…Edo only State in Nigeria hosting a film festival, NFVCB boss commends Obaseki’s strides
The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said the focus of his administration is to make the State Nigeria’s entertainment and creative hub.
Obaseki said this during a panel session at the Edo State International Film Festival (ESIFF) 2.0, held at the Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative hub in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Speaking on the topic, “Aggregation of Film and Culture: Edo State as a Case Study,” Governor Obaseki said the role of the government is to help commence the process of transaction in the film business, noting that his administration has taken deliberate steps to stimulate the growth of the film industry in the State.
He said, “In the next five to seven years, our goal is to make sure Edo State is the hub for creativity in Nigeria. Edo people are interestingly very creative people who through history, created and redesigned their environment.
“As a people, we have over 5,000 pieces of artwork stolen from here and you wonder the creativity in our minds.”
Noting efforts over the past seven years to transform the creative and entertainment sector, Obaseki said, “The situation we met was one that people, especially the young creative minds wanted to run away from the State and Country. 30,000 Edo youths were trying to cross over to Libya. As an administration, we began to build and promised 200,000 jobs.
“The jobs were not coming from the government but from activities that the government created and encouraged. We focused on culture and creativity. We created the policy, enabling the environment, institutions.
“We created the (Edojobs) as a platform to launch Edo youths to embrace the creative business. We focused on creating the atmosphere, facilities and equipment, building a sound stage, studio and editing suites. The Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative hub is a facility powered 24/7 with an IPP.”
On reforms in the education sector, Obaseki noted, “In Edo State, over the last five years, we have re-enacted basic education, ensuring foundational education is solid as we established EdoBEST.
“As a government, we intend to focus on what is important as our population of 5 million has over 70 percent of youths; we are focusing on what interests them and gives them hope. We will continue to support the creative industry to create quality production. We are doing this in the agricultural, sports, health, film and many other sectors across the State’s economy.
“We are optimistic and believe that all our efforts in the creative industry are sustainable. As long as we continue to create something good with high quality, people and corporate entities will want to associate with us.”
For his part, the Executive Director of the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Alhaji Adebayo Thomas commended Governor Obaseki for putting the creative industry on the path of growth.
He noted that “Edo State International Film Festival is the first any state has established in Nigeria. This is the first governor that has taken over our responsibility by starting a film festival in the state. We appreciate him and ask him to ensure its sustainability and continuity while out of office. Edo State is the only state in Nigeria that has a State film festival.”