By Abolaji Adebayo
As part of the effort to diversify the nation’s economy away from oil, the Federal Government has begun leveraging on the creative industry to boost its internally generated revenue (IGR) and meet international standard.
Government believed that the industry could be a strong alternative to oil if well harnessed and developed to the acceptable standard at the international scene.
Speaking at the grand finale of Queen Moremi Ajasoro (QMA) beauty pageant in Lagos, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, declared that government was focusing its attention on developing the creative sector as an alternative means of boosting the nation’s economy.
The minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Grace Gekpe, stated that the ministry has discovered the potentials in creative industry as an alternative to oil, hence, the need to work harder to support the sector.
According to him, the creative industry is an area that opens up employment opportunities for the talented youths, thereby, reducing unemployment and possible youthful crimes.
The minister commended the Heritage Ambassador to QMA, Ronke Ademiluyi, for her efforts in promoting culture, and advised other groups to encourage the youths to develop more interests in promoting their cultures.
“Promoters of our culture and tradition such as Princess Ademiluyi should be encouraged because she is complimenting the efforts of the government to ensure that our culture does not go into extinction.
“Such a cultural pageant as the QMA will also empower young girls not only to learn their traditional language and history, but also make them to be creative and productive,” he said.
The minister also encouraged more groups in the entertainment industry to key into programmes that would promote Made-in-Nigerian fabrics, foods, dances and local languages which would make the country the world’s tourist attraction.
The 2017 QMA pageant produced 22 year-old, Oluwatosin Shola-Shittu, an indigene of Ikere Ekiti , Ekiti State as the new queen.
Shola-Shittu emerged the winner out of no fewer than 500 young girls who registered for the second edition of QMA cultural beauty pageant.
She received a cash prize of N5million, which she was expected to use for investment as part of the empowerment programme of youths initiated by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi , the patron of the pageant.
The new queen was crowned by the outgoing queen, Blessing Animasahun.