Adeagbo: Nigeria Will Emerge as A Global Power

This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie

This Week In Tech by Nosa Alekhuogie

Ayomide Adeagbo is a visionary leader and renowned communications expert who is celebrated for his remarkable ability to transform societal narratives through impactful creative expressions. He is also an award-winning photographer, photojournalist, and published author with a distinguished career spanning over a decade at the intersection of photography, journalism, and politics. Ayomide previously served as the special assistant for visual communications and personal photographer to the speaker of the House of Representatives, where he effectively managed the Parliament’s media presence. He is the special assistant to the president on art, culture, and the creative economy. In this role, he actively promotes Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage, encourages innovation, enhances cultural vibrancy, and leverages the creative industry for national growth and global recognition. Nosa Alekhuogie delves into the insights and experiences of Adeagbo, exploring his journey, vision, and the transformative power of art and culture in the shaping Nigerian society. Excerpts:

What exactly does your job entail as the special assistant for art, culture, and the creative economy to the President of Nigeria?

As the special assistant for art, culture, and the creative economy to the president of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, my role is to unlock the potential of our cultural and creative sectors, transforming them into pillars of national pride and economic growth alongside the minister of art, culture, and the creative economy, Honorable Hannatu Musa Musawa. Through collaboration, facilitation, and advocacy, I am equipped to build a network that supports and nurtures creativity across the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I envision a future where art, culture, and creativity are the heartbeats of our national identity and prosperity. In my role, I ensure that we meet the evolving needs of creativity, offering dedicated support to the President in achieving the Renewed Hope Agenda Mandate with respect to art, culture, and creativity.

How do you envision leveraging art, culture, and the creative sector to promote national development and international relations?

The work has already begun. We are leveraging various sectors within this vibrant ecosystem to strengthen bilateral relations, promote cultural diplomacy, and enhance our nation’s global image. Since taking office, I have engaged in productive dialogue with numerous key representatives from other nations. A common theme in our discussions is Nigeria’s unique opportunity to utilise the arts, culture, and creative sector as a platform for enhancing global relations through cultural exchanges, showcases, and bilateral agreements. In terms of our country’s development, this sector will positively impact our economy, promote resource diversification, and highlight the power of innovation and education. The possibilities within the creative sector are truly endless.

Can you discuss a recent successful project or initiative you spearheaded that had a significant impact on the creative aspect of the economy?

At this time, the projects of the office are still in the pipeline and yet to be finalised. We have several that are nearly completed, and I assure you that in due time, these projects will be ready for public unveiling, demonstrating our commitment to advancing the sector. However, to give the public an idea of these initiatives, I can share that I am in discussions with private sector partners on projects focused on inclusion, particularly female empowerment within the creative economy. Additionally, we are partnering with a renowned creative industry to promote indigenous fashion on a global scale, highlight sustainability, and empower our creatives with the support they need to thrive.

For private projects, a blueprint has been developed through the Skill Sync Initiative, made to equip aspiring creatives in the creative economy with skills through masterclass mentorships, training and workshops to assist them break out into the industry, void of limitations.

In what ways do you see technology and digital innovation playing a role in enhancing the reach and impact of arts and cultural initiatives under your leadership?

Under my leadership, technology and digital innovation will play a pivotal role in enhancing the reach and impact of arts and cultural initiatives. It is often said that technology grants us power, but we have the discretion to choose how we utilise it. In fulfilling my responsibilities, I choose to harness technology to drive positive narratives about Nigeria’s culture and heritage, preserve our traditions, promote innovation, and create global connections.

Our partnership with technology and digital innovation is evident in the projects my office is undertaking, both independently and in collaboration with others. A prime example is the initiative “Nigeria to Naija: The Birth of a Colossus.” This project leverages digital innovation to store and transmit our cultural heritage, gifting it to present and future generations. It aims to instill a spirit of awareness and understanding of our roots. The initiative was created to foster respect for cultural diversity and to sustain cultural beliefs, values, and practices. These factors are critical in building a strong and cohesive society.

How do you plan to collaborate with government agencies, private sectors, and cultural institutions to advance the agenda of art, culture, and creative industries in the country?

Collaboration offers limitless opportunities to advance the agenda of art, culture, and creativity in the country. Through the Ministry’s plans, we can align our efforts and work with fellow government agencies on policy alignment and development, regulatory support for our Creative and Cultural Industries (CCIs) and establishing solid foundations for robust funding and grants for creatives.

In the private sector, my office has successfully forged partnerships with numerous organisations, including creative academies, fashion institutes, and creative hubs. These collaborations are designed to elevate the industry beyond its current capacities, driving growth and innovation across the cultural landscape.

What strategies would you implement to ensure inclusivity and diversity within the art and cultural sectors, considering various communities’ perspectives and voices?

From inception, our goal has been to promote a truly inclusive culture, one that embodies the richness of our authentic and dynamic heritage, promoting the narratives that are uplifting to those who are usually neglected. In bridging gaps within the industry, we have implemented strategically targeted funding and support programs aimed at amplifying the voices of underrepresented groups, ensuring they achieve equal footing in all areas. We go a step further to prioritise capacity-building initiatives and promote accessibility for all thorough digitised processes. We believe that through these efforts and others to come, we will create an equitable cultural landscape, one that reflects our collective identity in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

How do you intend to balance preserving traditional cultural heritage while fostering innovation and modernisation in the creative economy?

The Federal Ministry of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy has been very instrumental in this area. Early this year, the Minister was present at the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding for the Conservation and Preservation of the tangible and intangible heritage of Sukur Cultural Landscape, a UNESCO Heritage Site located in Adamawa State. Interestingly, part of the efforts towards actualising this would be the use of technology that would be implemented adequately for documentation, mapping, and recording purposes. Worth mentioning is also the partnership between the Federal Ministry and UNESCO Nigeria to not only transform the creative economy but to safeguard our cultural heritage through effective measures.

How would you address challenges such as funding constraints, regulatory issues, and cultural sensitivities while implementing policies or programs related to art, culture, and creative industries?

To address these challenges, we are adopting a strategic and inclusive approach. For funding constraints, we are leveraging public-private partnerships. Additionally, we have allocated a budget specifically to cover the necessary costs for this sector, ensuring that resources are used efficiently and effectively through prudent management. To reduce bureaucratic barriers, we have implemented a mechanism to better understand the needs of our creatives and determine the most effective ways to support this industry.

What are your long-term goals and vision for the advancement of the creative sector during your tenure in this role?

I envision a Nigeria that proudly celebrates its rich cultural heritage and artistic brilliance, recognising these as cornerstones of our national identity and strength. Imagine a nation where the integration of education and the arts is paramount, fostering a generation of youth who are not only the torchbearers of our creative endeavours but also pioneers of innovation and entrepreneurship. In my era, these young individuals will be empowered with the necessary skills and resources to become self-sufficient. In this long-term vision, our country will emerge as a global power, embracing the strength of innovation. This will be demonstrated through strategic investments in the ideas of our creatives, leading to a vibrant, dynamic, and sustainable future. We will come to understand that art, culture, and the creative economy are fertile grounds for resource diversification, evidenced not just in our words but through our achievements.

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