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Cablegate: Nigeria Oil Politics Public Diplomacy a Huge Success

VZCZCXRO5424
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHUJA #2000 3041117
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 311117Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY ABUJA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7382
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHDC
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

UNCLAS ABUJA 002000

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/PDPA, DRL/ILCSR, S/CIEA, ECA AND IIP

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KPAO EPET KDEM NI
SUBJECT: NIGERIA OIL POLITICS PUBLIC DIPLOMACY A HUGE SUCCESS

1. Summary: Mission Nigeria's Political and Public Affairs
Sections hosted artist, playwright, and former Fulbright Scholar Dan
Hoyle to perform his critically acclaimed "Tings Dey Happen" one-man
play on oil politics, militancy, and corruption in the Niger Delta.
Hoyle performed in five Nigerian cities a unique form of public
diplomacy which showcased America's willingness to promote honest
and meaningful dialogue on important issues. Nigerian audiences
praised Hoyle and the USG for sponsoring the program, which they
said opened a new door to understand and contemplate the people and
events of the Niger Delta. End Summary.
2. PolOff began seeking ways to incorporate a public diplomacy
component to POL's anti-corruption campaign that promoted promoting
transparency and accountability in Nigeria's oil sector. POL and
PAS agreed to host Dan Hoyle, former Fulbright Scholar at the
University of Port Harcourt (2005-2006) and fluent pidgin speaker,
to perform his one-man show, "Tings Dey Happen," in Nigeria for the
first time.
3. Using I-bucks, PAS Abuja and Lagos funded Hoyle's performances
under the Strategic Speakers Initiative, and worked with Nigerian
partners, mostly former International Visitor Leadership Program
alumni, to host Hoyle in American Corners, national museums,
universities, and community centers in Calabar, Lagos, Bauchi, Jos,
and Abuja. Hoyle also conducted theatre workshops for students and
others in these cities with the National Museum - Calabar (Calabar),
the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners
(Lagos), the University of Lagos (Lagos), the Development Exchange
Center (Bauchi), the Jos Film Institute (Jos), and the Cyprian
Ekwenzie Center for the Arts (Abuja).
4. To encourage meaningful discussion after the shows, invitations
focused on achieving a diverse audience, reaching out to
non-traditional Mission contacts. From okada (motorcycle) and taxi
drivers to governors and oil industry executives, audiences
represented a true cross section of Nigerians. Other invitees
included university students, academics, labor union leaders,
journalists, former militants, actors, human rights and civil
society organizations, anti-corruption activists, and military
officials. Hoyle reached another audience through his appearances
on two of Nigeria's most popular morning television programs,
Channels Television's "Sunrise" show in Lagos and Africa Independent
Television's (AIT) "Kakaki" show in Abuja.
5. An estimated 1,200 Nigerians attended Hoyle's performances.
Reactions ranged from astonishment at his command of several
dialects of pidgin to reflective debate during the interactive
question and answer sessions. Audiences praised Hoyle for the
show's poignancy and ability to honor the people in the Niger Delta
by sharing their realities with other Nigerians. One audience
member in the northern city of Bauchi told Hoyle that he had "opened
up a new door to view, understand, and contemplate the people and
events in the Delta, which most of us Nigerians in the north are not
aware of." He praised Hoyle for "understanding the realities and
complexities of the region more than Nigerians themselves."
6. In Calabar, one person said he was "deeply moved how an American
can teach us so much about ourselves, and at the same time, teach us
about the openness and courage of Americans like Dan, who are
Qabout the openness and courage of Americans like Dan, who are
willing to go to the Niger Delta to listen to our story." The
performances also elicited frequent praise for the USG for
sponsoring the show. At Hoyle's final performance in Abuja, one
member of the audience said he "applauds the American Embassy for
addressing such important issues through the medium of drama and
art."
7. Comment: Hoyle's tour coincided with the successful conclusion
of the GON's amnesty program for Niger Delta militants, a timely
contribution to the national debate on a subject of paramount
importance to both the USG and Nigeria. End Comment.
SANDERS

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