From Chidi Nnadi, Enugu
Multi-talented literary icon, Dike Chukwumerije, last weekend shook the Oakland Event Centre, Enugu, as he treated thousands of theatregoers and literary scholars to an “Evening of Poetry for Theatre Production.”
Dike, son of the late Abia Senator, Uche Chukwumerije, had staged the show which covered 102 years of Nigeria’s history, presented in different genres including poetry, songs, music, book reading and scintillating drama in collaboration with Radio Nigeria Enugu.
The young Chukwumerije described the event as “a Made in Nigeria show” aimed at re-inventing the nation’s cultural values and re-establishing its history in art forms, with a view to forging a common bond and unity among new generation of Nigerians.
His words: “It is possible to use poetry and literary works to sustain our values and history; yes, you can use it in both writing in English and talking about your culture and situation or even writing in your own indigenous tongue, which is even stronger. So, poetry is a very strong tool for preserving our cultural heritage.
“I wanted to use poetry to draw socio-political attention and pass cultural messages, especially the history of Nigeria in a way that it will be interesting and engaging. The theme is that, in spite of our contradictions, in spite of our problems, there are some benefits in staying together as a country.
“I see a lot of potentials in Nigeria as the greatest black nation on the face of the planet. I’m just saying that ‘yes, I know things are difficult; yes, I know that we have had a tortuous history, but the things that bind Nigeria together; the belief, the ideals; I think we should try to uphold that vision’”.
He promised to repeat the show in Enugu and the South East in general in order to sustain Enugu literary society, as well as promote reading culture in the zone.
Also speaking, Zonal Director, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Enugu Network Centre, Mr. Ike Okere, described the show as “a proof that poetry is life, that poetry is action, and that poetry is not that dry academic exercise that we do in schools and universities”.
He noted that with poetry people could actually create a change by making other people think and take action. “Dike has proved again that the origins, the root of poetry lies in music, in dance and in song. And combining all these elements, he has created a wonderful show that has kept us for two hours, applauding on our feet, a show that beats any musical video you can think about or indeed any movie in any cinema house,” he said.