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April 19, 2024
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I’ll uphold National Theatre’s esteemed legacy, says DG

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By Babajide Awoyinfa

The Director-General, National Arts Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos, Tola Akerele, has pledged to uphold the institution’s esteemed legacy while steering it toward new horizons of excellence.

 

 

Akerele made the pledge at a transition ceremony, where her predecessor, Sunday Ododo, handed over the reins of office to her, on Thursday in Lagos.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the occasion was held amidst a gathering of  members of staff.

 

Akerele expressed appreciation to Ododo for his commitment to the growth of the theatre.

 

“Thank you for your very kind welcoming and gestures, which is important for this transitioning. I want to take this opportunity to commend you for keeping the boat afloat as it were.

 

 

“You took it upon yourself to ensure that the consciousness of national theatre is still alive, I can see that there are so many accomplishments under your tenure.

 

 

“This is quite commendable, for you to be able to create a media team is also of the importance. Having a look at the theatre Instagram page and website, I can say that you are a true ambassador of the national theatre.

 

“And also taking your time to document all activities in the theatre, which will help me, I am grateful for that. Some people come into office and find nothing, but you are different.”

 

Akerele said that she would look through the report on Ododo’s tenure carefully and might come back to him if there was need for further information.

 

 

“You’ve done a lot. I am coming in to fill up some big shoes, the national theatre is almost completed, but there’s a lot to do there as well.

 

 

“It is wonderful to meet the team here, I look forward to getting to know each and every one of you and continuing the good work.

 

 

“It is important to take time to continue with the training and capacity building, which is one of the things I am very keen on.

 

 

“I am thrilled that you’ve all started this journey of how we can impact the lives of those interacting in the space through capacity building, I am happy that started.

 

 

“Thank you all for your wonderful welcome, it’s a great honour to be chosen to manage such national edifice, which I do not take lightly.

 

 

“I am a professional, I have done many things which I think has taken me to this point. Culture, art, design are the things I actually love.

 

 

“It is a pleasure to be here,” she said.

 

Earlier, Ododo, expressed his gratitude to the members of staff for their unwavering support during his tenure.

 

 

In his farewell address, he reflected on the achievements accomplished under his leadership and extended his best wishes to his successor.

 

 

“When it announced that I was going to hand over to a woman, I felt very good, because you will protect our legacies here, which I am confident about.

 

 

“The key legacy for me here as I was assuming office Sept. 1, 2020, was the renovation of the national theatre because for a long time, the national edifice had been left unattended to.

 

 

“It was the will of God that the initiative and activities of this project started within my tenure.

 

 

”When I look back on the 14th of February 2021, when MOU to commence to work was signed, I stood side by side with late Herbert Wigwe who we recently lost in a helicopter crash.

 

 

“My last interaction with the chief engineer of site, I was told that we are 90 per cent through and some 10 per cent more to get to our decision point.”

 

 

Ododo said it was very key for the new administration to follow them through to actualise the project.

 

 

“Here, in national theatre, we have almost 200 staff members within here and our zonal offices, we have zonal offices in Kano, Calabar, Jos, Taraba and Abuja.

 

 

“We also discovered that by the time this edifice is ready, we have to prepare the staff to fit into the new order. So, we went through a lot of capacity building, workshop, training and conferences. Just to get them ready.

 

“I have documented for you comprehensively to the best of my ability, report of our tenure, what is pending and what we are looking forward to, in this document.

 

 

“When I came in, I got a handover note of 33 pages, but what we have here for you is almost a-100 page of documents to guide you through. This will serve as a very good foundation for you to take off effectively.

 

“I also have 22 documents of the architectural design of this theatre. This will be very useful and it is important that they are also kept and preserved.

 

 

“I also have here a comprehensive report of the work done here so far, which I submitted to the Honorable Minister, which I am also presenting to you,” he said.

 

NAN reports that the transition ceremony was concluded with a symbolic signature of office from Ododo to Akerele, signifying the continuity of leadership and the seamless transition of responsibilities. (NAN)

Edited by Folasade Adeniran

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