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FG, Soyinka Agree On PPP Approach To Upgrade National Theatre

By Ayo Balogun

The Federal Government (FG) has renewed its resolve and readiness to give the National Theatre its original status – a magnet for the creative arts.

Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the assurance Saturday during his courtesy visit to Noble Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka in his Freedom Park office, Lagos.

Mohammed re-assured that the national monument would not be sold but would be brought up to standard through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

He informed that he is currently studying the PPP proposal with a view to ensuring that the government and people of the country get a good deal from it.

The Minister explained that his visit to the Nobel Laureate was to enable him drink from his (Soyinka’s) cup of wisdom.

Prof. Soyinka had earlier called on the Federal Government to consider building a ‘genuine’ National Theatre, saying what is presently referred to as the National Theatre was never designed to be a theatre in the first place, even though it is ‘adaptable in many ways’.

Apparently referring to the literary icon’s call to the FG to consider building a ‘genuine’ National Theatre, Alhaji Mohammed corroborated, saying ”This nation needs a genuine theatre. As long as we keep calling it (National Theatre) a theatre, this nation will never build a theatre”.

Prof. Soyinka who accompanied Mohammed on the visit, agreed with him on the PPP deal, which he stated represented one of the most realistic ways to upgrade the standard of the National Theatre and enhance its functionality.

He said never before, was the money meant to buy arms for the military to defend the country and protect the citizenry was shared by a few people.

Prof. Soyinka added despite the fact that corruption would always fight back, he was so sure that the anti-graft battle would not fail, adding that he was ready to give his choicest wine to the reporter who asked him the question, should the anti-corruption fight go otherwise.

”We are not where we were (in the fight against corruption) before this administration took over, but (the government should realize that) corruption will always fight back,” he said, noting that those already in the cesspit of corruption will be in the forefront of such a counter-battle.

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