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An appeal to Governor Babtunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State.

By: Chief Femi Robinson

 Published January 24th, 2011

It is more than three months now that “Ajanitanla”, the 50th Anniversary play written and produced by me for the Lagos State Government was rounded up in the National Theatre Iganmu in Lagos. It is a pity that up till date the final payment for sponsoring the play has not been paid by Lagos State Government. I begin to wonder why a responsive government has not seen it as a breach of business trust to delayed payment for this long. If I had borrowed money from the Bank to produce the play, I would be paying a huge interest by now.

I have been unable to pay the 50% balance contract fee for the actors and actresses who took part in the play. I have had to hide from these artistes and remain at home after several promises to pay before Xmas 2010 failed. It was not a happy Xmas and New Year for the artists and the playwright. As at today I do not know what else to tell them.

The embarrassment is compounded by the fact that those who participated or provided services for the play are of the opinion that I have been fully paid for the production. There were threats recently by some of the artists to go to the press when some politicians, dissatisfied that I refused to be dragged into partisan politics in my Local Government Area started spreading rumor that I had been fully paid.

I remain resolute on my decision to devote the rest of my life time to drama not partisan politics and no matter the blackmail I will not be involved in partisan politics because of my health.

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I do not believe the rumor making waves that the Lagos State government is withholding the final payment for sponsoring the play Ajantala because I have not publicly declared my support for the party in government Lagos State.

Is it by withholding what I worked for, that they would get my support? Does anyone think I can be broken by such blackmails? Has it occurred to those who make these claims that over twenty artists where involved in the play and that it is wicked to expect people to beg to be paid what is due to them?

I am an artist not a beggar. At my age I do not have to beg. I work for my pay. I am involved in drama to tell a story. I have great respect for Lagos State and the Governor but not those who curry favor by telling lies.

My plays, TV series, Radio programs and write ups had for years been focused on Lagos State because I have special passion for Lagos. I am proud let the world know that I am a great grand son of a Lagosian. I do not need any accolades from any one when I am alive and I will definitely not expect any when I die.

I am appealing to Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola to pay me the final payment for the play Aja nta nla so I can ensure that I do not remain a debtor to the artists who took part in the stage production with me during the 50th Anniversary. I have served the Nigeria and Lagos State for well over 50 years and I do not deserve to be treated this way.

The world they say is a stage. As an actor, there are entrances and exits. No one knows when it will be his turn to exit the stage. I do not want to be called a debtor after I quit the stage. No amount of money donated, then, by any Government will give me a peaceful rest. I am not praying to leave the stage right now but who am I to argue with the almighty God ; the greatest playwright of our time, when he calls.

Chief Femi Robinson.

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