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In Creative Enterprise, Famous Benafa Hits Fame

Published by Guardian on Wed, 01 Feb 2012

HE speaks impeccable and fluent English. This Niger Delta Ijaw man hails from Ojobo in Burutu Local government Area of Delta State. Famous Benafa has distinguished himself as a dramatist of a note with many drama works and novel to his credit. He speaks Ijaw language fluently and at times writes dramas and plays in it. Interestingly, he is also into music.From his elementary school days at the Local Authority Primary School, Bulou Ojobo, and at the Government College, Bomadi, he showed promise and versatility in writing, drawing, acting, etc as innate gifts. He has to his credit till date 11 works. They include five plays, one novel, four films and a poem and dance dramas.Famous Benafa wrote and shot his first movie: A Corpse Wants to Go to Lagos in 1993. In 1994, he shot a language movie in Ijaw titled Ebikonubo. Both films could not get to the public because of the problem of logistics. His plays when presented always won the admiration of the audience.For instance, among the distinguished audience that watched Ebikonubo was the Ijaw national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark and his wife, Wing Commander P.Y. Biakpara (rtd), one time commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Delta State, and Chief P. Z. Aginighan, the immediate past executive director finance and administration, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). They all commended the effort. P.Y. Biakpara, in fact, sponsored the last stage of the shooting of the film, which took place in the creek forest of Ayakoromo town.Asked why many of his works are yet to be published, Benafa points out philosophically that the wisdom of nature cannot be queried by man in matters like this. He says: ''After all, there are instances where the works of even a legend were seen and published after his death. With God, there is nothing like time. The moment is the only factor that counts.'' He adds: ''So simple, this is the right hour for my works to come public; and even with the timeless advantage of loaded and consolidated artistic experience flavoured with more robust maturity. Anything less wouldn't have given the intended service to my esteemed and precious fans in the world.''Famous Benafa is, however, more inclined to command performances and classical productions, in the drama and comedy genre, all geared towards the expression and display of the innate truth in nature.A born dramatist and theatre artiste, he cuts the image of an authority, confidently speaking in all departments of the trade: script writing, directing, music production and arrangement/selections; props creation, costumes provision, stage tricks and management, etc.Now, there is a major mission that Benefa wants to accomplish. It is in respect of a two-part musical/film mega production meant for national and global consumption; for which he is seeking sponsorship. According to him, the mega production is about moving a society, a people to a final experience in the limelight as regards the oil and gas imbroglio in Nigeria. When out, it has the verve to lead the nation to global heroism.Other works by Benafa include: Tale of the Cell, a classical work written in 2004 and staged that same year in Warri and Asaba, at the Maduemezie Hall. It was a command performance billed for a select audience of philosophical minds and dignitaries from Delta, Edo and Cross River states. The play won a prize in the presentation.Tale of the Cell talks about the cell nature in the human body as created by God, and matches this sublime nature with the planetary arrangement in the heavens as depicted in the Hebrew religion, which in turn speaks about the natural unity of life; the true nature of God; man's relationship with this God and the opportunity of empowerment man has from this innate relationship.Another work is titled Where is the Man, written in 2005. It was first staged in Warri, and later in Ughelli with a select crowd of dignitaries in attendance. It takes off with a classical comedy showing the negative value of pride and bloated self-esteem.In its second part, the play goes spiritual with philosophical import, emphasizing on man's voyage from ignorance to light. (Godhead or the Holy Ghost). Another is Conversation with Eminent Masters (series one), a classical work written in 2002. This, (also translated into French language) has been presented three times. One in Warri; second at the International Conference Centre, Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun; and third in the then Sani Abacha Cultural Centre, Benin City, Edo State, which was watched by Nigerians and other dignitaries from English and French speaking countries of Africa and Europe.The play recreates the life and times of some famous personalities, including Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, who changed his name to Akhnaton and lived around 1375 B.C. He was the first man in recorded history to proclaim the existence of one God ' monotheism. He suffered the collective opposition from his subjects for his proclamation, and even after his death, every thing was done to obliterate any memory about his esteemed existence on earth.And thus, many, even in this modern era, do not know of his life and contributions to humanity. The play also includes interactions with a modern mystic and philosopher: Dr. Havey Spencer Lewis, in which he reveals the true nature of heaven and hell.There is also Too Good for the owner, a contemporary village happening, on the birth of a baby, and the challenges arising there from. The drama expresses an important point in the Nigerian oil industry. There is also a novel titled, Price from the Grave. Written in 1990, it is a fiction featuring 1960/70 period in Ijaw area of Niger Delta in which a story of a dishonest brother and a sincere colleague in the Nigeria Army is told. The sub-themes are crime, horror and confusion.Benafa is married with children, and runs a company with the name OLO AGORA.
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