Lagos State Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday evening reiterated the commitment of his administration to continue to play up the arts and entertainment industry to grow the economy and positively engage the youth, saying the sector remains a veritable platform to improve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the State and Nigeria.
Speaking at the performance of a stage play – Oba Esugbayi, held at the Muson Centre in Onikan, Lagos, Governor Ambode said since inception of his administration, conscious efforts had been made to invest in the arts and entertainment sector in view of its strategic importance to the country if the potentials were properly harnessed.
While describing the sector as the future of the State, the Governor said the investment so far made was geared towards using the industry as a springboard to plan for the burgeoning youth population in the State.
“Obviously, I am a lover of arts and as a government; we have invested so much in culture, entertainment and so on. The real GDP of Lagos is in entertainment and arts because that is where the future is.
“The population dynamics of Lagos is like 65 percent below the age of 35 and you have to start to find somewhere to actually fill in that gap to grow the GDP of Lagos and that is why we have decided that we would promote a lot of things in arts, culture and entertainment and that is just the right way to go,” Governor Ambode said.
The Governor, who also commended the creativity and versatility of the cast and production crew of the stage play in coming up with a wonderful show, assured that he would continue to support the sector whether in government or out of government.
“I just want to say that I have enjoyed myself thoroughly and this is one of the Christmas gifts to me. Sitting down here and watching for one and half hours, you know that there is a big future for this country and for everybody that has actually taken part in this stage play, I say God bless you.
“When I see younger people and the sense of creativity around them and the energy, it brings that sense of hope in this country and whatever support I can give in and out of government, I will do it without hesitation,” he said.
In a related development, speaking at a Christmas Carol Service of the Bethesda Home for the Blind, Governor Ambode who was appointed a life patron of the school, commended the management of the institution for their selfless service in taking care of the special students, just as he assured them of continuous support.
“All of you are very dear to my heart; I have natural love for all of you and so I will use my resources whether private or official to support this place. I want to assure that we would use our network to pull other well-meaning Nigerians within the next six to 12 months to transform the place,” the Governor said.