Creative Economies Africa

INTRODUCING: “Fill the Blood Bank”

INTRODUCING: “Fill the Blood Bank”

By Dr Folakemi Ogungbe

Give! Save! Live! This is the theme for Project Fill the Blood Bank 2022.

Ayodele Obatomi and Franklin Zaure, both of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, are collaborating with Babatunde Ojobaro, a theatre producer at Ibadan to roll out a campaign for blood donation in the Samaru area of Kaduna State.

Speaking about the project, the Lead Collaborator, Mr Ayodele Obatomi, says this is the second time they will be embarking on this initiative in Kaduna State. The first event was a mobilisation for blood donation within the premises of Ahmadu Bello University in Zaira, using a musical concert to create awareness. “This time around, we are using drama”, he says excitedly.

The project is looking to directly impact on the people of Samaru. Talking about teamwork, Ayodele explains that there is division of labour in the team. Franklin Zaure designed the poster to be used for the event while Babatunde Ojobaro has been working on the script, from his location in Ibadan. Ayodele said during the first edition, they had to go looking for a graphics designer to make the poster for them but with this new team, Mr Zaure designed the poster in less than a week.

Ayodele is hoping that the project will continue for a long time. Franklin, on his own part, is excited about the collaboration. He says that collaboration brings new ideas and new perspectives into a project. Babatunde says that theatre is about new cultures and he is excited to be learning about the culture of the Northerners. Their meetings have been holding both online and virtually to allow Tunde join from Ibadan, approximately 719km away from Zaria.

Franklin and Ayodele talk about the shortage of blood in the North of Nigeria. They sighted an example of a pregnant woman who died at the Shika Community healthcare centre because there was no supply of safe blood for transfusion. The Seriki of Samaru is therefore very excited about the project and cannot wait to see its materialisation. The Seriki is excited because the Islamic religion is not against blood donation and blood transfusion. “The initiative towards the donation of blood in the blood bank is one of the way to reduce the suffering of the people in the North”, franklin explains. There are myriad of issues in the North, arising from polygamy. These includes poverty, as a result of the population explosion.

The team have also involved the Councillor at the Local Government office as well as the Local Government Chairman in their planning. The team will also be working alongside the university administration in order to ensure the smooth delivery of their project.

Ayodele Obatomi, the lead collaborator for the project is a graduate of Theatre and Performing Arts from the Ahmadu Bello University. He is now an Associate Lecturer at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he teaches Technical Theatre, Music and Dance, Children’s theatre and radio and television production.

Babatunde Ojobaro is  a theatre practitioner, creative director, actor, stand-up comedian and an all-round performer. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts in 2011 from the University of Ibadan. He has won awards such as the Ibadan top 60 Most influential Personality 2022 as well as Top 40 under 40, Ibadan Vendors award 2022. His hobbies include volunteering and meeting new friends. He has directed original productions such as “Moremi Ajasoro, the Musical” (2022), “Oluronbi the Musica”l (2021), “Morena is coming” (2018), “August Visitor” (2017) and Ola Rotimi’s Man Talk, Woman Talk (2017).

Franklin Zaure has a Masters of Arts in Industrial design from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.  He also holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre Arts and has enrolled for a Ph.D at the University. He also teaches Design and Scenography at the Department of Theatre and Performing Arts, Ahmadu Bello University.

Zaure’s previous work focused on mental health education. He used drama to enlighten people about mental health in his community. For Tunde, this work moves him into a new direction. According to him, it is bringing a change whose impact is measurable by the quantity of blood donated as a result of the initiative.

The Creative Imagination Week theme on “Theatre for social change and development” was the source of attraction for this second edition. Tunde believes that Theatre is an engineering force that catalyses change. He narrates a personal story of once going to a Health care centre in Ibadan and a young man’s life was at risk due to a shortage of blood. He believes that Theatre is art that can be used to save lives as art is supposed to be for life and not for arts’ sake.

The first edition of the programme was Ayodele’s way of giving community service in his University and it was self-funded. When he was a student at the University, he volunteered in many community-based projects, health rallies and so on.

The AHSCE is proud to support this initiative.