BY PRISCA SAM-DURU
Memories of the late Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB)and Patron of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Tayo Aderinokun who transited to another life last June, were brought back last Saturday at the Aina Onabolu Hall of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.
The occasion which was ANA Patron’s Day 2011 :A Celebration of the Life and Times of Tayo Aderinokun was fully loaded with very emotional performances by individuals and groups mostly within ANA who have at one time or the other been beneficiaries of the broadness of the foremost Banker’s mind.
In a tribute which was read by the immediate past treasurer of ANA Iquo Diana Eke, it was disclosed that the revered patron held ANA in a very high esteem such that he intervened irrespective of how insignificant the challenge appeared.
Uncle T as he was fondly called, who it was revealed was naturally drawn into the writers’ fold by the fact that his elder brothers, Eddy and Kayode Aderinokun are writers and chieftains of the association at different times, in one of his parties, recalled his ability to write, thus, “I know that if I check some of my drawers very well, I am likely to find one unfinished poem or story of mine. I also used to scribble some things. So, I can describe myself as a closet writer. But the most important thing is that since it is not everyone that will be a writer, it is the duty of people like us to offer support to those who are actively involved in writing and engaged in other aspect of arts…”
The show which was piloted by Austin Njoku, featured poetry readings, dance, drama, songs and other performances in different genres of art. First reading was Transit of the Matyrs by Ifeayinchukwu Abaja, followed by The final Tea written by Angela Agali-Nwosu and read by Rachael Obodo.
Multiple award winner, Toni Kan prior to reading I sit alone, I stare at the Sea, which was a poem he dedicated to people who live and die without leaving a legacy behind, became emotional as he disclosed that his first payment of 10,000 for reading a poem during an event at Terra Kulture was made possible by late Tayo.
Continuing he said, “the way Tayo died, anyone would want to die for he died a good man leaving legacies behind”.
First to perform was chief Larry William who despite a cataract operation he went through took nothing out of his usual master piece as he performed. In his first rendition titled, I salute the drum, Larry drummed to the amazement of the audience before performing poems he titled Africa and Liberation, that urged Nigerians to rise up and fight oppression without depression.
Ben Tomoloju whose Poetry, Laughter, And You (PLAY) enjoyed a lot of patronage from Tayo as an individual and also from GTB due to the Abeokuta, Ogun state born business giant’s influence, in his tribute , described Tayo as the greatest art patron Nigeria has ever had .
After recapitulating on how the industry came in contact with the highly spirited patron and his numerous assistance, concluded that none of the people Nigerians regard as statesmen has ever supported art like Tayo which makes him the greatest statesman in the world.
His poetry performance which ended with a dirge that brought out goose pimples on the audience as a result of his sonorous voice was a wonderful rendition, a master piece that can only emanate from the repertoire of knowledge of his calibre.
Students from Alakoto Senior Secondary School, Ajegunle who have been displaying very encouraging talents in different genres of arts lately at events, thanks to their literature teacher Dagga Tola, left people close to tears as they sang of the need not to die of HIV so as to live and love each other for eternity. The actors took their turns, dramatically narrating in poetic style, some of the causes of the pandemic.
Their performance set the audience in a sober mood until little Segun Soyebo’s dance and acrobatic displays which were quite beyond his age rekindled a fresh electricity in everyone. At the end of their performances, Austin couldn’t help calling on talent hunters to do justice to the talent of the young chorus leader.
The impact of Tayo’s short but fruitful life as a giant in a small world of art entrepreneurship and patronage according to the ANA secretary Ropo Ewenla, will for generations yet unborn, be a shinning example adding that, “we remember Tayo fondly as the quintessential gentleman of the arts and ultimate colossus whose legacies would be etched permanently in our collective heritage”.
It was noted during the celebration, that Tayo’s contributions to the arts transcended the collection of ornate works for his private collection since artists and art houses also drew from his wealth of large heart. Apart from financial contributions to art houses, he also graced galleries with his presence when required.
And as a result, while Mufu Onifade announced that a commemorative exhibition on the life and times of Tayo would be organised soon by visual artists in conjunction with the Society of Nigerian Artists(SNA) who were also beneficiary of Tayo and GTB noble life, the ANA chairman Lagos chapter Dagga Tola noted in his earlier remarks that henceforth, in ANA Lagos, Tayo will be the benchmark for inducting anyone into the hall of ANA Lagos Patron. Tola also announced that arrangements are being made to institute a presentation of the Tayo Aderinokun prize for short story and poetry.
In a very passionate speech, Chief Kayode Aderinokun who spoke on behalf of the Aderinokun’s family, described the event as priceless, noting that occasions of such nature are usually organised whenever there was need for fund raising.
Other performers at the occasion which was graced by Prof Akachi Ezeigbo, accomplished author and member of the Women Writers Association, Veronica Uzoigwe and many others in the literary circle, were Cornerstone, Edun Productions, Tolu Ajayi, Joke Verissimo, Mrs Adenubi, Onileagbon theatre and Akeem Lasisi.