Does Fed Govt know that arts and entertainment can build the economy?
Television is about the only entertainment medium sustaining the industry. The Big Screen is too expensive and the stage is totally dormant, especially with ‘sale scare’ on the air to sell the National Theatre to the ‘Big Boys’, may be because it is not well maintained.
In either case, have we asked how much interest the Federal Government has shown in structuring the building of the arts and entertainment industry in this country. Has the government ever given thought to the fact that show business can build the economy of this nation and leave a solid and more stable future for Nigeria?
If the Federal Government is so excited and enthusiastic about the idea of carting everything away to Abuja, and privatizing and auctioning the rest of its properties, then let it negotiate sell or transfer the National Theatre to Lagos State and maintain a certain amount of dignity to the edifice and what it stands for. As a state earned theatre there will be a dignified place to receive our artistic guests and interact with the rest of the world.
Protests are mounting from different quarters against selling the place we have, fit to showcase our talents accommodate visiting performers, and entertain Nigerians. The move will maim art, kill the entertainment industry altogether and moomoo the nation.
The National Theater should be treated like an artistic shrine which it is, with two high priests to monitor the administration, the entire industry has taken a nose dive because the policy was a paper tiger which roared only on the pages of paper on which it was brilliantly articulated.
Within the period till now we have also discovered the best hands to run the entertainment house most effectively. As a commercial executive Jimmy Atte was excellent. Now we have also discovered from the academics the expertise and ecellence of Professor Femi Osofisan, I don’t see why the combination of these two cannot effectively manage to put the theatre on a sound footing. Bring back Jimmy and Professor Osofisan, and let them take responsibility for the running of the theatre like two high priests.
One to guide and control the technique, intellect and the growth and artistic standard and the showcasing of our artistic endowments, and the other to take charge of the maintenance of the place and the sales, and total commercialization, evaluation and the marketing of our works.
Creativity is a highly controlled and well documented adventure that is drawn from the height of knowledge and the depth of wisdom and should not be treated so lightly. This is what builds the nation. Our architecture, our education and our total identity is based on art but if we try with it we are destroying ourselves from the root. There was the onslaught of slavery, colonialism, scramble for Africa, neo colonialism and this will be a sell out on our dignity and
National Theatre Iganmu, Lagos.
pride as a people.
We must take this matter very seriously and decide whether we want to be enslaved again or want to sell our dignity for bread and butter.
Take culture out of a man and he is as good as an animal. What gives man dignity above the lower animal is language and culture. Without culture we have nothing, even the much talked about tourism becomes a ‘roam about’, economic strength becomes a noisy market of traders.
Brother Amilcar Cabral of Guinea said to destroy a people, just obliterate their culture, no need to carry a gun. This is a delicate matter, let’s treat it with extreme care and establish a Ministry for Arts to take care of this very important aspect of our existence as a people. Don’t sell the National Theatre, rather build a theatre in every local government and teach the people their culture