Murna… When National Troupe Rekindled Hope Of IDPs

National Troupe of Nigeria during one of their performances

National Troupe of Nigeria during one of their performances

The National Troupe of Nigeria (NTN) recently brought smiles and hope to the Internally Displaced Persons in Abuja. Emotions flowed as the victims of hostility and extreme violence enjoyed temporary happiness in dance drama that was brought to their doorsteps.

Together with the performers, they danced, old and young, and forgot their sorrows. Without elaborate costumes to compete with their visitors, they used the only tool available to them – their bodies to thrill the crowed that has gathered to witness the performance.

As if rehearsed for the occasion, their young men reciprocated the Troupe’s gesture by presenting a tribal dance from Borno State. One of the young men who spoke to The Guardian said the dance has become a traditional way of thanking their numerous visitors who come from time to time to support them in kind or cash.

The Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Akin Adejuwon, said the dance drama titled Murna was a performance of encouragement and reorientation. The idea, he informed, was to tell their hosts that the government has not forgotten them and that it is behind them in their dilemma.

“Though the insurgents have chosen to go the part of evil, the government of Nigeria as represented by the National Troupe is with you and that is the reason we came to you”.

The Artistic Director was pleased that the goal of the Troupe in bringing happiness to the people was achieved as according to him, “we gave them happiness, we gave them instructions and we told them that it was about time they started preparing to return home”.  But that was not all that the Troupe had to offer during their one-week visit to the Federal Capital Territory. In fact, the city tour began on February 14 when they performed at the popular Unity Fountain to the admiration of the audience.

The performance centred on the message of Valentine, which is love. The Troupe, using art as a vehicle, canvassed love for one’s nation and support for the government in power to enable it actualize its mandate of enhancing the living standard of the people.

The tour culminated in a grand performance that took place at the Embassy of Cuba, where the Ooni of Ife was hosted to a dinner by the Embassy.

The dance drama titled Yemoja was one of performances that the National Troupe has always prided itself about and that outing was not in any way a disappointment.

Performed in an open space that shared attention with a swimming pool, the Troupe carried out the dance of the female water daity in an expected state of frenzy.

Aside the guest of honour – the Ooni, there were other dignitaries that have come to grace the evening. They include the Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, lawmakers from Osun State and members of diplomatic corps.

There were also government functionaries in attendance including the Director General, Nigerian Tourism Development Coorporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo – all watched with keen interest as the Troupe performed their act.

Speaking after the performance, Mr Adejuwon, who was accompanied by his directors – Josephine Igbarase and Bisi Ayodele, commended the Minister, Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, whom he said, initiated and supervised the evening outing.

“He has emphasised that cultural content drives tourism and all of Africa is filled up with performative content. So, what he told us was to find ways to encourage every available opportunity in tourism oriented states.

“States owned the tourism contents and this performance is geared towards the efforts represented by the current Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi.  Since he came in, he has said that he is going to drive Ife as a global cultural and tourism destination.

“Although it is already a global destination in Ifa because Ifa originated from Ife and people come from all over the world for the annual Ifa festival.

“Besides that, he has said that he wanted to promote Ifa as a global tourism destination and that is the reason we saw it as a good avenue to take advantage of the opportunity given to us by the Minister.

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