The festive season lineup of events got a significant boost when the epic historical play, Oba Esugbayi premiered at the Agip Recital Hall of the iconic MUSON Centre on Sunday, December 23, 2018.
Based on colonial Nigerian history, the play tells the story of the resistance of the people of Lagos against an unpopular water and pipe tax instituted by Nigeria’s first Governor-General, Lord Frederick Lugard and the brutal crackdown that ensued. The show also referenced legendary national heroes like Herbert Macaulay, Margaret Ekpo and Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti in addition to featuring exciting Efik and Yoruba songs and dance routines.
A packed Agip Hall was enthralled by an ensemble of cast including such theatre greats as Yinka Davies, Femi Branch, who plays Oba Esugbayi, Yemi Shodimu and Thin Tall Tony (TTT) of Big Brother Naija Fame who put in a stellar performance as Lord Frederick Lugard. In attendance was the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, members of his cabinet and officials of the MTN Foundation.
Speaking after the play, Governor Ambode thanked the MTN Foundation for its support of the production and reiterated his administration’s commitment to supporting the growth of creative arts in the state. In his words, “The real Gross Domestic Product [GDP] of Lagos is in entertainment and arts. With 65 per cent of our population under 35, encouraging more creative expression is part of our government’s strategy.”
The MTN Foundation sponsored Oba Esugbayi as part of its Arts and Culture lineup of shows highlighting authentically Nigerian stories. In the last quarter of 2018, the Foundation sponsored such critically acclaimed shows as Fela and the Kalakuta Queens, Legends the Musical, Life in My City Art Festival in Enugu, Our Son the Minister and the Made in Nigeria Poetry Show. The Foundation promised to do more for the arts and culture space in Nigeria in the New Year.