Professor Innocent Ohiri, best known for the role of “Willy-Willy” in Hot Cash, a popular TV drama serial on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt, in the 1980s and early 1990s, has felicitated with the newly appointed Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Africa, Toru-Orua (UAT), Bayelsa State, Professor Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma.
Professor Ohiri, who stated this on Wednesday, 11th April, 2022, when he visited the newly appointed DVC, stated that Professor Ayakoroma has been his close friend since their university days at Calabar and Ibadan, and that the new DVC convinced him to resign from the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Port Harcourt, where he was a senior producer/director, in the mid-90s.
The university don said that with Professor Ayakoroma as DVC, considering his antecedents at Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture and Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Abuja-FCT, he was confident that there will be an upsurge in student admission, thus improving the visibility of the University.
Prof. Ohiri expressed his appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor of UAT, Professor Kingston Nyamapfene for finding Professor Ayakoroma worthy of the appointment; just as he used the opportunity to congratulate the Registrar of UAT, Dr. Akpoebi Adesi, saying that having two Thespians as principal officers in the University is a blessing to the Department, and that it behoves members of staff and students to draw from their experiences.
“Willy-Willy” also used the opportunity to encourage theatre arts students to look at the entrepreneurial prospects of the theatre profession, disclosing that he did that in his younger days, by taking his Wizi Travelling Theatre for performance at Calabar, Benin, Warri, and many other cities, adding that his most challenging moment was when his fans in Warri insisted that he must vanish on stage, as they used to see on television.

Photo: Pius Awipi