By Muiz Olasubomi
A good leader is the one who listens. A listening leader is able to see the world through the eyes, thoughts, suggestions and ideas of others. This is one of the great leadership attributes that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu possesses. This can only explain why he is promptly heeding the clarion call on the need to strengthen the country’s creative industry.
Recall that prior to the inauguration of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there have been clamours by some individuals for the government to tap into the great potentials of the creative industry which contributes significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Occupying a prominent place on the list of the notable personalities that have been at the forefront of the campaign for a more productive creative sector is the former member of the House of Representatives, Honourable Shina Peller, who represented Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa federal constituency at the ninth National Assembly.
Indeed, Honourable Peller’s last motion as a lawmaker at the ninth Assembly was – THE NEED TO STRENGTHEN THE NIGERIAN CREATIVE INDUSTRY – where he stressed that the creative industry is a veritable incremental source of employment, revenue and economic growth that the government can strengthen as it seeks to diversify the economy from dependency on oil revenue.
In the motion, the former lawmaker had prayed that the House urged the federal government to create and execute policies to strengthen the creative industry. He also prayed that for optimal performance of the creative industry, the House should implore the federal government to increase the budgetary allocation of the then Ministry of Infomation and Culture which was overseeing the industry at the time. Commendably, the House, under the leadership of the present Chief of Staff to the president, Rt. Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, unanimously adopted the motion.
Also in his congratulatory message to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu on his formal inauguration, Honourable Peller who is the Ayedero of Yorubaland, re-emphasized the need for the new president to prioritize strengthening the country’s creative industry among numerous policies that his government would be making to enhance Nigeria’s economic growth.
Today, it is gladdening to note that President Tinubu is not just honouring the call to strengthen the creative industry, but has even gone a step ahead by purposely elevating the industry to a sector with a ministry of its own – Ministry of Art, Culture and Creative Economy. This is quite commendable; it shows that the president is a listening leader who understands that welcoming different kinds of great opinions and suggestions will bring about desirable results.
Similarly, the advent of the Ministry of Art, Culture and Creative Economy shows that Mr. President means well for the creative industry which will be beneficial to the teeming youth population and is ready to tap into its great economic value by creating coherent policies that establish clear objective and strategies for it to thrive.
Now that President Tinubu has created a platform for the creative sector to thrive, functional minds will definitely be looking forward to a desirable effect it will have on Nigeria’s economy as a whole. This is where the creativity, thoughtfulness, initiative and leadership quality of the minister, Hannatu Musawa, will come into play.
Hopefully, with her impressive educational background and exposure Hannatu Musawa, who is a lawyer, writer and poet, will ensure that the purpose the ministry is meant for is fulfilled. As she champions a dynamic renaissance for the creative domain as spelt out in her blueprint dubbed Destination 2030, Nigerians, particularly the major stakeholders, should cooperate with her bearing in mind that the creative economy is now one of the largest consumers of digital services.
While there is no single definition of the creative economy, the United Nations Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that it is the intersection of human creativity and technology or products that have economic value, including everything from content creation and art to architecture, research and manufacturing.
With the minister’s recently-released blueprint, it is believed that that she is aware that Nigeria’s creative sector is a thriving industry driven by young and talented individuals. From film to music and fashion, the country’s creative sector holds significant global influence and has the potential to become a prominent exporter of Nigerian culture.
Creative industry include and not limited to advertising, architecture (interior decor, landscaping etc.) arts and crafts, fashion and design, home video(film) television and radio, music, performing arts (carnivals, dance, drama, festivals, stand-up comedy) publishing (book fairs, e-resources, literature etc) tourism and hospitality (cuisine, museums and monuments, night clubs and event management etc).
Moreover, with our impressive cultural values and heritage as a country , culture is another vital tool that we can leverage to boost our economy. Nigeria is a multi-cultural nation with almost four hundred diverse ethnic groups and over five hundred different native languages.
Our cultural strength as a country lies in our diversity and we must make it count positively. As a matter of fact, our culture should be seen as a catalyst for creativity and desired transformative change.
Finally, if the purpose of the advent of the Ministry of Art, Culture and Creative Economy is fulfilled, history will be kind to President Tinubu’s administration for this commendable move, Honourable Shina Peller for his motion and advocacy, as well as to numerous others who contributed in one way or another to making it happen.
Muiz writes from Ikeja, Lagos State.