THEATRE:Clogs… Dreaming A New Nigeria Into Being


New Nigeria’s President (sitting) taking advice from folks from old Nigeriaß in the play

BY 2060 Nigeria would have attained 100 years of political independence. What would be your dream country by then? Is it the one where corruption, bad governance and poor infrastructure would still reign or where the entire world would grow green with envy about the immense strides Nigeria has made in all sectors that are now comatose?

What about the presidency?

Would it be time for a female to be in power? How would the milestone leap forward be possible in a country currently bogged down with unrelenting anomie?

These are the concerns of a new play, Clogs, ‘a multi-media live projection of the Nigeria of our dream’ that was performed last Friday to coincide with the wind of change on Nigeria’s political stage by the swearing in of President Mahammadu Buhari. It was a Snapshots Productions, a Covenant Christian Centre theatre outreach, at Iganmu, Lagos.

Written by Omotunde Akiode and directed by Duka Kachi, Clogs envisions a new Nigeria that lost its way at independence through needless political wrangling that has since plunged the country into perennial under-development, with the way out of the woods appearing an almost impossible task. Fast-forward to 2060 and Nigeria is a changed country, with everything working with the precision of clockwork.

The universities are producing graduates that form the pool for first choice for employers from all over the world; they are the ones choosing where to work; the hospitals are efficiently working and Nigeria is the hub of medical tourism, and electricity does not even blink! In this newfound buoyancy and efficiency, a female president (Omotunde Akiode) is presiding with amiable aplomb.

The magic? There’s a symbiotic relationship between the private sector and government, with government providing regulation for private businesses to complement government’s efforts. It’s development marriage made in heaven.

These efficient new Nigerians came into being after a cataclysmic event that obliterated the old Nigeria riddled with corruption and inefficiency. So, they have no knowledge how their ancestors in old Nigeria lived.

With their advancement in scientific and technological development, they send a time machine back in time to retrieve three of their ancestors in old Nigeria.

They want to know how their old kin lived and what knowledge they could learn from them. However, this step turns out a miscalculation.

When the trio of Okonkwo (Segun Brown), Ejiro (Oladeji Bukola) and Adebayo (Moses Abiola) arrive new Nigeria through the time machine, they are stunned at what they meet – a Nigeria offering a sharp contrast to the one they left behind where nothing works! But the new Nigerians hold them in high esteem and decide to consult them on everything.

When the trio expresses reservations about the partnership between government and the private sector that make things to work so well, a change is well on the way, although wrong-footed.

Okonkwo, Ejiro and Adebayo anchor their objection to the failure in old Nigeria occasioned by privatization and how it ruined the country, with its attendant corruption and other ills. Impressed, president of new Nigeria accepts their advice to transfer everything into the hands of government and its officials.

Soon, decay sets in and a once efficient infrastructure begins to collapse, as government officials begin the round of sharp practices that bedeviled old Nigeria.

In short, civil unrest rears its ugly head, as citizens cannot understand the sudden collapse and deterioration of their beloved, utopia country.

But an objector to the advice of the trio and an attorney (Yinka Jegede) would later have the last laugh, as he travels back in time through the time machine portal with his colleagues to see for themselves firsthand the disaster that was old Nigeria.

They cannot believe that anyone could live in such appalling conditions, as Nigeria currently is. They return to new Nigeria and the trio is evicted back to their hellish, dystopia country.

This is so that new Nigeria could regain its temporarily lost soul, as a result of the insidious influence of the old Nigerians they wrongly thought could give them insight on development; little did they know they are woefully short on that scale. Okonkwo, Ejiro and Adebayo are appalled they are being hurled back; when they get back to old Nigeria, they can’t get new Nigeria off their minds.

Even their old friends believe they have gone mad to ever think there could a Nigeria devoid of the old problems, as the trio would have them believe. As director Kachi put it, “Clogs challenges the national psyche of today’s Nigerian citizens… Clogs challenges all Nigerians to embark on our own peculiar travail, which is to build the Nigeria of our dreams starting now… Man’s greatest gift is his imagination.

So what we have done here is to engage our IMAGINATION to build the IMAGE-NATION we dream of. It behooves you then to join hearts and hands with us in building an image of the nation we want to see into our national mindset.

Clogs is a science fiction live theatre multimedia projection of Nigeria in the year 2060”. ALTHOUGH Clogs is seriocomic in nature, it’s the story of a country’s life on the bend. It provides a lot of comedy that got the audience reeling in laughter.

With its multiple projections of some of the scenes on screen, Clogs is worth projecting to a far wider audience than members of Covenant Christian Centre only.

Its new vision should reach farther than that for its optimistic, futuristic projection of the country every Nigerian earnestly yearns for, but which seems far-fetched at the moment.

It is a Nigeria that is possible but which requires the right will. Indeed, Nigeria’s new leadership, which took office last Friday (from president to legislators and governors), should see the play. In it resides elements of challenge and seeds of inspiration that could galvanise them into positive action to bring into being a new Nigeria. They need to see the country ordinary Nigerians desire them to see put in place.

A red carpet that preceded the performance had futuristic projection of some Nigerian cities in all their glory of high-rise, ultra development. Ibadan, Aba, Lagos, Onitsha, Port Harcourt and others are competing with New York or Atlanta or Abu Dhabi in development, with the Nigerian cities even dwarfing the others.

For the producers of Clogs, Nigeria is capable of attaining the heights these world cities have attained if only citizens worked hard at it.

So, who are the clogs hampering Nigeria’s efforts at development? This is the heart of the matter, the paradox that needs resolving for a new Nigeria to emerge.

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