By Abdullahi Mohammed, Abuja
Vice President Kashim Shettima assured Tuesday that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu would ensure a more inclusive and prosperous future for the country’s creative industry.
The Vice President gave the assurance during the Art, Culture and Creative Economy Roundtable – A Creative Industry Intervention – organized by the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
He said the Tinubu-led administration was poised to increase the voices of Nigeria’s creative minds, empower the nation’s best talents and harness the unconstrained potential within the country’s “diverse cultural tapestry.”
Speaking on ‘Nigeria’s Creative Roadmap to the Future’, the Vice President said the round-table was an avenue to deliberate and recommit to fostering an environment that nurtures creativity, innovation and inclusivity. “More than ever, we see the need to amplify the voices of our creative minds, empower our best talents, and harness the unbridled potential that lies within the folds of Nigeria’s diverse cultural tapestry.
“This round-table discussion isn’t just for us to chart a course that celebrates our past achievements. It’s for us to pave the way for an even brighter, more inclusive, and prosperous future for Nigeria’s creative economy.
“For it is through such synergy that we shall continue to ascend to greater heights and cement Nigeria’s rightful place as the unrivalled creative powerhouse of Africa,” he said.
He said the Tinubu administration was set to make real its promise to turn the Nigerian creative industry into a critical segment of the global economy.
Describing the President as the architect of Nigeria’s entertainment industry, the Vice President said it was for this reason they refer to the President as ‘City Boy’.
“Thankfully, your President is the architect of the nation’s entertainment hub, and there’s a reason your industry refers to him as “City Boy.” President Bola Ahmed Tinubu is not only cosmopolitan, a man of arts and culture in tune with the realities of your industry, but he has also acknowledged your industry as a critical segment of the global economy.
“So, we are here to make true our promise to you and let you know that the time has come for your industry to be at the negotiation table in Abuja,” he said.
The Vice President also apologised to members of the creative and entertainment sector over neglect by the past administrations, which he said left them with no option but to build the industry with minimal support from the government.
“The gathering of stars in this room today, each unique in its stardom, is a testament to why Nigeria stands as the envy of the creative universe. Our citizens haven’t merely entered the stage of arts, entertainment, and creativity; their brilliance has become a beacon of inspiration and admiration worldwide.
“I want to express our gratitude for the illumination they have cast upon the world, the delight they have infused into it, and, undoubtedly, the economic prosperity and employment they have brought to the thriving galaxy of their profession.
“The industries that have produced the stars in this room are products of sustained sacrifices. Young and old, the ferocity with which our talents have shone within and outside the shores of the country is a template for each sector in the country, and I confess to being utterly impressed.
“What is even more astonishing is that they built their collections of empires with minimal support from the government. This is why we are here. We are here to apologise to you and to form a synergy to maximize the potential of the fast-evolving creative economy, of which you are our shiniest pillars,” he said.
Regretting that despite the creativity shown by Nigerian artists the country’s image had been tainted by the criminal activities of those he described as “misguided few,” the Vice President thanked members of the creative industry for remaining a beacon of light and hope for Nigeria
“I don’t know what would’ve become of Nigeria’s image without you. You are the reason we walk with our shoulders still high from Atlanta to Zurich. Your dedication, your innovation, and your tireless commitment to shaping a narrative rooted in truth, integrity, and artistic brilliance have been the bedrock upon which our creative industries stand tall
“It is through your talents that we refute the caricatured image and unveil the true essence of Nigeria’s creative might. So, on behalf of the Nigerian government, allow me to extend our profound gratitude,” he said.
Also speaking, the Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Ms Hannatu Musawa, gave an overview of the ministry’s vision and agenda for the creative sector, which is partly encapsulated in the ‘Destination 2023, Nigeria Everywhere’ initiative – a soft power programme to showcase Nigeria’s abundant talents in the creative sector.
According to the minister, the plan is to firmly establish Nigeria as the leading global hub for arts, culture and creativity, noting that “with this initiative, we are going to change the narrative about Nigeria globally.”
She said by leveraging legislative, regulatory and intellectual property reforms, the country can witness a significant increase in the creative sector’s contributions to the GDP within a short period.
On private sector engagements, the minister said in recognition of the importance of the private sector, the ministry was shifting its programme from focusing on just financing to comprehensive ecosystem support.