News: Acceptance/Inaugural Speech by Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo on his Election as the 8th President of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA) at the 26th SONTA Conference, Benue State University, Makurdi: 4th - 7th June 2013.

Distinguished Chairman of SONTA Council,
Hon Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation
The Vice Chancellor, BSU,
The Immediate Past President of SONTA,
Distinguished Members of SONTA Executive,
All SONTA Fellows here present,
All Past SONTA Presidents here present,
Eminent Professors of Theatre Arts here present,
Theatre Scholars and Practitioners,
Respected Members of the Press,
My Dear Colleagues and Students,
Congress men and women,
Ladies and Gentlemen.

God is the author of time. To Him we owe ultimate gratitude for everything He causes to be at His own time. What he causes to be is also often brought to be through active involvement of men and women; hence, the saying that the voice of man/woman is the voice of God. When noble intentions are intoned, they travel on the wings of great voices, and the greatest voice is the voice of the people - speaking out - in prose, or

painting or poetry or music; speaking out - in homes and halls, streets and farms, courts and cafes - let those voices speak in unison and the sound you hear is the voice of God. My dear and valued SONTA members, for unanimously electing us as the 8th President of SONTA on 5th June, 2013, God indeed has spoken through you.

Our investiture today as Fellow of SONTA, even though it is part of the package of instrument of office for emerging as SONTA President, we consider it a worthy and valued reward for our over two decades contributions to theatre scholarship and practice in Nigeria. It is also seen as an encouragement to us not to relent but to engage in greater exploits for the good of our profession and the Nigerian society. May God grant us the grace, strength and perfect health to serve you more.
We are extremely honoured to be elected SONTA President, and we are grateful to all SONTA members for making this possible because, you all are the charming gardeners who made our aspirations to blossom. Even though the heart is small, mine holds a rather large amount of gratitude for your trust and faith in us to lead the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists, the highest professional body for theatre and culture scholars and practitioners in Nigeria. This is great responsibility thrust, and we accept it wholeheartedly with deep sense of humility. We would not take this responsibility lightly, and we will strive to represent you with the utmost transparency and boldness. In our work as your President, we pledge to be guided by SONTA Constitution and extant decisions of the society.

President Emmanuel Dandaura has led the Society to new heights and has set the stage for an exciting next chapter. Being part of his achievements as Vice President, we shall consolidate and build upon these achievements.  Indeed, SONTA has had a remarkable history of successful presidents who have guided the society through tremendous growth and change.  This legacy reflects a strong scholarly and professional body with a clear sense of identity and purpose.  Working with SONTA executive and the entire membership, we will strive to sustain and build upon that powerful tradition.

As we look forward, there is much to do.  The newly approved SONTA Strategic Plan must get underway and define a fresh lease of growth for our dear society. The challenges are great, but the opportunities are even greater. To secure these opportunities and succeed, all hands must be on deck. We eagerly look forward to having your support and active participation on SONTA projects and activities.

Under our stewardship, the executive will be guided with the specific goal of building bridges of consolidation and breaking new grounds for the benefits of our members and the Nigerian society. We shall reinforce and create multiple bridges that will enhance our linkages with government and her relevant agencies, international bodies and the corporate publics. These bridges will be built based on imagination, openness and courage.

  • Imagination is the innate willpower for discovery and innovation;
  • Openness grants us liberty to harness our distinctive strengths for multiple creative yields; and
  • Courage helps us interrogate conventional wisdom and take risks to make a difference.

Through these bridges, we intend to:

1. expand the financial base of SONTA,
2. identify and provide solutions to critical and crucial issues affecting theatre scholarship, practice and training in Nigerian tertiary institutions,
3. strengthen the membership fold of SONTA and encourage more active and committed participation,
4. pay keen attention to issues affecting the professional and scholarly advancement of members,
5. provide platforms for the growth of young theatre scholars/professionals and the projection of established ones,
6. project the society more to public consciousness both nationally and internationally, while we continue to synergize with other relevant associations and bodies in the creative arts,
7. seek the attention of Government and the corporate publics on the activities of the society and to secure support for theatre infrastructures in Nigerian tertiary institutions.
8. seek legislative regulatory instrument from the Nigerian parliament to strengthen the practice of our profession and training.

We wish our members well and urge each one to continue our collective journey with imagination, openness and courage. To my distinguished fellow executive members, colleagues and friends, we have a trust to keep, and a dream to fulfill to make SONTA greater than it is today.

Congress men and women, we also need your sincere assurances that you would cooperate with us to succeed. If indeed you would give us your cooperation to succeed, please say “Aye”, if you would not cooperate with us say “Nay”; the “Ayes” have it.

Thank you very much for today’s support and the support you will extend during our tenure. God bless you all; God bless my wife and family; God bless all my well wishers; and God bless SONTA. Peace!


Prof S.E. Ododo, Ph.D, fsonta

SONTA President. 6th June, 2013


Quick Links
SONTA Awards Members
Academic Display
BSU Ready to Host SONTA
Sonta 2013 Programmes
New Professional Journals
Citation of Prof. Ododo as SONTA president
Acceptance/Inaugural Speech by Prof Sunday Ododo
SONTA 23rd Conference, Keffi.

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