Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, on Friday evening said that his administration will continue to harness the massive potentials and creativity that abound in the arts and entertainment sector not only to boost the State’s economy but also to lead the drive to get the nation out of recession.
The Governor, who spoke at the maiden Rasheed Gbadamosi Art Exhibition, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites in Victoria Island, said there was no better time for progressive governments to begin to look towards the arts and entertainment sector to create jobs for the teeming youths, which according to him can go a long way to reflate the economy.
He said, “If we are going to beat recession, the real future of Lagos and Nigeria is what you have seen tonight and that’s where we are going.
“In a situation where we have been unable to tap the energy in creative arts, I can tell you for free that the real future of Lagos and the economy generally in Nigeria is in the creative arts, entertainment and in services. Like I have always said, we have an end to white collar jobs, so the future and now is for those who are creative, innovative and those who can use their energy and talent to create employment”.
Governor Ambode said his administration believes that no nation or state can achieve its full potential without adequate attention to matters of heritage and culture or without due encouragement for the teeming youthful population that sees and seeks opportunities in the creative industries.
“Creativity is the most valuable asset in any progressive society. Therefore, progressive governments must embrace creativity. We are committed, and we must reward contributors of creative ideas with incentives.
“This is why we are keenly interested in further development of our creative talents; in providing them with support and opportunities to be engaged; in helping to create platforms such as today’s to excel and compete globally and in showing to the world that Lagos is more than ready to announce its arrival as the continent’s frontline destination of choice that gives arts and culture their due,” the Governor said.
He said with the Arts Exhibition, aside seeking to immortalise the sterling contributions of the late Co-Chair of the Lagos @ 50 Committee, Chief Rasheed Gbadamosi, presented a veritable platform for his administration to show its passion for the creative arts especially by encouraging young and budding talents.
“This is why we are keenly interested in further development of our creative talents; in providing them with support and opportunities to be engaged; in helping to create platforms such as today’s to excel and compete globally and in showing to the world that Lagos is more than ready to announce its arrival as the continent’s frontline destination of choice that gives arts and culture their due,” Governor Ambode said.
He said aside the six arts theaters and cinemas which would come on board this year, his administration was making several other interventions to engage the arts community for the Lagos @ 50 celebrations, including engaging several artists to decorate various parts of our state with landmark installations.
“Imagine if you give these young ones six arts theatres and cinemas across Lagos, that means they can display their talents, that means we would create more jobs for people, that means there would be money coming into Lagos and then we would have improved on tourism, that’s what we are doing,” Governor Ambode said.
On his part, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, commended the efforts of Governor Ambode describing him as one of the most passionate governors keen to give the creative arts industry a face lift.
Mohammed said Governor Ambode, aside being the first governor in Nigeria building theaters all over the State, his passion to upgrade the National Museum and the National Theatre to world class standard was second to none.
He added that through massive investment in the security apparatus in the State as well as the Light Up Lagos initiative, the Governor was putting in place lifelong infrastructures, which according to him was reviving a 24-hour economy for Lagos.
Corroborating him, former governor of Ogun State, Aremo Olusegun Osoba was full of praise of Governor Ambode, saying that he has succeeded in bringing the old and the new together and restoring Lagos as the modern father of Nigeria.
Also speaking, arts collector extraordinaire, Omooba Yemisi Shyllon, said if Lagos can sustain the drive to revive the creative arts and entertainment industry, the State is capable of feeding Nigeria with foreign exchange.
He cited the Opera House in Paris, France, Spain and South Africa as countries who are raking in millions of dollars through arts, culture and tourism, saying Lagos was already taking a cue.
“Lagos State has blazed the trail. Thank You Governor, you are the Moses we have been waiting for. It takes a lot of insight for someone to identify this great creativity in this state and an industry is being created, joblessness would reduce, people will be busy, we would have less social problems, the image of this state will grow and we would become a great city,” he said.