Nigeria Losing Millions of Naira Neglecting National Theatre—Jumia CEO
By Dipo Olowookere
Federal government has been urged to redirect its attention to revamping one of Nigeria’s oldest tourism products, the National Theatre, emphasising that this will yield massive revenue for the tourism sector.
This was the position of the Managing Director of Jumia’s hotel and flight booking services, Omolara Adagunodo.
This call is coming months after Ms Adagunodo urged government to leverage the synergy between the entertainment and hospitality sector to boost revenue for the economy.
The National Theatre, which was established in 1976 to promote arts and culture in the country, is currently in dire need of attention as it lies dormant.
Speaking in Lagos to some stakeholders within the industry at an event organised by tourism enthusiasts in the country, Ms Adagunodo cited the continuous progress and revenue generated by privately managed theatres like the MUSON centre and Terra Kulture as proof that if the government should consider restoring the theatre to its former glory, it will produce a lot of investment returns.
“We have witnessed in the last couple of months tons of activities happening at the MUSON centre and Terrakulture: concerts, stage plays, and many more. These activities are driving footfall to the theatres and consequently raising a huge amount of revenue for the owners.
“Aside from the revenue generation, lots of Nigerians have become employed through these theatres.
“These sufficiently prove that our government needs to redirect its attention to revamping and resuscitating our national theatre as this will undoubtedly generate tons of revenue for the tourism sector,” she said.
The Jumia chief further said, “The government is losing millions of Naira by neglecting this unique masterpiece. This is not good for the country because the theatre alone can generate thousands of jobs for Nigerians as well as serve as a source of revenue for the economy.”
Located in the Orile-Iganmu axis of Lagos state, the priced monument, which boasts of a 5,000-seater Main Hall with a collapsible stage and two capacity cinema halls played host to leading theatre and performing artists like Duro Ladipo, Hubert Ogunde, Ola Balogun, Chief Eddie Ugbomah and Lere Paimo among others. These artists shaped the Nigerian Film industry tagged Nollywood.
Ms Adagunodo urged the government to provide funds to, first of all, “fix the theatre.”
She said, “If the facilities can be fixed, the National Theatre will become a strong competitor to the likes of Terra Kulture and Jazzhole. Also, the theatre will become the destination of choice for Lagosians. This will, in turn, enable the government to earn revenue from the theatre.”