For the presidential candidate of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, the creative industry is critical in creating employments and contributing largely to the national economy.
At a recent engagement with some members of the creative industry in Lagos recently, the former Vice President commended the ingenuity of the stakeholders while also enumerating his commitments to the industry. Hear him: “This industry is a rapidly growing industry and it is virtually driven by young men and women, which means it reflects the ingenuity of millions of young Nigerians. Our focus is on youths. I have come to realise that the creative industry is a multi-billion-naira industry that can contribute to our national economy and create millions of jobs. I am totally committed to supporting the industry to make it a big supplier of jobs.”
The stakeholders had earlier presented their demands to the presidential candidate, who was in the company of his running mate, former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi and Director-General of his campaign, Bukola Saraki.
The stakeholders’ agitations included the non-implementation of the copyright levy, infrastructure deficit, and non-appointment of stakeholders into agencies concerned with the industry. “We are very much interested in having some of our colleagues appointed into certain offices so that we can take part in the policy making of the country,” Norbert Ajaegbu, a lawyer and copyright activist said, adding, “We have highly intellectual persons among us in this industry. Most of the regulatory bodies at the national level are headed by individuals who are not in the film industry, we want some of our intellects to be appointed.”
Also speaking, founder of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe called for an enabling environment for the creative industry. “We have been doing a lot for Nigeria. Nollywood is an example of the ‘I-can-do’ spirit of Nigerians. The creative industry, be it music, film or fashion, was started by us and for us, not the government. We need policies; give us the enabling environment to continue what we have done for Nigeria. Give us the policies; give us tax deductions that will attract filmmakers to Nigeria. We have beautiful locations. Go to Bayelsa, we have the longest coastline (there). All the post offices around the country, convert them to viewing centres for the creative industry,” she demanded.
Having listened to the various presentations, Atiku promised to do their bidding. “I have listened to some of the requests. I am committed to appointing industry professionals. We have the various government parastatals that have regulatory power of your industry such as Nigerian Copyright Commission and National Film and Video Censors Board, it will be headed by somebody from the industry.”
He continued: “I am committed to providing enabling environment to promote this industry, because if you read our economy plan, you will find that creating jobs is our top priority and I have come to realise that this industry is one of the topmost to achieve that. More so, your jobs will capture the right segment of our population, the youths… You can hold me responsible for all the commitments I made.”
Atiku, however, tasked the filmmakers present to make a short film that will encourage Nigerians to vote in the upcoming elections.