Members of the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) converged on the MUSON Centre in Lagos to see the play: Just an Ordinary Lawyer.
It was written and performed by multi-award winning actor/playwright, Tayo Aluko.
The play was performed in honour of Aluko’s elder brother, the late Bankole Olumide Aluko (SAN), who was not an ordinary lawyer.
The late Aluko was the co-founder of one of nation’s biggest commercial law firms, Aluko & Oyebode, which sponsored the show.
The play is about Tunji Sowande, who left Nigeria to study law in Britain and who in 1968, became the first black head of a major barrister’s chambers. It was a fascinating show that interweaves politics, music and Sowande’s abiding passion – cricket.
Aluko seizes on the fact that 1968 was a turning point in Sowande’s legal career to bring together the themes that animated the show.
The audience, which included former NBA President Olisa Agbakoba (SAN), was reminded of that year’s internal conflicts in Africa, which were part of the imperialist legacy of the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and of the black power salute by two African-American athletes at the Mexico City Olympics.
SBL Chairman Mr Olumide Akpata explained why the section partnered the producers.
“We’re about the well rounded development of the lawyer. So, it’s not only about work, but also about recreation, one that is very educative.
“This play is about the life of an exceptional Nigerian lawyer, Mr Sowande. We’re looking at our young lawyers and we’re thinking we must show them role models, who will inspire them. And definitely this is an inspiring story,” he said.
Apata described the play as exceptional, adding that Aluko pulled it off brilliantly. “It was a worthy honour to the late SAN,” he said.
Aluko told newsmen after the performance about how he abandoned architecture for acting. His other one-man play, Call Mr Robeson, won the coveted Fringe Review Outstanding Theatre Award at the Brighton Festival Fringe in June 2016.
“I always sang and acted as an amateur when I was in primary school, Kings College and university in England. I knew I wouldn’t want to do it professionally even though I was good at it. Then I stumbled on the story of Paul Robeson, an African American actor and singer.
“When I read his biography, I said ‘this is a story that has to be told’. After looking for playwrights and actors, I decided I was going to play and act it myself. When I started performing it, my architecture business was going down the drain.
“When my late father saw the play here in 2008, the following morning he said: ‘If you want to do this professionally you have my blessing’,” Aluko said.
He said it took him about 18 months to write Just an Ordinary Lawyer, spent months reading and memorizing the sections, and performed it last August for the first time. He works with a director, a stage designer, among others.
On why he dedicated the play to his late brother, he said: “My late brother was very highly respected in legal circles in Nigeria. He was a brilliant lawyer. The play is about another brilliant lawyer so it’s a good way to honour him.”
Source: The Nation
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