New Telegraph

Ododo: Creative Industry Development Bill, good idea, but…

Reactions from stakehiolders have continued to trail the proposed Creative Industry Development Bill (CIDB), which has reached the validation phase where a physical meeting of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) of government in conjunction with industry stakeholders will sit to review the draft bill in Abuja.

The Bill aims to “bridge the gap between the Nigerian creative industries and the Government to build a vibrant, profitable, rapidly growing creative sector by transforming the creative space through a legal, regulatory, and institutional framework, with an executable action plan.” While several stakeholders have opined that the Bill is a good idea, they however, stressed the need to carry critical stakeholders along for them to make their input. The GM/CEO, National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, Prof. Sunday Ododo, said the Bill is relevant, noting, however, that all critical stakeholders must be carried along so that the bill can come out very accommodating, robust, all-inclusive. According to him, in its present state, there is a lot of gap in the Bill. Ododo who is a Professor of Performance Aesthetics and Theatre Technology, stated this in an interview with New Telegraph, noting also that there is over concentration on government parastatals.

“The issue is that is the bill relevant? Yes, it is relevant. To that effect all critical stakeholders must be carried along so that the bill can come out very accommodating, robust, all-inclusive, and it will be a win win situation for the industry. But in its present state, there is a lot of gap, which I know if subjected to intensive critical stakeholders intervention it will come out bolder, sharper and very very result-oriented. “For instance, some of the critical stakeholders that a listed in the bill to drive the implementation of the bill are at the moment not far reaching. There is over concentration on government parastatals. Whereas, it is the private creative sector that drives this industry more. So, their involvement and input is very important,” he said. He further stated that even the government parastatals that have been signposted, there are some misunderstandings as to what is what.

For instance, the Bill is looking at the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board, and it is focusing on the National Troupe. The truth is that they are two separate parastatals under one board – The National Theatre and the National Troupe. It is just that they both share the same Board. But the bill is looking at the Board and not the parastatals.

With what they do they can impact on the creative industry development in varying ways. That’s an example. “And of a fact, the National Theatre is the home of creativity, culture and tourism; a centre for honing the creative talents of our youths in the country; and home to incubate their creative ideas and hatch them for public good. “And I am sure that many other critical stakeholders would have identified other shortcomings their. “If well crafted and it comes to be, of course, I want to believe that eventually the bill will formally come to us to make our input.

With that the bill will now understand the differences between the National Theatre edifice and National Theatre as a parastatal. Policy and programmes that National Theatre should run that can embolding the creative industry and bolster creativity in Nigeria, and especially, youth empowerment, to tap from their creative ingenuity for social engineering and economic empowerment.”

On the Cultural Policy, he said: “Of a fact, if the Cultural Policy had been in existence, it is supposed to give birth to the Creative Industry Development Bill (CIDB) or a section of that policy will now explore and maximise what we can achieve in the creative industry and also in tourism. It is unfortunate that so many years now there is a cause for review and it is yet to see the light of day. Each time I make enquiry I am told it is ready, it’s just for final review and FEC approval before it can become effective. I hope that will be done, because when that policy comes to stay and it’s being implemented the creative space will heave a huge sigh of relief. “And what is critical for me in all of this is the National Endowment Fund for the Arts. That is most important to assist young cratives, young minds to build up their arts and grow, and become masters.”

Prof. Ododo disclosed that hopefully, another phase of the revamping of the National Theatre will be delivered in April or before May 29, and that a brand new National Theatre might be early next year. “As you can see, work is going on seriously around the National Theatre complex. We’re hoping that another phase of the revamping of the National Theatre will be delivered in April, or just before Mr. President leaves office in May, 2023, and finally, a brand new National Theatre might be on our laps early next year. “But on our own side here, this Easter period, a number of productions are coming up.

Some private partnerships with National Theatre to create entertainment programme for the Lagos audience will come up in April. And I must let you know too that there is a company in Israel that wants to be our guest soon here at the National Theatre.

We are talking, and it will interest you to know that the production that they want to bring is Wole Soyinka’s ‘The Road’. The organisation is called African Israeli Stage. They’ve been here before to perform some other Nigerian plays such as Wole Soyinka’s ‘The Lion and the Jewel’, and ‘The Legendary Inikpi, written by Prof. Emmy Idegu. Dr. Yaffa Schuster is the CEO, Artistic Director of African Israeli Stage (AIS). So we are talking, and all things being equal, before the middle of this year, they will be here to perform ‘The Road’,” Ododo said

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