Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, PHOTO: GABRIEL IKHAHON
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the nation’s creative industry will witness dramatic turn-around in few months.
He stated this on Sunday evening in Lagos at the stage performance of a play “Itan” (Story) at the National Theatre by the Thespian Family Theatre and Production.
The minister disclosed that between Feb. 28 and March 6, the British Council in collaboration with the Ministry will be running a capacity building workshop for festival managers all over Nigeria.
“We believe that what our creative people need today is to see the creative industry as creative economy.
“It is not enough to see a fantastic performance like we see here today, but the actors must be able to translate their talent to money.
“There is no reason why while a creative artist should die poor because in other parts of the world, the richest people are the people whose products are based on intellectual creativity,”
The minister also said that he would be presenting the amended National Endowment for the Arts Act to the Federal Executive Council for consideration and subsequent forwarding to the National Assembly.
He said the amended Act will make it possible for young artists to have access to grants and funds to finance their works.
The minister appealed to the rich and philanthropist to invest more in the creative industry, noting that everywhere in the world, the industry is sustained by philanthropists.
Mohammed said that the Lagos State has offered to assist to renovate the main bowl of the National Theatre, two cinema halls, the exhibition lobby and the banquet hall.
He said the renovation which would be completed for use at the grand finale of the “Lagos at 50 celebration” in two months was a fall out of the collaboration between the Federal Government and states.
The minister thanked the state governor, Akinwumi Ambode for his cooperation, stressing that the partnership will breathe life into the National theatre.
He appealed to other governors to look at the creative industry as a local industry which they can annex to create more jobs for the people.
“It may be slow, but I want to assure you that this government will move the creative industry from the margin to the main stay of the economy.
“We are going to strengthen our law enforcement and ensure that illegal reproduction of your works by pirates become a thing of the past,” he said.
Mohammed commended the Director of the play, Mrs Ayodele Jaiyesinmi for bringing talents to bear in the production of the world class stage performance.
He said the play is a demonstration of the artificial disconnect among the old, the new and the incoming generations.
“I am so impressed with what I saw today, you can see the diversity, the complexity. We were here and went 60 years back and 60 years forward
“What that means is that no matter the level of technology or modernity we attain, we must never lose our humanity.
“I keep telling the world that Nigeria has a lot to show and tell the world.
“I have watched performances all over the world, this qualifies as an A class performance anywhere in the world,” he said.
Jaiyesinmi said that the inspiration for “Itan” was based on youth restiveness and tensions in the country caused by generational divide.
She explained that the play captured the challenges of generational divide vividly, its effects on the society and proffered solutions.
If you noticed we have four generations in the play which demonstrated that every generation has its uniqueness, however, each has a feeling of divide.
The older ones feel frustrated and they right off the younger ones thinking that they are too nonchalant and too fluid in their ways.
At the same time, the younger ones just don’t like the older ones because they are very procedural.
“However, the play concludes that we are all important and we all have our characteristics and we need to understand the different features so that we can work together for the progress of the society,” she said.
Jaiyesinmi said the old generation must understand the ways of the young ones and involve them in planning, strategy in order to have a harmonious society.