Some notable actors in Nollywood will take part in a stage play entitled ‘Olu Akengbuwa’, produced and directed by award-winning filmmaker, Alex Eyengho.

‘Olu Akengbuwa’ is a play that tells the story of the 16th Olu of Warri, who reigned between 1795 and 1848 AD.

The likes of Nobert Young, Ejike Asiegbu, Peter Fatomilola, Soibifaa Dokubo, Eliel Otote, Teejay Morgan, Stephen Osezua, Williams Ekpo, Efe Mayford-Orhorha, Lanre Falana and a host of others will perform in the play.Click:Ex-militants among newly elected lawmakers in Rivers Assembly

The play is part of activities lined up for the 28th anniversary of the coronation of the reigning Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse II, scheduled to hold on Friday, May 1, 2015 at the main hall of the Federal Government College, Warri, Delta State, at 1pm prompt.

The outgoing Governor of Delta State, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, and the State’s Governor-elect in the just-concluded governorship election, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa are among top dignitaries expected to watch the command performance of the actors.

Speaking on the event in a press statement issued in Lagos this week, Eyengho pointed out that the play, which will be preceded by a red carpet ceremony, is the first of its kind in the activities marking the annual anniversary of the coronation of the Olu of Warri.

He explained that, “It is actually a project titled ‘Warri Monarchs’ Play Series’. The concept is that every year during the annual anniversary of the coronation of the Olu of Warri, we will stage a world-class play about the story of any of the past 18 Olus of Warri who reigned in the Kingdom, with a view to informing, educating and entertaining the teeming guests at the annual event about the historical trajectory of the Itsekiri people and their Monarchical system.

“The first in the series is the story of Olu Akengbuwa, the 16th Olu of Warri who reigned between 1795 and 1848 AD.”

Shedding more light on why he decided to start the series with the 16th Olu of Warri and not the 1st to 15th before him, Eyengho, also the President of Association of Nollywood Producers (ANCOP), said, “It is for a strategic reason. Olu Akengbuwa was the last Olu of Warri before the 88 years and only interregnum in Warri Kingdom till date.”

He added that, “For 88 years, the Itsekiri people had no king and this was what led to the British imperialists installing one Governor and the other in the Kingdom until the interregnum ended in 1936 with the coronation of His Majesty, Ginuwa II, Emiko Ikenbuwa as the 17th Olu of Warri.

“It is instructive to point out that the reigning Olu of Warri has given his blessings, endorsement and approval for the project to become an integral part of programme of events for the annual anniversary of his coronation.”

Eyengho also disclosed that a few persons and organizations that have contributed positively to the creative and entertainment industry in Itsekiriland and Nigeria generally would receive maiden awards of ‘The Itsekiri Awards For Excellence (TIAFE)’.

These include Governor Uduaghan, Pa J.O.S. Ayomike, Sam Amuka-Pemu, Barr Fred Agbeyegbe, Aboyowa Ikomi, Hon. Justice (Mrs) Roli Harriman, Emmanuel Etsede (aka Agomi) and Chief (Madam) Onesanden Enonuwaewu (aka Ugbogboebebe) among others.

It is believed that the people called Itsekiri today are descendants of a collective of different groups who settled in the vicinity of the Benin, Forcados and Escravos rivers in present day Nigeria. With the arrival of Prince Ginuwa from Benin Kingdom in the late 14th century, a monarchy was superimposed on these groups, thus giving birth to the now pristine Warri Kingdom with Prince Ginuwa as the first Olu of Warri.

Olu Akengbuwa was the 16th Olu of Warri and the last Warri monarch before the 88 years interregnum in Warri Kingdom. He was the longest occupier of the Warri throne and the wealthiest of all the Olus of Warri of his time.

This play is about the intriguing incidents that created a lacuna in the historical trajectory of the Warri Monarchical system, when for 88 years the Kingdom had no King. Historians link two of such incidents as immediate cause of the 88 years interregnum in Warri Kingdom: A curse placed on the Kingdom by a certain herbalist from Ife, Oyo empire, and a pronouncement by Olu Akengbuwa against his son, Prince Omateye.

Are these historical facts or mere coincident? Were there other remote causes? Who were the dramatis personae in the events leading to the first and only interregnum in the history of Warri Kingdom, which is over 500 years today?

The Director of this play reveals this in a most dramatic and intriguing form, using the rich history, culture, music, dance and tradition of the Itsekiri people as tools of his exposé. The play is based on Aboyowa Ikomi’s ‘Nanna of the Niger Delta’.

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