex" and directed by Wole Oguntokun. Once again some of Nigeria's most talented actors were showcased and it's really amazing how great they all are.

But what impressed me most is the way Ola Rotimi used local adages or proverbs to buttress some of the points he wanted to portray. Since we already knew what the story was all about (the proud king who killed his father and married his mother), there wasn't much of that "What's going to happen next?" question. Yet, there was an air of suspense. My eyes were glued to the stage. I listened with full attention, fearing I would miss some of the dialogues. I wish I could get a copy of the script so that I could quote some of the rich language here.

THERE IS ONLY ONE THING I don't like about last night, and it has nothing to do with the play itself. It has something to do with one woman behind me who couldn't keep her mouth shut. She kept on making loud comments, as if she was watching a home video in her sitting room, as if she was the only one who knew the story, and as if we wanted to listen to her comments. God, it took me a lot of willpower not to do somthing drastic, like telling her to shut up. She is a perfect example of an OVERSABI person if I ever saw one.

It happened also when I went to watch "The Inheritors." There was a couple who had come with their toddler and he kept on making noise all throught the play. I understand that Nigerians love children, but this has nothing to do with love. It has something to do with your sense of decorum, and also, something to do with considering others, since you are not the only one who wants to watch a stage play, neither are you the only one who has a child. Making noise happens a lot in the movie houses too. Many Lagos movie watchers can't keep their mouth shut, you know, fighting with characters or giving their loud approval at the way the story is taking shape. It's highly annoying, if you ask me.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

" I conclude, then, inasmuch as fortune is changeable, that men who persist obstinately in their own ways will be successful only so long as those ways coincide with those of fortune; and whenever these differ, they fail.

But, on the whole, I judge impetuosity to be better than caution; for fortune is a woman, and if you wish to master her, you must strike and beat her, and you will see that she allows herself to be more easily vanquished by the rash and the violent than by those who proceed more slowly and coldly. And therefore, as a woman, she ever favours youth more than age, for youth is less cautious and more energetic, and commands fortune with greater audacity."

Niccolo Machiavelli
The Prince
Pp 96-97.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

For Vanatu Powers
(International Woman of Mystery)

Its dark in this place, Vanatu

Though fires burn outside in the night

But I'll sit in this corner, Vanatu

Sword on knees, hoping for daylight

......and willing that you return

If you cannot come back, Vanatu

I'll trust you didn't give up without a fight

I'll know you were overwhelmed, dear Vanatu

By sheer force of numbers, by might

Then I'll murmur a quick prayer, Vanatu

On my knees, head resting on hilt

A prayer of thanks, of gratefulness, Vanatu

That we found joy in what we built

And then I shall join the fray, Vanatu

Though they stand ten-deep at the door

knowing friends live for each other, my Vanatu

or lay down lives when asked for more

Wole Oguntokun Oct 23, 2006.

laspapi at the LNG award night which Ahmed Yerima won with his book, The Hard Ground. Venue was the Shell Hall of the Muson Centre. Also in the picture is Bukola Sanu of The Crown Troupe. The legend on the emblem of the Troupe depicts a lion with a crown and reads, An Orgasm of Cultural Excellence. Haven't been able to figure that out all these years I've known Segun Adefila, leader of the troupe. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 22, 2006

My Sister, Olubola, moments before her traditional wedding ceremony. "Needles and Pins, Needles and Pins..." Posted by Picasa
Pat Utomi, Presidential aspirant for the 2007 elections in Nigeria, sits next to his wife at a wedding in Lagos, October 7. Utomi, noted more for his business acumen than for the ability to create chaos and mayhem, a necessary characteristic in Nigerian politicians, is a favourite of the enlightened. Urban Legend goes that Utomi was summoned by a highly placed well-meaning Nigerian...

HP: Pat, you want to be President?

UTOMI: Yes Sir...

HP: Hmmm...Have you killed anyone before?

UTOMI: (Vehemently) No Sir! God forbid that...

HP: (Interupting) You see? Politicians in Nigeria must be ready to kill. It's a different ball game on that field. Be careful. Posted by Picasa
Ahmed Yerima, Ph.D., C.E.O. of the National Arts Theatre, moments before he won the LNG prize for Literature (Drama) Posted by Picasa
Picture was taken at a Musical Concert in honour of the 80 year old Steve Rhodes, a couple of weeks ago, at the Muson Centre. It was an event a philistine (myself) became a convert of Classical Music. I'd attended primarily because Professor Soyinka had asked to meet with me over other matters just before the concert so I'd wangled tickets from the Muson Management and thought I'd bore myself to death. I was mistaken. Performers included Ayo Bankole Jnr, Nibi Akinkugbe, The Chord Webs and many others. At the interval, Professor Wole Soyinka (in glasses), the guest of honour, stands by the legend, Steve Rhodes, as they prepare to cut a cake. To the right of the picture is Francesca Emmanuel (holding bag), an original member of The Masks, Soyinka's Drama Troupe in the early 60s. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Battle on the Rock. Posted by Picasa


For the first time in seven years Majek Fashek, in an exclusive interview with Thisday newspaper, addresses concerns of his health and erratic behavior. During a telephone interview, Majek and his US based management agency spoke to Thisday on these issues.


This Day
: You’ve been on self-imposed 7 year exile from Nigeria. Why are you returning now with this 46th Independence Day Thisday Music Festival?

: It is time. I’ve been gone for seven years from Nigeria. For so long and too long. I never stopped playing my music during my “exile.” I went into exile to renew my commitment to myself and to this beautiful art called music; to rediscover a new music. During this process, I also embarked on world tour. I’ve been fortunate to perform on the stage with world music stars, stars such as Jimmy Cliff, Alpha Blondie, and Tracy Chapman. I am returning home this time because I believe my people are ready for me. I love my people (Nigeria) and I can’t go to my people in just any old way. Hence my return. With the tremendous help of my record company, November Records’ Charles Novia and my USA/Africa management outfit, Instant Media Communications, headed by Azuka Jebose Molokwu and Joseph Anumbor; this brilliant team worked hard to put me on this bill and I look forward to celebrating life with my people. I am coming to give Nigeria blessings from God. God has helped me. Josiah is the King of Kings. The excitement is overwhelming.

This Day: There are speculations about your health, mental health and physical health. We’ve heard stories about your dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol. Are you well?

: I am not crazy. And I don’t have a drug problem. I do have an alcohol problem. It is not because I like to drink.... When my Mother died, I felt a part of me left with her. To lose someone so dear and so close to you can be extremely painful. In an attempt to come to terms with this loss, alcohol became a chosen part to communicate my pains to her and also to journey into a mystical world. My mother was my strength. She is still. Every day I make peace and come to understanding that she is in a place where she would be blessed and appreciated. If you have a mother today, love her, spend time with her and cherish every moment that you see her…

(At this moment, Instant Media Communications Head Hunter, Azuka Jebose Molokwu provides Majek’s steps towards his problems): Alcoholism is a disease. No one wakes up and decides he wants to be an alcoholic. We are all human. He has taken the greatest step to recovery by recognizing his dependence upon alcohol. We must support him in this journey because in each Nigerian there is a Majek Fashek. Show me a family without life’s crises and I’ll show you a virgin in a maternity ward. We can’t afford to ignore, refuse and reject him. If we turn our backs on him, then we’ve turned our backs on all those struggling with the disease of alcoholism. Every day is a struggle. Majek needs our support in his great stride to wellness. He is one of the most gifted Nigerian musicians. Nigeria should feel privileged to have Majek: a loving father, husband and law abiding citizen of the world. He is our man in the mirror. Posted by Picasa
A Game of Wit starring Jude Orhorha, Iyabo Amoke and Femi Branch, premieres on Sunday the 22 nd October at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island and runs again 5th and 12th (also Sundays) November - Time 3pm and 6pm.

A witty play about men and women and the games they play when they first start dating. The following question is posed- Can we stop playing these games, relax and actually get to know and perhaps genuinely like one another? It is written by Ita Hozaife and directed by Awoba Bob-Manuel. Posted by Picasa
The Gods are not to blame will be presented as the official drama for the Annual Muson Festival on Saturday October 28. Ola Rotimi's adaptation of the Greek Tragedy, Oedipus Rex, depicts a young man who travels far in a bid to escape his destiny. He finds this more difficult than envisaged. The play is directed by Wole Oguntokun.
Matinee Show (3 pm)- Students N500/Adults N1000

Evening Show (6pm)- N1,500 flat. Posted by Picasa

It's a self-cooling duplex in an evergreen Garden in quiet surroundings without the harshness of modern civilization (no running water or electricity);

Suitable for foreign-based Africans who seek country homes and are unmindful of a few snakes... ahem, forest inhabitants.

Has attached Boys Quarters which can be converted to small poultry or as an escape route if bigger animals stop by.

Vacant Possession- Owner is re-locating to Aiyepe-Ijebu for chieftancy duties and for health reasons (pneumonia)

It's quite cheap - N150k. It'is a must-own! Inspection available if requested.

Interested persons Call 0809 234 4444 .
Ask for die-hard. Posted by Picasa
For the 3rd year in a row, Molara Wood is calling for writers' contributions, to help compile a list of the Books of the Year. Books read/published this year would be the main focus; not-so-recent books that have impressed you during 2006, would also be eligible.

So, she would be grateful to receive titles of the 2 books you enjoyed reading most this year. The works could be in any genre. Please provide brief commentary - in no more than 50-100 words - to explain why you have chosen these particular books. Every comment will be credited when the list of Writers' Best Books of 2006 is published.

Please do not select a book written/published by yourself.

Your book choices must be with her by Friday 3rd November

This is open to all African writers on any continent.

(p.s. from laspapi) I guess blogging qualifies as writing too. There's the incredible Rombo in Kenya amongst others

Her email addresses:


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Picture- "The Gods..." rehearsals Posted by Picasa
In the picture, Cast members of "The Gods are not to Blame", Ola Rotimi's adaptation of the Oedipus Complex tragedy, run through their cues at rehearsals. "The Gods" is this year's drama presentation in the Annual Muson Arts Festival and features tested thespians such as Lekan Balogun, Ombo Gogo Ombo, Ayo Orobiyi, Lanre Dele-Abrahams, Toyin James, Dewale Ajakaiye, Jennifer Osammor, Kenneth Uphopho, Osagie Okedigun, Sola Iwaotan, Olarotimi Michaels, Paul Alumona and Bayo Ogundele among many others. It will be directed by Wole Oguntokun and will be staged on Saturday the 28th of October. Tickets for the 3pm Matinee will cost N500 for Students and N1,000 for Adults while the evening show at 6pm will go for a flat rate of N1,500. Posted by Picasa
UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE WRITING AWARD1)http://perseus. herts.ac. uk/uhinfo/ extrel/uharts/ awards.cfm


Entrants are invited to submit a short story of up to3,500 words on the theme of 'vision'. 1st prize£1,000, 2nd prize £500, 3rd prize £300, 4th prize£200. The winner will also be able to apply for the UHWriting Award three-year scholarship to the Universityof Hertfordshire, study commencing in 2007.

The top twenty stories will be published in an anthology by the University of Hertfordshire Press. Deadlineanuary 15,2007.

  • 2) CommonTies would pay $200 for personal stories orstories about people that are compelling. There is noneed to use real names. Sample stories are in theirwebsite: http://www.commonties.com/about.php

  • 3) OV Books Announces Its Third Title!
    OV Books, the book imprint of Other Voices magazine (and publisher of the acclaimed short story collection SIMPLIFY by Tod Goldberg), will consider short fiction submissions for its third book, a cross-cultural anthology titled A STRANGER AMONG US. The book will be distributed by University of Illinois Press and will be released in late 2007. A STRANGER AMONG US will focus on stories of cross-cultural collisions/bonds, encompassing a wide variety of ethnicities, races and nationalities.

Any work that tells the story of what happens when a member of one culture finds him/herself in relationship with members of an "other" culture is eligible. (Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent" would be an excellent example of this theme.)

Other, hypothetical examples of plots might include:

* A Brit living in Thailand
* A Native-American college student at an Ivy League university
* An African-American family moves to an all-Caucasian suburb
* A gay man on a dominantly heterosexual sports team
* A wedding brings together a Latino family and a Jewish family
* A Muslim academic goes to the American South for a conference
* A Nigerian woman and African-American man meet on Match.com

The sky is the limit! Writers of all ethnicities and races are eligible. Writers do not need to be of the same "group" as the characters they are writing about; the only critereon is excellence of the fiction submitted. Writers should avoid "editorializing" or political preaching in their stories, and focus on the dynamics of character and plot, letting the cultural issues rise organically from the material.
OV Books will read submissions from June 1 to December 31, 2006.

No entry fee. Enclose SASE for response only. One story per writer, unless invited to submit more work. No emailed submissions, please. 8,000 word limit. Previously published pieces are eligible.

Mail to:
OV Books
Department of English (MC 162)
601 S. Morgan Street
Chicago, IL 60607
Inquires should be directed to

The British Council is once again joining with the BBC World Service to launch the International Radio Playwriting Competition 2007. Below are details of the said competition.

BBC International Playwriting Competition
About the Competition
Applicants are invited to write a radio play of about sixty minutes on any subject of their choice. The play must be the original, unpublished work of the person or persons submitting it. The contest is open to any writer who is not normally a resident of the United Kingdom. The play must be written in English but can be translated by a third party, although there is no financial assistance available to help with any translation costs. Translated work must be identified as such, and the translator’s name given.

There are two main prizes given: to the best play written in English as a first language and to the best play written in English as a second language. The two prize winners will each receive £2500 sterling and a trip to London to see their plays being recorded and to attend a prize-giving evening. There are also additional prizes of digital or short wave radios being given for the best radio play to be written from each of the following geographical areas: The Americas; Europe; Africa and the Middle East; South Asia; Russia and the Caucasus; Asia and Pacific. All writers whose plays reach the judges' final shortlist will receive BBC goodie bags as well as getting feedback on their plays from the BBC’s team of professional readers.

Competition launch overseas

The competition launches 30th October 2006, with the closing date for applications 30th April 2007. Application forms will be available for download on www.bbcworldservice.com/competitions and www.britishcouncil.org/arts from 30 October 2006. Submissions and application forms can be emailed to intradioplaycomp@bbc.co.uk or submitted at any British Council office near you.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

I haven't blogged in more than a week.

It wasn't my fault, my USB Converter for my dial-up to the internet (I'm Nigerian, I don't have broadband at home) was faulty. It took me a while to change it, and when I finally did, it refused to hook up to the modem.

So here I am at a cyber-cafe, looking over my shoulder every minute to see there's no one attempting to steal info from my in-box. And also worrying whether Ribadu (That's the head-honcho for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) might send his men to storm this cafe and cart me off as one of those who send spam-mail to Europe and America looking for dupes. Yep! They storm cafes now, carting off those with regular business as well as the 419ers. Using Cyber Cafes overnight is illegal in Nigeria now. And so even though it is broad daylight, I write at my peril. I hope to sort the USB thingy today.

In the interim (Excuse the pun)-

  • I have MCeed at a wedding where Ernest Shonekan, Head of State of the Interim Government was Chairman and who had as companions on the High Table, Presidential Hopeful, Pat Utomi as well as the not so hopeful Chief Segun Osoba, former Governor of Ogun State. It was my Sister's wedding actually. I found out what my father had meant to him as a youth. I'll never be able to call him names again.

  • I have been a guest at the LNG $20,000 award for Nigerian Literature at the Muson Centre which Ahmed Yerima won and where security had to force out a young man who had downed a glass orange juice and then of wine in rapid succession, and immediately proceeded to tear the French 'Stick' loaves as if he was beheading a chicken for some ancient sacrifice. Why am I mentioning him? I'd seen him at my sister's wedding (at the Yoruba Tennis Club) a couple of hours earlier where he was already drunk and had told someone who'd collided with him in the crowded venue that "I will stab you". The future of Nigeria? He looked normal, wore a bow tie and a jacket and had somehow managed to obtain tickets along with a male companion to the LNG event which had boasted of restricting invitations. I also found out that he had been classmates at St Gregory's College with my 29 year old younger brother.

  • I have also been directing the rehearsals of "The Gods are not to blame" thrice a week. It comes up on the 28th as part of the Muson Arts Festival. Its a race against time.

  • A Nobel Peace Prize winner wrote me and I kept him waiting because I wasn't on-line.

  • There are claims that the 3rd Mainland Bridge is shaking. Bridges aren't built as car parks. The traffic situation in Lagos ensures cars are grid-locked on the country's longest bridge for hours daily. And its been going on for years.

  • EFCC has declared the mother of the Abia State Governor, wanted for financial crimes, along with her Personal Assistant and a number of other state officials. When EFCC attempted to effect an arrest, the security operatives guarding her shot at them. I love this country.

I'd like to thank Olusola of London for appreciating my blog. All the hours of staring cube-eyed at a computer screen trying to upload photos via dial-up have not been in vain.
Talking of which I have loads of photos which I'll put up once I sort the USB thing.

For Funmilayo, whom I loved (and still do) before I met Mona, you see what happens when you don't dress provocatively. Of course I'm enthralled by Mona but it doesn't stand in the way of you and I.
Its a man-thing, we are able to love more than one person with our hearts. I should sit down and ponder on that statement. Yeah, I'm an asewo, what can I say? Its mona's mind that got me first, though.

Funmilayo is a major blogger based in london, she goes by other names on her web-site and I suspect she has M.I.6 affiliations.

Olusola of london was looking out for me not realizing Molara is one of the few people allowed to call me names. I've called her a groupie too (and I had justification. hee hee)

So I'd like to ask all not to take offence. Ore la o ma se (Friends forever).

As for mischievious Araceli, she's one of my favourite people. Her eyes dance when she talks to you.

I'll be back soon.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Mona, the UK-based blogger who updates on the Nigerian Entertainment scene more than most Nigerian newspapers. I thought I'd take a closer 'look' at the virtual picture since she's refused to paste live ones of herself. Posted by Picasa

Entries to be sent by post to the following address only:

Féile Filíochta/International Poetry Competition 2006
P.O. Box 6983
County Dublin

• There is no entry fee.
• Poems can be on any subject and there is no restriction on length, theme or style.
• As a signature is required on the entry form, poems will NOT be accepted by e-mail.
• Attach this form to poem(s) submitted.
• Write your name on entry form only - not on poems.
• Please include title of poem on top of each page.
• Entrants may submit up to four poems in each language in their age group. Use separate forms if submitting poems in more than one language.
• There are 10 language categories in the Adult competitions: Irish, English, German, French, Italian, Welsh, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic, Swedish and Polish. In the Under 17 and Under 12 competitions, there are two language categories: Irish and English.
• In the junior categories entrants must be under 12 or under 17 on the closing date of the competition.
• Incomplete entry forms will not be processed.
• Poems cannot be returned to entrants and once submitted cannot be altered.
• We do not acknowledge receipt of poems.
• Poems must not have been published prior to entering the competition and should not appear in print, on a website, self-published or broadcast in any form before announcement of competition results. They must be the original work of the author.

  • The list of prizewinners and winning poems will appear on the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Libraries website in early March 2007. Winners will be personally notified by the end of February 2007. Results will also be sent out in the post in March if you enclose a SAE with your entry.

  • Further entry forms available from address above or from libraries, or phone (01) 278 1788, fax (01) 278 1792. Entry forms and conditions in Irish, English, German, French, Italian, Welsh, Spanish, Scottish Gaelic, Swedish and Polish available online at www.dlrcoco.ie/library
    • At the discretion of the County Council winning poems may be published in different media.
    • The Judges' decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into regarding their decision.
  • Closing date: Saturday 11th November 2006.