Ude, Chiedozie Orji.
Department of English, UNILAG
Analysis on Matiiku
It is no news that trying to analyse a live performance is a tricky job. This trickiness may be as a result of different factors such as place and time— or more impressive, the complex nature of literature. Notwithstanding this difficulty, this paper will make an attempt to critically analyse the stage play entitled Matiiku. This essay will succinctly summarise the play and its subject matter, making use of factors such as the stage management and the gestures (which some may refer to as body language) of the actors to defend the choice of subject matter. The attention that will be paid to the factors stated above stems from the technical nature of the dialogue — that is, it was, to a very large extent, exclusively performed in the Yoruba language. However, the focus on the gestures and stage management does not in any way downplay the usefulness of the dialogue in this analysis because its importance in making the play fit its setting, and also, its subject matter cannot be overlooked. Also, it is important to note that this essay will include foreign references — that is, events or even books outside the narrative — which will be used support the arguments expressed in this paper. All these will be combined to comprehensively analyse this play.
This segment of the essay will comment on the playwright and the setting of the play. Not much is known about the playwright; hence, we move on to the setting of the play. The play is set during the colonial era, and this is reinforced through the manner in which the stage was set, and the numerous festivities which took place — the market scene; the baby/ritual scene; and the court dispute between the colonial district officer and the people. The latter is unarguably the strongest supporter of the claim that the play is set during the colonial era because it not only captures the communication problems that plagued the colonial masters due to their inability to grasp the local languages employed by their subjects, but also captures the presence of the white man (The district officer); hence, justifying the time setting— that is, the colonial period. The place setting of the play is Lagos. The introduction of three characters at the beginning of the play who represent the three white-cap chiefs of Lagos is testament to this fact. They, unequivocally, strengthen the play’s genre — that is, a historical play.
The subject matter of the play revolves around a man, who was predestined to be king, right from birth. This information was exposed by the narrator, before the start of the play. Hence, one can say that the plot of the play is based on the child, whom the oracle chooses as king. As expected, he becomes the king of Lagos once he attains adulthood; although, the colonial government later wrestled power from him. It is important to state that the fulfillment of the prophecy on the life of the king is a common motif in Yoruba themed plays— that is, the oracle can never be wrong— such as Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame, where the pronouncements of the oracle on the main character comes to pass. Therefore, one can be justified to state that there is a theme of fate (inevitable destiny) in the play. Another thing that is worthwhile to discuss is how the scenes in the play are linked by an interlude of music and dance. These performances (music and dance) may be regarded as entertaining because of the choreographic dance steps employed by the dancers. Being a traditional play, these songs should have deeper meanings, but that is not the focus of this essay. So, this analysis will rate the musical interlude from the standpoint of pleasure and entertainment.
One may describe the stage management as almost impeccable due to the perfect way the stage was set to represent the setting, and also, their flawless deployment of the lighting technique. To me, it is this lighting technique that makes the play stand out. The lights came up when and where necessary, not a second too early or late. Unarguably, the lighting technique was most effective when it was employed to show time — that is, day and night. This topnotch use of this technique is also brought to the fore when the lights were dimmed during the ritual scene. The solemnity and sacredness of the rituals were well captured by the eerily spooky umbrella of semi-darkness. This was enough to make the watcher understand the importance of these rituals. Another important thing I noticed due to the arrangement of the stage is the market scene. The market scene is crucial in traditional plays. The market is known as a place where rumours and stories thrive. Little wonder the birth of the would be king is announced in the market setting. The market scene is also ideal for announcement of the king’s birth because it reinforces Soyinka’s principle in Death and the King’s Horseman of the market place being a strategic location for the meeting of the three realities in Yoruba mythology — that is, the world of the unborn; the world of the living; and the world of the dead. It is important to note that the market place also serves as a link between these realities. Hence, this well believed myth strengthens the writer’s use of the market scene to announce a transition — that is, from the world of the unborn to the world of the living. The stage management was described as almost impeccable at the beginning of the paragraph because it had slight flaws. One of such flaws is the bad sound systems used in the play. Aside this, one can be justified to give the stage management crew an excellent score for a job well done.
Also, the gestures of the actors also enable non speakers of the Yoruba language to have an insight on some of the happenings in the play. The slow pace, with which those who are to make prophecies on the child move, gives insight to the audience that these men must be truly special and of high importance in the society. The greatness which is proclaimed on the baby is evident when the priests and other spectators bow to the child. However, the child’s mother refuses to bow to her child; hence, bringing into play the African belief that expects a child to prostrate himself to his parents, and not the other way round.
In conclusion, if I were asked to give my personal opinion on the play, I would rate it as a largely successful performance. The topnotch techniques employed by the stage management crew played a huge role in this. As a member of the audience who could not fully grasp the dialogues, I was entertained by the dance interlude. Hence, I can boldly describe the play as a successful one. In conclusion, this essay has made an attempt to analyse the production of the play Matiiku.
Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame.
Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman.
Need we sacrifice our good men in altars of anarchy?
Need we accept mediocrity from our leaders due to tribal jaundice?
Need we turn a blind eye on events until it affects us?
I am tired.
The problems of Nigeria can be solved by our leaders, if only they could stop thinking through their noses. I have reserved my comments on the political happenings in Nigeria for some time because it has been discovered that nothing we say, as the masses, matters when the half-baked excuses for leaders make their half-baked decisions.
In Nigeria, today, it is Herdsmen; tomorrow, it is Boko Haram; and other times, it is one form of insecurity or the other. Is this the point where everyone takes up arms, since the organizations set up to protect lives have failed woefully? Is this the point where we substitute Buhari for biblical David by yelling to the wind the words “We have no inheritance in Buhari, the man from Daura, to your tents O Nigerians!” ?
Speaking about President Buhari, I say this in no uncertain terms: “Buhari has failed.” He is the most tribalistic ruler we have ever had in Nigeria, and what baffles me about this whole scandal is that his loyalists find out ways to derive a plethora of positives from Buhari’s multiple faux pas. It is not uncommon to hear them giving answers to questions like “Why is Buhari ruling without ministers?” with some tacky reply of this manner “He is doing so because he is still observing the situation, so as not to select the wrong individuals.” Really? If a president has no idea on whom to work with before he gets elected, then, he should probably retire to a farm. It is high time we stopped making excuses for mediocrity.
It is highly appalling that Buhari’s solution to the herdsmen’s menace was to introduce RUGA. On a less volatile day, RUGA is actually not a bad idea, but in the current state of affairs RUGA is not only insensitive, but also, stupid. Will RUGA bring back the lives that have been lost to the herdsmen’s blood lust? Will RUGA console the families of the deceased? Will RUGA replace the millions that have been lost as crop produce by farmers to these individuals? The answer is NO! Instead, the installation of these settlements will be a slap on the faces of those affected by these herdsmen. Why should evil be repaid with amnesty? Why should chronic murderers be allowed to live among peace-loving individuals?
Still talking about Buhari’s penchant for exercising illogical favouritism when dealing with the Fulani elements, one cannot help but notice the discrepancy with which he treated Biafran agitators. For holding peaceful protests, these agitators were subjected to the infamous “Operation Python Dance”. If peaceful agitators can be treated like war criminals, then, killers such as Boko Haram and the herdsmen should not be handled with kids’ gloves. If this is allowed to continue, then, we can be safe to call our military a battalion of bullies.
Writing this piece without suggesting a solution will render it useless. The simple solution to these issues is that the federal government should implement the resolutions arrived at the last National Conference. We should go back to regionalism — that is, a system whereby every tribe shall use its resources to develop itself. No excuses should be made for the north this time because they have always not been ready for things that will make Nigeria better. Was it not Ahmadu Bello that countered Anthony Enahoro’s motion for self-governance in 1953 by declaring that independence should be gotten as soon as “practicable”? Was it not Buhari that reneged on the national decisions made at the last conference? This is not a hate speech, it is simply a case of a Nigerian calling out cases where our leaders committed national suicide.
If the government cannot provide the conditions for peaceful co-existence, I will suggest that every Nigerian should take up arms and defend ourselves.
Lastly, I send my condolences to the family of the late Colonel Kingsley who was brutally murdered by the ruthless Boko Haram. May his soul rest in peace. May good men not die because of the carelessness of our leaders. Amen.
He was a nice man, good looking and a church go-er, he was loyal to god as much as he was his wife Ann-Marie. He’s tall, around about 6’2 I’d say, not much meat on his bones but well looked after whether it was by himself or his wife. Tint of dark in his skin and bright green eyes, I could see why Ann-Marie loved him, but his looks wasn’t just who defined him, he would always have a glowing smile that would stand out in the crowd, his voice was one the angels loved to listen to, never a violent side to him, never a bad look in his face.
What made him do it?
Ann-Marie was slightly younger, the 24 year old who always dressed appropriately and was proud to show off her perfect man, every Sunday morning they would walk in to church together, holding hands… smiling and welcoming everyone they walked by, never a day went by that they didn’t show up to church.
On September the 12th 1984, He had turned up to church without his woman at his side, just him, himself and god. Many people fussed around him, “how is your wife?” He was questioned a few times, “she is good, resting at home” he would reply, everyone quickly become suspicious but not long after we was to find out… there was to be a congratulations in order, when Ann-Marie was back on his side but her stomach was much more slightly bloated, straight away people raced over to them both with glowing smiles, some didn’t approve but the ones that did fluttered them with happiness.
“Meeting the murderer” you wouldn’t think it right? You’d expect a jobless man with nothing to loose but him, he had everything to loose.
Months went by and Ann-Marie got bigger, they had broke the news of expecting their baby girl by the begging of June, although it was March and she was getting bigger and having the pregnancy struggles, she still always shown her face in the church. Since we found out, the priest would always have us sing along to a personal good luck song, ensuring our song was heard with the angels and their baby will grow stronger each day. She was looking really good, they started to look a bit more distant but I suppose that is simply what having a baby does. Having a baby plays with your emotions and the way you feel, it’s life and it’s a life growing inside of you which makes it worth it but I don’t think he understood this when she told him she was leaving.
Anger flustered through his mind, he felt overpowered by the woman carrying his daughter, he rang the emergency number, “I’ve stabbed my wife 17 times! She’s lay head on the kitchen floor.” He handed himself in before racing to the kitchen and killing her by stabbing her 17 times like he said. The police later turned up
Weeks went by, it was his trail date, he had admitted to everything and will more than likely plead guilt to murdering his wife and unborn baby. But his solicitor has other plans rather than jail. “I murdered my wife, god has yet to forgive me” head line news all over the paper, will his faith in god let him be a free man?
No he wasn’t a free man, at least not for 18 months he wasn’t. A reduced sentence for the heart felt man he was, his loyalty to god and his guilty plead. Even in prison he never missed a day of praying… did he actually make a mistake? Will god forgive such a violent crime and will he ever forgive himself?
18 months passed, he was back out, his first mission was to go to his community church and ask the community for forgiveness. Many turned him down but many accepted, “thou shalt not kill… but thou shall give forgiveness when asked” the priest responded before shaking his hand, “welcome back, Darius” he welcomed before walking through to the front of the church where the priest then repeated loudly, “thou shall give forgiveness when asked” most clapped and agreed but others had over opinions, “thou shall not covet” a voice shallowly but confidently shouted from the other side of the church, low silence claps of agreements follow.
Months went on and the ones who didn’t forgive started to accept he is a member of their community and he does have the same love for god as they share. He was welcomed to sit where he pleased without the funny looks and the quiet judging, he felt normal again but obviously his wife and child wasn’t there, but that is something he is to live with for the rest of his life.
Years went on, all had been forgotten until one day, he was welcomed into a church holding the hand of a new loved one, her children followed behind them. She introduced herself, “Janet” to everyone to welcomed her, not a word of Ann-Marie was spoken but did she know she was allowing a murderer into her life?
In what will across as a really heartbreaking development, a woman has thrown her own stepson inside a well with his legs and hands tied.
It was a classic case of misplaced aggression, of taking the ‘sins’ of the mother out on her innocent son. And, on a four-year-old child, for that matter, who knows next to nothing! And, to imagine that she saw the warning sign early enough but did nothing to save her poor son from the fate that later befell him? That thought is threatening to drown her traumatised mother’s spirit in further despondency.
It must have made a shocking read when the news of the gruesome murder of four-year-old Ritse Micah was broken in Saturday Sun edition of July 13, 2019. The lad, reportedly taken from his sleep on the night of Thursday, June 27, 2019, at Garagu, Kokona Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, was dumped, with his legs and hands tied, into a well in Akwanga Local Government Area of the state. That was the state in which his body was found the following day.
Now, here is more shocking news for the reader: written confession by Mrs Grace Jacob Maisamari, stepmother to the late boy’s mother, has shown that she was the one that masterminded the evil act. And, she did that not because there was anything amiss between him and the boy but simply because there was no love lost between her and his mother. Never has misplaced anger come couched in such heartless act!
How the evil deed was done
The late Ritse is the son of the daughter of the first wife to her husband, Micah Kapechi. She died many years ago after having two children for the man. Her second daughter, Miracle Micah, is the mother of the late boy said to be a love child.
It was after the death of their mother that their father decided to marry Grace who is now cooling her feet at the criminal investigation department of the Nigerian Police headquarters in Lafia after admitting complicity in the death of the boy.
That was after devilish ideas began to fly into her head on how to cause heartbreak and maximum sorrow for his mother with whom she is in no good terms. She confessed that on that fateful day, she had pretended to travel very early to Garaku from Akwanga without her husband’s knowledge or consent but she actually hid somewhere till evening. And when she noticed her husband go out with the boy to deliver a message, she quietly used her own key to open the house without anybody noticing her presence and hid somewhere in the room he usually sleeps.
Shortly afterward, her husband walked in and prepared him for sleep. But when she noticed that he had gone to his room to sleep, she quickly came out of her hiding, grabbed the boy who was deep asleep and headed to Akwanga that night, by a pre-arranged vehicle.
In Akwanga, she tied his legs and hands and threw him alive into a deep well where he died from hypoxemia. What was his offence? The woman confessed that she had no problem with Ritse. He is innocent, she admits, but her grudge is with his mother who has been rude to her since she got married to her father. “I decided to kill the innocent boy due to the attitude of his mother,” she said.
Self-justification and guilt over the murder
However, after carrying out the deed, her heartless ego came under constant haunt of guilt. Her words: “After killing the boy, it dawned on me that I took the matter too far. I was restless but my anger against his mother’s attitude could not stop it from happening. Initially, I felt fulfilled and normal. I slept that night after the incident but the consequence of my action became clear after I was picked up by the police. I felt cold for the first time.”
Destiny appears to have played a wicked one on me at the early stage, she insists, “but I would rededicate the rest of my life to sincerely seek forgiveness. I don’t know what came over me but the mother of this boy is the major problem in my marriage. She has stolen my joy since I got married to her father, it has been from one problem to another,” she lamented. But she would not go into detail on the nature of the so-called “major problem in her marriage” caused by the boy’s mother that could have warranted or justified her to carry out the evil act.
When our correspondent spoke with Miracle, the mother of the late Ritse who have just finished her examinations at the state university in Keffi, he found her inconsolable over her son’s death. According to her, she felt that something bad had happened when she started having some strange feelings she couldn’t explain.
“I was in school,” she said. “My heart was beating. It wasn’t okay with my spirit. So after my exams, I put a call to my father. On picking the call, we exchange greetings and he said we need to talk and he cut the call. After a short while, I called back and he said it was not something we can discuss on phone. He said I should come home. So I prepared and came down to Garaku from Keffi where I am schooling. On getting to my father’s house, some neighbours’ children welcomed me with the sad news of the death of my son.”
The 300 level Sociology student said she could not hold back tears. For several hours, she wept while raining curses on whoever killed her innocent and promising son.
“My son doesn’t deserve such brutality at the age of 4,” she said as she broke into tears again. “He is too innocent for any right thinking person to tie his legs and hands and dump him in the well till he died.” She eventually resigned herself to fate. “I leave everything to God,” she said. “That person will never see peace in his or her life.”
The early warning signs ignored
For the traumatised woman, the warning sign had been there all along, it’s unfortunate that she did not pay any attention until it was too late. She reported that her stepmother’s plan to get rid of her child started a long time ago. She recalled an incident that occurred last year in which her late son suddenly got missing from the house. But he was later found by a riverbank and returned home by a farmer the following morning.
She recalled how it all happened: “I went to buy some things for his school and he asked me to buy him bobo drink. But on getting home, he was nowhere to be found. We searched all around but to no avail, so we resigned ourselves to fate that night. We later reported the case to the police. But thank God, the following morning the boy was found at a river bank by a good farmer and brought back home.”
She said that few days after, her late son told her that it was her stepmother (Grace) that took him to the riverside and threw him there to die. “When my father came back from work, I told him, but he said it was a weighty allegation, adding that he didn’t want any trouble. He asked me to keep mute over the issue. But I told my brother about it.”
From all indications the issue that generated mutual hatred between the boy’s mother and the killer stepmother as to lead to the innocent child’s death, appears to be a longstanding one. “My mother died in 2002 and my father married my stepmother in 2004,” she said. “But since she came, we have no peace in this house. She chased away all my father’s friends and relations. In this area, she is at war with everybody. He chased away all tenants from our house.”
In as much as Miracle finds her stepmother’s heartless act surprising and unbelievable, she regrets not doing something to save the situation when she perceived the early warning signs. Ruminating on Grace’s character and on incident, she said: “there was never a good testimony about her. At a point, I wanted to take my son somewhere to school but my father prevailed on me to leave the boy here. I wanted to take him away because anytime I came home from school, neighbours would tell me about the maltreatments she subjects my son to. Severally, I complained to my father but he loves his wife and equally loves my late son. Therefore there was nothing I could do. He doesn’t want his grandson taken away from him. He always said he doesn’t want the boy to stay away. But now the evil person has taken him away and killed him.”
File copy: Block of apartment building
A couple, who were making love on the windowsill of a ninth-floor apartment fell leaving the woman dead, while her partner, who survived returned to the party, that was reportedly holding in the said apartment.
It was reported that the incident happened on July 5 at a block of flats in St Petersburg, Russia, where a wild party was taking place.
According to Daily Mail, the 30-year-old woman landed head-first on the asphalt and died instantly, while the man survived after his fall was broken by her body and nearby bushes.
Witnesses told local media that the partially clothed man then got up and went back to rejoin the party.
Witnesses said they saw a television thrown from the window of the flat, after which the woman and her 29-year-old lover plunged to the ground below.
Police were called, and when they arrived the revellers allegedly threw a mop out of the windows at them.