Lagos State is known as the entertainment capital of Nigeria, and rightly so because most of the major entertainment events and activities in the country take place in the state affectionately referred to as “the land of aquatic splendor”.
The Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture in the state, Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf, has also been passionately working hard and coming up with different innovations to make the state truly stand out in this regard.
During the week, at a media briefing in Ikoyi, Lagos, Akinbile-Yusuf presented the achievements of the ministry since she assumed office. She expressed her gratitude to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for giving her the opportunity to lead the ministry for the past three years.
He said, “The current state of entertainment, arts and tourism in Lagos State is not on its own but part of governor THEMES agenda that follows the road map for the continued development of the state.
“In almost four years, we have not worked individually. One cannot talk about tourism without discussing security and transport among others, so we are working with other agencies and ministries to achieve all these feats.”
The commissioner also recalled that Governor Sanwo-Olu had approved the establishment of a COVID-19 Pandemic Review Committee to review and assess the impact of the pandemic on the tourism sector in the state. The committee, chaired by veteran actor Joke Silva, proposed approving the sum of €1 billion as a single-digit soft loan for the state’s tourism and entertainment sector to mitigate the impact of the pandemic.
This was in addition to the 50 percent discount on registration and renewal fees for hospitality and tourism facilities given in 2020.
Akinbile-Yusuf also reiterated her belief that “tourism, arts, culture and entertainment is our oil, which we can extract and tap to boost our economy in Lagos State”. According to her, this was what informed the creation of the Lagos State Creative Industries Initiative, under which several capacity building sessions had been held for talented youths in the state. He added that the governor believed so much in the youth and was ready to support them in every possible way.
This was even as he noted that through the state’s partnership with stakeholders and experienced hands in the industry such as EbonyLife Academy, Del-York Academy, Africa Film Academy and Temple Studio, over 3000 youths in the creative industry had been equipped with necessary skills to take their career to the next levels. He added that some of the awardees’ films premiered at the esteemed 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
Citing other achievements of the ministry, Akinbile-Yusuf, recalled how the state made it to the Guinness Book of Records for placing the largest mosaic cupcakes in world history. He also stated that the establishment of a special interest-free loan for filmmakers tagged “Lagos Film Fund”. the renovation of the Glover Hall Theatre, the John Randle Center for Yoruba Culture and History, were other milestones that contributed to further putting Lagos on the world map in the tourism sector.
It would be recalled that in 2021, Governor Sanwo-Olu had launched the Lagos Tourism Master Plan and Policy, to lay the foundation for the development of a comprehensive and sustainable tourism strategy for the state.
Akinbile-Yusuf added that the Lagos Cultural Village in Alimosho and Lagos Film City in Epe were other initiatives that had positively impacted the lives of many in the state.