From: Damiete Braide
The National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP) has appealed to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to rescind the decision made on the appointment of Mr. Tar Ukoh as Artistic Director, National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria.
The NANTAP noted that it was not in line with the legal statute establishing both parastatals.
In a letter signed and sent to the Acting President by the Interim President of NANTAP, Isreal Eboh, on July, 24 titled “RE: Appointment of Mr Tar Ukoh as Artistic Director, National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria” on behalf of industry stakeholders, reads in part:
“We wish to refer to the above appointment which was recently announced by government but clearly wrong as it is not in line with the legal statute establishing the institutions of National Theatre and the National Troupe of Nigeria. It is a situation where two organisations are now mistakenly placed under one Chief Executive Officer.
“Your Excellency Sir, while we align ourselves with the vision of this government to make the creative and entertainment industry stronger and more economically viable, we strongly believe that laying the foundations through the rule of law is the way to go.
“We therefore seize this medium to appeal to Mr. Acting President as an erudite lawyer commitment to the Rule of Law, to correct this illegality that has been done to a parastatal in a sector that the government is nurturing to become a new and alternative source of revenue and economic driving force.”
NANTAP enjoins the Acting President to seperate both parastatals because the National Theatre and the National Troupe of Nigeria are two distinct institutions regulated by Decree 47 of 1991 titled the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board Act, which does not make any provision for a merger of the two parastatals under any circumstances whatsoever or creation of the office of Artistic Director National Theatre and National Troupe.
“It is significant to note that these are two distinct institutions regulated by Decree 47 of 1991 titled the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board Act (Attachment A). It is evidently stated in that law that the two bodies are separate with their different objectives and CEO’s heading the two Exclusive institutions, namely: General Manager, National Theatre, and Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria.”
It cited various sections of the Act, especially Section 7, which talks about the appointment of General Manager of the National Theatre and went further to provide the following details: “(a) There shall be appointed by the President, on recommendation of the minister, a General Manager of the National Theatre; (b) The General Manager shall be the Chief Executive of the National Theatre and shall be responsible for the execution of the policy of the board relating to National Theatre and day-to-day running of the affairs of National Theatre; (c) Subject to sub-section (4) of this section, the General Manager shall hold office for a period of four years in the first instance and thereafter for another three years; (d) The General Manager may be removed from his office on the recommendation of the Minister for inability to discharge the functions of his office (whether arising from infirmity of mind or body or any other cause) or misconduct.”
According to the letter, section 8 upon which the appointment of Mr. Tar Ukoh is based (Attachment B) talks exclusively about the appointment of Artistic Director for the National Troupe, who “shall be responsible to the board and shall be responsible for handling all activities and production matters relating to the troupe.
“It is obvious from the above that the decree does not make any provision for a merger of the two Parastatals under any circumstances whatsoever or creation of the office of Artistic Director National Theatre and National Troupe.
“The facts remain incontestable that Decree (No. 47 of 1991) is still subsisting as the enabling law for the existence and functioning of the two parastatals, and the Board supervising them.