The Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday, promised to increase funds for the arts and liberalise the process of its acquisition once elected in the forthcoming elections.
Abubakar made the promise during a special roundtable discussion with Nigeria’s creative cultural and innovative industry stakeholders in Lagos.
The meeting was aimed at strengthening the country’s booming entertainment space and cultivating more unifying support in championing Nigeria’s creative expression.
The presidential candidate acknowledged that the creative industry was a vital industry capable of immense wealth creation and generating huge employment opportunities.
He said such an industry should not be toyed with as it had been identified as the second most important sector after agriculture.
“I commend the presentations so far, I understand your challenges which I am also facing because I own a television and radio station, I face the same problem of access to water and electricity as well as bad roads, so I want you to regard me as one of you.
“The way forward is to increase funds for the arts and liberalise the process of acquiring that fund, if you give me the opportunity, I will do it because it is essential.
“I reject direct CBN intervention and encourage the private sector to be part of this, government cannot develop all the funds needed.
“I look forward to a close collaboration with you on how we can develop the sector and exploit its potential, it is a multi-billion income-creating sector.
“If we work together, we can make it, I look forward to another meeting before the elections to agree on some modalities on how things will be done,” he said.
Abubakar commended the patriotic zeal of the private practitioners in the creative sector in the face of numerous obstacles trying to hinder their progress.
Also, Atiku’s running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa, said all requests made by the practitioners in the creative sector would be properly articulated just as promised by Abubakar.
Okowa disclosed that the newly built Film Village in Asaba would be launched by December.
He said there were plans to ensure that practitioners in the creative industry ran it, as the government would not be in the best position to do that.
He urged Nigerians to turn out en mass to vote during the forthcoming elections in February.
“There would be a new Nigeria if we work together to defend our land and take pride in it. We can make Nigeria work again through collaboration with the aim to rebuild the foundation,” he said.
Earlier, a Talent Manager and Music Executive, Efe Omorogbe, said the major challenge confronting the music industry were piracy and Nigerians’ unwillingness to pay music royalties.
He said less than 10 per cent of music consumers paid royalties which were not encouraging.
Omorogbe noted that it was high time politics and governance were balanced while the right people were engaged in leadership positions in the creative space.
According to him, the Nigerian music industry remains so huge, yet to be properly tapped.
The Executive Producer of Hip TV, Ayo Animashaun, noted that the enabling environment for the creative industry must be created for businesses to thrive.
“We do not have the enabling environment to perform at the best capacity; this makes it so difficult to carry out major projects,” he said.