Gula: The story of an im­pris­oned mis­sion­ary’s son pre­mieres

Weekly Trust - - Weekend - Adie Vanessa Of­fiong

All roads led to Terra Kul­ture, La­gos on Oc­to­ber 1st when ‘Gula,’ a stage play on the book ‘The Story of Baba Ali’ writ­ten by for­mer President Oluse­gun Obasanjo, has pre­miered. ‘Gula’ is the cap­ti­vat­ing life ac­count of for­mer president, Oluse­gun Obasanjo’s en­counter with Gula aka Baba Ali - one North­ern Nige­ria’s most dreaded crim­i­nals - dur­ing his in­car­cer­a­tion in Yola. The story is a nar­ra­tive of how peer pres­sure in­flu­enced Gula, a mis­sion­ary’s son, into be­com­ing out of con­trol and even­tu­ally leader of a crim­i­nal gang.

The Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer of Gula, Mr. Tunde Odu­wole said the story is one of courage, hope, tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity and of sec­ond chances.

“While in in­car­cer­a­tion, Obasanjo’s life was hang­ing in the bal­ance but rather than al­low fear, de­pres­sion, self-pity, or loneliness en­gulf him, Obasanjo in a dis­play of rare hu­man strength, took re­spon­si­bil­ity to un­der­stand why the prison was full of young peo­ple.”

While in prison Obasanjo told Baba Ali that God could for­give him de­spite his past. Through per­sua­sion, prayers and fast­ing, Baba Ali re­pented. Af­ter serv­ing his prison terms, he sought and found Obasanjo, now the President of Nige­ria- who sent him to a Bap­tist sem­i­nary. Baba Ali is now an or­dained Bap­tist Church min­is­ter and has been in charge of a Bap­tist Church in Kaduna for the past nine years.

Obasanjo who spoke about the play said, it does not mat­ter how bad a man may be, you can change or im­prove him. “There are so many lessons to draw from Gula. For me, what lessons can we learn in­di­vid­u­ally, col­lec­tively and as a coun­try? There is an op­por­tu­nity of a sec­ond chance,” he added.

Gula’s theme is chan­nelled to­wards en­cour­ag­ing par­ents, fam­i­lies and gov­ern­ments on the need for con­sci­en­tious up­bring­ing of chil­dren and cor­rec­tion of ju­ve­nile delin­quency.

The stage play will show con­tin­ues to­day and to­mor­row at the same venue.

Gula, a pro­duc­tion on for­mer president, Oluse­gun Obasanjo’s prison ex­pe­ri­ence

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