The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has saluted Prof. Wole Soyinka for inducting Nigeria into the Hall of Fame through his iconic literary works.
Speaking at the Command Performance of one of Prof. Soyinka’s books, the “Death and the King’s Horseman”, in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of his winning the Nobel Prize in Literature, the Minister said Prof. Soyinka’s literary creativity, ingenuity and contributions to the growth and development of literature and dramatic arts can easily be described as legendary.
“He has continued to play vital roles in the development of Arts, Culture and Democracy in Nigeria and around the world. On behalf of the Ministry, I salute Professor Soyinka and wish him longer life so that this exemplary Nigerian and global citizen can continue to make us proud,” he said.
Recalling the epochal event 30 years ago, Alhaji Mohammed said the Nobel Prize in Literature was a historic moment for the Creative Industry, for Nigeria and for Africa ”because it was the first time that a Nigerian, an African and indeed a black writer will be named a recipient of the prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature”.
He used the occasion to harp on the enormous potential of Nigeria in the Creative Industry, particularly the performing arts, and the rich cultural heritage which, he said, if gainfully harnessed will further drive tourism and significantly lift the Nigerian economy.
“I am glad to report that our efforts to lift the Creative Industry have received support from President Muhammadu Buhari. Not only has the President rallied support for the sector, he has also directed that such support must reflect in the budget of the Ministry of Information and Culture in 2017. We will leverage on such high level support to further our plan to develop our country’s Creative Industry and also enhance its contribution to the national economy,” he said.
The Minister disclosed that part of the strategies adopted by the Ministry to develop the Creative Industry is the signing of Memoranda of Understanding with the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council on capacity building, especially the training of Festival Managers, as well as linking the industry to the business world.
He said an innovative part of the collaboration is the plan to convene a Creative Economy Task Force to map the Creative Industry to provide a better picture of what is happening and develop policies that will fast-track the development of the sector.
Alhaji Mohammed solicited the support of stakeholders in the performing arts towards the successful implementation of the administration’s national reorientation campaign, CHANGE BEGINS WITH ME, which is aimed at bringing back the time-tested values that once defined Nigerians as a people.