By Taiye Olayemi
The National Association of Nigeria Theatre Practitioners (NANTAP), has called on the President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu, to create a sole ministry of tourism and culture upon assumption of office.
Mr Israel Eboh, National President of NANTAP, in a statement on Saturday said this was neccesary to ensure that the tourism and culture sectors were given priority attention.
He said to position the creative industry as the economic mainstay in Nigeria, the tourism and culture sectors must not be merged with the ministry of information as currently obtained.
“It is our sincere plea that now more than ever is the time to walk the talk by taking definite steps and actions that will develop and grow the industry to the standards that makes it a global competitor.
“We, therefore, appeal to you as president-elect to include in your administration`s economic agenda, the establishment of a stand-alone ministry of culture and tourism as a priority.
“This has the potential to take Nigeria out of the economic woods,” he said.
Eboh also urged the president-elect to seek out men and women with the technical abilities and know-how of creative administration and economy to drive the entire process.
He noted that the task before this ministry could never be realised or fulfilled if the sector would continue to be used for political compensation.
“The creative ability and will to excel of the average Nigerian has never been in doubt, what has always been lacking is the will on the part of government to harness this energy for national benefit.
“We believe you are rightly placed to right this negative trend and provide every Nigerian youth, a platform that guarantees them some measure of economic hope and freedom.
“History beckons on you to write your name in gold as the leader who gave Nigeria a truly creative industry and provided the catalyst needed to drive a new, and alternative source of revenue for a viable and sustainable economic growth,” he said.
Eboh noted that the president-elect would be taking up a daunting assignment, considering current national challenges of economic downturn, unemployment, insecurity, political and religious intolerance.
He said overcoming these challenges would require a leader who would be bold, daring, and innovative.
According to him, Nigeria needs a leader whose actions will be planned and built on the desire to develop and grow alternative industries and sectors that will develop the economy, create employment and reduce youth restiveness.
“One of such industry is the creative industry, the industry has grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade and has become a key contributor to the Nigerian Gross Domestic Product, creating employment and taking many Nigerians from the poverty ladder.
“Statistics show that in 2020, the creative industry accounted for over N730 billion of Nigeria`s GDP, provided 2.4 million jobs, with a projection to gross over $15 billion and create additional 2.9 million jobs by 2025,” he said.
According to Eboh, it is important to create a conducive environment for the sector to thrive, through enabling laws, infrastructural development and funding platforms that bridge the funding gaps experienced by industry players.