Obasanjo cries on stage at grand finale of FirstBank-sponsored Aremu play

Olusegun Obasanjo joins Yemi Shodimu and others on stage for Aremu the play

Ahmed Yerima’s dramatisation of the life of former President Olusegun Obasanjo brought the ex-leader to tears on Sunday at the grand finale of the First Bank of Nigeria-sponsored stage play Aremu at Glover Memorial Hall, Lagos.

The play first premiered on stage on August 22, 2021 and wrapped up with a 6pm performance on August 29, 2021.

Described by the playwright as a de-politicised depiction of the life and times of Obasanjo, the play starts off with the mysterious birth of its principal, charts his growing up years, touching the very deep and rich trado-cultural ethos that molded as well as guided him through his very colourful sojourn in life.

Aremu is one of two exciting stage plays — the other being Awo — tagged ‘A Deep Dive Into History’, a theatre production from the Duke of Shomolu (DOS) Production House, spearheaded by Joseph Edgar.

Actor Yemi Sodimu played Aremu while actress Kemi Bickersteth starred as Ashabi.

Aremu is a rich cultural play that preaches hope to the audience, that they can be whoever they want to be. The play was written by Prof Yerima, the former director-general of the National theatre and National Troupe.

Awo, on the other hand, is a play that seeks to reintroduce the dying values of loyalty, integrity, vision building among others to the modern-day audience who seem to have lost their way in the fast and seedy lifestyle of modern-day Nigeria. This play is set to be directed by Makinde Adeniran FTA – Lagos State chairman of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Practitioners who is bringing 26 years of local and international experience to the play.

Awo will run every Sunday till September 12, 2021.

With the sponsorship of similar socio-cultural plays in the creative arts industry such as Ayinla, Moremi, Makaliki, Duke of Shomolu Production’s Play (Emotan and Oba Esugbayi), October 1 (a movie) and the Calabar Festival, FirstBank’s sponsorship of Duke of Shomolu Productions affirms the bank’s continued support for the development of arts in Nigeria under its First@arts initiative.

First@arts is FirstBank’s platform for consolidating all its efforts in the arts, supporting the entire value chain of the creative arts, providing much-needed financing and advisory support, showcasing and facilitating the successes of the industry, and enabling customers to explore and access the wealth of opportunities the creative industry has to offer.

Achieving these and a host of many others have been implemented through strategic partnerships with organisations like the British Council, Live Theatre Lagos, Freedom Park, Terra Kulture, and the Cross Rivers State Government (Calabar Festival), among others.

Expressing her delight on the plays, head of marketing and corporate communications at FirstBank Folake Ani-Mumuney said, “For over 127 years, FirstBank has been at the forefront of nation-building; enabling Nigeria and Nigerians through resourceful partnerships to build the Nigerian creative industry value chain, especially the arts and entertainment sub-sectors. We remain proud of this sponsorship that creates an excellent platform to showcase Nigeria to the world as being part of a collective goal to continually keep dreams and hope alive; holding strong to our commitment to reignite cultural heritage.”

“Without a doubt, the theatre remains part of the creative and entertainment industry value-chain across the globe and indeed a powerful channel to drive our heritage and culture, which resonates with our legacy of being woven into the fabric of society,” she added.