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Atiku Meets Creative Industry Stakeholders, Vows to Increase Funds for Arts, Liberalise Acquisition Process



The PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Saturday promised to increase funds for the arts and liberalise the process of its acquisition once elected in the forthcoming elections.

Atiku made the promise during a special roundtable discussion with Nigeria’s creative cultural and innovative industry stakeholders in Lagos.

The meeting was aimed at strengthening the country’s booming entertainment space and cultivating more unifying support in championing Nigeria’s creative expression.

The presidential candidate acknowledged that the creative industry was a vital industry capable of immense wealth creation and generating huge employment opportunities.

He said such an industry should not be toyed with as it had been identified as the second most important sector after agriculture.

“I commend the presentations so far, I understand your challenges which I am also facing because I own a television and radio station, I face the same problem of access to water and electricity as well as bad roads, so I want you to regard me as one of you.

“The way forward is to increase funds for the arts and liberalise the process of acquiring that fund, if you give me the opportunity, I will do it because it is essential.

“I reject direct CBN intervention and encourage the private sector to be part of this, government cannot develop all the funds needed.

“I look forward to a close collaboration with you on how we can develop the sector and exploit the potential, it is a multi-billion income-creating sector.

“If we work together, we can make it, I look forward to another meeting before the elections to agree on some modalities on how things will be done,” he said.

Atiku commended the patriotic zeal of the private practitioners in the creative sector in the face of numerous obstacles trying to hinder their progress.

Also, Ifeanyi Okowa, PDP vice presidential candidate, said all requests made by the practitioners in the creative sector would be properly articulated just as promised by Abubakar.

Mr Okowa disclosed that the newly built Film Village in Asaba would be launched by December.

He said there were plans to ensure that practitioners in the creative industry ran it, as the government would not be in the best position to do that.

He urged Nigerians to turn out en mass to vote during the forthcoming elections in February.

“There would be a new Nigeria if we work together to defend our land and take pride in it.

“We can make Nigeria work again through collaboration with the aim to rebuild the foundation,” he said.

Earlier, Efe Omorogbe, a Talent Manager and Music Executive, said the major challenge confronting the music industry was piracy and Nigerians’ unwillingness to pay music royalties.

He said less than 10 per cent of music consumers paid royalties which is not encouraging.

Omorogbe noted that it was high time politics and governance were balanced while the right people were engaged in leadership positions in the creative space.

According to him, the Nigerian music industry remains so huge but is yet to be properly tapped.

Ayo Animashaun, the executive producer of Hip TV, noted that the enabling environment for the creative industry must be created for businesses to thrive.

“We do not have the enabling environment to perform at the best capacity; this makes it so difficult to carry out major projects,” he said.

Kenneth Gyang, a filmmaker, said that if the industry must function optimally, the incoming president needed to create a national endowment fund for practitioners in the creative space just as practised in other climes.

Gyang noted that Nigerian filmmakers were supposed to be given the opportunity by the government to engage in co-productions and sign treaties with other countries.

“If fund is created for filmmakers, it will enable us to tell our stories as a country in the most dignifying way,” he said.

Chioma Ude, Founder, Africa International Film Festival, said there was a need to have more film festivals to showcase Nigerian and African creative content.

She said training and capacity building should be prioritised and upscaled.

“We should have exhibition platforms beyond the likes of Netflix and Amazon, we should have more film festivals to also woo tourists,” she said.

According to Agatha Amata, the entertainment industry is still a goldmine waiting to be tapped. We need to go digital, a lot of resources go into digital development since 2015 but it is unfortunate, we are still where we are.

Also, Francis Onoche, a filmmaker, said that serious attention should be drawn to the cultural policy of Nigerian films, which he described as amazing.

Onoche said that endowment funds for the arts should be revisited and provided.
He commended the efforts of former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, for the support of training, distribution, production and capacity building for filmmakers.

“We need you to support the true emergence of the creative sector in Nigeria,” he said.

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INEC Declares LP’s Alex Otti Winner of Abia Guber Polls




The Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has declared Alex Otti of the Labour Party, LP, winner of the Abia state governorship election.

Otti defeated his closest rival, Okey Ahiwe of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to emerge winner.

The Labour Party candidate scored 175, 467, while Ahiwe polled 88,529.

INEC Returning Officer in the state, Prof Nnenna Nnannaya-Oti declared Otti the winner on Wednesday evening after the resumption of the final collation of governorship election results in Umuahia.

The electoral umpire had suspended the collation of results for 48 hours.

Reacting, Otti praised God for his victory at the poll.

Tweeting via his verified Twitter handle, Otti wrote: “See what the lord has done.”

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Tinubu Sick, Flown to Europe for ‘Proper Medical Attention’




By SaharaReporters

Former Lagos State governor, who is Nigeria’s ‘president-elect’, according to the Independent National Electoral Commission, Bola Tinubu, is travelling to Europe to seek medical care after falling ill, SaharaReporters has learnt.

SaharaReporters gathered that Tinubu fell ill after the “hectic” electioneering that led to his emergence as the ‘President-elect’ and the tension that built up ahead of the March 18 Lagos State governorship and House of Assembly elections where he also voted.

Authoritative sources revealed on Wednesday that Tinubu left for Europe on Tuesday night.

“Tinubu has left for Europe for medical care. He fell ill after voting on Saturday during the Lagos guber election. He was attended to by local doctors but he has left for Europe for proper medical care,” one of the sources close to him revealed.

“He initially said his doctors should be brought down to Nigeria for him, and that when things die down, he would leave. But I’ve confirmed that he left last night (Tuesday night) because he is definitely ill,” another source confirmed.

“His plane Falcon 9X with registration number VP-CBT can’t be tracked by air flight tracking websites.”

Indeed, efforts made by SaharaReporters to track the flight came back with: “VP-CBT – Unknown Owner (Cayman Islands (UK))

This aircraft (VP-CBT) is not available for public tracking per request from the owner/operator.”

SaharaReporters had reported that Tinubu cast his vote at his polling unit in Lagos on Saturday.

He had shared photos of himself voting on his Instagram page.

“I just joined other Nigerians in exercising my civic duty in the ongoing governorship and state assembly elections. I encourage you all to go out and vote peacefully,” he had written.

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It’s My Turn to Be Senate President, Says Orji Kalu




The Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Kalu, has declared his intention to contest for Senate presidency in the 10th National Assembly.

Kalu, who won re-election to represent Abia North in the Red Chamber, disclosed this Tuesday while briefing newsmen at the National Assembly.

The ruling All Progressives Congress maintained a majority in the Senate, having secured 57 seats.

APC senators eyeing the Senate presidency have been lobbying their colleagues to seek their support.

Aside from Kalu, who has publicly declared interest in the position, Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Sani Musa (Niger); Barau Jibrin (Kano); and Dave Umahi (Ebonyi) are also said to be interested in running for the coveted office.

The final candidates for the position will largely be determined by zoning.

However, the APC leadership said it has not zoned the Senate presidency.

Some pundits believe that it is likely that APC might zone the post to the South for power balance, especially after its Muslim-Muslim ticket triggered outrage from some quarters, especially the Christian community.

Kalu told reporters that it was his turn to become Senate President, being a ranking lawmaker and from the South East.

He said, “It is my turn to become the Senate President. If I’m elected Senate President, I will be team Nigeria. I’m going to work in every corner of Nigeria.

“I schooled in Maiduguri, Borno State. I started my business in Lagos and spread it across all state capitals. My first name will be team Nigeria, my last name will be team Nigeria.

“Remember, I’m the only former governor who has never changed phone line for more than 20 years ago. I’m still willing to maintain that telephone number to answer all my calls. I’m not going to switch off my phones because I’m Senate President.

“I’m hoping that Nigerians will pray for me to become Senate President because it’s my turn.”

The Punch

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