A LAGOS landmark is set for a new status – if the Federal Government succeeds in its plan to find another use for it.
The 37-year-old National Theatre in Iganmu, Lagos Mainland is to be converted into a five-star hotel.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation Edem Duke has given a two-week quit notice to Federal Government agencies at the facility.
Some of the agencies are National Council for Arts and Culture; Nigeria Gallery of Arts; National Troupe of Nigeria and an unnamed agency.
But some stakeholders have rejected the plan, especially the sudden quit notice given to the agencies.
They are saying the Federal Executive Council did not approve the proposal and that a transaction advisor was appointed without due process.
Other stakeholders also see the plan as an attempt to short-change the Southwest.
The theatre was inaugurated on September 30, 1976 by the then Military Head of State, General Olusegun Obasanjo.
JD:I am surprised the minister of culture is involved in what I suspect is a scam to acquire yet another national asset by those close to the powers that be.The national theatre is a national asset,a monument on which monetary value cannot be placed.What is even more shocking is that the tourism function is under the ministers supervision.Instead of enhancing the the cultural and tourist potentials of the theater ,the report says there are indications that it might be turned into a 5 star hotel.What a shame.Should this be true it shows that these rulers we have just don’t get it.Could it be all about business?What a shocker coming not long after Chinua Achebe’s death.Nigeria’s battered image has been enhanced by both sports and the arts.There is a lot of untapped potential in the art sector that can help promote tourism.A country that boasts of the likes of Chinua Achebe,Wole Soyinka,Fela Kuti etc has no business turning its arts theatre into a hotel.In the saner world the arts are subsidized not only to provide entertainment but also to enhance national pride and values.This move MUST be resisted by all concerned parties and we should keep the pressure on till 2015 when “those who know about these things” will be back in the saddle