It was a bitter-sweet moment at the internally displaced persons (IDPs) camp at the Games Village, Abuja recently when the National Troupe Of Nigeria thrilled the inmates with scintillating performances to get them to relax their minds and forget their pains and sorrows.
The men, women and children marveled at the various dance drama and great steps of the troupe.
The innocent children were highly entertained as they laughed and cheered endlessly.
The performance on education and reorientation entitled ‘Murna’ meaning ‘joy’ was well received by the IDPs who were told the people and government had not forgotten them as they are with them in their trying period. The performances also portray the determination of government to restore their joy and get them back to their respective communities. There was free flow of tears of joy on many faces.
At a point in the course of the performance, children were called to take part in one of the aspects of the dance drama. Some young pregnant women at the camp who sat in a circle took part in the thrill, nodding to the stimulating moves of the dancers.
No doubt, the IDPs need such entertainment to take their minds off the difficulty of living in an environment that is clearly not conducive for human beings. A random sampling on some of the IDPs showed many are home sick. They are going through difficult times and require the support of well-meaning Nigerians to cushion their suffering. It is in this light that the contribution by the National Troupe should be appreciated.
The artistic director, National Troupe of Nigeria, Akin Adejuwon, said since his appointment in 2014, the relevance of national troupe to Nigeria had increased.
“I made sure at that time because I think one of the ways most apt is to carry the National Troupe out of the theatre to all the ethnic groups in Nigeria particularly the zones, conflict areas like the north eastern part of Nigeria. And in doing that I also said the National Troupe would interface with military who are doing a wonderful job at recovering those parts that were being overrun by insurgents.
“And also to go to the camps where all those who have been displaced, our compatriots who have been put in a difficult situation to show them that Nigeria is represented in the performing art. And that has been my watchword. At the shareholders meeting, there was a white paper drawn up which I have been studying. We started in national IDP camps last year. You must know that there had been lots of activities, elections, change of government. So we haven’t had so much time. In my one year in office I have only been active for about six months.
“Be that as it may, we went to Bauchi under the platform provided by NOA, because we also needed to start reorientation at that time because the overran areas were still being recovered by the government armed forces. So we needed to start reorienting people in the camps towards preparing to return home. In spite of serious scarcity of funds, I chose not to have a month go by without having an activity.
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“I have done all kinds of acrobatics of finances, taking loans to carry out that ambition of the goal that we have set for ourselves. Thanks to the media as represented here by you, we have really started springing up to the focus of Nigeria again. In the last few months the new government was sworn in and with the interaction of the minister, I think our agenda cannot diminish,” he explained.
Adejuwon also recalled the troupe’s performance at the Cuban Embassy where the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi was the special guest, saying it portrayed the cultural strength of the nation.
‘The performance very interestingly is in a direction that is supervised and initiated by the current Minister ofCinformation and culture, Lai Mohammed. He had gone out to say that content drives tourism. And what kind of content? It’s cultural content. And all of Africa is completely filled up with performative contents. This performance is geared towards the current Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi; since he came in, he said he’s going to drive Ife as a global cultural destination. It is already a cultural destination because of Ifa and Ifa originated in Ife. And that is why when we were invited, we saw it as a good opportunity to send a message that Nigerian culture is still very strong and unique. When you look at the countenance of the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi and other guests, you could see how they were so impressed and he’s looking at us coming in to help out in Ife,” he added.
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