The Directors and Management Staff of the National Theatre
Board Members of NT and NTN
The Consultant, Brooks Consolidated Investment Ltd
The 2018 NNOM Recipient, Prof Olu Obafemi
The Erstwhile DG of CBAAC, Prof Duro Oni
Gentlemen of the press
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is with great pleasure I stand before you. Let me begin by registering my profound gratitude to God Almighty, who makes all things possible and for His pleasure for sending me on an assignment to the National Theatre, Nigeria and for making this day possible. I thank profusely the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mohammadu Buhari, GCFR, for this rare privilege of being appointed to contribute to nation-building as General Manager/CEO of our National Theatre. Let me also thank very specially the Honourable Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed under whose direct supervision I have been discharging my assignment.
The event today is The Capacity Building Workshop for the Management and Staff of the National Theatre. It is the first in the series of turnaround programmes we have earmarked for the National Theatre. This workshop is aptly titled Repositioning and Marketing the National Theatre in a Post Covis-19 Era. It is designed to unveil our vision and action plan for the National Theatre and to equip the National Theatre Workforce to conveniently key into that vision.
Our thinking envisions:
A National Theatre that yields optimal commercial value to both government and the creative industry players while establishing itself as the centre of gravity for Nigeria’s creative and performative endowments.
a) Upscaling the Commercial Viability of the National Theatre: The
first mandate of the National Theatre as contained in the act (No 47, 1991) establishing its board, is to ensure that the National theatre is efficiently run as a Commercial Concern. This we shall do in line with prevailing realities, but most importantly along the lines of entrepreneurial partnerships that will enhance maximal utilization as against shrewd economics that may isolate us.
It is pertinent to remind the general public that our mandate at the National Theatre is to among other things:
i. ensure that the National theatre is efficiently run as a Commercial Concern;
ii. serve as a physical structure for arts/cultural exchange for bilateral cultural relations between Nigeria and other countries;
iii. make the National Theatre Complex a tourist destination;
iv. make the national theatre a rallying point for both national and international artistes;
v. provide an up to date integrated facilities and venue for National and International activities like musical concerts, dramas, film shows, symposia, exhibitions, conventions, workshops and even sports;
vi. Provide an unequalled hospitality, relaxation and recreation centre for family, efficient security system and expansive parking space like nowhere else in the country;
vii. approve the use of the National Theatre Complex and its facilities for the presentation and promotion of arts, culture and other activities.;
viii. preserve, present and promote the arts and the rich culture of Nigeria., etc.
b) We shall give impetus to our national economic development as our theatre, culture, Literature and civilization are thriving revenue generating industries.
c) National Theatre to once again become a beehive of arts and culture programmes and activities: In view of our mandate, we shall work out collaborations with relevant agencies of the Federal Government, the States and Local Governments to ensure that we are inclusive and robust with the agenda of the presentation, preservation and promotion of the arts and cultures of Nigerian peoples. We shall collaborate with cultural units of foreign missions, independent artists, scholars, and the corporate world to ensure that the National Theatre is not only a beehive of arts and culture programmes and activities showcasing our rich diversity and its advantages, but also, through deliberate and innovative programming, providing an enhanced platform
that revivifies the performing arts as a vehicle orchestrating avenues to navigating our common contemporary challenges as a nation and signposting our way to the future. We will courageously, within the allowable limits of our mandate, experiment with new ideas that will provoke creative thinking in our national life.
d) Skills Acquisition Programmes: We shall initiate programmes for Creative Skills acquisition for our teaming youth, women and children so that they can find fulfilment through their latent talents and also contribute to the national economy.
This Action Plan is anchored on the desire to contribute meaningfully to the strategic priorities of the President Muhammadu Buhari Administration for the Culture and Tourism sectors, which are:
1. to build a thriving and sustainable economy, and
2. to enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty.
While paying tribute to the roll of those who have held this office before me, we humbly recognise their achievements which of course are the blocks upon which we will build. I am confident that I will continue to win the support of the hardworking staff of the National Theatre and other players in our creative industry. The National Theatre under my watch and stewardship will be a home to all. We will beam a ray of hope in our national unity from here for others to see and take bearing. I invite all stakeholders and vested interests to come to us and we shall reason together.
I therefore urge our dear participants to take keen interest in this repositioning and marketing workshop which I believe will set the tone for the success we intend to record in the next few years.
Professor Sunday Enessi Ododo, fsonta, FNAL
General Manager/CEO, National Theatre, Nigeria
I am very happy to be in this building of historical importance. I want to begin to say that God is the author of time. It pleased him that this moment he appoints my humble self to head direction in National Theatre. When in 1985 I had a rear privilege to appear on National Theatre stage to perform under the open theatre programme of the National Theatre. I had never known that one day it will be my lot to direct the affairs of this magnificent monument of historical importance.
Indeed, when many of my friends, colleagues, well-wishers said to me welcome back home, my mind went back to that historical period. I have come and it is my prayer and wish that I will see clearly and that I will also conquer. With God helping me and with you hardworking Directors and Staff cooperating with us with our vision for the National Theatre, I have confidence that I will change the narrative of the National Theatre.
I am an optimist, I like to look beyond the immediate challenges; of course challenges are meant for men to conquer, working together as one family, we will emerge victorious, we will be conquerors.
Please this is a new beginning. I am not part of your story before this arrival so let us begin to write our new story of excitement of success, of development of good thing in National Theatre on the world map of successful National Theatre in the world.
I don’t have much to say today because this job, this assignment is not for me alone. I am essentially to give direction. By the time I seat with you the Management, together we would fashion the road map that will take us out of the woods. I am open to objective and workable ideas. One tree does not make a forest, so let us create this orchard of beautiful flowers with our different knowledge, experiences, contributions. A leader is as strong as his followers. Please follow me genuinely with open heart on this journey of our decision of National Theatre of our dream.
Professor Sunday Enessi Ododo is a member of bodies including the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), Reading Association of Nigeria (RAN) and Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). He was ANA’s national vice president from 2009 to 2011.
Professional affiliations aside, the current GM/CEO, National Theatre, credited with inventing the Facekuerade Theory, is an accomplished academic and intellectual. He hasn’t relented since starting his academic career in 1993. He has left golden footprints at the University of Ilorin and University of Maiduguri where he was until President Muhammadu Buhari appointed him GM of the National Theatre on Wednesday. read more