Friday, July 27, 2007


National Theatre: Concession or Sale – What Difference? (Part 2)

(Statement by the Committee for Relevant Art)

(In the first part of our statement "National Theatre: Concession or Sale – What Difference?" we ended on the following note:

"It is therefore our view that this concession which has not gained nor attempted to gain the buy-in of the key stakeholders in the Art and Culture community should be reviewed and a proper, transparent and formal agenda set for such an action, if considered necessary after a key review of the state of the funding and manning of the Art sector".

When we refer to the "buy-in of the key stakeholders", we do not mean a pacification of interest groups through unproductive patronage. That phrase should be directly linked to our call for a "proper, transparent and formal agenda" for the concession (or other form of public private participation) in the resuscitation of the National Theatre. Such agenda, we believe, should have taken benefit of the nature and structures of the governance and management of national and other official cultural centres world-wide. It should have inevitably led to the preparation of facts and figures as well as comparative analyses such as was presented in regard to the Rail, the Mint and NITEL, among others in ‘BPE’s – 7 Key Things You Don’t Know About Privatisation – A Privatization Factbook’.

It is our objective in this second part of the statement to give an overview of our thoughts on the way forward in this regard.

Common Grounds
It is common grounds among all interested parties (BPE and the preferred bidder, Infratsructica, inclusive) agree that the National Theatre is a national monument with roles and functions worthy of preservation. Amongst other structures that have been so-referred, the National Theatre occupies a unique place in the sense that it is the grandest single infrastructure for cultural expression in the country. Its historical role as the venue for the second, last and biggest festival of black Arts and Culture and Civilisation (FESTAC) on the continent and the home to the records and archives of that event, more than any other reason, helped establish the now sadly wasted perception of Nigeria as the ‘Giant’ on the continent.

Nonetheless, the idea of a deliberate national intervention by way of erecting and preserving structures to signalize a nation’s cultural arrival, embody its artistic values, warehouse its artifacts and incubate the progressive development of its creative expressions is not unique to Nigeria. The United States, home of commercial abandon, took just such a step when, through public-private partnership, it raised funds for, built and continues to sustain such institutions as the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the Smithsonian Institution. The United Kingdom has the British Museum and the British National Gallery. Cities and states are not left out, as the New York State has the Carnegie Hall and the City of London’s Barbican Centre for the Arts.

Let us examine the nature of the governance, management and funding of some of these institutions briefly.

KENNEDY CENTRE: Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. opened in 1971 as the materialisation of President D.D. Eisenhower’s 1958 legislation on the establishment of a National Cultural Center for the United States. Although, the enabling National Cultural Centre Act stated that the Center was to be an independent facility, self-sustaining and privately funded, the US Congress backed the building to the tune of $23 million and has received Federal subsidy since its opening, purely for the maintenance of the building. While shows and events are expected to pay for themselves, contributions from individuals, corporations and private trusts have ensured that the artistic focus of the Centre remains. The Centre continues to partner with the private sector through such organs as its Corporate Fund Board for the promotion of its objectives.

THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION: The Smithsonian Institute is originally a private endowment, which received public charter and today runs a complex of museums, galleries, educational structures and research centers. Its governing body is the publicly sanctioned Board of Regents which has the responsibility for mobilizing a mix of funds from private and public sources, including trust funds and corporate sector donations, although a chunk of its annual budget still comes from the federal budget. Access to the exhibit of the Smithsonian Institution venues are free and, as late as June 2007, the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee carried out public hearing on the state of funding and finances of both the Institution and the Kennedy Centre. The Chairman of the Committee noted, in his opening speech, the suggestion that the Institution would start charging admission fees.
"The fact that the Smithsonian has remained free and open to the public for entire history is an important and distinguished legacy to maintain. If that tradition is to be changed Congress should look very closely at why a change is necessary and only Congress should make such a change," opined Congressman Eleanor Holmes Horton.

CARNEGIE HALL: Carnegie Hall in New York was a private initiative of Andrew, the steel magnate after whom it was named and was built in 1890. A concert hall, it was home for many years of the New York Philharmonic. In 1925, it passed from the Carnegie family into the hands of a real estate developer whose son would attempt to demolish it in order to make way for a commercial skyscraper in 1960. Protests from artists compelled the state of New York to buy the property in order to preserve its historical and artistic value. A not-for-profit Carnegie Hall Corporation (a form of public trust known in Nigeria as a Company Limited by Guarantee) was formed to take over the governance of the Hall and it was designated a National Historical Landmark in 1962.

THE BARBICAN CENTRE: The Barbican Centre for the Arts is a property of the City of London which has been central to the cultural agenda of the City as well as the United Kingdom since its opening in 1982. Hated somewhat like the Nigerian National Theatre for its leviathan sprawl, it was nonetheless designated as "a site of special architectural interest for its scale, its cohesion and the ambition of the project" on the advice of English Heritage, the government advisor historical environment in 2001. The Barbican continues to be governed, managed and funded by the City through a mix of public and private initiative regular with official cultural structures all over the world.

Summary of Models for a National Cultural Centre

From the above, it would be gathered that national or official cultural institutions differ in a number of ways. In terms of origination, we have a range from structures that were conceived and build substantially through public sanction (such as the Barbican) through those conceived and build by a mix of public and private sanction (such as the Kennedy Centre) to those that were conceived and built through private initiatives or endowments but later adopted and sustained through public sanction (such as the Carnegie Hall and the Smithsonian Institution). In terms of funding, whether at inception or ongoing, the same range and mix of public, private or public-private sources of support is also noticeable. Also, in terms of commercial motive, while profit has never been the motive of any of the Centres we examined, there appear to be two options in terms of commerciality – from the Centres offering free admission into many of their venues (such as the Smithsonian) to the Centres which accept fees although subsidized through public and private endowments and funding (as in most of the other Centres).

It is in the nature and structure of management and governance that we have noticed a worldwide consensus. Although the Nigerian style of leaving both governance and management of national or official cultural centres or national monuments in the hands of state bureaucracy is rather unpopular, we have yet to come across situations in which both governance and management are handed, whether through a concession or otherwise, into private hands as the BPE has moved to do in the case of the National Theatre.

What Private Participation Is Not

We noticed that, Infrastructica, the preferred bidder has been parading its partnership with a number of foreign institutions, including investment banks such as HSBC and Merrill Lynch and certain entertainment companies with records in traveling circuses and other commercial fairs. Our understanding of the way investment banking works is that these institutions would be investing on grounds of assurance of return on investment within a time limit when they would be ready to exit the venture. Also, while commercial circuses and other road show spectacles could bring in much-needed attraction and some technical expertise, we are not aware that these are necessarily compatible with the essence of a National Cultural Centre.

Our Proposition
It is in apprehension of the easy manner in which the very original purpose of the National Theatre could be trampled underfoot in the profit melee of this commercial journeymen (we understand Infrastructica’s original target in the Nigerian privatisation market was the Rail) that we called for a review of this concession, which has not been well thought through.

It is therefore our view that THE CONCESSION SHOULD BE REVIEWED, a study group of stakeholders and experts commissioned to analyse the nature and structure of successful public private participation in the operation and funding of National Cultural Centres world-wide and the appropriate legal and other frameworks for such a PPP established before inviting private participation under the framework.

Without jumping the gun on the outcome of such an exercise, we take the liberty to propose strongly, delineation between the management and governance of the National Theatre. This is contrary to the tenets of corporate governance as we now know it today. It is certainly alien to national cultural governance. The governance of the Theatre should be handed to a publicly sanctioned Trust constituted by reputable artists, art connoisseurs, business men and statesmen under an enabling national legislation. The governing Trust would define and oversee the margin of commerciality and profitability permissible, having regard to the need to maintain a balance between our national cultural interests and the commercial necessities of the private participation, especially in view of the funds expected to be mobilised for the resuscitation work. Also, the governing Trust, working with the management, would mobilise funds from private endowments, corporate tax-deductible sources, and government budgetary sources, to subsidise the operations of the Theatre.

The management of course would be concessioned to qualified private entities with demonstrable interest in the Arts and capacity to resuscitate the Theatre. With regard to how Infrastructica had professed its love for the progressive development of the Nigerian Art, we have no doubt that the consortium would be willing to participate under the new arrangement.

The Federal Ministry of Education already showed leadership in this PPP model with its public-private initiative on the Unity Schools. A Unity Schools Trust (UST) serves as the overall governing organ of the initiative and private partners who win the management of the schools are expected to function within a framework to be overseen by the UST. BPE, our privatisation fount head should be humble enough to take a cue from the Ministry. It is the only way to salvage our generally agreed ‘national monument.’

Monday, July 23, 2007

THE NATIONAL THEATRE DEBACLE: Argument, Counter-argument so far

Images from a Protest by the collective of Artistes at the National Theatre on Tuesday, July 17, 2007


July 10, 2007

National Theatre: Concession or Sale – What Difference?
(Statement by the Committee for Relevant Art)

In order to properly engage the BPE on the transaction regarding the National Theatre, we need to understand the nature of the transaction itself. It is common within the art sector to call the transaction a ‘SALE’ of the National Theatre. If the transaction is not a sale as the BPE says, then the implication is that the strident arguments against a sale are flawed ab initio.

In order to understand the nature of the transaction therefore, we may want to refer to BPE’s explanation on their website:

Why is BPE „selling" the National theatre — the only place still affordable to the poor in Lagos since Muson Centre and others like that are more for the rich?
BPE is not selling the National Theatre. What has been proposed is a concession whereby FGN will still own the Theatre fully but a private investor will maintain, expand and manage it for 20 years and thereafter return it to government or renew the tenure. The same process is being applied to Lagos International Trade Fair Complex and the Tafawa Balewa Square Investments Limited also. The edifices are recognized as National Monuments but that is the more reason why they should be managed efficiently to maintain their functionality and relevance to society instead of the current state of decay.
The above might appear to provide some comfort because:
(1) it clearly explains that the transaction is not a sale;
(2) it shares with the opponents of the transaction the view that the National Theatre is a national monument; and
(3) it also shares the view that the edifice should retain its functionality and relevance to the society.
Nonetheless, this comfort is little in the sense that the practical implication of the transaction the National Theatre and its original raison d’itre are not clarified. If the transaction is not a sale but a concession which allows the concessionaire to "maintain, expand and manage" the National Theatre, just what is the scope of the powers such a concessionaire becomes possessed of by virtue of the transaction? Does the concessionaire’s power include that to change the object of the Theatre, reconstruct the Theatre for new purposes and/or totally commercialize the operations of the Theatre?

The above posers become important in the light of two factors:

1. The hazy nature of the term ‘concession’ in the practice of the BPE; and

2. The peculiarly non-transparent manner in which the concession was carried out.
The hazy nature of Concession: In its privatization mandate, the BPE usually identifies its transactions either as ‘Privatization’ (full or partial) and commercialization (also full or partial).
BPE defined these two terms and their two respective ramifications as follows :

Full Privatization
Means divestment by the Federal Government of all its ordinary shareholding in the designated enterprise.
Partial Privatization
Means divestment by the Federal Government of a part of its ordinary shareholding in the designated enterprise.

Full Commercialization
Means that enterprises so designated will be expected to operate profitably on a commercial basis and be able to raise funds from the capital market without government guarantee. Such enterprises are expected to use private sector procedures in the running of their businesses.
Partial Commercialization
Means that such enterprises so designated will be expected to generate enough revenue to cover their operating expenditures. The government may consider giving them capital grants to finance their capital projects.
In both full and partial commercialization no divestment of the Federal Government’s shareholding will be involved, and subject to the general regulatory powers of the Federal Government the enterprises shall:
Fix rate, prices and charges for goods produced and services rendered.
Capitalise assets.
Sue and be sued in their corporate names.

In summary, privatization is what is called a sale in popular parlance (or partial sale, in the case partial privatization) while commercialization merely gives a mandate to the entity to charge commercially for its activities but does not involve the sale of government holding in the entity.

While the above explanation (certainly. Not definition) of the word ‘concession’ clearly assures one that no sale of government holding is involved, in principle, it is silent on the nature of the extent of the power of the concessionaire and its commercial latitude. The question then is, just where does concession sits in the gathering of BPE transactions?

The Non-Transparent nature of the Concession: The last question posed would have been answered in the course of the proceedings of the concession itself. But alas, this has not been the case. And we are speaking here in the particular case of the concession of the National theatre and other institutions acknowledged by the BPE as National Monuments.
The shady nature of the concession itself is testament to the perception of the Art and Culture sector in the scheme of things in Nigeria. While the BPE has gone to a great extent to demonstrate, with facts and figures, graphs and charts, what the nature of the privatization or commercialization of other entities in other sectors of the economy (say the Mint, the Rail, the Ports etc) are like and the cost-benefit analysis, nothing of the sort was ever done with these much cherished ‘National Monuments’.
The facts on the Ports for example demonstrate in figures how the privatization will increase productivity, cut operating costs, reduce port charges, reduce import costs and generate savings for the economy. The facts on the Rail go so far as to compare the situation in Nigeria with other African countries. The facts on NITEL, Nigeria’s erstwhile telecommunications monopoly, demonstrate that the net effect of the personnel impact of the privatization would be favourable rather than adverse. (Refer to BPE’s – 7 Key Things You Don’t Know About Privatisation – A Privatization Factbook)
It would be realized from the above that these documents were developed, not just with a view to demonstrating buried facts, but also with a view to addressing the concerns of stakeholders (including private operators and public sector employees) within the respective industries.

Why did the BPE not consider the development of pre-bid facts and figures to justify the concession of the National Theatre? Is it because the facts are not sufficient to create colourful scenarios such as in other sectors, which had received better funding from government in the last many years? Or because there are no real entrenched establishments in the Art and Culture sector to placate or at least shame into submission? Or that Art and Culture workers, patrons and connoisseurs could always be expected to resign to whatever became their lot?

The following facts presented by Dr. Wale Okediran, President of the Association of Nigeria Authors and a member of the House of Representative painted the state of funding of the National Theatre and the National Troupe in the 2005 budget:
"National Theatre: N850,000,000 was appropriated but reduced to N663,000,000 out of which N22,874,979 representing 3.43% was released… The National Troupe was the luckiest in the 2005 budget when it was able to assess about 50% of its approved capital allocation amounting to N39,000,000 out of its N78,000,000".
In the same presentation, the audience was shocked to learn that the National Council for Arts and Culture only 1.79% of its budgeted allocation, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation got only 17.55%, Centre for Black African Arts and Civilization 32% and the National Gallery of the Arts only 8.54%. (OUR ART: OUR DEMOCRACY: THE REVIEW OF THE NIGERIA’S CULTURAL SECTOR 2003 – 2007, presented at the 62nd Art Stampede of the Committee for Relevant Art at the National theatre on Sunday 1st July, 2007).
Is it any wonder that the BPE could not bring together facts and figures to demonstrate the positive impact that privatization, commercialization or concession would bring about in the case of the cherished ‘National Monuments’?

Now the Unknown Concessionaire
It would have been a shock if the non-transparent process of the concessioning produced a satisfactory result. The announced winner of bid, a certain Infrastructica, is an entity which is not known by the critical mass of Art and Culture patrons, workers and connoisseurs in Nigeria. Also, the identity of the persons behind the entity is not much of public knowledge. The level of technical partnership, expertise and content of their periodic (say 10-year or 20-year rolling plan) is not known to many people. This is significant in the sense that, ever since the privatisation of the Theatre was muted a few years ago and then formally announced some months back, a number of consortiums have been meeting with functionaries within the industry, collecting views, gaining confidence and presenting their cases to stakeholders. While most stakeholders remained suspicious of any sort of privatization of the Theatre, they were at least given the privilege of gaining an insight into the proposals of such consortia. This is quite apart from the fact that many of the key promoters of such consortia are well known to functionaries of the Art and Culture scene. So how did this unknown Infrastructica win the bid? Is this another case of giving it to the highest bidder? Was there a prequalification process?

Setting the Position Straight
We do not claim to be ignorant of the fact that public facilities, from theatres to entertainment or conference centres are managed by professional facility managers. Such management is however normally within the strict maintenance of the objects of such facilities. The commercial prowess of the managers in the packaging and positioning of the facilities for attracting and hosting regional and international events while developing, in conjunction with entertainment and culture workers and entrepreneurs the necessary content for maintaining the position of the facilities as active culture institutions.
Now we are not entirely sure that these factors were part of the prequalification requirements of the National Theatre concession.

Indeed, CORA attempted to open the debate sometime in 2006 after the BPE opened the process for the concession when, through Artsville the weekly column of its Secretary General, Toyin Akinosho, in the Sunday Guardian, by requesting for a reasoned response of the Arts community to the planned concession. This request, as it was couched then, was not just an invitation to the usual deprecation of the ‘sale of our national monument’ (afterall BPE has also, somewhat with a tint of bastardisation, appropriated those terms) but for suggestion on how key interest groups within the Art community could team up to rescue the National Theatre from the gaping jaws of would-be concessionaire -- who were never known to have any interest of the Arts at heart.

It is therefore our view that this concession which has not gained nor attempted to gain the buy-in of the key stakeholders in the Art and Culture community should be reviewed and a proper, transparent and formal agenda set for such an action, if considered necessary after a key review of the state of the funding and manning of the Art sector.

Akinosho Toyin
Programme Chairman


Myths And Facts Of The National Arts Theatre Concession
Carl Orji
We are writing to your highly esteemed newspapers to respond to the inaccuracies in the article written by representatives of CORA (The Guardian, Friday, July 13, p. 36). I am puzzled by the opening assertion which attempts in every respect to describe transactions within the arts as a "sale transaction"? It is untrue that in the arts all transactions are called a "sale" because within the arts if one has to decompose asset and fiduciary arrangements there are concessions and leases which are undertaken daily.
It would border on the absurd, if it was deemed a sale when the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York or Guggenheim Bilbao offered the Musée du Louvre in Paris its collection of Picasso’s or Rembrandt for an exhibition? Thus, the argument of using a context which is not relevant to the BPE and concessionaire to underpin a logical position in the article is flawed at its best. This in logic is the fallacy of drawing an affirmative conclusion from a negative premise. As such, the logic of making the analysis on the basis of a simple black and white or "thumbs-up, thumbs-down" conclusion deprive the readers of a succinct argument for and against concessioning.
Hence, the jump from admitting in the first paragraph that the transaction is a concession to the juxtaposition of a sale takes a quantum leap of faith to achieve and misses the mark entirely. In all the transaction and due diligence documents provided by BPE (over 250 pages) there is no sentence or word which refers to the term sale of the National Arts Theatre. There is also no term which refers to either the concept or context of a privatization. In undertaking this transaction process, we were in no doubt that the National Arts Theatre as Nigeria’s and possibly Africa’s premier Arts Centre was a sacrosanct position in any concessionaire’s business plan.
As a consequence, we have had to put in a lot of work to factor and financially model what we think would work and be sustainable in the long term. The reality of this is that we as a consortium have to make the National Arts Theatre and its site work, pay the Federal Government on average One billion Naira per year and subsidize the Arts and Culture community in the site. Our role and responsibilities ranges from jointly working with the National Troupe; National Gallery of Arts and the Centre for Black African Arts when the site is fully developed to subsidizing the funding for these centers whilst absorbing the workforce at the National Arts Theatre.
As a consequence, our capital expenses on the site would be seven times the 2007 budget of the Federal Ministry of Culture &Tourism (N9.2B) over the next three years (N65B). With over Ten Billion going into refurbishing the National Arts Theatre this itself represents a thirty fold increase on the entire budget for the National Arts Theatre. It can be verified that no concessionaire in this country or outside has ever been encumbered with this level of responsibilities in any sector. Nevertheless, we are undertaking this due to our belief in the sustainability of the arts & culture in Nigeria and the strength of the financial investment from our institutional investors.
I am sure the CORA writers are aware of the degradation and derelict nature of the National Arts Theatre. They must also be aware that nothing practically works on the site and the recent renovations have barely papered over the cracks in the theatre. Any concessionaire who truly has done a due diligence on the site would be aware of the enormity of the problem. We have assessed the National Arts Theatre from the failing roof structure to the sinking basement of the building and to the remediation of the environmental pollution in the site. All these would require a massive reconstruction and renovation of the site, which the Federal Government wouldn’t undertake even in partnership with operators. This is because the allocation of national resources for competing national requirements puts the National Arts Theatre at the bottom of the pecking order of pressing issues. If you did an impact assessment & cost benefit analysis of how many people would benefit from investing N65 Billion on a scale of preference, the redevelopment of the National Art Theatre would come far behind Power; Water; Roads; Healthcare; Education; Housing and Security.
In reference, to the question of whether there would be a cost for the performances to the artists who will offer shows to the public. For the new designated theatres including the main theatre absolutely not. This would be FREE. We would subsidise that part of the Theatre in conjunction with the Arts & Culture Trustees who will be the final determinant of what gets shown and when. In addition, there would be no cost to the National Troupe office which would be housed free of charge in offices befitting a National Troupe and its staff.

With regards to position of the writers from CORA on the "the peculiarly non-transparent manner in which the concession was carried out" we find this bewildering. This statement by the writers from CORA raises concerns and contradicts their earlier comments on having no knowledge of the transaction or its process. This is deflated immediately by the implied assertion that they had met with potential concessionaires, gained insight to their proposals and were shocked when they didn’t win? As they quote: "This is quite apart from the fact that many of the key promoters of such consortia are well known to functionaries of the Art and Culture scene."
To be frank, the writers from CORA can’t have it both ways. The evident disparity here is that you can’t in one breath dismiss the process and then in the same breathe profess to have a preferred candidate(s) in the same flawed process? The context, of the concession is quite clear. It is quite difficult to turn three simple terms "Sale; Privatization & Concession" into a Philosophy course on Hegelian Synthesis of Opposites in a triadic context. Are we just guilty of not being their preferred choice or not being popular? On the other hand, whilst there is need to clarify these terms to the generality of Nigerians who see the internal workings of BPE as divorced from their day to day existence. The differences and relationships are quite clear and don’t need further elucidation to the writers of CORA who are evidently literate enough to decipher the nuances in the concepts. For me to do so would be to erode the deference and esteem I have for CORA and its members.
Additionally, CORA writers make the case for the lack of pre-bid facts & figures and a cost benefit analysis of the concessioning of the National Arts Theatre by BPE. On the former, these were supplied to all potential concessionaires, which the writers from CORA could have gotten from the bidders who they were in contact with. With reference to the latter, we cant hold brief for the BPE but can state that due to the multiple and variant uses the site could be put to by the potential concessionaires it would be difficult for the BPE to offer a strategic cost benefit scenario which will embraced by all the concessionaires without stifling the concession transaction. However, every potential concessionaire would have proffered their own cost benefit analysis which would be reflected in their concession bid price on the day.
On the issue of Infrastructica Consortium being an "unknown" concessionaire as the writers from CORA put it is entirely not true and distorts the facts. Simply stated, we are a special purpose vehicle that seeks to invest in infrastructure development in Nigeria and Africa which is also the basis of the consortium name. Our structure is based on international and local institutional investors being asset owners that appoint world class operators of the assets. This is done to ensure adequate job creation, sustainable stakeholder and shareholder value.
Accordingly, most of the newspapers in Nigeria last November 23 2006 published extensively on the news of Infrastructica Consortium partnering the FG in a $1.4Billion rail project which was announced as part of the private rail initiatives for Nigeria. The consortium is made of institutional investors such as: HSBC; Merrill Lynch; First Bank; UBA; Union Bank; M&T Bank; Bank PHB and Zenith Bank. As such, this is an allegation which is easily discounted with an archive search of the newspapers on the day or alternatively an internet search of the rail transactions which are still going through the final negotiations with the FG would put this to rest.
As far as the BPE prequalification process is concerned we were the only bidders who actually followed the rules of the transaction to the letter. BPE in its request for Expression of Interests document required that the operators be local or international and that they have a five year operational record. The operator that is part of our consortium is the Tussauds Group that has a 200 year operational record as compared to the five years required! They operate visitor attractions in London; New York; Amsterdam; Shanghai; Hong Kong & Las Vegas. They also have under their portfolio over 51 attractions, in 12 countries, across three continents Europe, North America and Asia and employ over 13,000 staff. Cumulatively, the group is the second largest operator in the world to Disney by visitor numbers by attracting over 30 Million visitors globally. By any standards if this doesn’t fit the prequalification requirement then I don’t know what will?
The writers from CORA also comment on their understanding of the auction bid process. Without being superfluous, the concession auction process was based on a variant of a Vickrey-Clarke-Groves (VCG) auction used globally. This is a type of sealed-bid auction, where bidders submit written bids without knowing the bid of the other bidders in the auction. The highest bidder wins, but the price paid is the highest bid in the second round. The concept here is that potential concessionaires in the auction pay the opportunity cost that their presence introduces to all the other bidders. As far as auctions go this is the fairest where potential concessionaires have little or no information on the intentions of other bidders. Naturally, the asymmetric information between the bidders creates a distortion to which the Federal Government and the Nigerian people benefit the most by obtaining the highest bid possible for an asset which still belongs to them.
With regards to the writers from CORA’s comment on buy in of key stakeholders, we would state categorically that we have approached individual stakeholders in the Arts & Culture community over the past two years and even CORA members and would continuously do so through the lifecycle of the project. Within the next few weeks we would have a design charrette stage & pre-master plan stage which will involve CORA and other key stakeholders within the Art & Culture community. This we explained extensively to the Director General (DG) of the National Arts Theatre in our discussions and meeting with him.
For reasons of brevity, our plans for the site are to build a fully functioning cultural district with twelve theatres for performances and cinemas. This will also include building a complementary African Museum to the National Museum in Lagos which will be equipped with the world class environment which will enable Nigeria & African Museums to request the return of African Artefacts in museums in the West. It is proposed that it will host various exhibitions of artefacts from other parts of the world and have exchange links with museums such as British Museum, Guggenheim New York & Bilbao, Centre national d'art et de culture Georges Pompidou, Tate UK, Museo del Bargello in Florence and Egyptian Museum Cairo. Recent global examples of this can be seen in the move by Abu Dhabi to get the franchise rights for the Musée du Louvre to boost its tourist potentials.
Equally, the aim here is to expand the availability of world class theatre space and visitor opportunities in Nigeria beyond the MUSON centre. Once the site is up and running we would be the second largest employer of the arts & culture community in Nigeria; we would be the largest single buyer or arts and crafts in Nigeria. All the arts and craft for the site would be primarily sourced from Nigerian artists, reflecting the rich heritage of the Ife, Nsukka, and Zaria art schools. This we believe will also aid in reawakening the FESTAC concept on a 2-4 year basis.
In addition, we would undertake a N3.5 Billion environmental remediation for the pollution on the site which will be transformed into a themepark and waterpark. The site will also have two world class hotels, arts & crafts market, arts & media training centres and a shopping mall with parking for over 3000 visitors. In terms of job creation, the site would be going from 23,000 sq M to at least 250,000 sq M with the number of jobs available increased pre and post construction to at least 1000 workers.
This we communicated clearly in the discussions with the Director General Dr Yerima. It is also important to note that we have started negotiations with Lagos State to integrate the surrounding areas to the site which would be included in the benefits to accrue from the site in terms of traffic management, security, job creation, location beautification and rehabilitation. We also intend that the National Arts Theatre site would not just be about entertainment and looking back into the past, but would be seeking to inspire the future of Nigerians who visit the site with a Science & Space centre which the Tussauds group and NASA would be putting in place. These are only some of the key aspects of the plans we outlined to the BPE when we were biding for the National Arts Theatre.

•Orji is a Transaction Consultant to Infrastructica in the National Theatre concessioning.


The Concessioning Of The National Theatre
In pursuance of its avowed determination to privatise some Federal Government-owned concerns, and sell off or concession some of the nation’s assets, the Bureau of Public Enterprises recently announced that it has granted concession rights on the National Theatre to a private company. By the terms of the agreement the private company, Infrastructica will run the theatre for thirty-five years and pay the sum of thirty-five billion naira (N35bn) to the government. Artistes have been united against this concessioning of the National Theatre. Last week, Nigerian artistes including veterans assembled at the National Theatre to publicly demonstrate against the initiative.
As a national heritage built to celebrate FESTAC ’77, questions are being raised as to the propriety of handing over the National Theatre to private investors. Where do we draw the line in the privatisation exercise? In view of the criticisms and objections that have followed the sale of two of the nation’s refineries, is it not advisable for the BPE to proceed with extreme caution? Why should the National Theatre be abandoned by government? How have national theatres in other countries been managed? Should the National Theatre be a profit-oriented concern? Shall we with the excuse of inefficiency sell off all public institutions? If there are plans to build another National Theatre in Abuja why hands off the one in Lagos?
The National Theatre was built in time for the Festival of African Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977. Designed and meant to be home to the best of our culture, it has remained an important rendezvous for artistic expression in the last thirty years. It has also hosted many stage productions and served as a rallying point for the vibrant arts community in Lagos and indeed Nigeria. In the last twenty odd years the edifice has suffered great neglect. At a point it was reported that the structure was caving in. Its roof and walls started cracking. The surroundings were left unkempt. The canal around it which was designed for boating became a dumping ground for refuse. Government after government found it difficult to resuscitate the edifice. However, it was clear also that there was no commitment on the part of government to maintain the structure as a national monument. It was against this background that the government decided to hands off the National Theatre along with some other public institutions.
Privatisation was one of the planks of the last administration headed by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. The idea is that government cannot be in business. This contravenes the early thinking when governments ran certain crucial organisations as a way of guaranteeing protection and welfare. The argument against government retention of control over the National Theatre is that it is inefficiently managed and unprofitable. In privatisation parlance only the private sector can run businesses successfully.
But the shoddy manner in which the Obasanjo administration conducted the privatisation exercise in its last days in office was indeed appalling. In appreciation of this fact the President Umaru Yar’Adua promised in a recent BBC interview that he would review the sale of the national refineries if the committee set up by the government submits a report indicating that the sale was not above board.
We call on the government to take a second look at the concessioning of the National Theatre. Nations preserve their monuments. The Kennedy Centre for the Arts and the Smithsonian Institute are part of the national heritage of the United States of America. The Tate Gallery in the United Kingdom is also a government-owned institution. It was not ceded to private hands during the privatisation gale that swept through the UK in the days of Margaret Thatcher. Such structures represent the national will, serving as symbols of national unity. The museums, parks and gardens, archives, stadia, and some other institutions are examples of national monuments. The National Theatre currently plays host to different cultural organisations and bodies that play crucial roles in the arts sector. The Centre for Black African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC), the National Gallery, the National Troupe, Association of Nigerian Authors, the Nigerian Video and Films Censors’ Board, are some of such bodies that are domiciled in the precincts of the National Theatre.
The National Theatre should be left out of the privatisation drive. Instead of abandoning it, the Federal Government can outsource some of its crucial services while still retaining ownership of the structure. Outsourcing of services is a better option. This way the national heritage remains in the hands of the state, not in the hands of a few private persons who might turn it into a commercial enterprise with scant respect for culture and the arts in the years ahead. To hand over the theatre to a private group for thirty five years is a frightening proposition.

8 Statemnt by collective of artistes sent to President Umar Yar'Adua as published in The Guardian Thursday JULY 19, 2007

Contact: No 7, Rasaq Balogun Street, Off Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Lagos. Tel: 07030243491; 08051933865


The President and Commander in Chief
Federal Republic of Nigeria

Ufs: The Secretary to Government of the Federation

Through: The Permanent Secretary
Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation

Attention: S. A (Communication) To Mr. President

Your Excellency,


It is with heavy heart, Your Excellency that we the artistes of Nigeria write to you. It is indeed with heavy heart because at a time when we should be rejoicing over your election as President and Commander in Chief of the Arm Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a government agency like the BPE, set up with tax payers funds have forced us to engage you with a protest letter because of their (The BPE) insistence on selling off a cultural monument like the National Theatre constructed at the cost of about US $210m (Two hundred and ten million US dollars) as far back as 1972 and commissioned for use by President Olusegun Obasanjo, then the Military Head of government on September 30, 1975 for the promotion and preservation of our rich cultural heritage in the name of ‘Concession’.

Your Excellency, the fate of the National Theatre (whose present value is put at US$450 million-Four hundred and fifty million US dollars-converted as N58,050,000,000-Fifty eight billion and fifty million naira) under the immediate past civilian administration has been a matter of grave concern to the entire artistes body of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We, collectively and individually have in the last four years been conveying our protest against the plan to trade of the symbol of our collective cultural heritage that was built from inception for the purpose of preservation, presentation and promotion of arts and culture in Nigeria, but it appears that the Federal government under the then headship of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo did not appreciate the anxiety which that ill advised move by some paid agents within government has generated among the Nigerian Artistes and well meaning Nigerians.

Your Excellency, the continued insistence by the BPE to privatize a national asset like the National Theatre in spite of a government white paper against that decision, is the reason why we write you. We cannot understand why the Bureau will still go ahead with their plans to contract out the National Theatre to some unknown interest, in spite of our oppositions and in spite of the resolve by the Federal government not to surrender the matters of culture to market forces as the BPE has been proposing. Mr. President need be informed that it is such a resolve that got the President-in-Council in 2004 to approve funds for the rehabilitation of the edifice (of which work is still on going) and for the merger and reconstitution of the management of the National Theatre so that the edifice can be fully rehabilitated, and made functional at little or no direct funding by the government, which is the whole purpose of the concessioning option being currently considered.

Mr. President, any one advocating the sale in whatever guise of the "House of Culture" does not honestly wish Nigeria and its future well. Even the faceless individuals who have bided and are desirous of buying over a house of culture in the guise of a 35 years lease do not wish our future and those of our unborn children well. We wonder why the BPE have not stopped to find why countries like Great Britain, Ghana, Senegal, and Guinea have not put up their National Theatre for sale. These countries know as well as we do that National Theatres represent the cultural symbol and artistic soul of any nation; a foremost tourist attraction; a central performing arts venue and a national arts education resource centre. The Nigerian National Theatre is the symbol of our diverse cultural heritage as well as the soul of Black Culture, Civilization and Consciousness

Mr. President, the above represents some of our arguments against the attempt to first privatize and now concession the National Theatre to certain interests who are desirous of killing what remains of our culture. However we were glad that following our protests and the several representations made to government on the need to preserve the edifice for posterity as it is done all over the world, government in November 2000 amended a recommendation made in a White Paper titled, "Government White Paper on the Review, Harmonization and Rationalization of Federal Parastatals/Institutions and Agencies".

In the stated white paper, which government circulated to calm our restive nerves, it was recommended that: "the National Theatre of Nigeria Lagos should be commercialized". But the President in Council rejected the recommendation and directed that the "National Theatre of Nigeria be partially funded" so that the edifice can continue to be useful to the artistes thus retaining the status of the nation’s cultural haven.

Your Excellency, NO RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT abdicates its role towards cultural preservation. In a world that is fast being globalised, perhaps cultural identity may become the only thing to hold on to in the long run. Besides governments the world over have the responsibility of preventing a mindless sweeping away of their peoples cultural heritage as well as making provisions for the custodianship of international cultural materials and monuments like the National Theatre in order to bring into focus Nigerian culture in the Black and African world.


It is on this premise that we request His Excellency to use his good offices to direct the BPE to immediately de-list the National Theatre from the list of government agencies to be privatized and to similarly draw the BPE attention as well as compel them to respect the decision of the Federal government as contained in the White paper of November 2000 (page 55).

Similarly we implore Mr. President, to declare the complex a national monument and to formally initiate an Act of Parliament that will legislate the National Theatre as a government concern that will be retained for its strategic position in the articulation and expression of the culture of the Nigerian people. It is ironical Mr. President, to have a Ministry of Culture and Tourism without a house of culture like the National Theatre which is to be entirely dedicated for the celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria.

We suggest that the Ministry of Culture should be further empowered to provide support to the present management of the edifice who have in less than a year of running the edifice, proved that it is possible to turn the fortunes of the edifice around. The present management team which the former President put in place last year after he had approved funds for the rehabilitation of the edifice have not only restored public confidence in the use of the edifice in spite of poor funding but they have showed that it is possible to attract funding from the private sector and foreign donor agencies (many of whom we are aware have shown interest to contribute at no cost to government) for the maintenance and running of the edifice without necessary negating the reasons which the National Theatre was established.

Mr. President is similarly invited to note the interest of some international funding agencies and other cultural institutions like UNESCO and the Ford Foundation (who seem to appreciate the importance of preserving a national monument like the National Theatre), in the renovation and refurbishment of the National Theatre at no cost to government. We are aware that discussions between these agencies and the Federal Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation have reached advanced stage. But it is the mercantilist posture of the BPE that has made the possibility of achieving the full renovation and operational rehabilitation of the Theatre using private sector funding, impossible.

Thank you Mr. President for finding time to read from us.

We remain yours in the true spirit of arts and culture,
For and Behalf of the Coalition of Nigerian Artiste.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The Big Culture Feast is here

9th Lagos Book and Art Festival 2007 – LABAF 2007
Date: Novmber 9-11. 2007
Venue: National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos
This is an open-air market for books and arts works. The focus of this event is to highlight the importance of books in the development of the growth of a nation such as ours. The plight of the book industry has not been helped at all in our society in the past few decades. There is clearly a perceptible decline in the love and appreciation of the book and everything that has anything to do with it. CORA is of the opinion that a nation that treats its knowledge industry as we are currently doing is at the brink of a precipice. If we dare take the plunge, it would take us years to climb again. Thus, we locate this event around the National productivity day to emphasise the fact that the quality of our collective and individual productions are measured by the quality of documents we record them on and the number of people we can convince to read such.

The three days event features talk sessions on the plight of books in our society. There are sessions specially designed to entice the younger ones to the culture of reading. One of such is the workshop for kids on a wide range of issues that can capture their attention. Another of such is the Secondary School Essay Competition, which was introduced to the format last year.

From day one to three, visitors to the venue are treated to a refreshing session of life musical and theatrical performances. This year, unlike in the in the previous editions, the festival will take place at The national Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos.

In the past eight editions of the festival, there has been a tremendous growth in the rate of its acceptance and patronage by all concerned - save the government itself. Last year alone, there were not less than forty exhibitors.

This year, we are expecting a twenty five percent (25%) increase in the population of exhibitors. This would bring the number to something in the range of fifty (80).
For DetaIls: see Flyers please and check around your neighbourhood for our campaign team

Thursday, July 19, 2007


1. The gallerist, managing director of Nkem Gallery, Chief Frank Okonta with CORA Prog Chair, Jahman Anikulapo
2. Renowned Painter, art teacher and President of Society of Nigerian Artists, SNA; Dr Kolade Oshinowo presenting the Visual artists' position
3. The art teacher and renowned cartoonist, Prof dele jegede (former director Centre for cultural Studies, and ex-President of Society of Nigerian Artists, SNA( now of the University of Ohio, USA)



1. Film maker, Mahmoud Balogun
2. The painter, art teacher, Mike Omoighe
3. The writer, culture activist, Mobolaji Adenubi
4. The writer, Nike Adesuyi
5. Film maker and President of Association of Movie Producers of Nigeria, AMP, Madu Chikwendu
6. President PMAN, Tee Mac and President AMP, Chikwendu
7. Mrs denubi, madu Chikwendu with Sir Akogun in the background
8. President of Society of Nigerian Artist Kolade Oshinowo, heading to the podium, with from right, President ANA, Wale Okediran, Sir Akogun and Mrs Adenubi
9. Cross section of audience with Highlife artiste, Sir Maliki Showman, and the actor-theatre teacher, Tunji Sotimirin on the second row. first on te first row is Udo Udoma, art curator and critic
10. Crown Troupe in performance
11. The renowned cartoonist and painter and teacher, dele jegede who came in from the University of Ohio, USA addressing the house


Art Stampede caption

1. Keynoter Wale Okediran addressing the house
2. House odf Reps Majority Leader, Sir Tunde Akogun, former Sole Administrator of Culture,flanked by Ben Tomoloju (Playwight, Culture Communicator; Moderator) and keynoter, Dr. Wale Okediran wit C ORA Sec-Gen, Toyin Akinosho and Prog Chair, Jahman Anikulapo -- flaging off the event took off
3. Ben Tomoloju, Moderator on duty
4. Tee Mac, President of Performing Musicians Employers Association of Nigeria, PMEAN,
5 The panel welcoming Tee Mac to the stage

Images from the 62nd Art Stampede



In the crucial year of Civilian-Civilian transition representing a major landmark in our nation's democratic journey, the CORA has resolved to mobilise the arts and culture community to begin the process of setting an agenda for the new set of political leaders and public office holders. This is the fulcrum of the ART STAMPEDE no 62.
Below is the preamble as dredged out of past similar themes and gathering by the CORA:

BEING the communiqué of the 46th Art Stampede that held at the National Theatre on Sunday March 2, 2003 with the focus 2003 Elections: what Artistes Demand From the Aspirants

PREAMBLE: Participants at the event were drawn from various professional art bodies some of which include. NANTAP, ITPAN, S.N.A' SONTA.' ANTP and PMAN.
Discussions were held against the background of the approaching general elections; and the trend of contributions for the period of about five hours that the Stampede was on was about defining and devising a strategy of engaging the instrument of governance to the advantage of the organized arts community. The precedence of a 1999 Stampede titled "What shall we tell the legislators?" further strengthened this trend.
In the course of the deliberations the following general and specific observations were made.
For the period of the four years (1999-2003) running to an end, elected officers into all levels of government have done less of governance and more of self-aggrandisement.
As far as Nigerian politicians are concerned, artists and all the instruments of their trade are nothing but ingredients of political assumptions and thereafter, they become tools of amusement at both public and private functions.
The claim of the Nigerian experiment in democracy as a government of, for and by the people is nothing but a ruse particularly given the fact that government appointees into the leadership of art related bodies have been betrayals of this notion.
The dismal rate of development in the arts sector has been a reflection of the lack of idea of government as far as moving the art and culture sector forward is concerned.
Artists have to take up the challenge of improving their art in a more innovative way; by positioning themselves at vantage positions in the business of governance.
All that government may perhaps have to do to get the cultural and art sector on its feet is to provide the needed infrastructure for its growth and development without necessarily insisting on running its day-to-day affairs.
To effectively mobilise the divergent forces within the culture sector, the strategies for art advocacy and agitation have to be reworked from the precepts of understanding the nature and character of conflicts that ordinarily exists within the governing structure and exploiting same for the good of the art and culture community.
o Lobbying as a form of actualizing the sector's aspirations has to be collectively and creatively embraced by all the workers in the art and cultural community.
o The proposed sale of the National Theatre is nothing but a further indication of the arrogance and lack of respect, not only for the wishes and aspirations of the workers in the sector, but above all for the totality of the heritage of our people as a whole.
Drawing from all the foregoing, the Stampede thus came to a point of agreement on the following positions and recommended as follows:
In specific terms
o We must recover, revive and reactivate the National Endowment for the Arts charter and re-present if before the incoming political office holders.
o All organizations therein gathered must pay particular attention to the prospect of contributing to the realization of forming a broad-based coalition of all facets of the cultural and art sector with a view to championing a common agenda for the overall benefit of all. This could either be known as contact group or a lobby group.
o All organizations present at the stampede and subscribing to the ideals of a fully developed art and cultural sector must take measures that would appraise it of government's policies as such concerns the industry and take proactive actions for the benefit of the sector.
o We must explore all instruments of opposition provided for in the statute books of the country against any policy or legislation that is against artists and their profession. In this light, the house resolved to explore the judicial angle of resisting the sale of the National Theatre among other cultural edifices that we hold dear.
In general terms we must impress it upon public office holders that
o Establishment of a well-stocked library in every local government area is an imperative in the age and time in which we live;
o Removal of fiscal bottlenecks that hamstring cultural institutions in general;
o Completion of all unfinished and abandoned cultural centres and theatres everywhere in the country must be of paramount importance to policy maker and executors in the next four years;
o Utilisation of the arts of Nigeria and materials from traditional lifestyle and lore of the people of Nigeria in national enlightenment programme and development projections must transcend the myopic level of the superficial to the proper status of fore-grounding;
o The poor implementation of existing curricula in fine art education from primary to tertiary levels must be positively reviewed;
o Addressing the paucity of information flow to the artists' community on the activities of culture parastatals must be seen as a duty;
o Establishment of proper Book Commission in the Ministry of Culture as an aid to legislation, cultural agreements and protocols involving writers' associations and writing intellectual property rights negotiations as they relate to creative writing;
o Supporting a Book Foundation, a coalition of all the national associations involved in the production and distribution of books;
o Provision of subsidy for the production of books for which is either only sonly small restricted book market or no publisher rich enough;
o Making book fairs aid or book exhibitions a part of every arts festival, and;
o Encouraging the linkage of Nigerian Book markets in other countries realizing that the segmented book market in the world has been no help to either our local book buyer or publishing industry;
o Giving artists deserved visibility in all matters concerning their trade;
o Making the exposure of and presentation of Nigerian art, literature, movie, music and television programmes a functional part of Nigeria's image abroad;
o The Ministry of Culture must support a regular artist (writer, musician, actor, theatre director, light designer etc) exchange programme with other countries;
o Establishment of a proper National Arts Award as well as support inter-African art honours at the level of the African Union (AU);
o Granting of subventions to ANA, NANTAP, PMAN, SNA, and CMPP and other artists organisations, to link writers, theatre artists, musicians and all arts and culture producers and workers across the country, irrespective of language, public or religion.
o Putting a stop to censorship and harassment of writers, fine artists, musicians, moviemakers etc;
o Creation of avenues for annual fair on books published outside by Nigerians and books on Nigeria by writers of other countries.




Mr. Chairman, Guests of Honour, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen. I wish to say how honoured I am to have been asked to give the keynote at this 62nd edition of the Arts Stampede as organized by CORA.
I will like to commend CORA for the important role it has been playing in the country this past 16 years as a formidable pressure group. It may be tempting for CORA to think that the outcomes of the various Arts stampedes are not taken seriously by those in authority. This is not so. About two years ago, I was with one of our former Ministers for Culture and Tourism when he complained to me that some of the comments at one of the CORA's arts stampede were unfair to him. That goes to show that even if they don't respond, many of our policy makers are following most of the discussions that emanate from the pages of our newspapers. Apart from this, those of us who were associated with the arts sector before going into public office are always mindful of the possible outcome of our official activities. I could recollect an incident that occurred during one of Professor Wole Soyinka's visits to Abuja. When one of the guests was trying to commend me for my performance in the National Assembly, Professor Soyinka quickly replied that I had no choice but to do well knowing fully well where I was coming from and where I will return. It is therefore my fervent belief that CORA has done favourably well as an effective pressure group in the area of arts discourse. I equally believe that this is one of those occasions when I have to return to give an account of my stewardship.
PREAMBLE: Going through the resolutions from the 46th stampede on the same theme of OUR ART, OUR DEMOCRACY which held on Sunday March 2, 2003, two particular points captured my attention;

i). "The dismal rate of development in the arts sector has been a reflection of the lack of idea of government as far as moving the art and culture sector forward is concerned."

ii). "As far as Nigerian politicians are concerned, artists and all the instruments of their trade are nothing but ingredient of political assumptions and thereafter, they become tools of amusement at both private and public functions."

My purpose this afternoon is not to refute or confirm the above statements and any other previously held assumptions about the position of our policy makers as regards the arts sector. My mission is to give an appraisal of what has transpired in the last political dispensation. In the process, I will to throw up some important issues. It will then be up to the distinguished array of discussants and the audience to map out the way forward.

INTRODUCTION: The arts has not always been given much degree of prominence in the political agenda in Africa, Latin-America and Asia. Nevertheless, an increasing number of governments are now recognizing the importance of culture in itself and in connection to social and economic development.

In Nigeria, the right to culture is anchored in the constitution and plays an important part in retaining the national unity in the country. The Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism which was established in 1999 by the then Obasanjo's administration and its 10 parastatals is in charge of the cultural activities in the country. Even though some degree of progress has been made in the area of culture, the Ministry is still seen as one of the most inferior ministries in the country.

An inkling to this could be gleaned from the experience of a former Minister of Culture and Tourism. This Minister once observed that when his appointment as a Minister was confirmed, he was hailed and celebrated by his town people. However, the moment it was announced that he would be in charge of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the celebration turned to mourning because he was deemed to have been sent to an inferior Ministry. This perception of the cultural sector as the Cinderella of the government has persisted till date. Apart from the fact that the ministry with four departments and ten parastatals is at the bottom of the budget ladder, (allocated less than 1% of the annual national budget) more worrisome is the poor level of budget releases (from 0% to 50%) of amount appropriated. We shall talk more on this later.

The Administration of Culture in Nigeria.

At the risk of being accused of preaching to the converted, I will like to briefly review some basic information on culture. For instance, it is now generally accepted that culture is fundamental to human existence and human civilization, embodying in its dynamism the totality of a people's response to the challenges of life and living. Culture offers meaning, purpose and value to the socio-economic, political and aesthetic ethos of society. Inevitably therefore, cultural and political formation are inseparable.

In materialistic terms, culture ramifies the production, distribution and exchange categories of social and relational existence of mankind. Culture, both of the material and intangible categories, offers a window unto the actual contribution of a people to human civilization.

When well funded and managed, the arts has the potentials to create employment opportunities through the establishment of cottage and culture-based industries. Against the background of the recent spate of literary awards won by foreign based Nigerian writers, the arts has the potentials of giving the country the much needed positive publicity that even the most expensive public relations outfit cannot match.

With the vast and diverse cultural wealth of this country, it is a pity that the country still relies heavily on oil and allied products for its economic resources. The culture sector has the potentials of being the basis of the much needed technological break through for Nigeria.

As was stated earlier, the current Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism was established by the Obasanjo's administration in 1999. Prior to this, it was under Obasanjo's leadership between 1976-1979 that Nigeria hosted the entire black world during the World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture tagged FESTAC 77. The coming of FESTAC then gave birth to such monuments as the FESTAC Town in Lagos, the once magnificent National Theater edifice and the Durbar Hotel, Kaduna. Also include is the Museum Kitchen and the craft village built outside the premises of the National Museum Lagos. Just before his exit in 1979, Obasanjo also approved the establishment of a unique Gallery in the National Museum, Lagos as well as the creation of the National Commission for Museum and Monument and the centre for Black and Africa Arts and Civilization (CBAAC). It was therefore a confirmation of his interest in the Arts sector that President Obasanjo on his return as a civilian President in 1999 created the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

I have gone into all the above as a basis for my subsequent observation on how a president with such an impressive credential as a pro-culture and arts enthusiast could have inadvertently or deliberately spoilt what could have been a glorious cultural era through poor funding and haphazard policies.



During my four year tenure as a member of the House Committee on Culture and Tourism, poor funding was the biggest obstacle to the smooth running of the Culture and Tourism sector. With budgetary allocations of less than 1% of the annual national budget, the Ministry was at the lowest budgetary rung. Even when the National Assembly appropriated funds, the president constituted another implementation committee under the finance ministry to reduce these appropriated votes. To worsen matters, not all of the reduced votes were released to the ministries and agencies. An analysis of the 2005 budget is very instructive in this matter.

a) Nigerian Copyright Commission
Capital allocation by appropriation act was N524,818,655 but was reduced by implementation committee to N50,000,000.
Amount Released = N 3,750.000
Percentage = N 7.5%

b) National Commission for Museums and Monument
Capital allocation as appropriated by the National Assembly was N520,800,000 but reduced by the implementation committee of the Finance Ministry to N408,307,200.

By the second quarter of 2005, no money had been released.

c) The Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation
The NTDC capital project as approved by the National Assembly was N141,050,000 and was reduced to N110,583,200 by the implementation committee.
Amount released = N19,400,000
Percentage releases = N17.55%

d) The National Council for Arts and Culture
The NCAC got N133,875,000 from the National Assembly which was later reduced to N104,956,000 by the implementation committee.
Amount released = N1,875,000
Percentage = N1.79%.

e) The National Gallery of Arts
The National Gallery got an initial appropriation for its capital to the sum of N525,000,000 which was later reduced to N409,500,000.
Amount released = N34,968,500
Percentage = N8.54%

f) Centre for Black African Arts and Civilization (CBAAC)
CBAAC got N118,000,000 from the National Assembly. This amount was reduced to N92,040,000 by the implementation committee out of which N29,500,000.

g) National Theatre
N850,000,000 was appropriated but reduced to N663,000,000 out of which N22,874,979 representing 3.43% was released.

h) The National Troupe was the luckiest in the 2005 budget when it was able to assess about 50% of its approved capital allocation amounting to N39,000,000 out of its N78,000,000.

The above analysis captures the general budgetary trend for the 2003 - 2007 period and could thus explain why the culture sector found it difficult to carry out its official functions.

It is also to be noted that appropriations by the National Assembly which is expected to have taken into cognizance all the expectations of the stakeholders in that sector is a law which shored not be altered by any person outside the National Assembly. However, President Obasanjo in his own wisdom never implemented the budgets as passed by the National Assembly throughout his four year tenure. The president's excuse for this executive lawlessness was the fact that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had advised him that the budgets as passed by the National Assembly if implemented, would cause inflation in the country.

Unfortunately, the National Assembly which should have opposed this flagrant disrespect for the constitution was held to ransom by the overbearing influence of the ruling party which insisted that its members who form the majority in the National Assembly must obey the party's policy. The few legislators who were members of the ruling party who wanted to oppose this anomaly, could not do so out of the fear of being disciplined by their party for party disloyalty .

2. The Cultural Policy / Endowments for the Arts

Another handicap against the effective management of the cultural sector is the absence of a cultural policy as well as the Endowments for the Arts. Produced since 1988, the cultural policy is still being reworked and reviewed with the active involvement of cultural workers, scholars. Various committees have been set up to collaborate with UNESCO in order to make the document very relevant to culture and tourism in the country.

Under the sectoral policies, section of the document, the support for Artistic and Literary creation has been included.

If finally passed, the policy will among other thing make provision for a Federal Fund for the association to artists and purchase of the needed materials. Other types of support available to artists or writers depend on cultural industries that are directly involved or influence artistic and literary creation.

There are other provisions in the policy for the assistance of members of the arts community such as writers, musicians, artists, actors among other.

Unfortunately, several years after its first production, the cultural policy is still being worked upon.

From what I gathered at the last sitting of the committee where I was invited, the slow pace of work on the policy is due to the involvement of UNESCO which is keen on bringing up the policy to international standard. However, as I pointed out at the said meeting, the delay in bringing out the policy remains a big set back to the much awaited endowment for the Arts.

This point was reiterated in my remark at the celebration the world Cultural day in Abuja on Saturday May 21 2005 where I represented the chairman House Committee on culture and Tourism. As I put it during the event, "we are also looking forward to the much awaited policy on culture as well as the endowment for the arts; two very important innovations which we hope, will further improve the activities of the cultural sector. From our investigations it is obvious that the relevant documents for these two innovations are still being fine-tuned by the ministry. We want to plead with the Honourable Minister of Culture and Tourism to expedite action on these two documents in order to ensure their quick passage into laws. As representatives of the people, Nigerians from all walks of life are daily bombarding us with requests for the quick passage of these policies into law. Unfortunately, being executive Bills, there is nothing we can do until the ministry sends the documents to us".

Up till the time the last National Assembly rounded up its activities in June 2007, the documents are still with the ministry. My observation on this matter of the Cultural Policy is that if we as the arts community want a quick legislation, we need to take the policy out of the hands of the Federal Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Apart from the undue bureaucracy which is slowing down the policy, I have the feeling that there are some powerful forces in the executive arm of government behind the deliberate delay of the bill. If we as members of the arts community can come together and properly strategize, the policy can be presented as a private member bill for a much quicker passage into law instead of its current state as an executive bill.


i) The Issue of the National Theatre.

The recent decision by the Federal government to hand over the National Theatre to a private arts community. Government's reason for taking this action was borne out of the feeling that the Theatre was grossly under utilized and as such needed to be commercialized.

Of course, artists have risen against this decision seeing it as negation of the whole idea behind having a public monument not solely for the purposes of making money but as the soul of the cultural activities in the country. My own take on the matter is that we need to balance both sides of the argument. The truth of the matter is that having been involved with over sighting government projects in the last four years, as a member of the National Assembly, I have a lot of sympathy for those saddled with administering public establishments. Apart from the perennial problem of inadequate funding, haphazard government policies as well as official corruption are impediments towards a smooth running of some of these establishments. Against the background of these factors, I do not see how such a big edifice as the National Theatre can solely depend on government subsidy without crumpling. I therefore strongly believe that for us to fully utilize the facilities at the National Theatre, we need a sort of Private Public Initiative. My suggestion therefore is for us to allow government to cede part of the edifice especially the cinema halls to a Private establishment sole while other organs such as the National Troupe, CBAAC among other can continue to play their artistic roles to the community.

ii) The Abuja Carnival:

The other issue which I consider a contentious government policy is the recently introduced Abuja Carnival. In his address on the occasion of the world Cultural Day in May 2005, the then Honourable Minister for Culture and Tourism Ambassador Frank Oguewu observed that the Abuja Carnival was established to show case our cultural diversity. As he put it. 'our mission of making Nigeria the preferred tourism destination could only be realized if Nigeria has a unique cultural "package" to offer the tourists'

After two appearances, the major criticism against the Abuja carnival is the absence of public participation in the one week event. Whereas, other carnivals the world over have mass involvement, Abuja as a city is too elitist to showcase our proper culture. Rather than dancing through the streets of Abuja with very little public participation, it has been suggested that future carnivals be decentralized. This way, the durbar activities could take place in Kano, while the display of masquerades could be done in the western part of the country and the boat regatta in the riverine areas of the South South.

It is believed that this mass approach will not only reduce the fiesta's over 800 million naira budget, it would also go a long way in bringing our cultural and tourism potentials to the people.


It is very obvious that the issue of Culture and Tourism is very fundamental and important to the socio economic development of any country. In view of this, it is my contention that such an important issue cannot be left solely to the government and politicians alone. While it is government's responsibility to provide the enabling environment for arts practitioners to practice their work, we as members of the arts community need to organize ourselves into a formidable and effective pressure group in order to guide our policy makers.

We also need to have a say in who is elected to important political positions. This we can do by taking more than a cursory interest in politics. One or two members of the art community in politics is not enough. We need a critical mass before things can change.

We also need to actively and regularly engage our policy makers so that they can fulfill their electoral promises. Equally important is the support of the private sector and philanthropists in the actualization of some of our demands. It is regrettable that today most of the financiers and backers of artistic events are foreign embassies and foreign donor agencies.

We need to woo our philanthropists and successful business organizations to give more to the arts.
Finally, we need to encourage those of us who are courageous or lucky enough to get elected into public office. Having survived the last four years in what I refer to as Nigeria's political jungle, I can say without any iota of doubt that to stay in politics without compromising your ethical and moral qualities is not easy. While it is important to keep our elected officials on their toes, it is equally important to give them all the support they need. In this regards, I wish to express my sincere and heartfelt thanks for the warm support as well words of encouragement I received from members of the art community during my last four years in office. I don't want to mention names, but I am constrained to especially thank the journalists who gave my activities very good coverage as well as Prof Duro Oni previously of CBAAC as well as Dr Ahmed Yerima of the National Theatre. Of course my colleagues in the Private sector and donor agencies such as Cadbury, British Council, Chevron among others have very supportive to me and the ANA. My final thanks goes to the members of ANA nationwide, My prayer is that the good lord will continue to bless and honor you.

Thank you for listening.


By Tee Mac Omatshola ISELI
( Being a apaper presented by the President Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN at the 62nd ART STAMPEDE JULY 1, 2007 at the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos).

Millions of years ago when the first human beings descended from the trees somewhere in East or West Africa and became a Homo’s Erectus, his senses sharpened because he had to be aware of his surrounding’s. He watched and listened and realized that there are different sounds all around him. Maybe it was a young man who picked up a reed and made the first reed flute to imitate the birds in the forest. Maybe it was a warrior or hunter trying to lure birds nearer for him to kill them, anyway the flute became the first instrument in history. Hundred thousands of years later in the early empires of Egypt music had evolved to an art form practiced in the temples by priest and used for the entertainment of the rich and famous and pharaoh’s family. The knowledge of the 8 full tones and the 12 halftones was incorporated into the school of Luxor. The manipulation of the tones, the triads of the notes creating the cords where invented. Instruments such as the harp, the violins and a kind of guitar, drums and flutes where skillfully used to create ton colors; Temple service was enhanced by light musical performances and music known today as pholiphonetic was invented. Pholiphonectic meaning:
Melody, harmony and rhythm. There had to be a beginning, a middle part and an end.

When Alexander the Great of Macedonian invaded Egypt around 230 BC, he carried his teacher Aristotle’s with him. Aristotle’s went to the famous university towns of Luxor an raided it, carrying thousands of years of knowledge of Music, philosophy, algebra, mathematics and medicine with him back to Greece. That’s why when we study music today we come across Greek names such as: octave, which means the diatonic range of musical notes named after the starting note. The two tetra cords, the four tone group contained in the octave. Melos which became melody. Harmonia which meant the logic order of musical notes and their importance in the created tone arrangement.

It was impossible for the Greek to create the logic of music. A country where the towns were at ware for decades. No it needed the peace, stability and the fortune of thousands of years of pharaonic reign to develop music. From Greece the logic of music found it’s way to Europe, Asia and later to the Americas. There it developed to what is known as classical music. In the dark ages there was not much development and music stagnated. Simple

Music was used in monasteries and churches but the harmonic system degenerated to a simple 5tone music. Diatonos or Diatonic music was preferred in the 11 and 12 century in Europe.

Again is was black Africa who brought new life to music in the 17th 18t and 19th century. Slaves carried to the Americas had in them the lost rhythm needed to fulfill the pholiphonetic demands of melody, harmony and rhythm. Those slaves came from the poor areas and had no musical education; had no ideas of harmony and melody but they could drum and dance. When in the late 19th century the slave owners in New Orleans allowed the blacks to study music instruments such as the guitar, tromped, saxophones and play the hand carried drums, they where ordered to play marching band music for funerals and political meetings. A miracle happened. The blacks put their soul into the music and a new art form was created. New Orleans Jazz. When the ladies of the high society heard this "colored music" they wrote it off as "what a jazz". Jazz meaning derogatively nonsense, useless. The black said: well you think is it just jazz, we will call this our music Jazz. The name stayed forever. Dixieland Jazz or Jazz was the inn thing form 1895 to 1929 when a new more commercial style, played by big band developed. SWING lasted form 1929 to 1944 having created great musicians such as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman etceteras. Modern Jazz, BEBOP or East Coast Jazz started in 1940 and lasted until the 1960 giving the musicians the freedom to improvise.
Free Jazz became the latest and incorporated European music, including the use of Philharmonic instruments such as the classical flute, the violins, cello and the harp. The old art form, the blues which developed a century earlier in the cotton fields of the south, was incorporated as rock and became the third stream; Pop music, funky Jazz and metallic Rock-n-Roll.

The phonograph invented by Edison in 1877 became the tool to help the black Americans to spread their music around the world and the first time blacks where able to make money through their musical message.

Of course musicians like Elvis Presley, who carefully studied great musicians like John Lee Hooker, copied their music and made more money than their black counter parts. But generally the American music industry had become fair. Which meant good and innovative musicians made money.

Never mind their color. Through the invention of first Radio and then Television a new business developed. Show business.

Show business is after the defense industry the second biggest money maker in the United States of America. In some European countries show business rates second or third. Any country, which has a good industrial out put needs to advertise their goods and music is needed for it. Show business can be looked upon as the thermometer of a country. Where there is a healthy show business there must be a healthy economy.

Of course to make money with music internationally, there must be a regulatory body, controlling the intellectual rights. Overseeing the payments made from royalties, such as performance royalties, mechanical rights, copy rights etcetera. In the United States are more than 3,000 TV stations and about 18000 Radio stations which means a hit song, selling one million copies can make the composer more money than the performer of the song and even change life style eve of his grand children.

According to the copy right law from the 1st of January 1978, all new musical works created after that date are protected for 75 years or 50 years after the death of the composer. It was arranged that composer not connected or affiliated to any agency could deposit 2 copies of their works in the copyright office of the Library of Congress in Washington and the date of deposit will be the legal date and cover the world wide rights.

Pman’s aim it to fight against the injustice of Piracy, which made it impossible for most Nigerian composers and musicians to live a comfortable life. Secondly to make sure all it’s members are receiving their rightful share of their intellectual properties by making sure that the Radio stations in Nigeria pay for playing their music. Also the Television stations in our country must follow the international rule and standards of compensating the composers when their works used for, background music, musical shows or commercials. Of course it is the freedom of any composer/performer to select the collecting agency of his choice. What matters is that he receives the money due to him by law.

During FESTAC 77 an edict was created by the Military Government of General Obasanjo establishing the endowment into the arts. Corporations and Banks where encouraged to invest money into the arts and the corporations could use it as a tax deductible item. PMAN’s aim is to sponsor a bill in the house of assembly where by law corporations and rich individual willing to spend money in sponsoring the arts will be able to use the receipts or certificates issued by bodies such as PMAN to invest and deduct up to 5% of their pre-tax profits. This will immediately put billions of Naira into the development of the Arts. Nigeria needs hundreds of music teachers in secondary schools to enable our children to learn the basic’s of music. Teachers are needed with the knowledge to run music appreciation classes and from the young generation PMAN will be able get future buyers for the products of Nigerian Artists. Not every child will be turned into a professional musician. Few have the talent and the will power go through the harsh reality of music, where a few make the big money, but every child who has learned how to play the recorder, the guitar or the Piano, will appreciate music more, because he or she has learned how music is created and has understood how difficult is it to become perfect on an instrument or to master one’s voice.

A vibrant show business will bring tourist to Nigeria. They will want to come and see the diversity of our country. They want to go out at night and listen from Hi-life to Juju music, to Jazz and Pop. Our village music properly recorded and packaged will be carried back to Europe and the USA for them to enjoy a different culture. We can not depend on the Government alone. They are busy trying to solve the daily problems. But we musicians through our body PMAN together with the Committee for Relevant Art can advise the Government on what needs to be done to implement laws and regulations to put Nigeria onto the musical and artistic map of the developed nations. It is us jointly who will create the right atmosphere for younger generations to enjoy the live of an artist without the hard ship we have encountered. It is us here who can advise our Government from State level to the Federal level on how our nation’s democratic journey can influence the development of arts and culture. It is us, united who can package an Agenda for the new Government to consider and since we are living in a democracy our voices will be heard.

Thank you, Tee Mac Omatshola ISELI; Written for the 62nd Art Stampede July 1st 2007



I am highly thrilled to be here on this occasion of the 62nd edition of the Quarterly Art Stampede. I must quickly say that my excitement is neither driven by the relevance of the theme and sub themes of this event nor the appropriateness of the forum and time. Apart from the confusion, disorderliness and violence which always herald new government and of course the protests and grumblings which normally greet post elections, (please, correct me if I am wrong) topics like this at post election editions of Art Stampede are nowadays the only reminder that there is actually a change of baton in government and we must really thank CORA for always keeping us hopeful. Agenda had been set for successive political office holders so many times and at different fora without any corresponding change in our micro constituency that one is becoming frustrated, more so, when we see,( except in a very few cases example of the really honorable, honorables Tunde Akogun and Wale Okediran), committed academics and industry players in politics joining the bandwagon and behaving in the same way as the politicians they have always criticized and castigated.

However some highly noticeable achievements, though, almost at a pedestrian level when we talk of hierachy in the Culture sector, as manifested in the total re-engineering of the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria in terms of infrastructure and personnel within his short period of taking over of the management of the edifice of the current Director General of the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria, Professor Ahmed Parker Yerima is as highly commendable as it is a pointer to the fact that all hope is not lost in this sector. One only prays that people of his rare ability and capability are given responsibility at higher level in the Culture Sector. It is essential to note that over the years, successive governments have constantly paid lip service to arts and Culture without any concrete structure for its development. Whereas its potential for wealth creation is enormous, art and culture is yet to be integrated into the mainstream of governance in Nigeria. Thus, the terrain for the practice of the profession continues to be rough and windy: stifled by politics that have not contributed to the apparent growth and development of the profession. This has always raised issues of grave concern to the stakeholders in the sector whose livelihood depend on the viability of the sector.

However, past President Obasanjo’s administration must be commended for its pioneering effort in revitalizing the sector even though much attention was paid to tourism. It is also unfortunate that a great deal of the past President’s efforts did not get to the stakeholders who were never involved in the implementation of some of these few culture programmes. The Abuja Carnival, NAFEST and the Zuma Film festival are few examples of sure neglect of stakeholders as an organized body. Artistes are never considered or consulted when it concerns formulating policies that directly affect their profession and by extension, their lives. This trend of turning Arts and Culture stakeholders to mere spectators in affairs that directly concern them has continued unabated such that when one is confronted with a topic like this, the question that readily comes to mind is ‘which democracy?’ Only in May was the only symbol of our culture – the National Theatre of Nigeria turned to a mere commodity at a political bazaar without considering the opinion of the stakeholders. Then, some of us begin to ask questions, is it that industries are being integrated into the new democratic social order in phases and it is not the turn of ours yet? If this is the case, I will have to say that this is not only a grievous ideological error, but it is also a great misplacement of priority. As we all know from history, it is art of a period that makes people remember that period. It is the rulers who patronize artists who are never forgotten, because the artists in turn glorify and immortalize them. No matter the magnitude of a particular ruler’s conquest, or the amplitude of his vision, if he does not invest in the patronage of art, he will miss the accolade that he deserves from his and coming generations.
That is why all American Presidents for instance, who have been widely admired have always openly fraternized with poets. Even in our own tradition in this part of the world, all the great Kings we remember are those who housed the performers, carvers and Sculptors in their palaces.

Having said this, I, on behalf of my association NANTAP and the arts community in general congratulate the present political office holders and the ones that would soon be appointed. We implore you to use your office to facilitate the following for this industry to grant us an enabling environment to practise our art

The establishment of the performing Arts Practitioners Council of Nigeria is long overdue for a profession such as ours that has put the name of our dear country on the world map. Many may ask, what is it about a practitioners Council? The answer is simple. The performing Arts Practitioners need it just for the same reason as other professionals in Advertising, Public relation, Medicine, Engineering and the Media among others.
The Council will help to regulate practice and provide a statutory framework for all practitioners and those who do business with them.
Sanitise the fractious nature of the industry by providing an umbrella platform that will accommodate all practitioners who will be duly registered and therefore enjoy all privileges as may be provided by the instrument establishing the council including accessing funds from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The Council will also set in clear terms a code of conduct and disciplinary measures for members.
The Council will make provision for capacity building of practitioners through the organization of workshops, seminars, etc.
The Council will interface between practitioners and government at the three tiers of government i.e. federal, state and local governments.
Create or facilitate the synergy between practitioners and the academia to ensure that performing Arts curricular in our institutions of learning reflect the realities of the market place.

The Council will be run by a Board of Trustees to be appointed by government with inputs from member organizations/Associations.

The government should as a mater of urgency establish the National Endowment for the Arts – a pool through which creative people and groups can access funds for the promotion of creative excellence and the propagation of the nation’s culture heritage. The fund when established will take care of such progammes as grants, residency programmes and other artistic collaborations. More than anything else, apart from helping to provide the enabling environment for the artistes through the creation of proper institutions, the artiste can also earn a proper living from his art and government would have shown visible support.

It is an international practice that any foreign artiste who comes to perform in another country is expected to pay what is called Performance Rights fee to resident umbrella organization which in this case is NANTAP. An organization like PMAN has almost succeeded with this.

All local governments in the country should be mandated to provide and manage performing infrastructures that would be put at the disposal of local performing groups and other professional performing groups. State governments shall have the responsibility to provide a modern arts performing/resource center and shall have these managed by professional artistes on behalf of the state. The federal should as part of its responsibilities maintain a National Arts Centre/Resort.

Ensure that artist’s bodies are given some subvention to enable them carry out successfully their numerous annual programmes that should form an integral part of the nation’s calendar.

Discourse is an essential part of engendering co-existence as well as eliciting participation of the public in governance. It is therefore imperative that a forum be held regularly that would bring together stakeholders for the purpose of appraising Cultural issues and proffering solutions that would bring about enhanced visibility of the arts and Culture sector of the nation. The stakeholders congress is conceived to achieve this goal.

Facilitate inclusion of at least one artist from a genre that is relevant to a particular executive trip in the entourage. It was a strategy and not a mistake that the French President, for instance brought a writer along on his last visit to Nigeria. Nigerian art is highly regarded abroad and many Nigerian Artists, it is no news have established international reputations. They could contribute a lot to our selling points abroad.

Facilitate creation of awards and arts and literary prizes. It is all well and good to win the Nobel Prize but the question will always be asked – where is the Nigerian Prize? Why must we wait for our Artists and Writers to be recognized abroad first, before we ourselves recognize them? Only at the last Cannes Festival in France was our lady of the film industry, Peace Fiberesima’s rare contribution to the film industry at home and in diaspora was rewarded with a special recognition.

Ensure support of regular artists programme with other countries.

Facilitate establishment of Nigerian Culture centres around the world. France with the French Cultural Centre in Nigeria, and Germany, with the Goethe Institute also in Nigeria to mention just these two achieve a lot in making their people’s culture popular outside the shores of their countries. Nigeria should emulate this.

Facilitate a Cultural Calendar for the sector to avoid clash in cultural events and achieve popularity of such events, among the people. The only one that manages to exist is the one that recognizes only the scanty events being handled only by government agencies and parastatals. Activities and popular events of the various associations should be recognized and integrated into the sector’s calendar. Festina and the annual lecture of Nantap are just a few examples. And lastly, but most importantly, make sure that the sale, whether partial or full, of the National Theatre of Nigeria is never mentioned again. The limited time that we have will compel me to stop here for others to make their meaningful contributions.

Thank you immensely for listening; and a lot of apologies for being such a bore.