Tourism and Culture: The Making of Tribe of Judas

By Frank Meke

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will shock a lot of Nigerians who have lost hope against the fight against corruption. Tinubu will smoke out the thieving hands and will make them cough out every stolen public funds.

Tactly, this process will not compromise certain forensic investigations but will shock naysayers who believe nothing good will come out of this administration. I have spoken!

First, I pity legislators who collected truck loads of rice from the president for sharing to their hungry constituents but diverted the cargoes to their private warehouses. Wind go soon blow and let no hire ethnic jingoists to shed crocodile tears.

Now, Pretty looking Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Betty Edu, is under president Bola Ahmed Tinubu radar. The president is angry and is determined to find out how 585 million naira belonging to the ministry ended in private accounts.

The president, through the Minister of Information and National orientation, Mohammed Idris promised to sanction anyone found wanting in the Humanitarian Affairs scandal. Now, the pretty lady has been suspended.

Now, the first performance assessment of the Ministers and their agencies comes up at the end of this month, and from my observation post , it shall not end well for some Ministers and their lieutenants. It is not only pretty looking ladies in government that will go down soon. Even men with ostrich necks will spend time in EfCC dark rooms. I even heard that some of these smart Judases in government have a special EFFC department to help scrutinise and protect their loot from getting exposed. Nothing is beyond clever Ali Babas in government, but I am not sure this “new” efcc is part of the ecosystem.

In our cultural tourism economy, our two ministers, Hannatu Musa Musawa and lola Ade John, are apparently not near the best performance metrics.

Musawa’ s recent entertainment road show at the villa didn’t bring about any changes as those hurriedly ” selected” for the villa waka pass, simply told the minister the Nigerian entertainment and creative train has gone beyond being defined by government ambushment and hypocritical show of love and excitement.

In other words, the private sector is in charge and ahead, so the government, the Honourable Minister, should merely be a passenger and not the driver of this fast-moving vehicle for tourism development.

To possibly drive home the message that the Nigerian private sector players in the entertainment and creative sub sector of the culture economy have matured beyond pedestrian prodding by government, Funke Akindele, actress, movie producer, script writer and politican all rolled into one, broke the Nigerian movie box office with her flick, “The Tribe of Judah”, raking over one billion naira from cinema gate fees.

Now tell me, what exactly would Madam Musawa say to this celebral actress.! Anyone can organise a meeting at the villa or elsewhere, speak through the teeth and catwalk like a fashion neophyte but can not interprete the socioeconomic values of Nigeria culture and creative economy.

Now that everyone is discussing funke Akindele’s flick, “The Tribe of Judah,” the film reminds me there is a tribe of Judas in the culture and tourism industry in Nigeria

I have tried to trace the genealogy of Judas Iscariot, the infamous guy who betrayed his master Jesus, but my research met brick walls. He died unsung, his greed for money unprecedented. Sadly, Judas was a handsome man with an ostrich neck!

Judas has disciples in some appointees in our industry, and since our president is looking for those who betrayed their oath of office and performed poorly, deserving a shove aside , maybe we should talk about them, expose them and teach others that dipping hands into public tills for personal use, is a crime against humanity and a betrayal of trust.

In helping the president to take a careful second look at these guys in culture and tourism sectors whose only achievements are to make us lament and cry like orphans every year on end, something tells me that it is better to take a look at the institutions where these guys hold forth and clearly see if there are anything good associated with these places.

I am of firm belief that it is institutional reforms that must activate sustainable and enduring growth in governance and not the masquerading effusiveness and deceptive fashionable statements that bring about nothing.

It is easy to understand why the governor of Niger state, farmer Mohammed Bago, directed the civil servants in his state to go pull off their noble Babanriga and put on easy wears and head to the farms. In kano, the Hisbah corps will excitedly arrest truck loads of beer and destroy them, but the state government will send its commissioner for finance to go share tax proceeds from the federal government, some heavily generated from consumption of liquor across the country.

Please forgive the digression, I just felt that time has come for us to build stronger institutions than handsome men and women who come to our world as saints but are grandchildren of Apostle Judas.

If we agree that the making of strong institutions and structures will help fast track our dream for enduring the culture and tourism industry, let us take a second look at some of these agencies and audit their mandates in order to achieve our desired goals.

Again, like Nostradamous, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu will not scrap any failed institution, but will ” Betty Edu” any minister or agency head who will not bring about the needed institutional reforms, thus engendering sustainable development beneficial to suffering Nigerians.

National Arts Theatre This is the most controversial canopy of entertainment in our culture sector. First, the sale of this octopus National landmark to the Bankers Committee by the last administration must be investigated and audited in view of oozing stench from the Central Bank of Nigeria Who actually is behind the Bankers committee, and what actually is real worth of the National Theatre estate? Over the years, the efcc has nosed around this institution, made some arrests, and like everything wrong with Nigeria; Public officers found to have compromised their oath office were let go sad that this institution of national unity and an entertainment bridge where Nigerians and world should meet to appreciate the best our cultural Creativeness and entertainment is being run aground with no one speaking up about the rot. Now, we heard the judases in our midst are putting their legs forward for a replica of the National Theatre in Abuja without telling us what happened to lagos’ edifice. Unfortunately, pretty Hannatu Musa Musawa has not visited the lie of a national theatre in lagos.

The N power funding for training of middle level manpower for the industry is in a dark pit. The auditing of this fund is critical in view of the stench from the Humanitarian Affairs Ministry, which overseas this critical training and retraining catchment funding for both the hospitality and other sub sectors of the economy. The president must find out the implentors of this funding in the past eight years, how much have been collected, and a detailed listing of the beneficiaries. Sadly, again, both Lola Ade John and Hannatu Musa Musawa are far away from reality on this development, and do they care?

Centre for Black and African civilization! This institution, though critical to research and promotion of black history, is a cesspit of corruption. It has not added a block to the building of its operational mandate, thus merely seen in budget circles as end post for jobs for the boys and pretty ladies connected to the presidency.

National Gallery of Arts. The only innovation brought about this agency, which, if properly managed, could change the narratives of crafts traders and artistic influencers, is the misappropriation and misapplication of funds. Today, this agency is neither in the forefront of encouraging private sector contributions to the development of private galleries of arts and crafts or in harnessing the multimillion naira crafts economy. Nigerian crafts and arts experts in the private sector and academia hardly feel the impact of this agency, no training, no funding, and no empowerment opportunities despite the huge jobs creation content of crafts and arts sub sector.

National Museum and Monuments. Towards the last leg of the former administration, a certain recovery of our iconic crafts and artifacts stolen by thieving colonial merchants became the sing-song achievements of the former minister of information, Culture, and Tourism and National orientation. At a point, the crafts stolen from the ancient Kingdom of Benin became a ding dong matter between the oba of Benin and Edo state government on who has the patrimonial powers to keep the iconic artifacts. Well, the oba of Benin quietly made a case for the works originally domiciled in the Palace of his ancestors, and the government rightly concurred since crafts historically were produced for pleasure and endorsement of the oba, who rules in the affairs of the people. Having said that, those of us who follow the happenings at the National Museum are critically aware that the concerted efforts to trace , bargain, and return to Nigeria did not start under the former administration. But I worry, because there are no public records of how much the management of National museum spent to retrieve those artifacts considering fact in the public space that those who kept and utilised these iconic works for gains in local and international exhibitions, paid some money back to Nigeria for ” holding” in trust the unique artistic works for over a century. Again, all the national museums across the six geopolitical zones are in bad state , some converted to beer parlours, wellness centres, barbing saloons, and business centres. Indeed, our museums are in a terrible state and grossly mismanaged despite being veritable centre points to the revival of our famed cultural, artistic, and traditional history in all aspects of human development. The jobs lost from visits to our museum and indeed its values in reshaping the orientation of our people to be proud of their history, cannot but attract the attention of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu. I don’t know how much of the history and traditional legacies of Nigeria that Minister Hannatu Musa Musawa could really understand. It is, however, important to run a proper audit on this house of Judas called National Museum.

Nigerian Tourism Development Authority ( NTDA). Does a change of name or habitat change the character of a jackal? Between 2006 and 2013, NTDA ran a full swoop tourism recovery and emancipation race as Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation ( Ntdc). But under pretenders to our national tourism throne, the institution, despite a change of name and more ” authoritative ” empowerment, has refused to impact positively on the Nigerian tourism community. Those who deceptively went to town to tell us this critical agency for national tourism marketing, promotion, and development can only make needed inroads through a review of its laws, clearly and evidently proved that they lied. Between 2014 and 2024, ntda tourism development metrics are not people centric, benefited no one, institutional shame and disgrace to tourism values that should spearhead job opportunities for Nigerians, particularly the youths and vulnerable rural women. To audit its funding in the past seven years, in particular, will help us navigate the national confusion, bitterness, and disdain to which its operations has subjected industry players and ordinary Nigerians to.

How can we forget Nigeria’s film Censor Board? This place just merely exists to pay its staff salaries and is one of the worst managed critical institutions to local movies and creative sector development. It pales into insignificance because its drivers have short memories and hardly could make meaning of its operational importance and expectations. This place no doubt need some serious clean up so as to give direction to the emerging film sector and protecting Nigeria from being a dumping ground for movies and films who could destroy the future of our young persons. Am sure auditing the funds so realised to this back water film censorship agency will reveal interesting information. This place is a bad market.

Part two of this commentary will further look out what we have lost as a nation and people by entrusting these agencies to mindless mismanagement and plundering by the tribe of Judas in our midst. Some people have requested that we should set an agenda for the two women Ministers, and I told them, that in Nigeria, you don’t set an agenda for our leaders who wouldn’t even bother to look around for those in position to tell them the truth but would at available opportunity, present themselves for public acceptance and admiration for doing nothing while what they actuallydo in office, is to dip their hands into public tills.

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