We’ll celebrate our fallen heroines –NANTAP
A dark cloud hung on the arts sector recently following the transition of three youths in auto crash. The tragic loss of these three promising members of the theatre family was rather unthinkable as Nigeria prepares to celebrate 50 years of its independence.
Joju Adeduro, Miss. Kathryn David and Miss Getrude Anichie, all members, were returning from an assignment when they in an early morning accident. They died when a Toyota Camry ran into their car from the rear. One of them died instantly, while two later died at the Ikeja General Hospital.
In a statement by the NANTAP, it stated that three active members of the Lagos State Chapter of the association returning from an occasion when an overspeeding Camry Car (plate number withheld) slammed their car from the rear and caused an instant tragedy and commotion. Of the five passengers on board, two (the driver and another passenger) survived the accident while two died at the General Hospital, Ikeja. One died instantly when the accident occurr.’’
Meanwhile, Mufu Onifade, chairman of the Lagos Chapter of NANTAP disclosed that the late artistes would be honoured in a candle light procession as a mark of honour and celebration of the lives of the fallen Thespians. He recalled that artistes are not in the habit of mourning their members, hence, the need to celebrate them and their achievement. He added, however, that an elaboration is being delayed because one of the artistes is yet to be buried.
The NANTAP chairman also disclosed that beyond the burial another important thing is the welfare of the deceased which is already being discussed by the families of the artistes and the driver of the car. Although he disclosed that the case has since been charged to the court, Onifade said the families of the deceased have entered into discussion and that the welfare of their departed members is most important. “We are happy the owner of the car and the families are reaching a favourable agreement. He is willing to comply. He is a gentleman. It is because of these NANTAP decided not to issue further statement in view of our plans on the matter. We are very interested in their welfare,’’ explained Onifade.
Onifade also disclosed that the late actresses were dedicated to the profession. According to him, Joju Adeduro and Kathryn David were part of the production of Labalaba Nse Bi Eye, the first movie produced by NANTAP Lagos chapter. Both took charge of costumes, which they handled very well under the coordination of Mrs. Bose Adewoyin. Then Getrude Anichie was a total artiste covering all aspects of the Theatre; stage, television, movie, radio among others. “It is very simple to say that three of them are great assets to NANTAP not only in Lagos but the whole country. We will miss them and their contributions to development of Nigerian Theatre.
Greg Odutayo, National President of NANTAP who corroborated Onifade’s testimony on the deceased, said with the love the association has for its members, if the meeting between the families and the man who caused the accident fails, the association will show its dissatisfaction. “The truth is that we shall allow the dialogue to prevail. The case is already in court. But the families are in discussion with the owner of the Camry. We believe it will be positive, the way it is going. But if it turns out otherwise, we will take up the matter. But we pray things turn in favour of our members. They deserve good welfare. They contributed so much to the society with their talents.’’
Meanwhile, Segun Adefila of Crown Troupe of Africa in whose troupe, Mirian Anichie the daughter of one of the fallen actresses dances described, the late Gertrude as a woman of all parts in the theatre. “I feel sad about her death. She was multi-talented. Her daughter is one of my dancers. I mean you can imagine that mother and daughter are artistes. She had three children. One of them, Mirian, joined my troupe last year.
The way she joined the troupe was significant. You can imagine that she came to me one day and said she used to live on my street and has been hearing the sound of our drums. She said she would like to join and dance to the drums. I said, since our troupe is meant for young people, she was free to join. I can tell you she is a very good dancer.’’
Shuaibu Hussein, former chairman of Guild of Nigerian Dancers, described the incident as most sad, saying “It is very unfortunate, especially when three members of an association died all at once. What you have is that people may die from time to time but when three people die at a go, it becomes a big shock. Moreso when they were committed Thespians. We pray such a thing will not happen to NANTAP again.’’