The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the National Theatre at Iganmu will not be sold. He said this on Saturday 9th January 2016, when he visited Prof. Wole Soyinka in his office at Freedom Park, Broad Street, Lagos.
Previous governments from 2001 have tried to privatize the iconic building designed as a military officer’s cap without success. This was due in part to opposition from artists, with no less a person than the Noble Laureate and playwright Wole Soyinka, being the most notable amongst them.
The minister said the national monument would not be sold but would be brought up to standard through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP). Alhaji Mohammed said he is currently studying the PPP proposal with a view to ensuring that the government and people of the country get a good deal from it.
The Federal Government has expressed its readiness to make the National Theatre what it should be – a magnet for the creative arts.
Prof. Soyinka had earlier called on the Federal Government to consider building a ‘genuine’ National Theatre, saying what is presently referred to as the National Theatre was never designed to be a theatre in the first place, even though it is ‘adaptable in many ways’.
”This nation needs a genuine theatre. As long as we keep calling it (National Theatre) a theatre, this nation will never build a theatre,” he said.
Prof. Soyinka agreed with the Minister that a PPP deal represented one of the most realistic ways to upgrade the standard o