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From NANTAP, honour for Sadiq Daba, Iya Awero, Iyen Obaseki, Sam Dede


Sadiq Daba

With their investiture last Friday as members of the Body of Fellows of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), notable stage and screen practitioners, Sadiq Daba, Achibi Sam Dede, Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki and veteran Yoruba actress, Lanre Hassan-Adeshina, who is popular as Iya Awero, have been admitted into the star-studded list of achieving practitioners of the theatre vocation, who would henceforth be addressed as Fellows of the theatre profession in Nigeria.

These thespians, all of them are accomplished in their various fields of endeavour, were recognised and honoured for their professionalism, industry contributions, dedication and commitment to the vocation.

However, Daba, Dede, Iyen and Iya Awero were among 10 other deserving professionals who were admitted into the Body of Fellows at the colourful ceremony held inside the Banquet Hall of the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos.


The other inductees are Professor Effiong Johnson; National Chairman of the Dance Guild of Nigeria (GOND), Victor Thompson Iyang; foremost choreographer, Professor Ojo Bakare; Tunji Azeez; Anthony Shittu; Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Deaconess Grace Isu Gekpe; long-standing thespian, Cecil Ozobeme; Prince Denen Gondo Edwards; veteran performer, Lantana Ahmed and the thespian, Yinka Ola-Williams.

Celebrity salutes the Fellows, who, with their investiture, have joined the class of distinguished thespians.

Sadiq Daba
UNDOUBTEDLY a talented and accomplished actor, Sadiq Daba got a loud and standing ovation when he took his turn to be decorated by the Chairman of the Body of Fellows, Professor Duro Oni.

Comments from the audience, such as “he truly deserves the honour” and “about time” filled the hall. The consensus was that his effort as an actor and contribution to the vocation can be best described as legendary.

Star of Kunle Afolayan’s award-winning movie, October 1, where he played the lead role of Inspector Waziri, Sadiq is deep and still has the acting chops, the chops he exhibited playing Bitrus on the long-rested television series, Cockcrow at Dawn. Indeed that role (Bitrus), which he played believably and delightfully, made him a household name.

A quintessential broadcaster who worked with the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) for over three decades until he retired, Uncle Sadiq, as his junior colleagues simply call him, has received numerous industry recognitions and awards in his long-standing career as an actor and broadcaster, including the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for his role in October 1 in 2016.


With his investiture as a Fellow, Sadiq would use the prefix ‘fta,’ after his name.

Achibi Sam Dede
TALL, dark and well built, Achibi Sam Dede, a Fellow of Theatre Arts, is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Port Harcourt and former Director-General of the Rivers State Tourism Board.

The Rivers State-born director, producer, and university don is one deep actor and administrator who is rightly respected for being steady, clear and reliable. Whenever he takes a movie run or stage production, the movie crowd cheers at him. They say its Dede’s undeniable charm and strong screen and stage presence that turn them on.

Perhaps it is such qualities that have not only set him apart from the rest but has also placed him among the most significant figures and brightest stars in the Nigerian and by far continental theatre galaxy.

An actor who said he believes in a credible commitment to ethical practices, Sam was admitted to study Theatre Arts at the University of Benin and graduated with a Bachelors’s degree, specializing in acting and directing.

However, from Benin, he was posted to Jos, Plateau State, for his national service at the NTA. From there, he returned to Port Harcourt for a postgraduate degree and much later a doctorate in Theatre Arts and was later engaged on completion of the programme to teach acting, voice and speech pattern, a job he still holds to date.

Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki
IMMEDIATE past president of the Nigerian Creative Designers Guild (CDGN), a position she has held for so many terms because of members’ confidence in her abilities to lead them, Iyen Agbonifo-Obaseki is a Fellow of Theatre Arts. The married production designer works in an area that was hitherto dominated by men.


Born in Benin City, the Edo State capital, to a seamstress and a retired career civil servant, Iyen was educated in Benin City and graduated in flying colours from the former Bendel State University, now Ambrose Alli University, Ekpoma, where she studied French.

Costumier behind such hit productions as Igodo, Izaga, Evil Thing, Real Love, Missing Angel, Cinderella, Deep Secrets, Brave Soldier, Prisoner of Passion, among others, Iyen got her first big job as a costumier when she was assigned to handle the creative aspect of the award-winning Igodo.

Her effort in that most referenced movie earned her two crests, for achievement in costumes and the other make up at the 1999 edition of the defunct The Movie Awards, dubbed THEMA 99.

It took that winning for Iyen’s careers swivel chair to turn full circle, as jobs poured in for the product of the Creative Arts Department of the University of Lagos, who has costumed a number of stage productions, including Obaseki, Azagidi, and Idia. Since then, there has been no stopping the recipient of the Society of Nigerian Theatre Artists (SONTA) lifetime achievement award, who recently got married to Chief F.O Omoruyi.

Lanre Hassan- Adeshina (Iya Awero)
LANRE Hassan, a natural talent and gifted actress, those who have followed what is widely considered to be her proliferate career as an actress of five decades, say the acclaimed quality and skillful theatre amazon, whose passion for acting is glaringly boundless, should be celebrated for her dexterity on the acting turf.


Her numerous fans say Iya Awero, who earned that alias from her role as Mama Awero in a production back in the late 1980s, should indeed mount a raised platform and be celebrated for being a delight to watch on stage and screen, always.

Most of those who have had the opportunity of working with her say she represents for them, a perfect example of who any actress should strive to be like, both off and stage. They hold, and rightly too, that hers is a summation of hard work and an inalienable commitment to her first and what she says has remained her only love-acting.

A native of Lagos State, Iya Awero’s professional career started five decades ago as a pioneer member of Young Stars Concert Party, a theatre company that later transformed into Ojo Ladipo Group, under the able leadership of the legendary Ojo Ladipo, who was popular as Baba Mero.

Ladipo it was who helped in shaping the career of most great Nigerian artistes, including Chief Adebayo Salami, popularly known as Oga Bello. It was as a member of the group that Iya Awero’s love for acting became immense. Her quest to be grounded in the arts, particularly dramatic arts, made her enroll for formal training between 1969 and 1971 at the defunct Lagos School of Dramatic Arts, run then by Chief Olude, a foremost drama scholar,

When Ladipo died, the group was renamed Awada Kerikeri Organisation (AKO) and Iya Awero stayed on and performed on stage and screen, leaving positive impressions after impressions.

She has not looked back since then and has not done anything else apart from featuring in movies, television and stage productions.

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