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Friday, September 15, 2023


By: Femi Abulude
Late Pa Hubert Ogunde was the doyen of Nigerian theatre. He was an all rounder; a musician, playwright, multi instrumentalist and music composer of high repute.
I love arts with passion. Apart From drawing, I'm a music composer.I also took part in acting along the line in my younger days. I acted in Owurolojo, Igbanladogi, Iya ife, Apoti iwa, Yemisi Owereke, etc.
I grew up in Osogbo, a town reputed for arts; artists and artistes. Our house was at Corner 'Ladejobi, we later on moved to 'Lawole area. The two houses were not far from each other. We were close to Isale Aro, where the old Fakunle Major hall was located.
This was where most of the prominent theatre groups of those days used to perform. Name them, Chief Hubert Ogunde, Oyin Adejobi, Duro Ladipo, Akin Ogungbe, Kola Ogunmola, Jimoh Aliu, Moses Olaiya, Ayinla Olumegbon, etc.
During that period, in the early 70s, because of the proximity  of our house to the hall, the children living in that area, always saw the artistes on regular basis.
Out of all these major groups, Pa Ogunde's group was in a class of its own. The ensemble  was large and colourful.
I could recollect that my curiosity went riot during one of the group's tours to Osogbo. They had flooded the town with posters and the town was agog with announcement from their propaganda vehicle.
As usual, I went to the hall to view the actors and actresses. I've seen many of these theatre groups leaders before and Pa Oyin Adejobi was our big Daddy, but I've never seen Pa Ogunde in person. I decided to see him this time around.
I almost succeeded in my quest, but unfortunately, I arrived there at the time his car was driving off. I inquired of his destination and was told that he had gone to Government Rest House Okefia to relax. He would not be coming back until late in the evening. There was no way I could stay in that place till the evening. What would I tell my parents? I should be in my early teens then.
I wanted to see this great man. I had an aunt that could sing all his songs from the beginning to the end. "Yoruba Ronu" was my favourite.
I've passed in front of Government Rest House on several occasions. It was at Okefia, on the way to Osogbo Grammar School and old Trade Centre.
I decided to go there, to see Ogunde. I plucked up courage and started trekking to my destination. I moved through Egbeda, looped out at Odiolowo, crossed Olaiya junction, got to Alekuwodo and arrived at Okefia junction. If you know Osogbo very well, you should know how many kilometers I had covered. It was getting dark.
It was after I had got to the vicinity of the hotel, that I suddenly realised I could not just enter the gate. What would I tell the stern looking security men at the gate? I moved closer to the gate. I could see through the flowers and barbed wired fence. I saw his car parked far away. I couldn't see further than the chalets. The theatre guru was no where to be found.
At this juncture, I remembered my mother and her punitive cane at home. I decided to hurry back home the way I had come!
The arts had been in me from the beginning. No be today o! Nobody taught me, it's raw talent from my maker and I derived joy from it.
Wood carving, clay moulding, singing, composing songs, painting and creative writing are my hobbies. Look out for my Arts exhibition  soon.

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