By Tosin Ajirire and Lukman Olabiyi
Lagos State governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu has reiterated his administration’s desire to make the state a global creative hub.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of 890 trainees of Africa Film Academy’s ‘Film in a Box’ programme organised in collaboration with Lagos State Creative Industry Initiative (LACI), and held on October 25, 2022 at Igando Theatre in Alimosho, the governor also promised to support the graduands with start-up grants.
The graduating students were trained in acting, art directing, light and lighting, editing, sound production, and post-production among others.
Re-affirming his commitment to achieving the state’s 30 years development plan, which was recently unveiled at this year’s Lagos Economic Summit (Ehingbeti), Sanwo-Olu disclosed that one of his priorities, outlined in the development plan, is the construction of the first African Film City at Epe, Lagos. According to the governor, his administration’s aim is to collaborate with entertainment industry stakeholders to train, retrain and acquire skills, which would create an ecosystem that will give livelihood to creative minds. This, he said, would ensure the use of entertainment and tourism to connect with the future so that Lagos can be a one-stop shop in the world.
While urging the graduands to harness the opportunities provided by the training to ensure a better and greater Lagos, the governor stated, “Governance is all about providing opportunities for the people. My administration has continued to leverage on this strength to ensure the youths are equipped with adequate skill-sets for a better tomorrow. Once government sees a need and you identify people who have the skills for providing those needs, and we bring ourselves together, we can create the leaders of today that are of the future.
But today, they are also eyeing to become great leaders of our country, and I am happy you are part of the ecosystem of young enterprising Lagosians that we are empowering.
“We are convinced that the future of this state and country lies in your hand and the least we can do is to equip you, to give you the opportunity to prepare you for that future, and for you to have positive mindset about our country. And we know the creative industry is one of the industries that we can use to leapfrog our citizens so that they can be global players. This is why I am happy that we are exploring entertainment and tourism to be able to connect the future we have seen today. For us, this event presents our administration another opportunity to thank you for further confirming that we are on the right track, we are on the path that the greater Lagos that we talk about is not just about us, but also about you.”
Earlier in her remarks, the Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, had congratulated the graduands and pledged that she would continue to monitor their growth and assist them to produce competent creative works in the industry.
“The concept has been expanded to develop arts and culture for optimum performance, to stimulate economic growth, skills and job creation to bridge the gap in the state’s creative industry,” she stressed.
On her part, filmmaker and CEO, Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), Peace Anyiam-Osigwe thanked the governor for his huge investment in the entertainment industry and commended the doggedness of the graduands, imploring them to explore the creative industry with the training received in the academy.
She revealed that her mandate was to train 600 students, but ended up training about 890 from three different centres – Epe, Alimosho and Badagry. “As at today, some of the students have gotten jobs already, because they were also taught the business angle with the creative side, and during the period of empowerment they made films. One of the films is Akanji that we’ll show today, and later in the cinemas,” the filmmaker enthused.
Expressing their gratitude to the governor and Africa Film Academy, some of the graduands including Stephanie Eka, Mayowa Akinleye from Alimosho; Cornelius Demayon from Badagry; and Sylvia Chinwendu from Epe, said they were excited to have been part of the training programme,
Those who graced the occasion included filmmakers and creative industry stakeholders like Tunde Kelani, Keppy Ekpeyong-Bassey, Saidi Balogun, Queen Blessing, and dignitaries from the state government.