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How Emmanuel engineered growth, development of creative industry in akwa ibom

The creative industry in Nigeria holds swear as the second largest employer of labor after the federal government. According to a news report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, “Nigerian entertainment and media market revenue, which rose to $3.6 billion in 2016 would increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.2 percent to $6.4 billion in 2021,”

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The impact of such weighty revenue is the reason most governments are increasingly developing interest in the entertainment industry. It is worthy to note that the United States Government constructed a make-shift White House for Hollywood to shoot films that carry the image of America. Western and Asian Nations set aside as much as $100 million as grants and soft loans every year to young and established entertainers for their productions and performances. While Universities and colleges, constantly provide grants to outstanding students to make films on core societal issues.

We are seeing beyond others — Udom Emmanuel

Albeit, the story of the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State had been very pathetic before now. It was so bad that most camera operators went far from film and music shoots to weddings and other event shoots. Performers had to abandon their craft for things unworthy of mention. A few others that practiced then, did so in very harsh conditions with substandard productions. The effect therefore was a dearth of professionals sustaining the progress of the industry.

While we had glimpses of appreciation of ‘government entertainers’ with a few cash in brown envelops by previous governments, the government of Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has turned around the story of the entertainers in the State. Just like in every project the governor embarks upon, this is done with short and long-term plan for quick result and sustainability.

Mr. Udom Emmanuel instead of taking the path of brown envelop appreciation style has put up an all-inclusive method in furthering the fortune of the entertainment industry in Akwa Ibom State.  Such benevolence of appointing entertainers into juicy positions has never happened before in the history of the state. Mr. Udom took this path to give the entertainer a sense of belonging and to consult them on topical issues affecting the state in their area of jurisdiction. This of course has immediate and long term implication on the growth of the entertainment industry in the overall sense.

The Governor Udom Emmanuel led administration has so far embarked on several entertainment and cultural projects hitherto never experienced in the state. These social investment projects  has  boosted economic activities in the state as well as   engaged entertainment stakeholders, entertainers; dancers, costume designers, craft makers, comedians, light and sound designers, DJs etc.

Governor Emmanuel also identified that the development of the creative industry cannot start and end in the streets and with practitioners. In line with world class professional practices where artistes obtain lessons in formal settings to sharpen their professionalism, He took a bold step in constructing a befitting world class performance theatre and a Dance studio for the Department of Performing Arts in Akwa Ibom State University. The Governor believes the next generation in schools can take the creative  industry to the next level through local content and style with global appeal.

To consolidate, promote and offer a ready platform for young entertainers, the government of Akwa Ibom State, has organized a world class Talent show  tagged ‘AKWA IBOM TALENT SHOWCASE and the crowning jewel of it all, the ‘NIGHT OF STARS’.

According to Ini Edo, Special Assistant to Governor Udom Emmanuel on Culture and Tourism, AKWA IBOM Talent Showcase is part of the State’s milestone in reviving the hope of young creatives in Akwa Ibom State for Nigeria’s entertainment industry”. According to her, the intention of the project  is to raise obscure, unheard, unknown young but determined talented performers from the suburbs, the streets, the academia to limelight and the global stage through a competitive platform featuring DANCE, MUSIC and DRAMA.

The project is currently enjoying global viewership through digital media; Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter; Radio and Television stations. This vision is reminiscence of the beginning of theatre in ancient greece in the slope of Acripolis where Government sponsored performances and dramatic competitions. The mere fact that Actors are called thespians emanated from the first actor Thespis who won the acting competition.

The effect has been that Greece’s crave for drama and other performing arts influenced the world of arts in decades and centuries and still enjoys studies from all over the world till date. I am certain that Akwa Ibom State Talent Show will influence forthwith more young people taking a shot on entertainment. It will lead to the sustained development of Entertainment in Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria in years and decades to come and will give the state a befitting stature as the ‘centre of entertainment’ in Nigeria.

Without a shadow of doubt, the vision of Governor Udom Emmanuel to see to the diversification of the state’s economy from an oil dependent one, to other areas such as agriculture and tourism is seeing the light of day.

Joseph Henry

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