By Winifred Bulus
Governor of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria, Akinwunmi Ambode says his administration will revive the National Arts Theater and restore it to life, as part of national plan to revitalize monuments in the country.
Gov. Ambode expressed interest in the structure when he joined Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed to inspect the National theatre at Iganmu, Lagos.
“I am here at the National Theatre in continuation of my collaboration and partnership with the Honourable Minister of Information, Culture.
“We both believe that we must join hands together to uplift our national monuments, irrespective of where we are working.
“As part of our own vision, we have always said that we will use arts and culture to promote national heritage and this visit is just one of those visits.” he said.
The National Theatre Art is a centre for performing arts in Nigeria, established to preserve and promote arts and culture in the country.
It was fashioned after the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna, Bulgaria – contract for its construction was signed on April 24, 1973 and the construction was completed in 1976 in readiness for the Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977.
Nigerians resisted a move to sell the theatre in 2001, barely two years after the country returned to democratic rule.
Recently the country’s Minister of Information and Culture had warned against destruction of monument in the country. Some developers had destroyed a 190 year old Brazilian style house built in 1956 by returned slaves.
Responding to Ambode’s gesture, Lai Mohammed said, “I cannot be happier today that I have got the firm commitment of the governor that he is going to partner with Federal Government to bring back the National Theatre to what it used to be.
“I see this as a hand of friendship between the state and Federal Government in the area of reviving the creative industry.
“This is the first major step in transforming the creative industry to creative economy,’’ Mohammed said.