Thursday, January 31, 2008

Terra Kulture in collaboration with Jasonvision

(Live Drama every Sunday)

Sunday February 3
Piper, Piper
Written by Wole Oguntokun
directed by Kenneth Uphopho

Sunday February 10
The Inspector And The Hero
Written by Femi Osofisan
directed by Sunkanmi Adebayo\

Sunday February 17
The Angel
Written by Ahmed Yerima
Performed by Renegade Theatre

Sunday February 24
Hard Ground
Written by Ahmed Yerima
directed by Wole Oguntokun

Venue: Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage Street, Victoria Island
Time: 3pm and 6pm (Every Sunday)
Tickets: N2000 / Students with I.D. N1500

Theatre@Terra is produced by Wole Oguntokun
For enquiries and tickets, please call- 0702 836 7228, 0808 123 9477
or e-mail

The first reading of the Nigerian version of the Vagina Monologues took place yesterday at the offices of the Kudirat Initiative for Democracy (K.I.N.D.) About 20 females came together from all over the country to examine the new script.

The Nigerian version was written by five writers, laspapi (who'll also be directing the 2008 performances) Ijeoma Ogwuegbu who writes for The Sun Newspapers, Tunde Aladese who writes for True Love magazine and is an associate producer on the Mo Abudu Show, Princess Olufemi Kayode- Head of the N.G.O. - Media Concern and the blogger, Overwhelmed, who schools in Canada.

The Monologues based on interviews of Nigerian women around the country and the personal experiences of the writers were closely scrutinized by an army of inspectors. There are a few tweaks needed here and there but the script is basically ready. Rehearsals will commence within the week.

Pic 1- (Seated from left) The Executive Director of Project Alert- Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, the TV producer and show host-Funmilola Iyanda, the theatre producer Sharon Obang and standing behind, the writer-Tunde Aladese

PIC 2- (From left) Princess Olufemi Kayode, Hafsat Abiola-Costello (Executive Director Of KIND) and Amy Oyekunle of KIND

PIC 3- (Standing from left) Tunde Aladese, Ijeoma Ogwuegbu

Oh Lord, we humble ourselves to you this day and ask you to forgive us our sins, although we have none.

This is because it is not us who killed Jesus Christ, it was the whites. He was betrayed by a whiteman, and then sold to another white man who ordered that He be beaten.

It was the whites who even voted that He be crucified. The name of the betrayer was Judas Iscariot. We do not even have such names.


So we could not in anyway beinvolved in the crucification(sic) of our Lord. If you do not believe me, you could even watch the movie, "PASSION OF THE CHRIST". There is no black man there.

Please Lord; let the black man be rich and the white man work for him.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Feeling Overwhelmed

Overwhelmed Naija Babe, blogger extraordinaire and slayer of lesser mortals, was in Abuja and in Lagos for the Christmas holidays. This Nigerian/Canadian and I, first met and developed an extra-ordinary friendship on the web. She loves me and I love her. That's how best I can put it. We've both survived people slandering us on-line and spreading falsehood, obsessing, the whole works and we're still standing. So she called to say she was in Lagos and could I come get her on time for the bloggers' party.

I drove down and met my friend in technicolour for the first time. 5' 11" of solid womanhood and wearing 4" heels to help her see above the crowd. And then we took a drive to Vicoria Island where the party held.

Then we both noticed something strange. It was as if we'd always known each other, like it wasn't a first meeting. Unlike O.J. Simpson, the glove fitted. We chatted, talked, gossipped, I listened to her throaty laugh, and then we met up with the bloggers who hadn't departed- Omo Alagbede, Unnaked, Tayo and the lovely, lovely Scribe who was also home on holiday from the U.S.

Then everyone went to their cars to go home... and mine wouldn't start. The engine turned but wouldn't come to life. I thought, 'I have Overwhelmed in Lagos with me, in 4" shoes, and this car won't start?'

She stayed calm, I was the agitated one because it was already about 10.30pm. We left the car at the restaurant and walked to Akin Adeshola St to get a taxi and on that journey stopped to buy the suya I'd promised her almost a year earlier and 10minutes later, witnessed a fight between an Odua Peoples Congress member and our taxi driver who also claimed to be OPC. For a girl fresh off the boat from Canda, that was traumatic, but I'll leave ONB herself to tell how she reacted there. (I'm still laughing)

On another day out, we stopped the car by the roadside somewhere in Ebute Meta, engine running, windows wound up, to eat the 'ofada' (unpolished) rice we had purchased earlier. There was palm oil stew everywhere but we managed to pull it off.

Overwhelmed also came to my new office space and mapped out her territory (she gets the room with a view)

She's since returned to Canada and I miss my friend. Thank you, Storm, for being whom I always thought you were.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Shut Up; Sit Down

The Girl Whisperer

as published by

The Sunday Guardian of January the 27th

Eight days ago, The Whisperer was at Tosyn Bucknor’s Celebrity Auction which was done to highlight her “These Genes” project to advance the case of sickle cell sufferers and in the few moments when I could tear my eyes of the lovely television presenter, Lamide Akintobi, I had a conversation with Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, a participant in the first Big Brother Nigeria reality show. It led to the train of thought that birthed this article.

Without exception, every relationship has its opponents, a set of doubting thomases and philistines who say it will not work. Usually, the savvy couple ignores the people who give their comments whether solicited or otherwise. By the way, if you have to ask others whether the relationship you are in will stand the test of time, you are not ready to be in an adult partnership yet. Better for you to play with dolls or toy soldiers, depending on your gender. We, as humans sometimes want reassurance from others, often seeking validity from those not qualified to give it. It is the same thing as seeking advice from a blacksmith about issues relating to gold.

One of the easiest things in the world is telling others “it can’t be done”. There is no shortage of people who will tell you why a project you have in mind will never have ‘lift off’, why your future plans can never work out. It’s the same thing with relationships. He’s from another tribe; she doesn’t have a pedigree; his parents are poor; she’s almost a dwarf; reasons abound to leave any situation if you are looking hard enough for them.

The best advice the Whisperer can give here is that you take the responsibility of assuring the only people you need to put at rest; your self and your partner. All others are secondary, no matter how important you think they are to you and you must learn to tell them all, “Shut up and sit down”. There is a school of thought however, that says one should never go against one’s mother’s opinions. Many a relationship has been broken by a mother looking long and hard at a child’s relationship and not taking to the incoming partner. Mothers are usually hard to please as we all know, and some say from experience that ‘behind every successful man is a surprised mother-in-law’.

Is the Whisperer asking people to ignore their mothers? No, he’s not. Still, you must weigh whatever advice you are given from anyone including your mother against what you know of the proposed partner. It is not enough to be told that he cannot be a responsible person because he has a bushy moustache or wears dread-locks. The advice that makes you take a second look at your relationship should be one that could go to the root of the relationship. For example, if he’s been known to break into homes and has a criminal record as long as your arm, you might want to slow down a bit before you make him father of your children and understand the true meaning of ’natural born criminal’ when you look at the children you have for him. Except you are looking to have a relationship with one of the members of Ocean’s 11, it might be a good idea to reduce speed and negotiate the tight corners, particularly if he is not a reformed sinner.
Leaving your man because he does not do real work, (he’s a D.J.) might not be a tangible excuse, if his dee-jaying brings home the bacon.

However, what do you do in circumstances when it’s your partner in the relationship telling you he wants to leave? There are few things more painful than the person you have given your heart to, telling you he is not sure you should continue with the relationship. You meet him at a lovely restaurant, in his apartment, on a bench at the shopping mall and he tells you “it’s all over”. You tell him to “shut up and sit down”. Then you walk away. You cannot make anyone love you against his or her well and pity is not the stuff that legendary love stories are built on. When a man continues with you because he feels sorry for you, the relationship is dead. Gather your pride, stand up straight and walk away. Let the Whisperer give you perspective- The world has more than five billion people in it, and there are quite a number of people out there who would sing your heart’s song if you’d let them (and also make your mother happy if you’re that kind).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Committee for Relevant Art (CORA) of which laspapi is a member, retreated into a workshop at the Eko Hotel & Suites last thursday the 24th of January, to plan the direction of the organization over the coming years.

Deji Toye, who co-ordinated the retreat, has proved a real slave-driver, pushing us into the early hours of the morning to touch on matters that affect us all and this organization that has carved a formidable niche in matters of the Arts in Nigeria and beyond.

Conceived by the geologist and arts writer, Toyin Akinosho, more than 15 years ago along with Yomi Layinka, Tunde Lanipekun, Jossy Ogbuanoh and Chika Okeke, CORA won the 25,000 Euros price from the Prince Claus Foundation based in the Netherlands last year for its arts advocacy.

Resource people called in to aid the retreat included the C.E.O. of Farafina- Muhtar Bakare, Tony 'Kan' Nwordi Corporate Services Executive of the Bank PHB, the film maker- Mahmoud Alli-Balogun, Obi Asika- C.E.O. of Storm Records and Panin Kaniyuk and Azu Nwagbogu of the African Artists' Foundation.

A bonus of all the work-sessions is the ambience of the hotel and the lovely rooms. We might be checking out later today, Sunday, or tomorrow.

In pic 1- (seated from left) Toyin Akinosho, (Secretary General Of CORA), Sola Alamutu (Head Of the CATE foundation and member-WRITA), Ayo Arigbabu (Writer and Architect), Ropo Ewenla (Actor and lecturer), Jumoke Verissimo (Writer, Performance Poet). Standing behind is Chuks Nwanne who writes for the Guardian Newspapers)

Pic 2- Deji Toye (Lawyer and writer), Chuks,Toyin, Ayo, Ropo, Jumoke, Tony Kan, Sola, Jahman Anikulapo (Editor Of the Guardian on Sunday and Life Magazine, Programmes Chairman of CORA),Chris Ihidero (Editor- MADE magazine) and laspapi

Pic 3- Mahmoud Alli Balogun and Deji

Pic 4- Panin Kaniyuk, Azu and Jahman

Pic 5- (From left) Obi Asika, Muhtar and Deji

laspapi and shade ladipo at the British Council Words & Pictures Event (WAPi), hosted by Emem last October.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


An elderly relative's husband had died and laspapi did the impossible, he paid a condolence visit. Make no mistake, family is important to me, but I also believe that your family does not consist of those whom you are tied to by blood, but of those whom you would give your blood for. She not being in the blood donor category, I hadn't been to see her for a long while and from all indications, she cared as little for me, but when I heard of the death, I appeared like a genie, thinking, "you're older, man. Be nice."

Shock, amazement and looks of pleasant surprise on the faces of all. I smiled, expressed my heart-felt sympathy as I moved through the room, asked for the widow. She was lying on a couch, like an ancient Roman aristocrat. People fawned, she looked sufficiently sad. She looked as if she had been in that position for a while.

As I approached her, I saw the analytical look, up and down, a quick one. I murmured sympathy... "Yes, it's me, laspapi. I hope you are well". I sat for a while, chatting, observing, being observed, the usual thing people do at gatherings. Then I went to the balcony and looked down at the street scene as dusk walked through the skies.

The apartment was three storeys up. I stood contemplating life, and then death that must come to all, then heard footsteps behind me. It was the widow. "E pele, ma" (Sorry Ma). I thought she had come to tell me not to stay away from family, a nasty habit of mine where the extended family is concerned. She said in Yoruba:

WIDOW: What car did you bring?

Laspapi: (Not sure he had heard right) Ma!?

WIDOW: Your car? What car did you come here in?

laspapi: (thinking he was going to be warned to re-park in a no-theft zone) Errr, it's downstairs.

WIDOW: (Straining to look) Show me.

laspapi: (Pointing) That one...

WIDOW: (She looks long and hard)

laspapi: (stands bemused as Widow retreats into the room to recline on her Romano-Greco chair again) *thinking* I haven't seen her in four years, her husband lies dead and she wants to know what car ...

All the appearances on tv and in the newspapers make people think strange things. I really ought to buy a jeep and then another. Make them all mad.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Yesterday, Saturday the 19th, These Genes, (The Sickle Cell Project) organized by Tosyn Bucknor, drew celebrities from everywhere. It took the form of a Celebrity auction and the event, co-hosted by Kunle "Kaboom" Bello of the Trybesmen and Shade Ladipo, had laspapi as the auctioneer. And no, I'm not licenced, but it was really great fun and done to highlight the issue of Sickle Cell in this country and beyond. Also present were the singer, Ade Bantu and his brother, Biodun, the Rooftop MCs, the comedian Tee A, The Future Awards 'Directorate'- Chude, Emilia and Debola, the really cool Cool FM presenter- Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi and the Bloggers- Tayo and Omo Alagbede.

Some of those I "sold off" to appreciative members of the audience included Godwin Okeke- formerly of the Big Brother Nigeria House, the TV and Radio Personality- Wild Child, the Singer and actress- Ashionye, the TV show host- Denrele, Ebuka- formerly of Big Brother Nigeria and now a TV show host in his own right, the Events Planner-Funke Bucknor Obruthe and the Channels Television presenter, Lamide Akintobi.

ps. They had to restrain me from kidnapping lamide who appears beautiful on the screen but is even much better in real life.

In top pic, The music producer, Carl "The Wolf" Raccah chats with a friend, 2nd pic-Lamide, Ebuka, Wilfred, laspapi, anon, Denrele and Ashionye. Pic 3- laspapi, Ashionye, Lamide, Emilia and wearing white in the background, Gbemi Olateru-Olagbegi. Pic 4- Tosyn Bucknor (right) and a friend.
The Girl Whisperer

as published by

the Sunday Guardian of Jan 20


Every soccer mad person, male or female, knows the meaning and importance of home advantage. It's that leverage you have when you're playing at home and your opponents travel from their base to meet you on your turf. The team at home has the upper hand in many ways- the players know every square inch of their playing field and there can be no suprises. The fans know their players and chant their names from the terraces.

Every loves the home advantage and the psychological edge it lends for if you can't win at home, you can't really be that good at the game. Where relationships are concerned, many argue the home advantage for many reasons. The more wary say it is dangerous to have a relationship with someone not from your tribe or locality. It's not enough that you both speak English or French or whatever your national language might be. They say you must share the same first language and understand the culture of your prospective

According to the proponents of the home advantage, you ignore this cardinal rule at your own peril. Apparently, there's something to be gained by being able to laugh at your father-in-law's jokes in his local dialect. As a rule, all people have a natural inclination to be clannish, to gravitate towards those who share similar backgrounds and to remain within their own comfort zones. At the extreme end of the spectrum are those who find love far beyond their now borders. These 'chosen few' break all accepted norms doing exactly as they please in the choice of a mate.

There are few of us who have not turned wonderingly at the airportupon seeing the new breed of black-skinned husband with his white wife, and sometimes the wife is mexican or Indian (brown) or in some rare cases, japanese or chinese. It always gets us, when people with obvious racial differences try for a blend. The world is a global village now in more ways than one
and the partnering of different races and creeds is a fall out of a new truth the world has come to accept.

From all over, back-packing suitors scour the world in search of their true lover and sometimes it works for them. But why even discuss obvious differences today, why not talk of those subtle differences that don't hit you immediately? The difference in customs, in the manner suitors are expected to relate with members of their prospective families, the culture shock when a woman who comes from a non-prostrate-to-all-elders-When-you-see-them childhood meets a man from a 'bow and scrape to elders' background can be unsettling to the strongest relationships. In relationships where the extended family's opinion matters, issues will become abrasive after a while when these differences disturb over-sized egos.

The in-laws whispering in a language one partner cannot comprehend can be galling, the customs and traditions that appear to be
from another planet and to one partner, the ultimate in barbarism... With the rude awakening cultural differences sometimes give to lovers, one should ask, 'is there a guaranty that having a relationship with a home girl will make all things perfect?' The answer is no.

There are never any guarantees that a relationship will work whether a couple comes from the same church, tribe or shares forebears. Coming from different backgrounds can produce some very harsh moments, at least until couples learn to accept and perhaps even celebrate their differences but there is usually light at the end of the rainbow, at least for those who hold on to the end.

The Whisperer submits, and the cynical had better listen, that the only relationships that work, are those in which the partners have made up their minds to go the distance irrespective of differences, of backgrounds, of distinct cultures. There is no logic behind the term, 'irreconcilable
differences', often, there are just people refusing to reconcile, who have no wish to go the extra mile in love turned sour.

So even though we all have a natural inclination to stay where we are most comfortable, the whisperer encourages you to think out of the box. Usually, people, no matter where they are from, are born with two hands and legs. No one is being asked to date beings from Mars, at least, not yet, but who knows the future? Dare to go for what you want, other places, customs and traditions have a tale to tell and what they add to us can be richly rewarding.

Friday, January 11, 2008

The Girl Whisperer

as published in the last edition of

The Sunday Guardian of 2007

Sugar and Spice

As the year ends, and as the tentative greetings of “Merry Christmas” begin, the Whisperer has cause to reflect on the things that make us all desire this season to be one that is much merrier than the rest of the year. Why do we wish ourselves a merry Christmas? Is it the feeling of warmth and gratitude that one has made it to the end of another year relatively unscathed? Or the infant, meek and mild, that this season commemorates?

Growing up, I would spend hours poring over Christmas greeting cards and their drawings of cottages and homes with warmth in the fire place spied through windows shut tight to keep out the cold, street lights shedding a soft light on the carriage-drawn horses on the streets, little children seated around the Christmas tree opening presents, snow on the roof and the side walk, a red-breasted robin by a window trilling its song. I would trail my fingers over the glitter that was often sprayed on this cards, touching, imagining how life would be if I lived as a member of the families on those greeting cards. Unrealistic, you might say, but these thoughts made life beautiful as I sought my own identity in life. I think every child should have this phase, a time when dreams are real, beauty is everywhere, and when friendships that might last a lifetime are forged. It is the reason no parent or guardian should deprive a child of these time of wonder, where everything is fascinating and untainted. Those years might never come again, therefore children should be allowed to walk freely in them, marvelling, exploring, with good friends and great families, but I digress.

“What are little girls made of? Sugar and spice and all that’s nice, that’s what little girls are made of. ” So goes part of the famous nursery rhyme. I have taken major steps through life based on this premise, in my relationships, friendships and dealings with members of the female sex. I have been idealistic in my perception of girls of all ages, whether young or old, enforcing movie and fairy tales stereotypes like The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Cinderella, Snow White and little Red Riding Hood. In these stories, the females are gentle, patient, kind and beautiful, the kind of women that exist in the dreams of many men. This has been my choice for I have learnt that women can be beautiful when they choose to be. I do not talk of physical beauty now for there is no one that can lay claim to being responsible for this but I speak of the grandness that comes from within. The Whisperer has met many beautiful women, great friends, wonderful confidants, those who looked out for him, and often without any selfish or hidden motives. I speak of the nobility of the human spirit that makes us overcome pettiness and mean things.

For some reason, societal expectations of women are much higher than those placed on men, but maybe this is because there are many, many women who are able to tap into that stream of nobility that can make them ‘sugar and spice and all that’s nice’. This is a salute to all the beautiful women I have met in my life, beauty that has shown from the inside and lit up everything around, like those soft lights from street lamps on those Christmas greeting cards many, many years ago.

For the men who are yet to meet true beauty, here’s wishing you a Christmas that will guide you to one. It is true that there are some women who all vinegar without sugar, but the beautiful ones are out there too, and they are many. In this tribute to women of all ages and temperaments who read this peace, I say have yourself, a wonderful, beautiful Christmas. To my brothers and sisters, fun’layo, bande, sola and yinka who made my earliest Christmases such a beautiful place to have grown up in; I wish your children that same kind of beauty that I found.

To my ‘family’, Ngozi, Ifeanyi and Chukwuma Okoisor in whatever countries you might be today, you made growing up such a beautiful thing for me. Thank you.

And to all those who search for love and truth, it might be closer than you think. Smile at the person next to you, murmur a little prayer for them and sing, “Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light, from now on, our troubles will be out of sight”.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You're Beautiful...It's true

I watched Million Dollar Baby again, 3 of the world's most enthralling actors- Hillary Swank, Clint Eastwood and Morgan Freeman. An extraordinary story told by extraordinary people.

Clint Eastwood- who has stood the test of time, from the early days of Dirty Harry and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, and then successfully crossing over into directorhood. Once, one of the world's best-looking men, now ageing with grace realizing every dog has its day in the sun. Directing unforgettable movie after unforgettable movie- Unforgiven, Letters from Iwo Jima...

Hillary Swank- Whose face is, well, just beyond description and who is able to hold moods and tell entire plots with that face. I saw her in Freedom Writers and a few other movies. I think she's one of the world's most beautiful women (right alongside Nicole Kidman). I like white women? I like women. Finis.


Morgan Freeman- As consistent as coca cola, a perrenial favourite. That movie he did with Tim Robbins (Shawshank Redemption) remains one of my all-time choices. I sat and watched Million Dollar Baby and ran the gamut of human emotions- frustration, hope, triumph, joy, great sadness...

I thank God for movies and the world of wonders they produce. And to the other movie buffs out there, we're onto a good thing.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Theatre@Terra continues this January with 4 modern plays written by Wole Oguntokun.

Sunday January 6
Anatomy Of a Woman
Directed by Kenneth Uphopho

Sunday January 13
The Inheritors
Directed by Paul Alumona

Sunday January 20
The Other Side
Performed by Renegade Theatre

Sunday January 27
Gbanja Roulette
Directed by Wole Oguntokun

Venue- Terra Kulture, Tiamiyu Savage St, Victoria Island, Lagos
Gate- N2000/N1500- Students with I.D.

Anatomy Of a Woman- What does a woman, any woman really want? Money, a house, cars, a good husband and children? The writer walks the female mind and humorously investigates gender realtions. The play was first performed at the Muson Centre in March of 2007and starred Stella Damasus in the premiere.

The Inheritors- Where there's a will, there are relatives. One matriarch, her family and her impending death. When greed sits on the human mind, it takes the whole seat. First performed at the Muson Centre in December 2003 starring Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, it was again presented in August of 2006, featuring the stage and tv actor, Joke Silva.

The Other Side- North America and the whole of Europe have crumbling economies and despotic governments. Africa is the land of plenty and Lagos, its most attractive city. Darren Campbell, a white caucasian, born and bred in the United Kingdom, comes to Lagos in search of a better life. This play featured Kate Henshaw-Nuttall in its October 2005 performance.

Gbanja Roulette- 2 flatmates, their relatives and the impact of promiscuity on close friendships. One of the most performed modern plays in Nigeria, it tells of the game of chance that follows sexual indiscretion.