Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, says the state government is passionate at promoting arts and culture as part of its economic transformation agenda.
Omotoso, who was represented by Mr. Kayode Oyekanmi, a Director at the Ministry of Justice, said this at the annual Cultural Weekend event hosted by Quintessence Gallery in Lagos on Sunday.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the three-day event, which kicked off on Friday, was themed, “How the Arts and Cultural Tourism can Jump-Start Economic Development in Lagos, Nigeria”.
The commissioner said that the N1 billion fund recently granted the creative industry demonstrated the state government’s passion for arts and culture.
“This is the first sector to receive this kind of support and I want you to make full use of this fund which is easy to access with no interest.
“The government is ready to support all you do. This particular sector grows small businesses. It employs more hands.
“This is why the government is ready to make sure the creative industry moves from strength to strength,” he said.
The Chief Executive Officer, Quintessence Gallery, Jude Oni-Okpaku, stressed the need to explore the potentials in arts and culture for the development of the economy.
He reaffirmed the gallery’s unflinching support for growth of the creative sector during its annual Cultural Weekend.
Oni-Okpaku said that the event was organised to bring together stakeholders to discuss ideas on how arts and cultural tourism could spur economic development in the state and the country in general.
“After all we have gone through this year, the cultural weekend is to help us go into the Christmas season on a positive note.
“Positive in the sense that stakeholders would proffer ways and champion ideas for socio-economic development through arts and culture.
“This is like a call on everyone, especially the stakeholders, that there is need to look at our culture from a different angle, learn and think of how to positively utilise it.
“The world may be unpredictable, but with all its unpredictability, we must proffer ways to move ahead,” he said.
Oni-Okpaku commended the state government for its support to the creative industry and for also sharing the idea that there was need to take another look at our culture.
Dr. Kunle Adeyemi, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts, Design and Printing, Yaba College of Technology, also urged stakeholders to focus more on the resuscitation of the arts and tourism sector of the economy.
He also urged the Federal Government to be more dynamic toward giving more attention to the sector.
“Cultural Weekend is a good thing for arts development in the country. It is like a tribute to Chief Aina Oni-Okpaku, founder of Quintessence Gallery.
“There should be an arts village in every local government area; arts and culture can generate the same 10 million employment President Muhammadu Buhari is talking about,” he said.
Mrs. Oluyemi Afolabi, a renowned tourism operator, also urged government at all levels to give more attention to arts and culture and make it a bread winner for Nigeria.
Afolabi said Nigeria was blessed with different kinds of culture, adding that if tapped, could generate internal revenue in place of the dwindling oil sector.
She also urged government to renovate various tourist attraction sites to global standard to attract more tourists from all over the world. (NAN)