Poetry Parrot… Celebrating Ajimobi’s love for arts, heritage
THE event that Wednesday evening at Alliance Francaise, Iyaganku, Ibadan, began on a sober mood. Song of Sorrow by the late Ghanaian poet, Prof. Kofi Awoonor. who was killed during the Westgate shopping mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya on September 22, 2013, served as curtain raiser.
Performed by the president, Poetry Enclave (POEN), Ibadan, Ebika Anthony, the recital lazed with stage craftsmanship provoked nostalgic and emotional effect on the guests that included, Aare Alaasa Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oloye Lekan Alabi; younger brother of the re-elected Governor Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi, Alhaji Gbolagade Ajimobi; Senior Special Assistant (Political Matters) to the Governor, Mr. Akande Sekola ‘Doyin; Dr. Remi Akintola a lawyer and author; and a former member of House of Representatives, Hon. Tayo Sarumi among others.
Tagged, Poetry Parrot, the monthly poetry reading session, Anthony had earlier informed, was dedicated to the electoral victory of Alhaji Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi. But it was Oloye Alabi, the chief host, who provided detailed justification for staging the show in honour of Ajimobi.
In his invitation, Oloye Alabi wrote: “Poetry Enclave (POEN), Ibadan organises a monthly session of poetry readings/drama/dance. The April edition holds at the Alliance Francaise, Iyaganku, Ibadan on April 29, at 3pm in honour of Governor Ajimobi of Oyo State to celebrate his unprecedented re-election and support to arts, particularly, this year’s Oke ‘Badan festival coordinated by me.”
Though the message in Awoonor’s Song of Sorrow seemed to contradict the joy of electoral victory, which was being celebrated, the audience, nonetheless, grasped the import, as victory is always fruit of hard labour.
This was followed by Emmanuel Amaechi’s Beautiful Ikeja city of Lagos, the rendition that attracted wide applause from the audience. Folorunsho Moshood performed two poems: Raising a Chart from a collection of poems titled, The Voice of the Night Masquerade by Ezenwa Ohaito; and Affirmation of Life, one of the unpublished poems of Prof. Wole Soyinka. Moshood rendered this in memory of Ify Omolicha Agwu who died in March 2012. Gbekele Oluwa Yusuf’s Too much hail are lies is both philosophical and thought provoking; Mustapha Muhammed’s Sai Buhari captured the power shift in the political configuration of Nigeria; Lanre Babajide’s Oil revisited the age long question of whether Nigeria’s natural endowment is blessing or curse. Babajide also attempted a recreation of Adam and Eve anecdote in another rendition entitled Eve while Oyaisi Abraham performed Change or Continuity as he captured high expectation of Nigerians from the incoming government of General Muhammadu Buhari (retd); and Engineer Akinyemi Johnson’s My dream was soul lifting. Indeed, there was no dull moment throughout the over two-hour show.
Some of the first timers promised to become regular faces at the monthly event. In fact, Hon. Sarumi while appreciating the quality of the presentation and messages derived therein pledged to support the documentation of highlights and activities of the event.
POEN President, Ebika, had informed participants that March 2015 edition of the poetry party tagged, Poetry Drum, had metamorphosed into a publication detailing all the proceedings of the day and that he would like the April edition to enjoy similar treatment. So, in his goodwill message, Hon. Sarumi promised to bankroll the publication in addition to becoming regular attendee of the poetry party.
“I really enjoyed the performances. I have also learnt one or two things from the outing. I will be coming here regularly to participate in this,” he said, before he took his leave.
Similar commitment was extracted from Mr. Doyin, who promised continuous support for the event and the publication.
The co-host, Alhaji Gboyega coordinated the official presentation of the publication, Poetry Drum. He supported it with huge sum, through which, every participant (numbering about 50) got copy free, while 10 copies each were distributed across six secondary schools: four in Ibadan – Lagelu Grammar School, Ibadan Grammar School, African Church Grammar School, Apata Gangan, and Government College; one in Ile –Ife; and Baptist Grammar School, Jos, Plateau State.
Speaking on the rationale behind hosting the event, Oloye Alabi said it was to appreciate Governor Ajimobi’s efforts in ensuring that peace reign supreme in Oyo State, particularly in the capital city of Ibadan in addition to touching people’s lives through good governance. He insisted that he was not doing it for any pecuniary gain. He however praised the governor for supporting Oke ‘Badan festival, which was celebrated recently.
POEN, Ebika had remarked at the start of the programme, was mainly about poetry. “Poetry is everywhere: in the market; at home; in the farm; at school… there is nowhere you turn to without seeing poetry. It is pervasive and human lives are characterized by poetry. It is the beauty of words to entertain, inspire, captivate audience.” He noted that the monthly show would dovetail into Ibadan Poetry festival in September this year.