(Opinion) Creative Industry Palliatives: Matters Arising By Frank Meke
In the past few weeks, there has been froggy concerns and comments on the creative sector palliatives. The Otunba Segun Runsewe, Committee had submitted its recommendations to Tourism and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed about three months ago and stepped outside to await the Minister’s assurance that he would deliver.
Expectedly, there will be concerns about the” delay” in the delivery architecture, yet some us pretend that government business is a man show but a process, webbed in lengthy and sometimes, clear frame works.
This government is consistent and conscious of fulfilling promises and methodically follow laid procedure. Nobody, not the minister or any government official saddled with the responsibility of meeting the people need will attempt to bye pass rules of engagement just to please the multitude.
The same people that hails government intervention effort, would be the first to visit the reality of such process with a basket of suspicion and accusations.
I am sufficiently aware that every one associated with the project is aware of the baying the multitude who are also clearly divided and captured in mundane interpretations.
Yes, the palliatives Committee had submitted its report, yes the minister had received the report and we soon forgot that there are lines of resources sharing, security analysis of the report and discreet findings to justify the existence of listed beneficiaries and the losses and gains therein.
These findings takes time and in a government noted with championing anti corruption crusade, there is need to tidy up its submissions and arrive at what will benefit creative and tourism Industry operators and generate their economic turn around and eventual survival.
As the case maybe, it is not a gamble but an uncommon show of commitment for the presidency and the minister to show and extend their hands of support to the industry in this trying times.
Indeed, it is not out of place to believe that the promised palliatives will come but my fear and that of the few discerning observers and operators, is that the industry maybe fractured more than ever before instead of being healed by the intervention. You don’t need Nostradamus to believe the reality, hence the need to trade carefully.
That fear possibly influenced the earlier attempt by the minister to bye pass mainstream tourism associations and it’s few credible leaders to float a Committee to drive the intervention.
That Minister Lai Mohammed changed his mind and reconstituted the Committee, is not because of the unintelligent noise from some merchants of divisiveness but due to the strategic planning and response to the need to have an inclusive, credible gathering of influencers in the sector.
Needless to recount the process and eventual national and international response to get the industry a mention and acceptability, the gratitude to the Minister’s right choice in Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), to drive the intervention.
Except there are certain sections of our grouping which may have clandestine agenda, thereby denying the very first successful effort in the history of tourism in Nigeria, to bring to table all shades of opinion in the mainstream tourism and it’s various rich value chain together.
It is huge gain, a template that has brought to fore the need for data on who we are and what we do in the sector in Nigeria, not excluding the first ever impact assessment of the sector to the socioeconomic and Cultural development of Nigeria.
Money in whatever form is very good but we forget too soon that the Minister Lai Mohammed and Otunba Segun Runsewe have given us critical indices, baseline and verifiable data for national mobilization for the growth of the sector.
For long, this same industry has approached its expectations and interventions in the most disorganized manner. We lacked the lobby power and has no statistics of gains and challenges, neither a data records of organizations and persons making meaningful efforts to create jobs and sustain same.
In other words, we play to gallery, disorganized and lack any formal intelligence gathering group or Committee that will stand for one and for all.
In my years of documentation of people and the industry, we had always enthroned actors and actresses of deception to lead and speak for us. We have examples of the Munzali Dantata’s, Edem Duke’s, who brought us low ratings than ” outsiders” that came to guide us.
Before now, industry was seen as place to present bogus papers at workshops, write copious proposals and create conduit pipes of surrealistic dreams and visitations.
Instead of studied and science driven statistics and projections, our people create illusions to steal us blind. Our palliatives will come in good time and will be distributed transparently to the growth of the sector and to the peace of mind of genuine operators and to displeasure of the portfolio interests.
I can imagine the haste, the suspension and gathering of the Hawks, yet they forget government knows our very first eleven and those who have stood firm, lost everything to this pandemic.
It is a foolish person that can be gourded to take steps that can sink him or her because of individuals and groups who comes to the table of national development with deception and greed.
These are those stoking the current” disoriented and barking” noise. I just wonder the day we can truly and intelligently decode challenges before us and approach issues with detailed intelligence gathering mechanism.
Today, three months after, we slavish for the palliatives because one of our mainstream organised body, National Association of Nigerian Travel Agencies ( NANTA) jump started what we are expecting to happen.
Nobody has taken the trouble to find out how NANTA did it, how they worked and lobbied through its structured environment and institutional architecture to get their members the needed respite and government care. What NANTA got is not even enough to go around yet they held their heads in integrity and passion to serve all, even the Judas in their midst.
Like mobs we are, we jump into any available poisonous vehicle, chanting and creating atmosphere of suspensions where there is none.
When shall we change our ways and partner with government, other stakeholders and even within ourselves to change the tourism narrative?
On the issue under discuss, it is not out of place for right thinking and progressive individuals to gather strength and go behind the open discordant tones, visit the minister, the CBN, the National Assembly Committees and Otunba Segun Runsewe to seek insight on the delay to our palliatives promises.
Rather than gather a rag tag army of questionable abilities and interests to build coalition against the minister and others who may help us at end the day, it is not too late in the day, to approach our palliatives matter with intelligence, wisdom and humility. We must not in any way antagonise, suspect and insult those saddled with the responsibility to help us find our footings and drive.
Certainly, delay to any effort, project and dreams is not a denial. We must however, wait out the arrival of our palliatives with common sense, perseverance, trust and regular exchange of ideas and information.
May God give us wisdom.
*Frank Meke,a Communication and Tourism Consultant writes from Lagos