As part of efforts to show clarity, sincerity, transparency and probity in the process of restoration, revitalization and revamping of the National Theatre, the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed held a bare it all meeting with the Management of National Theatre, AUPCTRE and RATTAWU- the two workers Union in the National Theatre.
The meeting which commenced at 10 am was at the instance of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture and held at Ikeja G.R.A. Professor Sunday E. Ododo, fsonta FNAL, welcomed the Minister to Lagos and introduced the Management and Union Executives present at the Meeting. In the palatial setting of Radisson Blu Hotel, the Honourable Minister answered all the questions of the Union Executives and staff representatives. He said the restoration of the National Theatre is aimed at making proud Nigerians of the National Theatre that will be one of the best in the world.
Com. Bakare Abubarkar (Vice Chairman), Com. Oluwaye (Secretary), Com. Emeka Nwachukwu (Fin. Sec) and Com. Ife Ibejigba (Treasurer) all represented AUPCTRE, while Com. Agada Agustine (Chairman), Com. Habib Usman (Secretary), Com. James Bisong (P.R.O), Com. Osai Benson (Ex Officio), Com. Nwosu and Com. Lizzy Equere from staff Congress (RATTAWU) all represented RATTAWU at the event. The Management team which was led by the GM/CEO included Directors Mr. Abe Biodun, Mr. Obagwu and Mr. Ita Agbo. Mr. Taiwo Olugbogi (Deputy Director), Engineer Akingbakinro (Assistant Director) and Ndubuisi Henry (Assistant Director).
Those who spoke and asked questions for the Unions were: Com. Agada, Com. Bakare, Com. Osai and Com. Lizzy. They all thanked the HM. of Information and Culture for the clarity which he provided on the MoU of the renovation work and the welfare of the workers while the work is ongoing and on completion. The Minister reiterated that there is not going to be any job loss and nothing in the antecedent of this Government shows otherwise as the fact is this government is yet to layoff any worker in six years of administration. Hence, staff salaries, welfare, promotion and all entitlements are not going to be affected at all by this arrangement. To be clear, the Act setting up the National Theatre subsists and it guarantees security of jobs for the workers. As this arrangement is not a PPP nor privatization, the workers of the National Theatre remain Federal Government employees. Furthermore, the Minister emphasized that even during the bleakest of economic prospect the Government did not retrench one worker and this won’t be different.
All who spoke for the workers and Union started by extolling the virtues of the Honourable Minister and the thoughtfulness to meet with the workers through their Unions, a move without precedence in the annals of the National Theatre workers relation with past Ministers.
All the questions, doubts and fears of the workers Union representatives were all answered satisfactorily while all doubts and fears allayed according to all the Union members. Alhaji Lai Mohammed said any other questions that may arise can be channeled through the GM/CEO to him and if it takes him coming to Lagos to address staff again he would be in Lagos immediately. According to the Honourable Mionister, it is imperative that no one here present be an anti-progress in this process to make a National Theatre we can all be proud of.
The GM/CEO took the occasion of the Vote of Thanks to remind the Union members that all the clarity the Honourable Minister gave to the questions were the same things they heard from him during the meeting he held with the Unions earlier. This gave him joy that everyone is on the same page. Prof. Sunday E. Ododo reminded all present that God is the author of time and it pleases Him to make us part of this historic process. Com. Bakare led the closing prayers at the invitation of the GM/CEO around 11.25 after which the Minister had a photo session with Management and Union representatives