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New Nigerians New Nigerians
New Nigerians

Did you know that Nigeria has a population of 190 million, with 250 ethnic groups, various political factions and is a huge 360 square miles? UK is 80 sq miles by comparison. These facts alone underline the enormity of the task faced in governing this vast country. Oladipo Agboluaje’s play New Nigerians tackles these facts along and new twist of ‘young people power’ head on.

 

This timely satire looks at political populism in Africa generally using the example of Nigeria as a backdrop. The play asks the burning questions, what if the people, especially a young social media savvy population wanted something different? What would actually happen if they got it? Will they despite their posturing be able to do a better job than the old experienced but corrupt guards?

 

Skilfully weaving the characters of rabble-rousing Greatness Oghol (Patrice Naiambana), who longs for a new political order, and a third party and his nemesis ably played by Tunde Euba, who is intent on keeping the old guards in power, the complexities of ruling with many different agendas are laid bare.

 

Oladipo, with biting satire and immense humour show the uneasy and sometimes comical alliances, outlandish horse trading and sacrifices of integrity that have to made so everybody gains and nobody as Africans put it ‘loses face’.

 

Through the insightful and often poignant acclaimed direction of Rosamund Hutte, the audience are immersed and fully engaged as they see first-hand the futility of this scatter gun approach to governance where interests of the people are cruelly yet subtly swept aside by conniving power hungry union leaders, ageing politicians reluctant to relinquish their hard fought for but ill gotten gains and greedy business men.

 

This is theatre writing and acting as it best. The main protagonists with support from the hilarious Marcy Dolapo Oni as Greatness’s pot smoking and over-sexed sidekick manage to portray vividly Africa’s political machinations and the slow but steady rise of people power. Will it however be ever enough to topple the elite or will as in the case of Greatness showed be sucked in and subsumed into the unhealthy morass of politics, money and power.

 

Definitely worth seeing if only to get sense of  positivity that Africa’s growing young population have for their political future. Change they believe will eventually come, but as Oladipo asserts the path will not be smooth gains will have to be hard fought for and much comprise will have to be made.

 

New Nigerians, 29 Aug-15 Sept, Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, E8 3DL, Tickets and details https://ebonyonline.net/event/new-nigerians/

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