Ibrahim’s ‘Jagagba’ wins N1m grand playwright prize




By Anita Eboigbe

Abdul-Qudus Ibrahim’s play ‘Jagagba’ emerged the winner out of 348 entries that were submitted from 30 states across Nigeria for the 2019 Beeta Playwright Competition (BPC).

Ibrahim carted away N1 million, a publishing deal and a production of the Play at the competition organised by the Beeta Universal Arts Foundation (BUAF).

News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that BUAF is led by award-winning actress Bikiya Graham-Douglas who is popularly known for her portrayal of Hadiza Bako in the hit TV series Battleground.

Veteran actress Ego Boyo, publisher Ibiso Graham-Douglas, led by award-winning playwright and jury chairman, Professor Ahmed Yerima were part of the competition’s jury panel.

The final shortlisted competitors included Rukee Ejigbo (Mr Macaroni), Shehu Zock-Sock ( Tick Tock More Talk), Elias Ozikpu ( Queen Akwadze) and Kelvinmary Ndukwe (Transparent).

Others were El Osas Iyalekhue (Sharky Boy), Ekpeno Ukut ( Room 7), Kehinde Ademoye (A Love Like This), Adenike Olokunbola (Echoes of the drum), and Joshua Alabi (Beyond the Wig).

Winner with all other finalists.

Speaking on the importance of the playwright competition, organiser Graham-Douglas said, “It is a competition to find new voices in Nigerian Literature to tell our stories.”

Also speaking, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head of Corporate Communications for Union Bank noted that her bank was keen to intervene in youth talent development.

She said, “One area of focus for us is talent development. It’s a way we can really empower our youths. We are glad to be part of this relationship.

“The country is rich in art and culture, but there is a gap and we need to help tell our own stories.

“We believe telling our own stories is important. There are many platforms through which we can tell our stories. We commend your (the contestants) talent,” Ekezie-Ekaidem said.

Last edition’s laureate, Paul Ugbede, commended the contestants and Beeta Universal Arts Foundation (BUAF) for its work in providing a platform for youngsters to excel in their craft.

According to him, “The most important thing is the platform this contest gives you all. I can tell you that my play (Our Son the Minister) was the most performed in Lagos last year.

“I came to pursue my Lagos dream. This is a platform to grow; this is a family to grow,” Ugbede said.

While giving the N1 million star prize to the winner, Shaibu Husseini, a Judge who represented jury chair, Ahmed Yerima, commended the quality of works submitted, saying they were very high.

On the winning play, he said, “It will not only come alive but also go on tour. This is the passion that Bikiya has and we encourage her. The judging process was exciting for us all.” (NAN)

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