Enugu Govt to produce Ahebi stage play into movie, as Council for Arts,culture unveils The Trial of King Ahebi 

Enugu State Governor, Dr  Peter Mbah  says his administration wil promote Arts and Culture and make them economically viable  to enable the council  for Arts and Culture contribute it’s qouta in the economical development of the State.

He made this known,Sunday, during the unveiling of a stage play, tittled , “The Trial of King Ahebi’s Premiere, written by the Executive Secretary of Enugu State Council for Arts and Culture, Laurence Ani, and  presented in collaboration with the Enugu state ministry of Culture and Tourism ,at the International Conference centre,Institute of Management and Technology, Enugu.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Professor Chidiebere Onyia, Governor Mbah emphasised the need for people to begin to see things they considered leisure as economic values. He urged them to attract investors to invest in Arts and Culture.

The Governor said that the state government will invest  in different culture and tourism sites in the state to boost the state’s economic base.” This is one significant sure that Enugu state is ready  to invest in tourism, Arts and Culture, to attract the kind of strategy we need to attain that economic base “, Onyia said ..

He disclosed that the play ,’The Trial of King Ahebi “,will be produced as movie and be shown in Cinemas, both locally and internationally, when produced

Earlier, the Executice Secretary of Enugu State Council for Arts and Culture ,Laurence Ani said “the play is the first in  a series of exciting  programmes concieved to reinvigorated Enugu “s art and  culture scene and make the city a prime destination  for  leisure as His I’m, the Governor had envisioned.”

He said the Council for Arts and Culture was established  by an Act of the Enugu state House of Assembly and ” that law empowers the Council to Foster and  promote  the revival of arts and culture in Enugu state. “The Trial of King Ahebi  is a practical demonstration of this mandate.””, he said .


According to Ani , the play was  inspired by the legendary tale of Ahebi Ugbabe, who was  born in Enugu- Ezike  in the  late 19Th Century , and reputed to be the only female Warrant Chief in Colonial Nigeria, as well as ,the first recorded female  monarch in Igboland..

Group picture of the crew

In line with Governor Peter Mbah’s vision to grow the economy of Enugu state from the current $4.4Billion to $30Billion , Ani said,

” It is  envisaged that this play will become  self- funding after it’s initial run, mostly through ticket  sale and corporate partnerships. It is  also projected that  the play would inspire a movie Production , which will earn substantial  royalties for the state.

Still on the viability of the Arts and Culture sector, the Executive Secretary said,

“At the Council for Arts and Culture, we  have imbibed the philosophy that Arts  and Culture shouldn’t be content with it’s traditional  place at the bottom of the social  and economic  pecking order.

“I believe we can creatively curate our cultural heritage, our artistic resources in a way that yields immense economic benefits for the individual artist, sundry players in our cultural space and the state.

“Of course, being a play steeped in history, I recognized that sensitivity might  run deep for some , especially among individuals who  share a common provenance as the play’s heroine .I ‘d like to emphasize that any unflattering depiction is unintentional. And even  if  such exists, it cannot possibly overshadow Ahebi’s important status  in Nigerian history ,”Ani said.

He added that as he researched the broad outline for the play, he was amazed at how so little the public seemed to know about the riveting tale of Ahebi Ugbabe.

“The more I read about Ahebi, the more convinced I became  that,” bringing this story to mainstream audience was expedient .

While I have no doubt that this is a remarkable play, I concede nonethess, that the ultimate verdict rests with the audience”, Ani said..

He said the play will be staged as a drama in Lagos and Abuja next year.. March ,2023 during the International Women’s day.

Ani said the play was historical . “Ahebi doesn’t have a child of her own but her palace still exists , her room, where she lived still exists in Enugu-Ezike.”

In a brief remarks, the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Ugochi Mmadueke commended the Writer of the play, Laurence Ani for putting together the play. She said the state government will produce the stage play, “The Trial of King Ahebi”into movie to reach wider audience and yield more economic benefits.

Ani(L) Mmadueke(R) commending Ani for a job well done.

She added that Ani has brought posetive changes in the Council for Arts and Culture and the successes extended to the ministry of Culture and Tourism.

” My brother, you have made us proud. I say congratulations to you. Thank you so much”, Mmadueke told Ani..

She added that the play was presented by the Council for Arts and Culture in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.. She said the play will be turned into movie and it will be a global thing She thanked Governor Mbah for appointing them.

Author: Maureen Ikpeama

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