…strengthens its performing arts, visual arts departments
From Kehinde Adewole
The Ekiti State House of Assembly may soon make a law which may insulate the State’s Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism against government’s ocassional neglect which cripples its growth and development especially in the area of commercializing its products in order to generate funds.
Chairmen, House Committee on Arts, Culture and Tourism and House Committee on Media, Hon. Adeyemi and Honourable Ayokunle gave the assurance at the weekend while addressing newsmen after they saw some scillintilating performances in dance, music and drama as well as visual arts products by the newly employed 32 young artistes recently employed into the Ministry and who have been under rigourous training for three weeks.
The training has been personally led by the legendary performing artiste and performing arts scholar, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare, who is the current Commissioner of the Ministry.
Thrilled and encouraged by the young artistes’ outstanding performances during their rehearsals, the two lawmakers agreed that there was need to shield the Ministry from successive government’s neglect which renders it moribund and thus rob the state of its potentials to generate huge internal revenue from marketing its products.
While lauding the professional touch the Ministry has enjoyed from the professional input of the State’s Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare, the lawmakers noted that it took the visionary and dynamic leadership of the state governor, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi to resuscitate the Ministry from its comatose state which the immediate past government had left it.
Hon. Ayokunle said: ” What I have seen in these performances are quite amazing. I thank God that I didn’t miss them. Honestly, Prof Bakare is a blessing to Ekiti. He is indeed a blessing to our Arts, Culture and Tourism Ministry. It takes the deep to call to the deep. It has taken Dr. Fayemi’ to bring Prof Bakare. The dance steps are amazing, so also drama and music, including the visual arts products. We have got great talents here. It is a total package”
She continues: ” For us, we are ready to work hand in hand with the Ministry. We will support you in every way. We will convince our amiable governor to procure a luxurious bus for you. This government must be a continuity, we will ensure the person succeeding JKF is one who also values the works of Prof. Bakare. Nobody will see this kind of project and would want to kill it. We will make a bill that would make this Ministry undestroyable. Such bill will make this place more dynamic and autonomous,” she assured.
While commenting on a recent reports from the opposition which criticized the recent employment of the 32 fresh graduates into the Ministry, Prof. Bakare clarified that the young graduate artistes’ recruitment was a special arrangement approved by governor Fayemi to rejuvenate the Ministry after many of its former staff have either retired or got too old and weak to perform. He said it was different from the yet to be concluded general recruitment excercise by the state Civil Service Commission.
His words: “The opposition missed things up when they alleged lopsidedness in our recruitment. They thought this arrangement was part of the general civil service recruitment that started sometime in 2019 long before my appointment as Commissioner. This is a different arrangement borne out of the necessity to rescue the performing and visual arts departments of the Ministry from total collapse, after the retirement, voluntary withdrawal of service and death of over 30 creative artistes between 1998 and now without replacement.
“We had to seek the understanding and special approval of Mr. Govenor and follow an extremely professional procedure in the process of recruiting the young talents whose works you have seen today. We use this opportunity to disabuse the minds of the public about that misrepresentation. This is purely a professional job and we have followed due process in employing the 32 artistes.” .
Speaking further, Prof. Bakare, former Assistant Director, National Troupe of Nigeria, former Choreographer, National Troupe of Gambia, former Artistic Director/CEO, Abuja National Carnival and Consultant to over a hundred Arts and Culture organisations across the globe, said that the newly employed staff mixed with the remaining few old staff were given three weeks special professional training in the areas of music, dance, drama as well as the visual arts.
He continues: “The newly employed artistes will work in four departments of dance, music, drama and visual arts. Mr. Governor will unveil the new performing troupe and its new name at a ceremony sometime in October, 2020, “he said.
Prof. Bakare who holds fellowship of all the three professional/ academic Theatre associations in Nigeria and who is also a member of the Academy of Letters, informed us that efforts will be made to place the new artistes on insurance and health benefits schemes that are being enjoyed by members of the Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) after their induction into the association soon.
Performances put up by the newly employed young graduates were quite trilling and overwhelming. They showed a new and dynamic development in the creating and packaging of arts.