This is the question that will be bugging the country in the next six weeks. Who is Aremu, which Nigerian Actor will be able to carry this role to perfection? The role that depicts the very colourful character and personality of the former President and as some people have said the most influential Nigerian alive – Chief Olusegun Mathew Aremu Obasanjo.
The idea to put his story on stage, hit me at a very low point in the nation’s history. Nigerians have thrown the very sound values that guided him from the lowly peasant birth to the very top of societal platforms as a two-time President and internationally acclaimed statesman.
The script was written by the very respected Professor Ahmed Yerima who will be directing this epic on stage. He will be supported by the very gifted William Benson who has just come out of a wonderful showing of the brilliant, Emotan. Others in the production suite include the brilliant, Olisa Adibua who is the Co-Executive Producer, beautiful and talented Bikiya Graham-Douglas, Yemi Shodimu, Ibi Sofekun and Ayo Aderinwale representing the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library Foundation.
So who is Aremu? Nigerians have been asked to choose the actor that would do this. Already some great names are being thrown up. Names like Segun Arinze, Jide Kosoko, Tunji Sotimirin and Yemi Shodimu who stands a small advantage having worked in the last three years with the Executive Producers in some of its landmark productions.
The jury is out there. The Actor must have the colour, carriage and the full charisma of the subject. He must come with the spontaneity that the role demands. The boldness and confidence of he who faced Abacha’s death squad with the guile of a lion. He must have the carriage of he who has carried a nation in his hands while still holding down the simplicity that comes with the person. The simplicity that would see him play his favourite ‘Ayo’ with the common man after seeping tea with the Queen of England.
Aremu is a poignant delivery. A play that has been designed to push the boundary in Nigerian theatre, carrying with it our culture, our essence and better portraying it to the rest of the world. That story that is OBJ is a story of hope, a story of resurgent energy – a pushdown met with the ubiquitous passion to comeback. An inspiring story of sweat, grit and blood.
A story that needs to be told to serve as an inspiration to not only Nigerians but the rest of the world. A true story, a message, a vision and a ladder to lean on especially at moments of despair and a fountain of hope. Aremu came out of the jaws of death severally stronger and more potent. Miraculously escaping death in the civil war to become the war hero, escaping death n Congo, escaping the Murtala assassination and emerging Head of State and finally escaping Abacha’s volley to become President.
What other story can we throw up to our youths in their quest for a super figure to lean on. Aremu is succinct, the story is powerful and the Actor must be ready to deliver the lines of his life. He must show us the pain, the sorrow, the joys and the triumphs that make Aremu the story of this generation.
This role is not for the Nollywood glamour boy, it is not a role that would demand countless takes to get it right but a role that will have the character subsume himself into Aremu, become Aremu and live Aremu as he takes in his spirit in a quest to celebrate this very powerful being.
Who is Aremu?