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Ibru, Soyinka, Omatseye, others eulogise JP Clark

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The Guardian Publisher, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, and President, Government College Ughelli Old Boys Association (GCUOBA) Lagos Branch, Mr. Sam Omatseye, were among prominent Nigerians that extolled the late poet, Prof. John Pepper Clark, at an evening of tributes which held in Lagos.

They took turns to eulogise the accomplished literary giant whom they described his life as worthy of emulation.

In her citation, Lady Alex-Ibru called the deceased an upright man who told the truth all time. She recalled how Prof. Clark exhibited uncommon forthrightness in a testy incident involving her late husband and his elder after hearing all parties to the issue.

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Soyinka, whose speech was read by an erstwhile Commissioner for Justice, Charles Edosomuwan (SAN), said: “When I began to direct his plays – Song of a goat – it was an instant hit of course. JP Clark gave them over to me completely. He refused to interfere with the directing.

“He would come for rehearsals to watch sometimes, commenting on how words became motion on stage. He enjoyed just sitting and never offering even one suggestion that I recall.”

The Ogun State indigene added: “It’s your headache he would shrug. ‘I don’t understand how you do it’, and off he went to enjoy himself with friends at the nearest bar.

“JP’s fascination with the theatre led him inevitably to found PEC Repertory Theatre at Onikan with hands on management and creative production – on a sustained level that I did not achieve with my own 1960 Masks or Orisun Theatre.”

In his tribute, Omatseye said, “as we read and stage him, he will remain before our eyes, it is not his remains we shall contemplate because he remains.”

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