The National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) is set to stage a play, “Echoes of The Drums”, centred around the need to embrace love, unity and explore the nation’s cultural diversities.
Mohammed Ahmed, Chief Executive Officer, NTN, disclosed this in a statement on Tuesday.
Ahmed said that by staging ‘Echoes of the Drums’, NTN would be lending a voice of contribution to peace, brotherliness and love within the diverse cultures and ethnicity in Nigeria.
“The National Troupe of Nigeria is set to stage “Echoes of the Drums”, a stage play written by Ola Awakan and directed by Mike Anyanwu.
“The play which explores themes of unity, love and diversity, utilises drums instrumentation in storytelling to drive home relevant and timely messages at this dire moment in our political, cultural and ethno-centric landscapes.
“Echoes of the Drums is to be staged on Thursday 29th of September 2022 at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos and it is open to the general public,” he said.
According to him, the play will provide over 500 employment opportunities by engaging the teeming youths within the theatre and by extension the creative industry.
The NTN is Nigeria’s apex performing arts agency of the Federal Government.
It was established in 1991 to promote and project Nigeria’s diverse rich cultural heritage in music, dance and drama and indeed in any other performative expression.
The Bible Society of Nigeria(BSN) is set to honour the Executive Director of Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu and the Publisher of Guardian Newspapers, Lady Maiden Alex-Ibru.
Also to be honoured include the General Overseer of the Gospel Faith Mission International, Pastor Elijah Abina. and the Chief Executive Director of Alfa Centauri, West Africa Limited, Dr. Emmanuel Nwogbo, with the Prestigious Bible Award.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Manager, Media and Public Relations, BSN, Mr Benjamin Mordi, and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria on Sunday in Lagos.
The statement said that the award, which holds at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos, on July 7, is one of the highlights of an event marking the 15th Annual Luncheon of Special Members Forum of the society.
According to it, the occasion is geared toward raising funds to support the Bible works of BSN and honour some persons who have been impacting humanity, the Christendom, and the society at large.
The theme for the 2022 edition of the Luncheon is: “Divine Masons: Vessels in the Order of Solomon”.
The statement said that the event would be chaired by Nwogbo, who is also an awardee, while the Guest Speaker is the Lead Pastor of The Elevation Church, Pastor Godman Akinlabi.
The statement said that a former Head of State and Patron of the Society, Yakubu Gowon (GCFR) is Father of the Day, while the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu is the Host Governor.
NAN reports that the Bible Society of Nigeria is a not-for-profit interdenominational Christian organisation.
The society translates the Bible into Nigerian languages, publishes, distributes, raises funds for the Bible works and execution of programmes that help people interact with the word of God to transform their lives
Lagos, Nigeria. Friday, August 19, 2021. Nigeria’s leading innovative bank, Wema Bank Plc, recently partnered with SheCan Nigeria to reaffirm its commitment to improving the lots of women and the girl-child by helping them attain financial stability, independence and set goals through prudent management of resources.The Bank gave the commitment on Friday at the SheCan Nigeria 3.0 hybrid conference themed ‘SheCanDoMore’ held at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos and virtually. Mrs Abimbola Agbejule, Head, Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility, Wema Bank, enlightened women on the basic rules of finance and reiterated the importance of achieving financial independence.Agbejule said women need to always have a budget, keep records of spending, invest wisely, pay themselves monthly, create an emergency fund, and practice delayed gratification. “Take ownership of your personal finance, set smart financial goals, learn new skills regularly, be intentional about your spending, avoid cultural limitations and keep positive financial role models”, she advised.Abimbola further encouraged women to take care of their health, have a retirement plan, and teach their children about financial literacy from an early age. She highlighted some benefits of the bank’s SARA by Wema community for women including the gender-based loan offerings and the health scheme in achieving all these.She hailed the SheCan conference for bringing together successful women and coaches from different fields to ensure they fully equipped women with the knowledge and skills to take on the world.“Partnering with SheCan Nigeria is our way of showing unwavering commitment to supporting and empowering women with the right skills, financial knowledge, grants, and networking avenues to achieve their goals,” Agbejule added. The creator of ALAT, Nigeria’s first digital bank, has a positive track record in empowering women and promoting gender inclusion.Founded by Ezinne Ezeani in 2018, SheCan Nigeria is a movement for women to realize their potentials and develop their capabilities in achieving success through collaboration and empowerment.It also seeks to empower adolescent girls and women through strategic training, education support, mentoring, counselling, vocational skill acquisition, and community empowerment initiatives while grooming them to become change agents in their communities and industries.The hybrid conference had key experts speak on their life experiences, career growth, job transitioning, and tackling challenges in business. It also availed participants of scholarships, networking avenues, and grant opportunities.Speakers at the event were the Lagos State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Cecilia Dada; broadcast journalist, Sandra Ezekwesili; CEO, Ikeja Electric Plc, Folake Soetan; creative photographer, Kelechi Amadi -Obi and the Founder, Pinnacle Health Radio, Dr Maymunah Kadiri.Others were life coach, Lanre Olushola; the first female Managing Director of Shell Nigeria Exploration Company, Elohor Aiboni; Head Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility, ALAT by Wema, Abimbola Abgejule, and Rev. Funke Felix Adejumo.Wema Bank also supported the conference with mentorship services, free books, and other gifts for participants.
Mr Dennis Okoro, Director MTN Foundation, while presenting the graduands, expressed appreciation to the graduands for being part of the programme.
“On behalf of the MTN family, I thank you all for entrusting us with your gift through this programme.
“We are honoured to be part of your success story and look forward to the great things you will achieve.
`The MTN Foundation has impacted students through various initiatives including the MTN Science and Technology Scholarship Scheme (MTN STSS) and the MTN Scholarship Scheme for Blind Students,” Okoro said.
Banke Ademola, Director, MUSON School of Music, thanked the Foundation for the opportunity and scholarship given to the students to showcase their various talents especially in music.
“ Surrounding the graduation ceremony of our students, although it is different this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, we still had glamorous presentations both in live stream and virtually,” she said.
NAN reports that over 300 students have benefitted from the scholarship scheme since its inauguration in 2006.
Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Sterling Bank Plc shareholders on Thursday commended the bank’s financial performance and dividend payout for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2019.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association, lauded the bank’s board, management and entire workforce for their hard work.
“We are constrained by COVID-19 and cannot roll out the drums to celebrate the achievement of our bank today.
“All the same, we thank the board and management for the impressive outing in 2019 and the dividend recommendation.
“Looking at performance highlights, the bank has done a lot to grow our assets to N1.182 trillion.
“Loans and advances have also grown, operating income has grown, and our deposit base should hit N1 trillion by next year.
“We commend the board for retaining earnings, protecting shareholders’ funds, and ensuring there is no insider abuse as it relates to loans.
Mr Sunny Nwosu, National Coordinator Emeritus of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria (ISAN), appreciated the increase in the bank’s demand deposit which went up by 47 per cent and described it as “quite good.”
Nwosu appreciated the way employees of the bank attend to customers and expressed the hope that such excellent service delivery would continue to differentiate it post-COVID-19.
Mr Mathew Akinlade, President, Noble Solidarity Shareholders Association (NSSA), also commended the bank for bringing down its Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratio from 8.7 per cent in 2018 to 2.2 per cent in 2019.
Akinlade noted that the NPL was below the benchmark of five per cent prescribed by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He lauded the bank for compliance which reduced penalties for contraventions in 2019 by 73.3 per cent when compared with 2018.
Addressing the shareholders at the meeting, Mr Asue Ighodalo, the bank’s Chairman, said its shareholders’ fund grew by 22.2 per cent to N119.6 billion.
He said this was because of increase in retained earnings, despite the challenging operating environment under which it operated during the review period.
Ighodalo said the rise in total equity was attributable to growth in comprehensive income arising from gains recorded from investments in debt securities.
He said that the Board of Directors recognised the importance of dividends to its shareholders and constantly sought to balance this with capital requirements to support the bank’s next wave of growth.
“Accordingly, the Board recommends the payment of 3k per share as dividend for the year ended Dec. 31, 2019 to reward our loyal and committed shareholders.
“This affords the bank the required buffer to finance its growth ambitions, and effectively become a first-class, stronger, creative and extremely dependable financial institution,” Ighodalo said.
The chairman said the bank consolidated its efforts in the mobilisation of deposits during the review period, thereby recording a 17.4 per cent growth in deposit base to N893 billion from N761 billion in 2018.
In his comments, the bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Suleiman Abubakar, noted that, “For a bank to succeed in these uncertain times, it must be agile, cautious, innovative, knowledgeable and prepared.”
He said that the bank’s unwavering commitment to a more disciplined deployment of scarce capital and the strength of its retail business contributed to a 15 per cent growth in profit after tax to N10.6 billion.
Edited By: Tayo Ikujuni/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)
Louis Mbanefo, the Vice-Chairman, Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON), has advised up-and-coming musicians to learn the basics of music before launching out in their career.
Mbanefo told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that those who wanted to become relevant in the industry had to go through its rudiments to get things right.
According to him, acquiring formal education will differentiate serious minded musicians from those interested in just making noise and calling it music.
“Ideally, every musician should learn the nitty-gritty of music before launching into it as a career.
“Whether they will go into country music, rock, traditional, blues, classical, folk, jazz, reggae, hip-hop, rap, R&B, gospel, Afro beat and or whatever genre, they should start with the basics.
“They have to learn the ground rules of playing, performing and handling of instruments, while reading music. This is very important,’’ he said.
Mbanefo said that MUSON had a basic school of music for those wishing to acquire more knowledge about music or how to play any music instrument.
He said that the society had been providing an avenue for enjoyment, production of future musicians and employment opportunities for talented people.
The society’s basic school for music usually charged its students tuitions and issued them diploma certificates on completion of their programmes.
“Anyone can enroll at the basic school and a teacher will be assigned to him or her.
“However, this may not be possible for musicians who want to make it quick without going through the ropes,’’ he said.
He said that the society recently established an opera department through one of its alumni who studied abroad.
The musician appealed to government to support music development because of its importance to the development of individuals and the society.
He said that the government should place special priority on music development for the country to make more progress.
“When people say music is irrelevant to the Nigerian society, they cannot be more wrong.’’
He said that the German Government used to budget millions of euros to the development and promotion of music each year.
Edited by: Oluyinka Fadare/Peter Dada
The Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) School of Music on Thursday received musical instruments and spare parts worth N20 million from the German Embassy.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the instruments were mostly violins and other spare parts that they could used to repair the society’s other bad musical equipment .
The German Consul-General to Nigeria, Ingo Herbert, said that music should be taken seriously.
He said that music was a very important part of the culture that could be used to unite people all over the world.
“We have been of great support to MUSON for a very long time, and I learnt that classical music is considered to be of great value in Nigeria.
“I am amazed at the number of people that love classical music in the country and play in the orchestra.
“Therefore, for us, it is part of cultural cooperation where we can just really lend our support for it to grow,” he said.
He also said that classical music needed private support for it to help the young ones coming into it.
Also, MUSON’s Vice-Chairman, Louis Mbanefo, said that the society was thrilled to receive the equipment.
He said that the Goethe Institute which is the cultural arm of the German Embassy had been very supportive of MUSON since its inception 34 years ago.
“The cultural arm which is the Gothe Institute provides us with lots of concerts, German musicians and also encourage our locals.
“They used to send their musical directors to us to help train our music students.
“These are developments we are very happy about,” he said.
Manuel Drumminski, a German concert master , who facilitated the purchase of the equipment told NAN that it was quite hard to get good sounds and tones without appropriate musical equipment.
“During my masterclass at MUSON, I met some of the students and saw the conditions of the instruments.
” I promised them that I was going to do something about it.
“As you can imagine, it is problematic to teach students when the materials are not available.
“I asked an official here if we could do something about it. So, I went to my violin-maker and decided to buy some for my students in MUSON.
“It was with the help of the embassy that we were able to ship them into Nigeria,” he said.
NAN reports that the Musical Society of Nigeria (MUSON) was established in 1983.
This was as a result of the commitment and dedication of some distinguished Nigerians and their expatriate colleagues to stimulate the love and awareness of the richness of classical music among Nigerians, especially, Lagosians.
The need for musical training and instruction spurred the establishment of the MUSON School of Music in 1989.
MUSON represents the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) in Nigeria and offers ABRSM theory and practical examinations.
MUSON regularly organises concerts for both Nigerian and Western genres.
They used to perform regularly at the annual MUSON Festival and during the society’s concert season.
The MUSON Choir and the MUSON Symphony Orchestra were usually invited to perform outside MUSON’s functions .
Edited by: Peter Dada
A renowned classical music composer, Ayo Bankole jnr., has urged the government to reduce import duties on musical instruments; to make them affordable for budding musicians.
Bankole, a classical pianist and composer, told the Nigeria News Agency on Thursday in Lagos that such a move would reposition the music industry for the better.
“This can be achieved when the government ensures that those involved in the music industry are able to acquire their instruments with ease, importing them should be made easy for the professionals to acquire.’’
He added that music played a critical role in the socio-economic development of a nation.
“Music is an effective tool for political and social change; it appeals easily to emotions and consciousness of citizens in the society.
“It is a powerful tool that can turn situations around and effectively lead to attitudinal and social change of individuals in the midst of challenges,’’he said.
Bankole said that people who embraced music shortly after the nation gained its independence, were influential and active in governance.
“It was not a profession for drop outs, but a profession for noble men and women.
He, however, pointed out that not all music was appealing or dance-able, but to appeal to minds and thoughts to change situations, it was a food for reflection.
The composer appealed to the government to make musical instruments affordable to upcoming musicians.
NAN reports that Bankole, is the son of the renowned musicologist, late Ayo Bankole who had composed several classical, Jazz and contemporary pieces.
Late Bankole, a prolific composer, was excellent in classic, which provided a niche for serious art music.
He was known for using native idioms in his works as “Iya’’, “Ja Itanma to ntan’’ Kiniun’’, “Orissa bi Kosi’’, “Yungba Yungba’’ and “Enikeni to ba gbe ara rega’’.
Bankole Jnr. is a most sought after classical pianist in Nigeria and he usually performed as a guest artiste, at the prestigious annual MUSON Festival.
He runs the popular Minstrel Craft Music studio and Ayo Bankole Arts Centre in Lagos.
Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Ekemini Ladejobi
Classical singer and stage actress, Ranti Ihimoyan, on Friday expressed concern over lack of appreciation for stage plays by some Nigerians, in spite of the efforts and finances expended on production.
Ihimoyan performed lead roles in operas such as Laz Ekwueme’s ‘A Night in Bethlehem’, Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘Pirates of Penzance.
She also played a dramatic role as ‘Queen of the Night’ in Mozart’s ‘Magic Flute’ during the 2012 MUSON Festival and in 2013.
She also sang coloratura soprano in “Madame Herz” in Mozart’s ‘Der Schauspieldirektor’ in a 2015 opera programme in Mozart’s birth city – Salzburg in Austria.
Ihimoyan told the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos that lack of interest for stage plays was obvious from the low level of attendance and corporate sponsorship witnessed in theatres when plays are staged.
She attributed lack of interest on the current economic downturn in the nation, adding that people now prioritise their spending.
“The main challenge I see is the level of appreciation and importance people placed on plays staged in the theatres; it is very low.
“Stakeholders, the media and corporate organisations should help to raise awareness on the importance of theatre productions.
“Funding will also go a long way to allow for boundless creativity for practitioners.
“Companies should get their employees to come out for theatre and other cultural events.
“Families should cultivate the tradition of going out together to watch family-friendly productions,’’ she said.
Ihimoyan however said that in spite of lack of appreciation, some theatre practitioners were still churning out plays.
“Our existing theatre companies are still churning out plays which are being staged at the usual venues like, Terra Kulture, MUSON Centre and the National Theatre which seems to have been resurrected.
“More needs to be done to step up our game in production of theatre plays and people visiting the theatre.
“Producers, actors, directors need to be busy all the year round to thrill people,’’ she said.
Ihimoyan recently released her first single in Yoruba language titled: “Iwe Kiko lai si oko ati ada, ko i pe o” (education without farming tools is incomplete) to drive home the importance of agriculture.
The soprano singer had shared the stage with seasoned Nigerian artistes, like Sir Victor Uwaifo, Bongos Ikwue and Yinka Davies who are her artistry mentors.
Ihimoyan has a degree in Chemical Engineering from Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago in U.S.
Edited by: Emmanuel Okara/Ekemini Ladejobi
The first Rasheed Gbadamosi Art Exhibition, “Eko Art Expo, ” would hold at the Eko Hotel and Suites between Jan. 27 and Jan 29 with the theme: “Lagos for All.’’
Mr Steve Ayorinde, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Lagos State, said this on Saturday night at a media briefing at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He said that the exhibition was to honour the late art aficionado, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, because of his support in promoting the arts.
“It is also part of Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode’s vision and support for the arts to use theatre, hospitality, entertainment, arts and sports to promote excellence in Lagos State.
“It is to use arts to promote the tourism sector, not only using the Motion Picture Industry and music but visual arts and performing arts to fulfill a lot for the youths,’’ he said.
The commissioner expressed the belief that the state government would do more to honour the late Gbadamosi because he was also the former chairman of MUSON that is committed to promoting the arts.
“We want to kick start activities of 50 years of Lagos this year with the visual arts, to pay tribute to the late icon and showcase old and young artists from higher institutions in Lagos.
“We want to do a monthly build up of Lagos at 50 by organising a programme on 27th of every month.
“ This started in May, 2016 and will run till May, 2017,” Ayorinde said.
The Special Adviser on Investment and Overseas Affairs in the state, Prof. Ademola Abass, said Ambode had shown that government was in love with the arts.
“As we celebrate big and well established artists, we need to help build upcoming and young artists. We will strive to make them bigger.
“We are also celebrating the art and culture of Lagos State.
“ Last year, we went to Brussels with the governor of Lagos State and we saw what Azu Nwagbologu did in showcasing Lagos State.
“It was amazing what he did in showcasing Lagos State. We need to uplift the creative industry as a whole so as to promote what we have to the world.
“We are going to help in promoting every stratum of people in the creative sector,” he said.
The Curator of the exhibition, Azu Nwagbologu, said that the creative industry needed a boost for it to grow and pay the practitioners.
“We are always clamouring for us and government to meet.
“The man we are celebrating, Chief Gbadamosi, had been a very generous man and a great man when it comes to arts support,” he said.
He said that Belgium had told him to capture Lagos by deploying photographs to arts painting which he did and showcased.
“ That was how Gov. Ambode came to see what was done and he liked what he saw and that did it.
“ This is why we are doing the same to honour the icon,’’ he added.
Another Curator, Simi Dele-Adesanya, noted that private galleries over the years had been struggling to survive without recognition.
“Young emerging artists would smile because the Lagos State Government has given them a plat form.
“ We have gone to different schools to select good art works that will be exhibited that day.
“ We are exhibiting over 200 art works from both young and old artists. Each gallery contributed 20 works each while schools have one each.
“ We have 25 participating galleries,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that some of the schools participating in the exhibition are the University of Lagos, Lagos State University and Yaba College of Technology.
(Edited by: Mufutau Ojo)