Sonta
News:
SONTA NEWS
   NEWSLETTER OF THE SOCIETY OF NIGERIA THEATRE ARTISTS (SONTA)
   SECOND QUARTER, MAY 2013          www.sonta.org        ISSN 1118-3632

IN THIS ISSUE

  • Panorama of Dandaura’s SONTA Presidency
  • BESU’s Readiness for SONTA 2013
  • SONTA on the International Scene
  • NUTAF holds in Keffi, July 2013
  • Inaugural and Public Lectures
  • Colloquiums
  • Promotions
  • Appointments
  • Retirements
  • SONTA Member Wins Award
  • Weddings
  • Memories of Calabar 2012
  • Citations of 2013 SONTA Awards Recipients
  • Transition.

 

PANORAMA OF DANDAURA’S SONTA PRESIDENCY
Eman Danduara was elected SONTA President at the 2009 SONTA conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) that held at the University of Jos. After serving a full two year term, he was re-elected for a second term at the Zaria 2011 Conference and AGM. In the four years he has served so far, SONTA has recorded a lot of achievements. These were made possible by the leadership of Eman Dandaura and also the support of members of his Executive Committee, made up of people who have served in different capacities in the two different tenures. These include Professors Tracie Utoh-Ezeajugh and Sunnie Enesi Ododo as 1st Vice President and 2nd Vice President respectively, Professror Samuel Kafewo as Secretary, Associate Professors Doki Ama Gowon as Assistant Secretary and Tor Iorapuu as Editor (assisted by Dr Festus Idoko: Assistant Editor and Mr Greg Mbajiorgu: Business Manager.)
Professor Alex Asigbo has served first as Secretary and eventually as Financial Secretary. Other members of the out-going Dandaura team are Dr Dennis Ameh Akoh, Treasurer, Dr Abdulrasheed Adeoye, Events Manager, and Mr Sylvanus Dangoji, Public Relations Officer. The team benefited a lot from the experience and contributions of Professors Ayo Akinwale and Saint Gbilekaa as ex-officio members.

When the EXCO headed by Dandaura was elected first in 2009 and re-elected in 2011 (with little reshufflement), it was observed that there was a generational shift in the crop of leaders the society put together. Older members had confidence in younger people to drive forward the society that had been already established by their earlier efforts. As the Dandaura leadership comes to an end, it is safe to say that the EXCO has delivered on its mandate and has consolidated upon the gains of its predecessors. Chief among the achievements of the EXCO is the unfailing hosting of the Conference and Annual General Meetings each year from Nasarawa State University, Keffi in 2010, through Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 2011, to University of Calabar in 2012, and now Benue State University, Makurdi in 2013. This unbroken chain is commendable as in the past, due to several reasons, some years went by without the yearly event holding.

Futhermore, thanks to the support from the Tertiary Education Trust (TET) Fund, the SONTA journal is now being published regularly. The SONTA Editor and his team have done a lot of work in ensuring that apart from the Book of Proceedings being published by the Local Organizing committees (LOCs) of host institutions before the conferences commenced, right after the events, the excellent presentations have always been chosen, subjected to reviews, sent back to authors for correction, and eventual publication in the academic journal. Today, journals emanating from the Jos 2009, Keffi 2010 and Zaria 2011 SONTA conferences are ready, while the last one from Calabar 2012 is going through the required processes preceding its release. These publications have all gone a long way in promoting the career advancement of members, a feat that needs to be sustained.

A revision of the old SONTA constitution, which has been in use for decades before now, has also been successfully initiated and completed during the tenure of Eman Dandaura.  In addition, a strategic plan has been developed and will be tabled for adoption by the 2013 congress in order to guide the achievement of the strategic objectives of SONTA. Furthermore, with the advent of social media, SONTA has been placed in the domain of internet based social networking, with active accounts on facebook (www.sonta@groups.facebook.com) and twitter (www.twitter.com/sontanigeria). SONTA’s own website (www.sonta-nigeria.org) has also been developed and launched, on which e-resources exist like institutional information, posts on upcoming events, membership data forms as well as electronic copies of SONTA documents like the constitution and reports. The new EXCO that would emerge from the Makurdi 2013 conference and AGM would need to work out the modalities for updating the SONTA regularly, which has not been the case so far. This will secure the position of SONTA in both the realm of the analogue and physical, and also the domain of the digital and virtual.

SONTA, under the leadership of Eman Dandaura, has embarked on very important projects that are shaping the future of the entertainment industry in Nigeria. First among such projects is the mapping of the Nigerian Creative Industries, through which a database of all artistic creative enterprises is being put together. Secondly, SONTA is leading arrangements for the formal take off of the Nigerian Academy of the Performing Arts, which will be different from the current Nigerian Academy of Letters to which most theatre scholars and practitioners belong. With efforts being headed by Professor Ahmed Yerima, the idea of the academy will soon come to light in differentiating the academy of the performing arts from that of the literary arts in Nigeria. Thirdly, SONTA has taken upon itself the sponsorship of the Theatre Arts Professionals Regulatory Council Bill, which when eventually passed into law, will control a lot of the things that are not going on right in not only theatre arts practice in Nigeria, but will also have far reaching impact on the overall entertainment industry.

In the same vein, SONTA has also provided leadership to other theatre arts bodies by facilitating dialogue and collaboration with formal groups of stakeholders like the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) and the Nigeria chapter of the international Theatre Institute (ITI). SONTA has also facilitated the resuscitation of the Nigeria Universities Theatre Arts Students Association (NUTASA). SONTA’s encouragement to the foremost organised theatre arts students’ body has resulted in plans to host the Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Festival (NUTAF) in July 2013, in Nasarawa State University, Keffi, after decades of non activity. Consultations are also being formalized among Heads of Departments of theatre/performing arts and cultural studies in Nigerian institutions of higher learning, thereby forging an alliance that is collectively impacting on curricular and policy issues of interest to all.

With these among other achievement recorded in the four years of Dandaura’s presidency, SONTA is poised to leap to the next level. This is possible with the continued guidance of the founding fathers, commitment of youthful newer members, and the sacrifice of dedicated EXCO members that will emerge from the 2013 Conference and Annual General Meeting being hosted by Benue State University, Makurdi. For SONTA, it is forward ever!

BESU’S READINESS FOR SONTA 2013

The Department of Theatre Arts, Benue State University, Makurdi, made a strong appearance at the 2012 SONTA conference held in Calabar. The delegation was made up of not only staff and graduate students but also the Vice Chancellor of the University herself, Professor of Theatre and Drama, Charity Angya, who was invested as a fellow of SONTA at the event. It therefore, was no surprise that BESU bided and won the hosting rights for the 2013 SONTA conference, and has so far, made all necessary arrangements for a successful 2013 event. In mid April, the EXCO of SONTA visited Makurdi and was impressed by the preparations being carried out by the local organizing committee (LOC) in Makurdi, all under the supervision of the VC herself as chief Host, and the Head of Department Dr Gowon Ama Doki, Associate Professor, as convener.

Professor Charity AngyaProfessor Charity Angya
     VC, BESU, Makurdi
So far, a programme of events has already been released by the LOC in collaboration with the SONTA EXCO, which indicates that Monday the 3rd of June will be the date for the arrival in Makurdi, of members of the SONTA EXCO. It is expected that the EXCO will hold a mop up meeting with the LOC in the evening, ahead of the arrival of delegates the next day Tuesday 4th June. A press conference is planned for the same day, after which there will also be the participation of EXCO and LOC members in a radio discussion programme, on the significance of the SONTA events holding in Makurdi. Participants would eventually be welcomed in the evening of the arrival day with performances by the students of BESU and other cultural groups, after which yet another LOC/EXCO meeting will hold later in the evening.

Wednesday 5th of June 2013 will be the day of the grand opening ceremony of the conference
The opening ceremony will however, be preceded by a courtesy call to the Vice Chancellor by representatives of delegates to the conference, the LOC and the SONTA EXCO. At the end of the opening ceremonies, roundtable presentations and discussions will be conducted by the lead paper presenters that have been already confirmed their availability for the conference. Thereafter, there will be the hosting of the new achievers forum (for those that have attained academic and professional distinctions in the past year,) as well as the alpha forum (for those attending the SONTA conference for the first time.) Paper presentations by participants will be differed to the next day in favour of wrapping up Wednesday with the Annual General Meeting (AGM) and election of new EXCO.
 Thursday 6th of June 2013 will be the day that all paper presentations accepted for the conference will be taken. This will be made possible through a morning syndicate session at three simultaneous venues to be each chaired by different facilitators according to thematic groupings. There will be a tea break and a mid morning syndicate session will follow, also at three simultaneous venues, to last till lunch break. After lunch, the third and final syndicate sessions will hold, again at three simultaneous venues, at the end of which all papers accepted must have been presented and discussed. The day will end with the VC’s cocktail, the 2013 SONTA Awards Ceremony, and the Swearing in of New EXCO. This will bring the three day activities to a close, so that in the morning of Friday 7th of June 2013, delegates can depart to their respective destination. With this line up of events, SONTA 2013 promises to be quite an enriching and fulfilling experience, that one would hate to miss!

 

SONTA ON THE INTERNATIONAL SCENE
The landmarks recorded by SONTA in the four years of the tenure of the Dandaura-led executive committee transcend the shores of Nigeria. The impact that SONTA has already made and is making internationally includes the following:

  • Canada: It could be recalled that in July 2009, while serving as Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Canada, His Excellency, Ambassador Iyorwuese Hagher facilitated the visit to Nigeria, of Don Rubin and his wife Pat Keeney. The visiting Canadian Professors of Goodwill delivered lectures at Nasarawa and Benue States universities, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and the University of Ibadan. In sustenance of that relationship, SONTA President Emmanuel Samu Dandaura and Dr Martins Ayegba of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria undertook an academic visit to Canada in February 2012. They were guests of the Department of Theatre at York University, Toronto, Canada for a period of four weeks. Presently, there is an understanding with the Tubman centre at York University which will necessitate further future exchange visits.
  • 2012 IATC Conference, Poland: In year 2010, (SONTA) was admitted as a national section of the International Association of Theatre Critics (IATC). Since then, SONTA has made an impressive showing at the bi-ennial event by participating in the XXVI IATC Conference, which held in Warsaw, Poland, from 25th to 31st March 2012. SONTA was represented by the President, Emmanuel Samu Dandaura and Professor Musa Dauda Enna during the weeklong gathering of participants from 46 countries across the globe organized by IATC.
  • IATC 28th World Congress, Abuja 2016: As leader of the first African national section of the IATC, the SONTA President Eman Dandaura was appointed the chairman of the African Forum of the IATC. His mandate includes the expansion of IATC activities in the continent of Africa, and hosting of the first African forum of the association within the year 2012. These have been carried out so impressively that the Nigerian chapter has been granted the hosting rights for the 28th World Congress of IATC to hold in Abuja in year 2016.
  • Prof Musa Dauda is IATC Journal Editor: Yet another success for SONTA and for Nigeria is that Prof Musa Dauda has been picked as an editor for the IATC journal. This is a rare opportunity as IATC is a not for profit and non governmental body founded in 1956, which benefits from statute B of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). SONTA stands the chance to gain a lot from UNESCO when the relationship is developed further.
  • SONTA and the International Theatre Institute: The International Theatre Institute (ITI) is a forum for theatre arts practitioners and scholars all over the world to share ideas and reflect on the dynamics of theatre and the society. SONTA is active in the running of the Nigeria chapter of the ITI. SONTA members in their different institutions of learning and theatre organizations commemorate the ITI facilitated yearly International Theatre Day on March….

 

NUTAF HOLDS IN KEFFI FROM 14-20th JULY 2013

The NUTASA EXCO had a joint Meeting with SONTA EXCO at the Benue State University, Makurdi, in Mid April 2013. After the meeting, the NUTASA officials confirmed that NUTAF 2013 will now hold from 14th-20th July 2013 at the Nasarawa State University Keffi.  Sixteen Universities have so far registered to participate. Three foreign institutions have also applied to observe the Festival, which promises to be fun and educational. Please ensure that your University is part of this restoration of NUTASA and NUTAF today.

For further details, local NUTASA branches are advised to contact the NUTASA officials as follows: 
PRESIDENT: 08179925858
SEC GEN: 08069811155 or
NUTASA Treasurer: 08081441415 or 07030682696.

Staff advisers and Heads of Department who need more information on how to support their students to participate effectively in NUTASA affairs can contact either the SONTA Secretariat or NANTAP President for further details.

 

 

INAUGURAL AND PUBLIC LECTURES
Professor Alex Asigbo’s Inaugural Lecture was held on Tuesday February 12th 2013 at the Auditorioum of  the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The lecture, which started at 12.00 noon prompt, was titled… SONTA was well represented at the once in a lifetime event to honour its member and official. Among those who were in attendance were: Profs Ayo Akinwale, Sam Ukala, Emma Dandaura, Sunnie Ododo. Emma Emaesalu and Molinta Enendu. Also in attendance were Drs AbdulRasheed Abiodun Adeoye, Gowon Ama Doki, and Ameh Dennis Akoh.
Other friends and well wishers of Asigbo from far and near who attended the historic event were: Ken Eni, Christine Odi, Ben Binebai, Joe Joseph Umukoro Ben Benjamin Ejiofor Nwafor Friday John John Yeseibo Ndubuisi Osuagwu Emeka Emeka Nwosu Ken Agugoesi, James Ikotinyie Eshiet Chisimdi Ihentuge, Izuu Nwankwo, Timber Emelobe, Tony, ABC Duruaku, Cajetan Nwosu, Canice Nwosu, and Engr Paul Akiola, Azubike Anionwu, Ben Eborieme, Thomas Ebong, Ejikeme Okenmor, Ken Njoku, Iyowuna Obamanu, and Bob-Manuel Udokwu.


Jenkeri Zakari Okwori, Professor of Participatory Communication and Lead Researcher, Centre of Excellence in Development Communication, Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, delivered a Faculty Lecture at his institution on 13th February 2013.  The Lecture, titled “Cultural Analysis as an Essentialising Architecture for Development Planning” was well attended by members of faculty, students and staff from other faculties in the university, friends and well wishers. Prof Okwori, a Fellow of SONTA was commended by the Dean of the Faculty of Arts Dr Lawal Aminu, for taking the lead in reviving the culture of Faculty Lectures in the institution, a practice that has suffered setbacks in recent times.
 
Prof. Tracie Utoh-Ezeajugh, SONTA Vice President 1 and Director, Centre of Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, Nnnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, also presented a Faculty Lecture on Monday the 25th of March 2013. The Venue of the lecture was the Post Graduate International Conference Centre, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka. The Lecture, titled "African Visual Idioms and Emergent Global Body Design Practices" was well attended by members of the Unizik community, academics from other institutions, friends and well wishers from all over the country.
FESTSCHRIFTS

Prof Sunnie Enesi Ododo
Prof Sunnie E. Ododo turned fifty years of age on 21st October 2012. The current SONTA Vice President 2 who is of the Department of Creative Arts, University of Maiduguri hails from Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. Okene was the central locale for a series of activities that were put together by friends and associates to celebrate him.

The festivities began with an evening of Creative Entertainment at the Gamji Hotels and Suits, Nagazi-Okene, along Lokoja Road, on the 19th October, 2012, by 5pm – 7pm. The next day, the 20th of October 2012, a grand event was held at College Auditorium of the Federal College of Education, Okene, along Lokoja Road, Kogi State, where there was a public presentation of a festschrift in his honour titled A Gazelle of the Savannah: Sunday Ododo and the Framing of Techno-Cultural Performance in Nigeria. The publication was edited by Osakue Omoera, Sola Adeyemi and Benedict Binebai. Three of Ododo’s latest creative works were also presented to the public. This formal event was followed by a reception and cultural entertainment for guests that came from all over the nation to grace the occasion.
On the Sunday 21st October, 2012, a Thanksgiving service was held to commemorate his 50th birthday and the kindness of God to him and his family at the ECWA Church, Idare Street, Okene by 10.30am.  The reviewer of the two volume festschrift, Prof Mabel Evwierhoma of the University of Abuja remarked that “It is universally accepted that a festschrift is a book honouring a respected academic and presented during his or her lifetime. I can see today is a day of colours. May Enesi Ododo's life show forth the glory of their brightness.” SONTA News congratulates Prof Ododo and wishes him many more fruitful years in his service to the theatre in particular and to  mankind in general.


Prof Oga Steve Abah
By July 2013 Professor Oga Steve Abah will be sixty years old. He was born on 15th July 1953 at Onyuwei-Akpa in Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State in the North-Central part of Nigeria. More than half of these sixty years – thirty-four years to be precise - would have been spent serving humanity and touching lives doing what he knows best – using theatre to engage with the society.
A festschrift is being prepared in his honour titled “Theatre Unbound: Reflections on TfD and Social Change”.
The collection of articles by the editors of the publication Professors Samuel Kafewo, Eman Dandaura and Tor Iorapuu has already closed since 25th January 2013, and the book will be ready any moment from now. Arrangements are being put in place towards a provisional date of July 15th 2013, for the public presentation of the book and other activities that will celebrate the great professor of Theatre for Development in Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, whose work has taken him all over the continents of the globe. SONTA News looks forward to the great celebration of a great man.

 

PROMOTIONS
SONTA President Emmanuel Samu Dandaura was formerly promoted Professor of Theatre Arts and Drama by the Nasarawa State University in March 2013, with Effect from 2009. SONTA is pleased with this new addition of individuals with the highest professional rank to the family. Professor Samuel Kafewo, Head of Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, remarked in a facebook post that “this is a well deserved promotion for one of the most dynamic SONTA Presidents ever!”
SONTA News is looking forward to the Makurdi 2013 SONTA conference and Annual General Meeting where the President will be hosting a new achievers forum, achievers that will include himself, after which he will be handing over to a new person at the helms of SONTA affairs.  We congratulate the man who has done so much to raise the profile of SONTA.

 

APPOINTMENTS AND ELECTIONS

  • Professor Victor Dugga, Dean of Arts, Federal University, Lafia, Nasarawa State.
  • Professor Steve Abah, Director, Directorate of University Advancement, ABU Zaria.
  • Professor Alex Asigbo, Dean of Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe Univ Awka, Anambra State.

 

RETIREMENT FROM SERVICE
Having served a full tenure at the Department of Theatre Arts, University of Ibadan, doyen of Nigerian theatre practice and scholarship Prof Dapo Adelugba retires from active service at the end of years of contract appointment with the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. As one of the Trustees of SONTA, we appreciate Baba Adelugba for his service to generations of students, the different institutions in which he has taught, examined or accredited courses in Nigeria and beyond. SONTA News appreciates this great member of the SONTA Board of Trustees, whose wealth of experience has benefitted theatre practice and scholarship in Nigeria and globally.


SONTA MEMBER WINS AWARD

Professor  Sunnie E. Ododo’s  play Hard Choice  has won  Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) Drama Prize, which makes him the number one dramatist in Nigeria for the 2012-13 award year. SONTA News Congratulates the amiable SONTA Vice President 2.


WEDDINGS
Former Miss Kirotdang Gonshing, a SONTA member who is of the Department of Theatre and Film Arts, University of Jos, got married to Mr Gokop Goteng on 30th April 2013 in Pankshin, Plateau State. Sonta News wishes the new couple a happy married life.

 


CITATIONS OF 2013 SONTA AWARDS RECEPIENTS

Dooshima Yemisi Suswam was born on the 30th of April 1967 into the family the family of Chief Albert Balogun of Emure- Ekiti in Ekiti State, Nigeria and Chief Mrs. Hannah Balogun. She attendedSaint Claires Nursery and Primary School, Oshogbo, Osun State. She began leadership in Primary Three with her appointment as prefect and later became Head Girl in Primary Five.

Thereafter, she proceeded to Federal Government Girls College, Oyo between 1979 and 1985 where she proved to be a multi-talented athlete and became the School’s Sports Prefect. For Higher Education, she went to the Federal University of Technology, Minna where she bagged B. Tech Architecture in 1992 and in M.Tech Architecture in 1993.

The Federal Capital Development (FCDA), Abuja was where she did her National Youth Service in 1994. In 2009, she went to the prestigious Harvard University of Cambridge, Boston – USA, where she obtained a certificate in Leadership in a New World, Women and Power. 

Arc. Suswam did not waste time in proving her growth in the building profession when she established in 1995 All Purpose Shelters Limited (APSL); a building development company, where she is the Chief Executive and presides over a number of corporate interests. Under her expert management, the company has handled the building of some exotic structures within and outside the Federal Capital Territory. Amongst them are the Wuye Ultra Modern Market Abuja, and the International Multi-Purpose Conference Centre, Lugbe, Abuja. Her successes did not come by chance but by dint of hard work and continuous strive for excellence.

Before she became an Excellency, she had been excellent in all her deeds. Arch. Dooshima Suswam is a philanthropist who reaches out to motherless children in orphanages and the less privileged in the society. Her humanitarianism is excellent. She is a regular visitor to orphanages, among them the NKST Mkar Orphanage, Mama Abaiyol’s Orphanage Home Makurdi, where she donates money, foodstuff, clothing and other materials in addition to giving moral support. The Overall well being of the orphans is paramount in her heart.
In partnership with her husband, His Excellency, (Dr.) Gabriel Suswam, she sponsors a good number of undergraduate students. As a caring mother to her children and a dutiful wife to her husband, His excellency, Govenor Gabriel Suswam, she supports him even before he went into politics first as a member the of House of Representative and eventually  as the Executive Governor of Benue State.

Due to her love for the people of Benue State, she founded Sev-Av Foundation, a multifunctional foundation which aims at giving hope to the hopeless by empowering the women and youth in the State through health care services, such as free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling, free drugs, prevention of mother to child transmission, and free ante-natal services. Arc. Dooshima SUSWAM initiated Celebrate the Benue Woman in 2007 as an annual event to promote the great attributes of the Benue woman.  She donates foodstuffs and wrappers to them and other Benue women in need.

Her Excellency regularly takes time off busy schedule to organize and also participate in sporting events and other recreational activities to inspire the people, make them live a healthy lifestyle. She is presently the patron of the United Nations Miss University Beauty Pageant, and the Grand Patron of the Girls Brigade in Benue State. She is the Matron of Kastina - Ala Boys Brigade, mother and counselor to youths in general.

As an accomplished professional and lover of humanity, she has won several laurels and awards including but not limited to the Women of Merit Award by National Council of Women Society (NCWS) in Abuja; Zonal Matron Merit Award by Boys Scout of Nigeria, Benue Zone-One Scout Council; Merit Award by the Women Consultative Caucus; Queen of the Heart Award for Best Pet Project in Northern Nigeria. In recognition of her laudable achievements through her pet projects, African Independent Television (AIT) in conjunction with Project for Excellence; a Leadership Award was given to her in 2008 by the European Marketing Research Centre (EMRC) in Paris, France.

It is in recognition and appreciation of her service to humankind, Nigeria and Benue State, the Arch Mrs Dooshima Yemisi Suswam, the wife of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr Gabriel Suswam is being awarded the 2013 SONTA……Award

 

 

Mr. Martin Adaji
Born in Ikanekpo, Ankpa Local Government Area of Kogi State on the 21st of October 1954, Mr. Martin Ikani Adaji, a play creation major of the University of Jos (M.A Theatre Arts) and a graduate of theatre arts of the University of Ibadan (B.A Theatre Arts), is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Troupe of Nigeria. An old boy of St. Charles College Ankpa and Federal Government College, Mr. Adaji was appointed into the Federal Service as Assistant Director in Charge of Drama in 1991 from his position as Chief Cultural Officer with the Benue State Arts Council.
Prior to his enlistment into the Federal Civil Service Mr. Adaji held several top management positions in the Benue State government including serving as Acting Head of the Department of Performing Arts of the Benue State Arts Council and Research cum Documentation Officer of the Benue State Council for Arts and Culture.

Mr. Adaji who has written and directed a number of plays including Ojomolami, Facts of Life, Ogani---a historical docu-drama of a major festival in Igalaland in Kogi State of Nigeria and The Way Forward, a play written for the World Decade for Cultural Development (WCDC) proposing the way out of our national dilemma; was elevated Deputy Artistic Director in 2001. In 2008, following the merger of the National Theatre/National Troupe, he was re-designated Deputy Director in charge of Research, Documentation and Information Services of the then merged parastatal. Upon the de-merger in August 2009, Mr. Adaji who is a member of so many professional organizations including the International Theatre Institute (ITI) and the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) was re-designated Deputy Director in charge of Administration and Finance of the National Troupe of Nigeria.

 The maiden Coordinator of the National Troupe’s Children Theatre and the National Troupe of Nigeria Play Reading Session (PLS) for several seasons, Mr. Adaji who as Assistant Director in charge of drama of the National Troupe supervised the execution of a number of stage plays including Elechi Amadi’s The Concubine and Professor Dapo Adelugba’s adaptation of Moliere’s Les Fourberies de Scapin (That Scoundrel Suber)u is married to Susan Memuna Adaji and their marriage is blessed with children. His hobbies include Playwriting, reading plays, swimming and teaching French language which he speaks eloquently, to friends.

His vision as Artistic Director of the National Troupe that runs a travelling troupe which promotes the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria in dance, music and drama; which facilitates national unity and integration; and a troupe that serves as a foreign revenue earner for the country through the provision of a platform for the practitioners especially (the up-coming ones) to showcase and exhibit their talents and potentials, is laudable. Please congratulate him as he receives the 2013 SONTA….Award.

 

Professor James Atu Alachi

Professor James Atu Alachi was born on the 23rd of August, 1957 to the family of Alachi Odu and Oranya Alachi of Ai-Inamu Clan, of Orokam in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of Benue State. He started his early education at the Wesley Methodist Primary School Adum-Oko in Orokam from where he proceeded to St. Malachy’s College Minna for his secondary education. In 1978, he secured admission into the prestigious Ahmed Bello University Zaria where he read Theatre Arts. He further boosted his academic profile with a Master of Arts degree at the University of Ibadan in 1983. It is also at the University of Ibadan that he would later obtain a doctorate degree in 1990.  Professor James Atu Alachi was also at the Leeds Metro University where he obtained a diploma in health promotion.
Professor James Atu Alachi has an impressive teaching and research experience. He started his teaching career at the College of Education Katsina-Ala from 1980 to 1992 from where he moved to the Benue State University in 1992 till date. He has been on leave of absence due to his appointment as Coordinator, National Open University, Otukpo Study Centre, since 2009. Ladies and gentlemen, the academic achievements of this unassuming, prolific and widely read scholar are exciting. He has published plays, books, and over thirty articles in both international and national journals. He has also served the academia thoroughly as Head, Theatre Arts Department, College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Benue State from 1980-1990; Dean, School of Arts, College of Education, Katsina-Ala, Benue State from 1991-1992; Head, Theatre Arts Department, Benue State University, 1992-2004; and Head, Department of Theatre Arts and Mass Communication, Kogi State University from 2005-2006.

Professor James Atu Alachi, a silent achiever, has served as Regional Consultant to the British Council, DFID, UNAID, UNICEF, CBDD, IFPREB, WATER AID, PFD, and several other international organizations; he has been Mentor to ICJP Gboko, and YMCA Lafia. Professor Alachi has been Chairman, David Mark’s Scholarship Foundation from 2005 to date. He has also served as Chairman of Council, Alvan Ikoku Federal College of Education, Owerri, from 2009-2011. He also attracts British Council Scholarship to Leeds in appreciation of his role as a health promoter. adies and gentlemen, Professor James Alachi who enjoys watching football and travelling as hobbies, has over fifteen awards from Unions and organizations from both national and international bodies as well as community commendations. Professor James Atu Alachi is happily married with Six (6) Children.

 

Tracie Chima Utoh-Ezeajugh
Tracie Chima Utoh-Ezeajugh is a Professor of Theatre and Film Design. She studied Theatre Arts at the Universities of Ife, Jos, and Port Harcourt, all in Nigeria. With a Ph.D in Theatre Costume and Make-up, she has been involved in teaching and practical exhibitions at the Department of Theatre Arts, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria. She is a playwright with many published plays to her credit. Her published plays include Our Wives Have Gone Mad Again! Every Day is for the Thief, Cauldron of Death, Who Owns this Coffin? Forest of Palmtrees, The Night of a Thousand Truths, Out of the Mask, Nneora: an African Dolls House and Olamma. Her plays are widely read in secondary schools where they have consistently been in the syllabus since 2003.
She has edited many Theatre Journals and an anthology of African plays. Her articles have appeared in local and International academic journals. She has written many Children’s Literature books and collections of African Folktales. She is a Rockefeller Fellow (2008) and a Fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) in their African Humanities Programme (AHP) 2009/2010. She is currently the 1st National Vice President of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA); Director of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Centre for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, and a member of the NUC National Technical Committee on Nigerian Universities Arts and Culture Festival.  Ladies and gentlemen, please appreciate Professor Tracie Chima Utoh-Ezeajugh, as she receives the 2013 SONTA….Award

 

Robert Richard Aondona Tyough
Born on 9th day of June, 1971, Robert Richard Aondona Tyough who hails from Kwande Local Government of Benue State is a man of many skills, varied educational background, diverse interests, a business mogul and philanthropist extraordinaire with a specialty in making money and touching lives positively. Fondly referred to by many as Bob Tyough, attended Government College, Makurdi, between 1980 and 1985 after which his educational pursuits took an exciting dimension as it would suit his variegated interest later in life. He obtained a Certificate in Executive Grade Accounts and Auditing at the Benue State Polytechnic, Ugbokolo between 1986 and 1987; he also bagged a Diploma in Law at the same institution between 1987 and 1989 after which he proceeded to the prestigious University of Jos where he studied from 1991 to 1995 and obtained a  Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts.
With his sights firmly fixed on being an enterprising person with diversified interests, the young Bob Tyough proceeded to the University of Calabar where after a Postgraduate Diploma in Management between 1998 and 1999, he also bagging a Master’s in Business Administration.

Robert Richard Aondona Tyough had had his share of humble days as he rose through the vicissitudes of life to the very height he is now.  Before gaining admission into the university for his first degree, he had a stint with Abbah Memorial College Jos between 1990 and 1991 as Admin and Accounts Officer. After graduation, he carried out his primary assignment in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme with Alker Ray Nigeria Ltd, Port Harcourt in 1996 as Public Relations/Marketing Officer. Upon completion of his Service year, Bob Tyough was immediately engaged by the Professional Cleaning Services, Port Harcourt as Head of Operations between 1996 and 1997. In one year, he excelled on the job and rose to the position of General Manager of the company, a position he held from 1997 to 2000. Since 2000 to date, the amiable Bob Tyough has been the Managing Director/CEO of the Company. This enterprising man of honour, integrity and enviable business acumen also holds the position of Managing Director/CEO of Steltoo Services Ltd., Port Harcourt since 2002 to date. With this track record, it is therefore, no exaggeration to say that this trained Theatre Artist turned business mogul is a man of excellence, whose stuture of business success dwarfs his contemporaries.

He has held many positions of responsibility in the service of humanity. Between 1993 and 1995, he was the Coordinator, University Theatre Troupe, University of Jos; during the same period, he was the National Speaker of the General Assembly of Nigerian Universities Theatre Arts Students’ Association (NUTASA); in 1995 he was Coordinator for Welfare and Discipline, NYSC Orientation Camp Ndele, Rivers State; between 1995 and 1996, he was Coordinator/Director, NYSC Theatre Troupe, Rivers State; since 2003 to date, he has been the Chairman, Tiv Committee of Friends, Port Harcourt Chapter. From 2007 to 2011, he was a Member, Management Board, Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi. Today, ladies and gentlemen, this quintessential theatre ambassador holds the exalted position of Chairman, Management Board, Federal Medical Centre, Asaba, Delta State. Ladies and gentlemen, may we all appreciate and congratulate Robert Richard Aondona Tyough, for bagging the 2013 SONTA….Award.

 

Mr. Richard Aondowase Tsevende
Richard Aondowase Tsevende was born on the 15th December, 1955 in Mbayion, Mbagur in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State. This astute organizer and indispensable ally of the Theatre in Benue and beyond started his early academic pursuit at RCM Primary School, Mbazerem Tor-Mkar in Konshisha Local Government Area of Benue State from 1966 to 1968 to grab the foundational First School Leaving Certificate. Young Richard Tsevende found his feet in the dancing cycle of professional dancing and was spurred to run to Ahmadu Bello University and thereafter came out with a certificate in Cultural Studies. Still not content with a cultural studies certificate, he longed for more professional touches to his dreams. Richard then travelled out of the Country, precisely to University College Cardiff, Wales in far away United Kingdom where he did a professional course in Technical Theatre.
In 1982, Well-equipped Richard, fresh from the University College Cardiff was introduced to the then Governor of Benue State, Mr. Aper Aku by the then Dr. Iyorwuese Harry Hagher.  Richard was then charged with the responsibility and task of starting a performing cultural Troupe for Benue State. With the help of Mrs. Bose Tsevende, Bonka Gavar and Joseph Beegu, they laid a Solid Foundation for what is today known as Benue State Arts Council Troupe. Still not completely satisfied with his studies, Richard again went to the University of Jos in 1993 for an Advanced Diploma Course and obtained an Advanced Diploma Certificate (Upper Class) and from there ran back to Benue State University Makurdi as one of the pioneer Master Degree Students in Public Administration between 1999 and 2000.

In 2003 while serving as a Director of Culture, Richard Tsevende was invited by the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, to assist the National choreographer, Mr. Arnold Udoka, to choreograph the opening and closing ceremonies of the All African Games (COJA) held in Abuja. Mr. Tsevende brought his pedigree to bear on his astonishing success. This probably was what made the then Governor of the State Dr. George Akume, to appoint him as the Director, Benue State Council for Arts and Culture; The capacity he maintains perfectly well till today.  It is also interesting to know that Richard featured in many early television programmes in Nigerian history. Some of them include, Sheu Umar, Kota Kanta of Kebbi, Cock Crow at Dawn and many others.

Richard, from his childhood to the present time, continues to struggle to create a just society and extending a wide social network built around making friends. The result of his great passion for making friends was what drew him close to the likes of Mr. Peter Ogun Badejo and Mr. James Ville  an Australian Research Fellow and Lecturer in Dance at the then Abdullahi Bayero College, Kano Campus of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (now Bayero University, Kano) in the 1970s.  Richard, under the Directorship of Professor Michael Crowder, started a Performing Arts Company with its headquarters at Makama, Kano City. Between 1973 and 1978, the Performing Arts Company had become so famous that it performed not just in most major cities in Nigeria but also in most campuses of the Tertiary Institutions in Nigeria. As a matter of fact, the company performed at the All Africa Games held in Lagos in 1973.Richard Tsevende has received about 9 Community Service-based awards and is also a member of about 5 professional organisations one of them is the Guild of Nigerian Dancers (GOND). It is in recognision and appreciation of all of these, that Richard Aondowase Tsevende is a winner of the 2013 SONTA…..Award.

 

 

Dr Gowon Ama Doki
Dr. Gowon Ama Doki, a Theatre Semiotician, Critic, Theorist was born on the 19th March, 1972 at Tsar, Mbaduku, in Vandeikya Local Government Area of Benue State. An Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre Arts, Benue State University, the silently achieving Gowon after his secondary education at Government Day Secondary School, Makurdi, gained admission into the much coveted University of Jos, in 1992 where he studied Theatre and graduated in 1995 with a Second Class Upper Division degree. He duly completed the mandatory one year National Youth Service Scheme in Akure, Ondo State where laudable contributions and dedication to service earned him two awards:
The NYSC Ondo State Award of Commendation for laudable contributions to the socio-economic well-being of the people of the State, and the Honorary Life Membership Award for hard work and principled commitment, by the Ondo State NYSC Drama Troupe. His thirst for knowledge challenged him to surmount so many life challenges and enrol for a Master’s Degree programme at the Benue State University in the Department of Theatre Arts at which point he also cut his teeth as an academic by virtue of his appointment as a Graduate Assistant in 2000.

In a move to consolidate his career as an academic, Dr. Doki an astute scholar with interests in Gender and Development, who enjoys traditional music, touring, playing and watching football, enrolled for a PhD at the University of Abuja and graduated within record time between 2002 and 2005. Upon graduation his rising educational profile, corresponding with his prolific research output, made the University management recommend him for accelerated promotion which was approved by the Governing Council. Since then, this down to earth academic who deservedly enjoys the fellowship of his colleagues and students has risen to the rank of Associate Professor while also serving on several Senate Committees including but not limited to Senate Committees on Ethics, Sports and Recreation, Environment and Space Allocation, Inaugural/Valedictory and other distinguished Public Lecturers, to mention just a few. Dr. Gowon Ama Doki also represents the Vice-Chancellor on several boards of the University like the Boards of Benue State University Teaching Hospital, the Post Graduate School and the BSU Bookshop Ltd.

This unassuming academic meteor and theatre scholar extraordinaire, is the Head, Department of Theatre Arts, Benue State University, and is also currently serving a second term as Deputy Dean, Faculty of Arts. A meticulous, thoroughbred and highly esteemed scholar who stands tall amongst his peers, Sir Doks, as he is fondly known by his colleagues and students has contributed over forty well researched articles and book chapters both locally and nationally. He has also convened and attended several conferences/workshops both within and outside the country. A lover of associations, be they professional, faith-based and social, Sir Doks is an active member of Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists, African Theatre Association, Nigeria Institute of Public Relations, and Nigeria Union of Journalists amongst others. Dr. Doki has excelled in community service holding several elected positions and served as adjudicator/judge in several social meets including Abuja Carnival, Miss Benue Beauty Pageant, Benue Youth Carnival, Kwaghhir Festival, and so on.

He has received several awards of recognition and excellence from several organizations including Award of Academic Excellence by the Rotaract Club of Benue State University, Makurdi – District 9125; Merit Award of Administrative Excellence by the Benue State University Theatre Arts Students’ Association, Award of Honour as Light of Nyumangbagh by Mzough u Kasev Nyumangbagh, Prince of Theatre Award by Radio Television and Theatre Arts Workers Union, and Friend of Fashion Award by Shy Entertainment Plus among others. Dr. Gowon Ama Doki is happily married to Dr. Naomi Onyeje Doki of Economics Department, Benue State University and they have four children. He has travelled to United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, Uganda, Ghana and Ethiopia.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of an exciting, astute, God-fearing, dynamic, incorruptible, social and easygoing young man – Dr. Gowon Ama Doki, as he receives the 2013 SONTA….Award.

 

 

MRS. CHRISTABEL OJAY IYANYA
Born to the family of Mr & Mrs. Omakwu Ogli of Anya-Otu in Otukpo-Icho, Otukpo Local Government Area of Benue State, Mrs. Christabel Ebugo Ojay Iyanya is the third child of the ten children her parents had. She attended All Saints Primary School, Makurdi and upon obtaining the First School Leaving Certificate, she proceeded to the Government Girls Secondary School, Shendam in Plateau State where she obtained the O’Level General Certificate in Education. In order to prepare herself for the challenges of future life, Mrs. Christabel Iyanya proceeded to the Advanced Teachers’ College, now College of Education, Oju for an NCE Certificate and would later obtain a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts from the prestigious University of Jos.
Her quest for more knowledge saw her to the Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State, where she bagged a Masters of Business Administration degree. She is also currently researching for a second Master’s degree in Theatre Arts at the Benue State University, Makurdi. Besides this exciting educational background, Mrs. Ojay Iyanya has attended several courses, seminars and workshops in Administration, Marketing and Broadcasting both in Nigeria and abroad.

After her first degree, Mrs. Christabel Ojay Iyanya worked briefly as Marketing Executive for both Malkon Consult at Opebi Road, Ikeja, Lagos, and then Investment Resources, Surulere, Lagos. She later joined Tab Cellular Communications Ltd also in Lagos as a Marketing Executive and was later promoted to Marketing Manager and Head of the Ikoyi branch of the establishment, a position she held until her appointment as Coordinator Joy Fm 96.5 Otukpo where she has risen to her present position as the Managing Director of this establishment.

A widely travelled woman who enjoys the fellowship of friends cutting across the political and business spheres, Christabel is married to Arc. Ojay O. Iyanya who is Principal Partner at Sleek Architecture & Associates Nig. Ltd and the Managing Director at Build Art International Ltd. Having adequately prepared herself, the amiable Christabel today enjoys the privilege of being the first woman in Nigeria to manage a private radio station, the first woman to be Zonal Chairperson of Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON) and also the only woman in the national executive of Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria (BON), all to the glory of God. For these distinctions, Mrs. Christabel Ebugo Ojay Iyanya is a proud winner of the 2013 SONTA….Award.

 

 

 

 

GREGORY OLUMUYIWA ODUTAYO
Mr. Gregory Olumuyiwa Odutayo holds a Bachelors degree in Theatre arts from the University of Ibadan.
A trained Director and manager with over 21 years top flight experience in the Television and Entertainment industry in Nigeria with experience spanning Cinekraft and Associate, Ogilvy & Mather Advertising, SO & U Saatchi & Saatchi Nigeria, and Bates-Cosse Nigeria. Greg has been the Managing Director of Royal Roots Communications Network Limited Nigeria, one of Nigeria’s leading Television Production companies since 1997. Greg is currently the Chairman of Hot-Shot Productions Limited in Accra Ghana and also the Chairman of RoyalRoots Productions Limited in South Africa.
A member of the 2009 class of Entertainment Master Class, the formal academy for Entertainment Television with modules conducted in Switzerland, Canada, Germany and United Kingdom. He also holds a Business degree from the prestigious Lagos Business School in the Owner-Manager programme. Greg holds several key positions in the Television and Entertainment industry in Nigeria, he is the National President of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), a member of the Independent Television Producers Association of Nigeria (ITPAN), member, Electronic Media Content Owners Association of Nigeria, Class President of OMP 11, Lagos Business School, Member, executive council, Lagos Business School Alumni Association and immediate past Vice chairman Parish Pastoral Council for St. Dominics Catholic Church, Yaba. Greg as he is popularly known in entertainment circles, happily married to Deborah Odutayo and they are blessed with 3 boys. Greg has earned the following recognitions ss a result of his hard work:

2 nominations at the African Magic Viewers Choice Award 2013 with House A-Part and Saka carting away the Best Comedy Actor for the year 2013.

  • "Edge of Paradise" nominated at the 47th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco France.
  • "My Mum & I" nominated at the 50th Monte Carlo Television Festival in Monaco France. Also nominated for Best International Producers in the 50th edition in 2010.
  • He is also a recipients for Best Television Drama - "Edge of Paradise" of the Nigerian Media Merit Award (NMMA) 2007
  • Best Television Drama at the Diamond Award for Media Excellence in Nigeria (DAME) in 2007
  • 24 Nominations in various categories at the 2010 Terra Cotta Television and Film Awards.
  • For being an advocate for the improvement of the theatre and the practice of the Arts in Nigeria, in addition to currently, Vice President of the International Theatre Institute (ITI) Nigeria Gregory Olumuyiwa Odutayo is a proud winner of the 2013 SONTA….Award
.

 

 

Greg Mbajiorgu
Greg Mbajiorgu is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Theatre and Film Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His play Wake Up Everyone (drama on climate change) won the 1st prize for Arts and Humanities Research at the 5th National Universities Research and Development Fair (NURESDEF), Held at the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State on October, 2012. Mbajiorgu is the first Nigerian dramatist to win this prestigious award. The Prime Minister’s Son, as a full-blown improvised theatre production is another of his well known work which he first performed in 1991 at the NYSC Secretariat, Calabar, Cross River State, after which he performed it nation- wide, touring almost all the states of Nigeria between 1991 and 2001 with self sponsorship. This solo play was finally transcribed and published in 2000.
Among his other public works are WotanaWota, Hands of Fate and Beyond the Golden Prize. Mbajiorgu is also the editor of the following books: Water Testament: Anthology of Poems on Water and Water-related Issues,Song of Gold: Fresh Perspectives on Clark (Co-edited with Ododo), The Noisy World and Other works of Greg Odo, Critical Review of the Poems of D.O.Mbajiorgu. He is the National P.R.O. (South) Association of Nigeria Authors and was the Secretary, Local Organizing Committee for Things Fall Apart @ 50 International Colloquium. Also, as art and culture consultant for British Council, Enugu, he initiated and co-ordinated the British Council’s Great Talents Forum for 2 years. He has also served severally as member of the adjudication panel for National Festival for Arts and Culture, (NAFEST). Greg has also served in different capacities in the national executive committee of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), which appreciates him with the 2013 SONTA….Award.  

 

TRANSITIONS
SONTA has witnessed the demise of some of its members recently. Dr E. A. Ogo Ochi, a long term member who worked with……………. And served SONTA in several capacities including………………. passed unto eternal glory on the 5th of December 2012. The burial of his remains took place on 25th January 2013.

Professor Yakubu Abdullahi Nasidi, a Professor of Comparative Literature at Ahmadu Bello University and a member of the SONTA Board of Trustees passed on during Juma’at prayers at the ABU mosque on Friday 10th May 2013. He was buried the same day in Zaria according to Islamic rites.

 

Professor Yakubu Abdullahi Nasidi
15th April 1950- 10th May 2013


* a Tribute by Samuel A. Kafewo

I am still waiting for your call
That unique tone
"Dan Allah Sam where are you?"
Honestly, I still hope my phone will ring.
Prof, you mean different things to different people
I cannot claim to know you more than anybody
But you were a role model
You, a giant physically and intellectually
Never despising anyone
You shared ideas even with the lowly
You said I give you a 'kick' intellectually
'Small me'
You had such a large heart
Forgiving even those who hurt you for no just cause
Once somebody wanted to cause confusion between us
He came and misquoted me
Instead of reacting like men of little mind
Behaving strange
You waited calmly until you saw me
In your usual manner
You asked "Dan Allah what is this I hear"?
I explained, you were satisfied
For others it would have been the end of my relationship with you
After all do you need me?
You felt comfortable discussing ideas with everybody.
You lived well
Even cooks and drivers who worked for you decades ago came to pay tribute
I am sure you are smiling wherever you are
May Allah that you raised your hand to worship
That fateful Friday before your strength failed you
Grant you Eternal Rest
Adieu , your ideas live on.

Sonta News is Published by the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA)
National Secretariat: Dept. of Theatre and Cultural Studies, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, +2348060030607
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Newsletter Editor: Sylvanus Dangoji (SONTA National Public Relations Officer)
Dept. of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, +2348037015000, sylvastyle@gmail.com
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