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The Task Ahead for Obi Asika as DG of NCAC

The Task Ahead for Obi Asika as DG of NCAC

By Jerry Adesewo

In a recent development within the cultural sector, Mr. Obi Asika was appointed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to assume the role of Director General at the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), succeeding Otunba Olusegun Runsewe.

Obi Asika, a seasoned professional in the entertainment and creative industries, is expected to bring his wealth of experience to the forefront of the NCAC. His appointment, as a respected figure in the cultural sphere, holds the promise of revitalising the promotion and preservation of Nigeria’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.

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The National Council for Arts and Culture plays a pivotal role in shaping the nation’s cultural narrative and fostering artistic excellence. With Obi Asika at the helm, there is anticipation of fresh initiatives and strategic interventions that will further elevate Nigeria’s cultural footprint on the global stage.

Given his track record in various leadership roles and significant contributions to the growth of the creative economy, it is expected that Obi Asika’s tenure will align with the vision of advancing the cultural sector for economic development and global recognition.

His leadership is anticipated to focus on empowering artists, preserving cultural heritage, and fostering collaborations that transcend borders. It is emphasised that NCAC, as a regulatory body, should lead in policy development and implementation, rather than acting as a production company competing for space within the industry it regulates.

As Nigerians look forward to the unfolding chapter under Obi Asika’s leadership, there is optimism that the National Council for Arts and Culture will continue to be a driving force in shaping the narrative of Nigeria’s cultural identity and fostering a vibrant and dynamic creative ecosystem.

The task before Obi Asika is undoubtedly significant, and it is expected that he would prioritise forward-looking actions over politics. This should include a comprehensive review of signature projects such as the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) and International Festival of Arts and Culture (IFAC), with a focus on redesigning and upgrading these initiatives.

While all agencies under the Ministry of Arts, Culture, and Creative Economy are independent entities, the National Council for Arts and Culture should function as a hub for collaboration. NCAC should operate at the same level as the British Council, Korean Cultural Centre, and other cultural agencies in Nigeria, promoting and preserving the heritage of their nations home and abroad through policy and grant making.

Arguably, the most significant task before the new director would be the establishment of an endowment fund for the arts. Following the recent signing into law of the Ekiti State Endowment Fund for the Arts by Governor Abiodun Oyebanji. Obi Asika should urgently revisit, review, and recommend this policy to the ministry and the presidency, as it holds a key to realising President Tinubu’s vision of a thriving creative economy.

The National Endowment Fund for the Arts has been on the shelf for close to four decades, with administration after administration, and some powerful individuals playing politics of personal interests with it. The National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) and other professional bodies have ensured that the policy is presented before successive governments, but it has yet to receive assent from the government.

Considering that Obi Asika is venturing into public service for the first time, consultation with practitioners and professionals should be prioritised, ensuring that every decision benefits the industry and not personal interests, as has been the case, where ministries and agencies ignore the existing professional bodies, and deal with individuals, celebrities, who’s agenda is not the development of the industry, but themselves.

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