Arojah Royal Theatre (ART) staged its politically satiric production, The Wheel, at the Niles University of Nigeria, recently.
The recent production forms part of its six higher institution university tour, overtaking its initial cities’ tour.
The performance tickled and re-heightened the students’ awareness to bribery and corrupt practices in the Nigerian politics and society.
Written by Nigeria’s first environmentalist, late Ken Saro Wiwa, The Wheel trails corruption from the highest of authority, from a minister, to the lowest rung of authority, the security man, coming to full circle with the minister ending up a victim of the corruption he initiated.
Sharing with LEADERSHIP Books & Arts their thoughts and impression of the play, the students and lecturer identified the themes of bribery and corruption fraught in the Nigerian society.
“It reminds us of what we often see in our society, and what is obtainable amongst the political class,” says Bilau Mohammed.
To Rekhia Omeoge, she finds relatable the scene of the corrupt security man’s dialogue with the minister. “I experience that when I visit public places in search of public spaces.”
“It is not far from the realities of life, and it tackled a very sensitive issue that we see in government offices and in our private lives. The problem is not peculiar to Nigeria, it is everywhere,” says Associate Professor and HOD, English Studies at Niles University, Dr Alpaslan Toker.
Toker says the school deems it important for students to view the production in order that as future leaders they are made aware of the nation’s problems and become mindful of same problems when in positions of authority.
He also identified the selfish streak in each of the characters, driving their focus on their pockets without a single thought for their country. “In the future, when they (the students) occupy political positions, they can start working for the benefit of the country rather than thinking of their own pockets,” adds Toker.
In spite of ART’s intention to rouse citizens’ demand for accountability from politicians, a number of the students, while expressing deep disappointment in the distributed questionnaire and interview of the level of corruption, admit they are not ready to walk out of auditorium to demand accountability from government.
“There is so much corruption in the nation,” shrugged Omeogo. However, she recommends tackling the social malaise in bits, at the most fundamental units of society – the family.
“Change starts with an individual. It depends on how parents raise their children, and with teachers who educate the leaders of tomorrow.”
Imam Aminat suggests starting small, “by saying no to bribery and corruption, if given the power, and hopefully people will follow my example.”
Artistic Director at ART, Jerry Adesewo, observes that in the fight against corruption, equity is defeated because both the politicians and the people rarely come to equity with clean hands.
“The fight against corruption is limited when a corrupt politician pushing for equity is threatened with his corrupt deeds, or when a citizen, who has bribed to sell his vote during the election, no longer has the moral ground to demand for accountability.”
Beyond joining campaigns for social transparency as #FollowTheMoney, #trackNigeria, Adesewo encouraged citizens’ demand for accountability from officials from their election processes throughout their political tenure.
“We start by demanding how they intend to accomplish their manifestoes. Maybe six months in power, we demand accountability based on their initial manifesto,” concluded Adesewo.
Universities slated for the The Wheels tour include Bingham University, Karu, University of Keffi, University of Lafia, University of Uyo, on the platform of the Uyo International Theatre & Film Festival, and the just concluded tours to Nile University, and the University of Abuja.