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the Complete Review
the complete review - drama


Ogali Ogali

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To purchase Adelabu

Title: Adelabu
Author: Ogali A. Ogali
Genre: Drama
Written: 1958
Length: 33 pages
Availability: in: Veronica My Daughter
in: Veronica My Daughter - UK
  • Adelabu is included in the collection Veronica My Daughter and Other Onitsha Plays and Stories (see our review)

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Our Assessment:

B- : a bit rough, but fairly well done

See our review for fuller assessment.

The complete review's Review:

       Adelabu is a dramatisation of the end of the life of a popular Nigerian politician from the pre-Independence days, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu. Adelabu died in a suspicious automobile accident. Many believe he was murdered, and after his death there was widespread rioting
       Ogali's play begins with Adelabu still alive and politically very active. There is considerable speechifying, with Adelabu lecturing at length on independence. Poetry is also invoked -- James Russell Lowell and "the angelic words of Oliver Wendell Holmes" and even Sir Walter Scott.
       There are also Shakespearean touches -- including a soothsayer's warning: "Beware of March 25" and portentous dreams that Adelabu's wife has.
       There are some confrontations between Adelabu and those opposed to him, but the murder itself is a more complicated affair, involving a ... magic mirror. Saikuyo -- Adelabu's greatest opponent -- knows what will happen ahead of time and makes sure he and his associates are far away, so that they have an alibi.
       History is hardly changed, and the fatal crash -- and the resulting deadly riots -- occur. Ogali envisions a grand scene: "twenty corpses lying everywhere", and then "two hundred policemen arrive". The citizens, meanwhile, rampage on, happily inciting each other:

Citizen ! Kill ! I say kill any person who opposes your movements ! I say kill ! Kill father ! Kill mother ! Kill son ! I say kill all.
       Which doesn't seem like the greatest message to be sending out to an audience. But Ogali does offer one more, final, vaguely redeeming scene, Adelabu's burial. The citizens have calmed down a bit -- "we are all ready to go to jail, for that must be the result of the riot" -- and Adelabu's spirit lives on.

       Adelabu is a fairly well-conceived drama, though with some decidedly rough edges. Ah well. As a character in the play says: "There is much wisdom in his saying, but who is going to bell the cat ?"

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Onitsha market literature: Other books by Ogali A. Ogali under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Nigerian author Ogali A. Ogali was born in 1935 and was a leading author of the pamphlet literature sold at Onitsha market.

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