It is no news that the National Theatre has been renamed to suit the present status of the edifice after its revamping. But many stakeholders have raised the dust against this move while some are indifferent.
The Federal Government had mentioned that the National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos State, which is under renovation, will henceforth be called Lagos Creative and Entertainment Center, upon completion.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this recently in Madrid, Spain while signing an agreement on Nigeria’s hosting of first Global Conference on Cultural Tourism and Creative Industry.
The bilateral agreement was signed between Nigeria and United Nation World Tourism Organisation at the organisation’s headquarters. The global conference, which would hold from November 14 to 17, would be the first event to be staged at the newly revamped edifice.
Over a 100 million dollars have been put into the project under a partnership between the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Bankers’ Committee/Central Bank of Nigeria. New hubs within the premises of the National theatre will cover for fashion, Information, technology, film and music.
WILL THE NEW NAME NOT LIMIT ITS NATIONAL SCOPE?
Stakeholders in the creative arts in Nigeria have been concerned that this might water-down the greatness of the structure, which was created to serve national purpose. Will government of other States be willing to hold events at an edifice that promotes the name of a particular State? It is just placing a magnifying lens into the yearnings of some practitioners of the art. Another school of thought had thought the name would used to honour some of the past heroes of Nigerian creative industry. The Late Hubert Ogunde, Bayo Odunneye and many others made their contributions towards the advancement of theatre productions during the first two decades of the establishment of the National Theatre. It is expected that the efforts of our heroes past should not go in vein. It is not certain these thoughts were put into consideration.
The National Theatre was established to preserve, present and promote arts and culture in Nigeria. The construction of the monument was completed in 1976 in preparation for the Festival of Arts and Culture hosted in 1977.
PRESENT STATE OF THE RENOVATION
The contractors handling the reconstruction project have been asked to ensure its prompt delivery for the global event. The minister added that in an effort to ensure that the complex is ready for the hosting in November 2022.
The Nigeria Ambassador to Spain, Mr Ademola Seriki, who said he is a member of Board of Directors of the company handling the reconstruction project, said the edifice would be completed before the global event.
He said the conference would bring a huge reputation to the country and assert Nigeria’s lead in music, theatre and other areas of entertainment in Africa.