Enhancing cultural tourism: Beyond propaganda
FOR quite a long time, it has become an irritating stance exhibited at both federal and state levels that issues related to the propagation and realistic promotion of our national creative themes have always been treated with unserious and insultive actions which, to the real disciples of creativity make them the forgotten part of our citizenry.
To re-call a few issues on ground, is the demolition of the Arts village near the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos and the other is the leasing out of the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Complex in Benin City by the Edo Stat Government.
Past inexplicable reasons why the federal government would want to give out a National Monument like the National Arts Theatre to be run by private hands, even though it didn’t succeed, shows that the Almighty didn’t support the move and in anger, the Arts village nearby where disciples produced items to depict the various artistic themes of the nation was invaded and destroyed by government agencies and nothing has been put there as a replacement.
Could this be described as “Bad belle intrigues” by interested government individuals who couldn’t have their way to run the National Arts Theatre as a private enterprise?
This clique has to be tutored to know the meaning of what a National Monument is. On ground at the Theatre are professionals trained and can stand out with their colleagues from other parts of the world that respect their national monument with the pride it creates.
Left out of our periodic exhibition of other aspects of the dance performance is the deliberate neglect of “Home based indigenous artistes” that are traditionally and realistically born performersthan the click of the Iganmu based National Dance Troupe.
There is a lot of difference between the artistry of the National Dance Troupe and its indigenous counterparts based in our villages.
The artificiality exhibited by the National Dance Troupe members when on stage is so empty to an un-biased audience than when the village artistes get on stage. Mixing a somersaulting effect with a dance outing, creates an absolute and unrelated production material.
In some of the artificiality created to beautify the city performer,chorography is overdone, thereby making the city performer look like a naked masquerade that can easily be identified by a member of the audience, which in reality, a masquerade is supposed not to be known publicly, even though only members of a troupe know who is to be costumed as a masquerade for an outing.
I have deliberately deviated into some specific aspects of creative themes, they all are related to the essence of allowing national monuments to be so left alone as institutions that belong to us all and not to a click of business people.
If really, as I heard that this un-popular stance of trying to buy them off government, why didn’t it demonstrate its genuine love for our artistry, by acquiring land from government and build such structures they now lease from government.
Whatever the amount of money the un-popular deal would put into governments pocket, it is untidy.
Specifically, the Oba Akenzua II Cultural Complex in Benin City, has indeed suffered what it doesn’t merit.
I recall during late Gen. Sani Abacha’s tenure, I informed His Royal Majesty, late Oba Erediauwa about the plan of the state government to change the name of the Cultural Complex from his to something else. The Monarch in his wisdom calmly appreciatived my concern and worry but resorted: “Let them please themselves.”.
The Cultural Complex bore Abacha’s name, years rolled by and it came back to be renamed Oba Akenzua II Cultural Complex.
The edifice is in the news again. I reliably gathered that the immediate past government of Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole completed the leasing of the complex. This is a disservice to the people of Edo State.
I am not particularly interested about whom it was leased to, but the entire State Ministry of Arts and Culture, with its professionals (both creative and administrative) including another Federal Government owned Art Agency, have all been served a quit notice. This is a bad market deal.
I sympathise with Governor Godwin Obaseki over this inheritance. I hope his shoulder is strong enough to shake off this very unpopular action of Comrade Oshiomhole.
A national monument ought to be allowed to remain as pride of the people.
AUsman Abudah, founder of Afenmai Hertiage & Cultural Studies, wrote from Benin City, Edo State.