The Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission has drawn a calendar of major festivals and other activities in Southwest states to guide tourists visiting the region for maximum advantage.
The Director General of the Commission, Mr Seye Oyeleye, disclosed this while addressing the regional creativity business summit in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, during the weekend.
Oyeleye said the commission developed the calendar to attract more tourists to the region, guide them in getting value for their money, expose them to the richer aspects of the Yoruba culture and also connect all the tourism efforts of the six states to the regional tourism network. He said the calendar would help tourists, festival actors and the government derive maximum benefits from their efforts.
He lamented the poor perception of the creative industry in Nigeria, saying it is a reason the multi-billion dollar sector is struggling. The DAWN DG noted with concern that governments at all levels are just waking up to the capacity of the creative industry to galvanise the economy, create jobs and wealth for practitioners as evident in the Western world.
According to him, the African society has neglected the sector for so long, stressing that the society used to believe that only the never-do-well people go into the creative industry. He said the Nigerian market is large enough to accommodate and create wealth for all practitioners.
He commended Southwest states that have started tapping the opportunities in the sector such as Lagos State which, he revealed, was currently building six new theatres and Oyo State which has started the amala and Aso oke festivals.
He called for deliberate policies that will regulate and strengthen the industry as well as halting of piracy which he said was totally killing Nollywood. The DG said only deliberately planned policies can help the industry, not palliative measures. He also called on the government to find ways to help practitioners overcome funding challenges.
Oyeleye, however, called on creative artists to work hard to change the perception about the industry. He also enjoined them to embrace technology and produce works that can compete at the international level.