The new Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has described information and culture as key vehicles that will drive the massive national reorientation campaign being embarked upon by the President Mohammadu Buhari-led administration.
Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this on Thursday, 19th November, 2015 at the Federal Secretariat, Abuja, during his maiden meeting with Chief Executives of culture parastatals, said culture is an important element in the efforts to drive the Change Agenda of the current administration, and charged the Chief Executives on the need to put in more efforts to be part of the change campaign.
According to him, “Culture is what drives tourism and both are good for the economy as the two have the capacity to create jobs, reduce crime and diversify the economy, which is part of the cardinal programmes of this administration;” adding that, “Information and culture are key vehicles for the massive national reorientation campaign which we are planning to launch as part of efforts to drive the change agenda.”
Earlier, the Honourable Minister had lamented that parastatals under the erstwhile Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism, now under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture were suffering from what he referred to as, leadership crises, stressing the fact that in most of the parastatals, where academicians are required, administrators hold sway.
His words: “There is a critical lack of understanding of the mandate of the various parastatals by some of the Heads and where they understand the mandate, there is serious lack of capacity. The implication is that those heading these parastatals simply invent their own agenda sometimes and impose such on us with devastating consequences which explains why most of the parastatals are lying comatose.”
Continuing, Lai Mohammed said: “From a critical lack of imagination, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) for instance would just have worked hard to encourage each of the 36 states to declare 10 cities each as cultural cities, add 5 cities within the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and you have a total of 365 cultural cities. Imagine cultural activities in one cultural city daily and you will achieve activities for 365 days all year round and this will improve the economy and lead to reduction of crime.”
On the National Troupe of Nigeria, the Honourable Minister said it could borrow a leaf from its counterparts in Uganda and Kenya, where their national troupes perform for the public every two hours where it is a regular fixture to have long queues outside the performance venues, maintaining that if the National Troupe could make the much money their counterparts in these countries make, not only will it be self-sufficient, it will also have enough money to undertake other ventures.
For the National Theatre, the Minister regretted that the magnificent and historic edifice is lying fallow all year round saying the Management of Theatre can make it available for use by the creative industries like Nollywood, wondering why the past administration attempted selling the theatre when less magnificent and historical buildings elsewhere within Africa and beyond remain money spinners.
Lai Mohammed therefore encouraged the Chief Executives stating that they are sitting on goldmines and they should wake up to the reality of mining the gold just as he assured them that they will get the needed support to ensure their various parastatals succeed on their mandates.
Corporate Affairs Unit