Emmanuel Don Wogu critiques the Theater Club’s satirical play sneering at the nation’s inept political leadership and the culture of servitude and indifference.
The play “Eating Tomorrow’s Yam” is inspired by Niyi Osundare’s poem that addresses socio-political issues in Nigeria. In the play, we see a pregnant woman (acted by Pepsitemi Sanga) who represents today’s Nigeria. She is about to be delivered of triplets but is hindered by unpleasant circumstances. This is a strong imitation of Nigeria, full of potential but bedeviled by bad leadership and blind loyalty.
Two key characters in this narrative are the illiterate police officer played my humble self and the corrupt politician Dino My Nigo (played by Abdulmuminu Modu.) The name Dino my Nigo as a stage character is essentially representative of all bad politicians in the country. Dino is the epitome of bad leadership. The police officer represents the ignorant lot who are blinded by loyalty to an inept government. The role of the officer is to teach us to think, to question bad leadership, to demand good governance and accountability, which in turn would guarantee we develop as a country.
The play draws attention to another social problem of exercising the right to vote or not to vote! The friend of the pregnant woman says she does not know her political representatives because she does not vote. If we do not know the politicians who represent us how do we then hold them accountable? How do we move positively when we encase ourselves in bubbles and only decide to step out when it is convenient? When we put all these things into perspective, we see that we are also a big part of the problem. Educating ourselves is a step we can take to get better. The play lasted roughly 12 minutes but has a more enduring legacy in social commentary.
The short play comprises four scenes with several interludes of poetry. It is set in the Nigerian political landscape of 2017.
The play opens with a visibly angry police officer, a pregnant woman with her companion, and a passerby. An argument ensues between the officer and the rest of the characters. Scenes 1 and 2 center on the squabble, whether the pregnant woman should give birth or not.
Scene 3 enters Niggar Raw (Osaze Aruede), who ostensibly returns from the United States and runs into the police officer. The argument between Niggar Raw and the police officer sheds more light on the current police-citizen relationship in Nigeria. The final scene is the climax of the play with the entrance of Dino My Nigo.
In his short appearance, Dino epitomizes the attitude and life of most politicians in present-day Nigeria. He challenges all those who accuse him of dishonest dealings and carelessly abandons the woman in labor. The police officer follows closely behind but not before yelling at the pregnant woman to desist from any attempt at giving birth. The poems recited at intervals help further illustrate each scene.
By Emmanuel D. Wogu