The captivating true-life account of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on his encounter with one of the most dreaded criminals in Northern Nigeria during his incarceration is set for staging as a play titled ‘Gula!’
The stage play, which is based on the book ‘The Story of Baba Ali’ written by the ex-Nigerian President, will show for the first time ever to the Nigerian audience. It aims to recapture and draw out vital lessons from Obasanjo’ experience while in incarceration.
According to the organizers, the premiere of Gula will hold on September 30, 2017 at Terra Kulture, Victoria Island, Lagos while the stage play will show twice daily starting from October 1st, 7th and 8th at same venue.
The press conference organized on Wednesday, 13 September 2017 to announce Gula! On Stage was attended by former President Obasanjo; the Executive Producer of Gula on Stage, Mr. Tunde Oduwole; veteran actor/comedian, Tunji Sotimirin (who plays the character Obasanjo in Gula); Nollywood star Paul Adams among other guests from the cinema and films industry.
Speaking at the event, the former President noted that Gula on Stage is replete with important lessons for families, government institutions, policy makers, institutions and governments.
While in prison in Yola, Obasanjo had selected a few inmates to interview in order to understand their journey to jail. He made efforts to influence and if possible, reverse their accelerated downward spiral to self-destruction.
Obasanjo recalled his encounter with one of the inmates, ‘Baba Ali’, a leader of a ruthless criminal gang in Northern Nigeria and part of Cameroun that was imprisoned together with him. Baba Ali was the son of a missionary, but he became a cruel armed robber who dined with the devil and had both the police and judiciary in his pocket. However, through encouragement and preaching, Obasanjo successfully change Baba Ali to a better person.
“There are so many lessons to draw from Gula! For me what lessons can we learn individually, collectively and as a country. It does not matter how bad a man may be, you can change or improve him. There is an opportunity of a second chance for such person”, Obasanjo said. He therefore enjoined everyone to see the play.
The Executive Producer, Mr. Oduwole described Gula as a story of courage, hope, taking responsibility and of second chances. He said “while in incarceration, Obasanjo’s life was hanging in the balance but rather than allow fear, depression, self-pity, or loneliness to engulf him, Obasanjo in a rare display of humanity, took a personal responsibility to understand why the prison was full of young people”.
Oduwole also thanked Obasanjo, the author of “The Story of Baba Ali” for taking the difficult challenge of documenting this unique experience for generations to come and for giving him the right to produce this play.