Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Thursday vowed to transform the National Museum in Lagos to a modern-day cultural edifice which would be of international standard, just as he pledged to partner with the Federal Government to give facelift to federal infrastructures in the state.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at the Lagos House, Ikeja when the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, paid him a courtesy visit, said he would collaborate with the Federal Government to ensure the speedy completion of the project which he said will enhance the cultural heritage of Nigeria.
He said considering the strategic importance of culture and tourism to the identity of people, there was no better time for Lagos and the Federal Government to collaborate in driving the essence of culture with the view to improving on the situation on ground and thereby improve on the economy and develop the nation.
The Governor said Onikan, where the museum is located, is a melting port of the cultural heritage of Lagos and Nigeria by extension, hence, serious efforts must be put in place to start to recreate the monument to adequately situate the history of the country.
“Just the same way we have collaborated with the police, we will collaborate with you and ensure that whatever we can do to create a facelift to the infrastructure of the Federal Government in Lagos, we will do it because it will eventually be to the benefit of Lagosians and eventually aid the economic growth of Lagos.
“Talking precisely about the National Museum at Onikan, we will go straight with the commissioners here to see how we can put up a modern-day museum of international standard and see how that can work towards our Lagos@50 Celebration next year.
“We are not only doing it for Nigeria, but also for the future of our cultural heritage. We believe strongly that the axis around Onikan and Marina is actually the melting port of our cultural heritage and we must start to recreate the monument in that area to be able to say a whole lot about the history of Lagos and more importantly, a whole lot about the history of Nigeria and so we would see how we can run as fast as possible on that,” the Governor said.
The Governor, who lamented that some Nigerian languages are gradually going into extinction due to lack of preservation of cultural values, said that with the renewed commitment of the federal and state governments, issues of youth unemployment could be adequately addressed using culture, tourism, arts, sports and entertainment.
“That is why we are committed to the Employment Trust Fund. We are just about to inaugurate it and every year for the next four years, we will be putting N6.25 billion, totaling N25 billion. Using that fund, we will be creating arts and recording studios and business incubators because we don’t longer want our artistes to be recording their works outside Nigeria. We can do it and that is where we are going. That will create a lot of energy among our younger ones and before you know it, they are on track and we too are on track as a very viable economy,” Governor Ambode said.
Earlier, Mohammed said he was in Lagos to solicit the support of the Governor and State Government to collaborate in jointly moving the state and indeed the country forward in areas of culture and tourism.
He said Lagos remains the economic and financial hub of Nigeria, and that it was worthy to underscore the fact that the state is thriving under Governor Ambode, who he said is not only doing well but has greatly improved on all he met on ground.
He said the Blue Line Rail project being built by the State Government, when completed in December, would not only be the first in Nigeria, but also greatly boost the economy and tourism potentials of the state, as well as the 10-lane Lagos-Badagry expressway.
The Minister said: “Governor Ambode is doing very well. Look at his emphasis on security; he met a security trust fund which was doing very well, and is now doing better. He has almost doubled the kind of equipment and facilities and assistance he is giving the police.
“Only recently, we passed in the Federal Executive Council, a $200million loan application for Lagos State to complete the Blue Line Rail. This is a project that had been stalled for political reasons and he pushed through this.
“Look at Light Up Lagos Project, it makes it easy for you to move from point A to point B without any problems and this ultimately will impact positively on the economy of the state. He’s on the right track,” he said.