That iconic place, once the face of our culture and unity is bereft of its originality. Strategically located and pleasant to the eyes, the place enjoyed budget attention but deliberately left for rats and reptiles as creative community.
It's worst enemy are not the artists, not the President, not the people but a few powerful individuals pretending to be government officials. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is the grave digger and mortician.
The theater edifice has for many years became a conduit pipe for corruption, a kind of absurdity in entertainment so generated by Nigerian politicians.
I truly wonder why we hate our country so much, lie to the citizens and bewitch those who trust us to bring about change. Honestly, I just wonder.
My friend, former President of Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria ( FTAN) and immediate former minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke waxed creative science with National Theatre. He saw the gold in the place and initiated a bid process which threw up an alleged Dubai financial consurtuim as preferred winner. That effort is not about renovating the iconic complex but harnessing the green gold fallow lands around it.
If you must know, my friend Edem Duke is a master reseacher with oratory skills that can make a dead horse come alive. It is to his credit that the fallow lands at the theatre was transported to the realms magical and futuristic job creation and a place of refreshing creativity in hospitality, music and all razzmatazz to confound gullible Nigerians, not excluding the economic minders easily bewitched by figures.
And talking about figures, the sad mouthing of unverifiable figures, usually six digits, were part of the science of entertainment "foolary" employed in the clever mix of official transcript to either sell the place as proposed in the past and or as fronted in the new "normal" renovation agenda.
One thing is clear according to minister Lai Mohammed, the National Theatre belongs to the Nigerian people and would not be sold or handed over to anyone.
Again another fresh angle to the many past failed attempts to refresh the iconic complex. Godwin Emefele, Governor, Central Bank and the "Bankers Committee" are the new drivers of the theatre rebound.
I really don't know if the new saviours of this glorious cultural edifice are also caught in the feverish bug of justifying the stupendous alibi for the "renovation" of the place. A restoration with a figure of 20billion dollars as benefit and driver to creative engagement in information, technology, music, film and fashion.
In eighteen months, we were told that the place would become the center of global engagement in Africa, with hotel and an expansive conference center "never seen before", my emphasis.
Jobs nko? No job loss, six thousand available immediately the "magicians" starts construction and on completion, with "2,000/3,000" call off jobs". What a creative imagination.
The new "Faith" in the rebound of the iconic complex sounds like the voice of Jacob. So sweet to the ear but with the hair of Esau. Faith certainly is making up figures as if it were even though the figures past and present does not support our perfect illusion of helping our nation.
Indeed, I must commend minister Lai Mohammed, the CBN and the Bankers Committee for another hopeful interest in the Theatre. Is it real or another joke laced with sweetest dreams?
Enter governor Sanwo-olu! Lagos at 50 during the administration of Akinwunmi Ambode had a national theatre story angle. The man tried but it was like a tiny insignificant drop in the ocean. Ambode supported the dream of the Theatre return as a place for the resurgence of Yoruba culture and artistic gathering.
I visited the theatre then to see things for my self and I wept for Nigeria. The half measures, the forced effort, broken down facilities, smelly toilets, very dark passages reminding us of the way to hell and the pretense of a presence.
Now, I wonder what Governor Sanwo-olu would want to do here? Another Lagos adventure or true patriotic desire to ensure we see more serious and effectual development and not figurative experience? We just don't need to leave it to the CBN and its friends, we must this time around ensure the place truly comes back alive. Eighteen months is just by the corner and we are watching and waiting.