The NATYS (New Acts of the Year Show) , a prestigious comedy competition previously known as The Hackney Empire New Act of the Year is a long-running annual national competition for comedy and variety acts (not just stand-up comedy) that ran at the Hackney Empire theatre in London until 2010.

Founded in 1982, its aim is to discover and promote new stand-up comedy and variety talent. Since 2013, the NATYS had its new home at The Bloomsbury Theatre.  Unfortunately due to major refurbishment at The Bloomsbury the 2016 Show was relocated to The Leicester Square Theatre.

Benjamin Bankole Bello who performs under the stage name of President Obonjo joins the list of other notable British Nigerians comics such as Andi Osho , Nabil Abdulrashidf who have in the past participated in the competition.

Ben along with other established Nigerian comedians such as Gina Yashere, Stephen Kehinde Amos have successfully pitched their professional tents to perform mainly to the mainstream UK community culling their materials from their hilarious experiences growing up with Nigerian parents and within the Nigerian environment.

Ben’s alter ego “President Obonjo” is based on the character of a Military ruler of a fictional republic called “Lafta Republic”

As a result of his brilliant performance in the competition, Ban is now  listed in the show’s Wikipedia page





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