Sanwo-Olu promised to build an entertainment village for the creative industry. The creative industry according to his running mate, Obafemi Hamzat who made the presentation said that the creative industry contributes seven per cent to the GDP.
“A study shows that the creative industry contributes seven per cent to our GDP. It is important to harness that seven per cent and see how we can increase it…Lagos is the capital of Nollywood.
“More production actually happens in Lagos than any other place. We promise that we will start an entertainment village, where they will have all the access they need so that they can actually do their trade and contribute to our GDP.”
Sanwo-Olu echoed similar thoughts at a town hall meeting with the women organised by APC Woman Leader in Lagos State, Jumoke Okoya-Thomas last week. He told the actress Kate Henshaw who asked about his plans for the film industry that his government will build a film village to enable the industry function properly.
Entertainment and tourism is part of the five pillars of development Sanwo-Olu will focus on if he wins the election in March.
Like the incumbent governor, Akinwunmi Ambode whose visions for the sector was promoted under the acronym T.H.E.S.E. (Tourism, Hospitality, Entertainment, Sports for Excellence), Sanwo-Olu termed his own development project T.H.E.M.E. (Traffic Management and Transportation, Health and Environment, Education and Technology, Making Lagos a 21st Century Economy, Entertainment and Tourism).
However, the plans for entertainment was detailed in a printed document. Some of the plans listed include the collaboration with local and foreign experts and institutions to establish world class training institutions for all relevant skills and expertise required to improve the creative arts industry, seek the support of the private sector to develop well-distributed purpose-built entertainment spaces around Lagos for music, plays, cinematic viewing and events over the next four years, and provide tax incentives, rebates and waivers on filming permits and streamline tax and approval processes.
Hamzat further said that there will be an entertainment and tourism calendar that will feature dates for festivals and events around Lagos. He said this was important so that tourists can have an annual guide of the state’s events.
He pointed out that there were about 20 tourist centres in Lagos which can attract investors while emphasising on the need to preserve the state’s historic sites.
“We have about 20 tourist locations. In Badagry, we have the Slave Market, the Point-of-No-Return and so many others. This historic sites are very important. When we went there recently, people like Professor Wole Soyinka, were so passionate about these areas and they tasked us to ensure that these sites are preserved.”
Highlighting sports as part of entertainment, he disclosed that a Sanwo-Olu government will invest in grassroots sports as a way of galvanising the youths.
Should Artists and Entertainers Be Partisan? With both parties fiercely vying for the support of the industry, the age long question on whether artists and entertainers should be partisan is revisited.
Prominent filmmaker and the academy Director of MultiChoice Talent Factory, Femi Odugbemi remarked that “artists are citizens too and they have every right in a democracy to support candidates and canvass on behalf of a political party or ideology. Of course politicians know how to take maximum advantage of the celebrity status of creative industry stars. It’s the same everywhere.”Indeed, political endorsement by artistes was very copious in the 2016 US presidential election, where most Hollywood members voted for the Democratic candidate, Hilary Clinton.
The argument often advanced is that the artist’s credibility is likely to be compromised by aligning to such acts. Odugbemi argued that it depends on the measure of the artist’s integrity and his/her ability to understand that responsibility comes with their popularity and high public profile.
“An artiste should not be denied their opportunity to air the beliefs or support anyone they choose as long as the support they get is voluntary. That’s democracy.”