BY JAPHET ALAKAM
It was on a Monday, the first working day of the week. And as expected many people would be busy in their offices or in their business places. But this day was different as the turn out recorded at the carnival Panorama, a cultural fiesta involving arts, culture and the media practitioners organised by the Lagos culture community in honour of an outstanding art patron, culture colossus, ace broadcaster and creator of the popular Television drama, The Village Headmaster, Late Ambassador Solomon Olusegun Olusola who passed on recently at 77 was a clear testimony of the fact that it is always good to be good.
Though it started in a lighter mood with few dignitaries present around by 10.00am take off time for the event, and within that time what was in the mind of many was whether it was how the Lagos art and culture community which Olusola represented in many occasions would honour him. But that feeling of apprehension gave way later in the day as prominent Nigerians from all walks of life took their seats at the Banquet Hall of the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos to be part of the memorial farewell.
The late Segun Olusola was a culture icon who put his footprints in the sand of time. He was actively involved in the promotion of the rich cultural heritage of his people, a humanitarian that defended the case of the oppressed, little wonder then that he was respected and loved by all who came in contact with him.
The event took off at the open field with a procession led by the cultural troupe of the NTN clad in national colour and other kids who went round the field with songs and cultural display. After that, they settled at the open field for an open-air musical jamboree where the few dignitaries that came early to pay respect to the cultural icon were entertained with cultural performances by masqueraders and theatre troupes, popular musicians of different genres and comedians before moving to the banquet hall of the theatre where there were plethora of performances by different groups.
On the way to the hall, the guest were welcomed with a mat carpet session as against the usual red carpet by others and as they walked on it, they were greeted with the craft exhibition showcasing variety of crafts, carved works, books, art paraphernalia, fashion accessories and affordable art items by the National Council Art and Craft.
Right inside the hall were notable Nigerians who came to pay respect to the great culture man, they include; Oba Gbenga G.Sonuga, the Fadesewa of Simara, Fatai Rolling Dollar, Orits Wiliki, Newton Jibunor, Frank Okonta, Prince Yemisi Shyllon, who chaired the occasion, Tunde Babawale of CBBAC, Demas Nwoko, Ahmed Yerima, Benson Idonije, Ben Tomoloju, Orlando Julius, Kabir Yusuf, GM of National Theatre, Martin Adaji of NTN, Dejumo Lewis, Femi Robinson, Larry Williams, Melvin Obringo and other living members of the Village Headmaster cast. Also present were members of the Olusola family and members of the Igbo speaking community in Lagos led by Eze John Nwosu, Eze Ndi Igbo of Mushin.
The set was specially designed in a special way to suit the celebration for the big masquerade and as expected there were rich display of cultural heritages by associations, guilds, and selected groups and individuals featuring drama, dance, music, comedy, literature and media. They include those by Funmi Odusolu, the National Troupe of Nigeria who thrilled the audience with many dances, a music presentation by Queen Sheeba from Ibadan, Lagos State Council for Arts and Culture, another wonderful high life presentation by Funkadelic Agidigbo Band from Isale Eko, a special performance by Laffomonia, led by Hafiz Oyetoro popularly called Saka who thrilled the audience with a comedy about the life of the late Olusola.
There were also the Mmanwu masquerade from Imo State that gave the audience a bit of performance from the Eastern heartland, but of all the presentation, the one that drew more applause was the performance by Oba Gbenga , the royal father who is also a culture man demonstrated through song, story telling and music that an old man does not become tired in the music that he knew.
Other highlights of the package include; a plethora of tributes by the people and a film show directed by Tunde Kelani’s Mainframe Productions.