The Federal Government will leverage the creative ability and talent of Nigerian youths to promote the campaign for attitudinal change and national re-orientation, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said.
A statement issued from his office in Abuja on Sunday said the Minister announced the plan on Saturday in Kaduna, where he attended the state’s first Annual Music Festival.
He said because of the large followership being enjoyed by the nation’s artistes, they have the capacity to mobilize and influence attitudinal change among Nigerians.
Alhaji Mohammed assured that the Federal Government would provide the enabling environment for the creative industry to thrive in order to harness the potentials of culture for national re-orientation and economic growth.
He underscored the role of the creative sector in the economic growth and development of the nation, while noting that Nigeria became the biggest economy in Africa following the re-basing of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) mainly due to the boom in the creative industry.
“We could have seen much more if only we are able to help them in terms of giving long-term loans for the creative industry and also to protect their intellectual property and that is the major bane of the creative industry today. So what we are trying to do as the Federal Government is that both the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Culture are to provide this support for the creative industry,” the Minister said.
He disclosed that the Ministry of Information and Culture would soon partner with state governments to develop a National Cultural Calendar in order to ensure an all-year-round cultural fiesta that would be beneficial for the economy in terms of revenue earnings and also keep many out of mischief, thus enhancing security.
“Today we have so many festivals in many parts of the country and one of the suggestions that I put on the table in my ministry is that we will liaise with states. One state will give us a list of 10 festivals in ten cities and these ten cities in each state will give us 360 cities and then with the five local governments in Abuja, we will have 365 festivals. Then we can develop a calendar of festivals in Nigeria, which means that every day in Nigeria there will be a festival and this will help to attract tourists to the country. The problem we have today is that nobody knows what festival is holding, where and when,” he remarked.
For his part, Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said the Music Festival was organized to thank musicians and other artistes for the role they played in promoting peace during the 2015 general elections.
“Many of them just sang for peaceful elections, they were not even partisan. The challenges we faced and the postponement of the elections and all that should have led to violence, but we believe that they (artistes) played a very significant role in ensuring that we had peaceful democratic change,” the Governor said.
According to him, the state will integrate the Annual Music Festival into the Kaduna State Arts and Culture Festival to create a Festival of Arts, Culture and Music that will attract more tourists to the state.
He said the fact that over 87 percent of the state’s population are below the age of 35 makes the state attractive to entertainment and appreciative of culture as an opportunity to be productively employed.
Gov. el-Rufai explained that the Music Festival was wholly financed by the private sector without any budgetary provision from the state.
The Music Festival was declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari and attended by the Governors of Adamawa and Plateau States as well as Minister of State for Labour James Ocholi, among other dignitaries.