AMS Play House Auditions For ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play, Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji Comes Alive

Posted on September 13, 2021

The ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Playbook, an academic approach to the immortalization of a worthy Lagos amazon, the Pioneer Iyaloja General of Nigeria, Alhaja Abibatu Asabi Mogaji MFR, OON (16 October 1916 – 15 June 2013), who was a Nigerian business magnet, authored by Omotayo Matthew Aderinola, the Editor of Lagos Panorama Magazine and sociopolitical news website Platform.

ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play was conceived to engender generational transmission of the good virtues of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji for the youths of today to learn from in an intellectually entertaining manner.

AMS Play House, a subsidiary of ADSENSE MEDIA SERVICES, Publishers of Lagos Panorama, will be hosting an audition on Friday 17th September, 2021, 10am, at the Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, 133, Awolowo way, Ikeja, Lagos.

The Author and Producer of the IYALOJA Play, Omotayo Aderinola stated in a press statement on Sunday evening, that the Command Performance for the play has been scheduled for 23rd of October 2021, to coincide with the posthumous 105th birthday of the late iconic ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ of Nigeria.

Aderinola asserted that, “the audition is to enable budding talents in creative performing arts, the opportunity to participate in the IYALOJA Play. The play accommodates over two-hundred and fifty cast. We have selected 15 veteran actors like Prince Jide Kosoko, Mrs. Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero), Bolaji Amusan (Mr. Latin) Lateef Adedimeji, Femi Adebayo, Mrs. Idowu Philips (Iya Rainbow), Queen Oluwafunmbi Akinduro, Babs Daramola, Afeez Oyetoro (Saka) and a host of others to mentor the upcoming actors, dancers, singers and other performing artists”. 

ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play author averred “So, we are offering over 200 new creative performing artists in acting, dancing, drumming, chanting, singing and instrumentalists opportunity to showcase their skills on the set of the ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play, that was conceived to engender generational transmission of the good virtues of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji for the youths of today to emulate, the play advocate against corruption and promote perseverance, diligence, hard work and attitude of collective responsibility ”.

Aderinola further stated that “Immediately after the audition, we’ll commence four weeks of rigorous rehearsals, to climax on the 23rd October 2021, the day of the Command Performance of the ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play, to celebrate the posthumous 105th birthday of our Dear Mama Africa, Alhaja Abibatu Asabi Mogaji, an icon and mother of an icon, former Governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu”.

On support and sponsorship, the journalist cum theater practitioner said “Obliviously the creative arts isn’t getting as much support, let alone reward from both the corporate and individuals in Nigeria. However, I want to use this medium to commend the Lagos State Government under Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who in the first week of May, inaugurated the Committee on Film Production Empowerment, to fund youth creativity and entertainment activities in the State, following the disruption caused by the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) that impacted negatively on entertainment and tourism in the State, the committee’s inauguration came months after the Governor set aside N1 billion seed capital to unlock the potential in hospitality and tourism businesses, this is a progressive development and deserves commendation”.

However, that’s just a tip of the iceberg, corporate organizations are not doing enough to promote creative industry, the biggest non-oil revenue generating prospect.

“A theatre production with over 250 cast and crew, requires a cost-effective budget for a successful production, the ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play also celebrate the rich Yoruba sociocultural values and heritage, with possessions of the Eyo festival and a host of other historical activities of Lagos and Southwest Nigeria”. 

“We’ve sent out proposals for sponsorship support from both individuals, corporate organizations and even Government. We are still hoping for their positive responses, but we can’t wait perpetually, we have a target date and timeline for the command performance October the 23rd, so the show must continue”.

“This solicited support will cover for rehearsals, rentals, honorariums, publicity, promotion and other production logistics”.

The command performance is expected to have audience ranging from various subsect of the society. Students from selected schools will be allowed free admission so that the transgenerational message transmission of Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji’s value system will be effectively pass onto the younger generation. The ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Play is expected to go on a roadshow to all the Southwest states before January 2022.

“It is easy to deride Nigeria and Nigerians because there are ample bases for it and its often convenient; “Nigeria is a Nation of 419ers” or “Nigeria is the most Corrupt Nation in the World” etc. Such derision about Nigeria is mostly about deception and corruption. Unsurprisingly, these vices can be said to be surreptitiously caused in the national primary education institution of the 1970s to late 80s, attributable to the ‘New Oxford English Course Reader’ (NOECR); the only literature, virtually poison, available to Nigerian primary school kids in the curriculum”.

The NOECR is an English language textbook. It ran two story series. The first series is about “John and Ayi”, siblings who go on a trip with their parents round Nigeria visiting key locations. The moral is to educate the primary school pupils in the rich diversity of Nigerian people and places. It is totally useless for the purpose! Less than 1% of Nigerian children get to enjoy the thrills of tourism.
The second series is about an Oriental scoundrel, Ali, who is crouching, cunning, thieving, heartless, furtive and deceptive. Ali is portrayed in stories in the NOECR like ‘Tea without Sugar’ and ‘Ali and the Angel’ etc.; the stories narrate the workings of a skilful con artist and a villain that wins by his tricks anyway. This second series is far more interesting than the first to kids. By instinctive morality, Ali was not a role model kids could speak about with their parents or adults nor could they identify with him among peers; they simply internalised him in the core of their discursive. Ali had to be sublimated passively in their minds and from there he wreaks havoc today. This was a very powerful but poisonous influence on the minds of children in school in the 1970s to late 80s in the name of education. It should not go unnoticed.

How did the NOECR get into the Nigerian primary school curriculum? Why was it not protested by Nigeria’s innumerable educationists? Is Africa devoid of heroes, real or imaginary, that kids could learn about? What kind of role model is Ali to be subliminally deposited in the psyche of Nigerians now in their 40s, 50s and 60s?

The “Ali psyche” transmission and its impacts are undeniable. This is not to deny any other influences that makes Nigeria what it is for the worse.

The solution to this most tragic mis-education may be simple on paper but incredibly difficult in practice. De-conditioning Nigerian adults to not think like Ali is almost unthinkable.

“However, for the future, children should be allowed to be children again, at least through an ethically consistent early formal education and the story books like ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ Playbook, should contain characters that definitively create, enhance and uphold a Better Society. No more crooks, no more glorifications of crookedness for the children”. 

IYALOJA Playbook was recently reviewed and listed by the Curriculum Department of the Lagos State Ministry of Education for Literature in English (Drama) for pupils of Junior Secondary School (JSS) 3, for the forthcoming 2021/2022 academic section. As part of activities to create awareness for the ÌYÁL’Ọ́JÀ play, ADSENSE Media Services in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Education will be hosting the IYALOJA Online Play Reading and Quiz Competition.

So, we are also seeking for support of both government, corporate organization and individuals towards the distribution of the IYALOJA Playbook in Lagos State Public Schools for the 2021/2022 JSS 3 academic section. As a prelude to the contest, we have donated 500 copies of the IYALOJA PLAYBOOK to the Lagos State Ministry of Education for distribution to contestants in the 6 educational districts of Lagos. 

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