The federal government has announced its readiness to replace the oil industry with Art and Culture in this dispensation of diversification even as oil is yet to dry up, advising the unemployed Nigerians to take the advantage early.
Speaking yesterday (Monday) in Abuja at a cultural expo organized by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Permanent Secretary in the office of Secretary to the government of federation (SGF) Habibat Lawal, said there are fast opportunities in the sector to create job and sustainable income for the nation and individual, calling unemployed young Nigerians to take this noble advantage.
The Permanent Secretary said that the yearly event has become a forum where Africans from different background interact, exchange knowledge and ideas as well as showcase their cultural heritage, creative skills and capacities.
“I want to use this opportunity to call on our youths, especially the unemployed, to take full advantage of the opportunity in the Arts and Crafts industry like leather works, Textile, Pottery, Wood works, Paintings and so on, which are in high demand all over the world and could serve as a source of foreign exchange for our nation.
“As an international exposition which bring together industry players all over the world, I expect this program to provide the platform for very robust and engaging interaction, as well as exchange of ideas and knowledge that will lead to improvement in product design, finishing, packaging, presentation and marketing”, she said.
In his earlier remarks, the Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, declared that the days of oil dependency will soon be over, saying, “Oil should go and sleep, while culture takes over. We want to use culture to replace oil, which is the business we are networking today.
Someday and sometime soon, the oil will finish, so the best we should do now is to embrace culture”, he added.
Runsewe revealed that this year’s cultural expo program will provide opportunity for poor Nigerians to access free healthcare services while about 200 medicated glasses will be given out.
The deputy governor of Edo state Philip Shuaibu who was in attendance said the next destination for the country is Arts and Culture, advising that Nigeria has to invest heavily on the sector.
According to him, “Europe and some other countries are making much money through Arts and Culture,” suggesting that NCAC should coordinate and ensure that all the states of the federation are taken along.
“All it requires is partnership with private sector to achieve this. If we can develop this in all the states, the issue of unemployment will become a thing of the past and Nigeria through tourism will re-unite all African countries”, he said.
In his speech, the Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Muhammed, represented by his Permanent Secretary, said it is the determination of his Ministry to take the Arts and Culture sector to a level that can create employment and generate income for the country.