Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has said that the Ibeju-Lekki axis of the state is prospering richly due to prophetic utterances of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
Sanwo-Olu said this after watching a stage musical drama performance titled ‘Awo: The Man, His Jewel And…’, produced by The Duke of Shomolu, a theatre company run by Joseph Edgar.
The governor, in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Gboyega Akosile on Monday, said that the uniqueness of the performance was bringing back memory of Ibeju-Lekki, where Awolowo was incarcerated.
He said that the blessing the Premier of the Western Region showered on the community had come to reality.
According to him, one of the lessons from the musical drama is the story about Lagos and more importantly, the story about Ibeju-Lekki, where Awolowo was incarcerated for many months.
”For those who do not know, or have forgotten, Papa (Awolowo) was incarcerated in Lekki Town, Ibeju-Lekki, and he made prophetic utterances that the place will flourish, do well and be prosperous. Well, those prayers have continued to prosper the town.
”Ibeju-Lekki today is the most talked about in real estate and property development. Should we even mention the refineries, petrochemical plants, sea ports, among others?
”There is no other place we can talk about in Nigeria now like Ibeju-Lekki, particularly Lekki town. Papa Awolowo’s blessings have come true upon that town,” he said.
Speaking on the importance of the ‘Awo: The Man, His Jewel, And…’ to Nigerians, especially the younger generations, Sanwo-Olu said that the play showcased those who stood their grounds and brought the conversation about a united Nigeria to the front burner.
“This story is also important, especially for the younger generation who wouldn’t have the opportunity to understand and reflect back on what life was like in the days of Awolowo, our fathers and grandfathers.
“It is very easy for us to push history behind, but this play has told us about those who stood their grounds in the conversation for Nigeria.
“When we hear about Awolowo, some people might not be able to put it in proper perspective, but those who have watched this musical show tonight can begin to connect that indeed, these were great men who helped to shape the narrative of this country,” he said.
The governor urged all to hold on tightly to ensure Nigeria remained one, in spite its challenges.
“We need to hold ourselves in these difficult times with the assurance that we will weather the storm together and come out stronger and better,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu expressed his excitement at seeing the past glory of Glover Memorial Hall being brought back and appreciated the Director of Duke of Somolu Production, Joseph Edgar, for bringing entertainment back to Lagos.
He further urged theatre practitioners to bring more historical performances to Lagos Theatres.
The play “Awo: The Man, His Jewel And…” which took place at Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos Island, showcased the political life and times of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and his wife, HID Awolowo, who the late sage described as ‘Jewel of inestimable value.’
The play was directed by renowned director, Makinde Adeniran.
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo led other prominent Nigerians, including Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; Osinbajo’s wife, Dolapo; to accord honour to Chief Awolowo and his wife.
Others present were former Governors of Ogun, Aremo Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Awolowo’s grandchildren, Segun and his mother, Mrs Zainab Folawiyo; Prof. Bankole Oyediran, the husband of Awolowo’s late daughter, Mrs Omotola Oyediran, among others.
Speaking at the event, Gbajabiamila commended the producer, saying that the presentation was “immortality”.
The speaker said that it was common to have people who had died being brought alive through books, drama and others, and not really through music.
He said that the takeaway he had of the Awolowo from the presentation was that “once upon all the time, there was a man,” and not the common saying of once upon a time, there was a man.