Nigerian theatre practitioners at war over political appointment

Posted on August 04 2017 , at 10:22 pm
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  • NANTAP has called on Yemi Osinbajo to wade into the matter.

Tar Ukoh

Tar Ukoh

The National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, NANTAP has requested that the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo should take a look at the appointment of Comrade Tar Ukoh as the Artistic Director, National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria.

As stated by the actors, his appointment is not in line with the regulations guiding the two institutions.

Until now the theatre and the troupe had separate heads. For example, while Ahmed Yerima was the artistic director of the National Troupe, Mallam Kabir Yusuf was the General Manager of the National Theatre.

Although there was almost a merger of the two agencies by the Federal Government, they remained separate entities. The appointment of Tar Ukoh has however brought a breach to the system.

NANTAP however noted in a letter addressed to the Acting President that the National Theatre and the National Troupe of Nigeria were two distinct institutions regulated by Decree 47 of 1991, titled the National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board Act. Therefore its law created no office of Artistic Director National Theatre and National Troupe.

NANTAP

The letter dated 24th JULY, 2017 and signed by the Interim President of NANTAP, Israel Eboh read:

RE: Appointment of Comrade Tar Ukoh as Artistic Director, National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria

We wish to refer to the above appointment which was recently announced by government but is clearly wrong as it is not in tune with the legal statute establishing the institutions of National Theatre and the National Troupe of Nigeria. It is a situation where two organisations are now mistakenly placed under one Chief Executive Officer.

It is significant to note that these are two distinct institutions regulated by Decree 47 of 1991 titled, The National Theatre and National Troupe of Nigeria Board Act (Attachment A). It is evidently stated in that law that the two bodies are separate with their different objectives and CEO’s heading the two Exclusive institutions, namely: General Manager, National Theatre, and Artistic Director, National Troupe of Nigeria.

The facts remain incontestable that Decree (No. 47 of 1991) is still subsisting as the enabling Law for the existence and functioning of the two parastatals, and the board supervising them.

By the above,  therefore, it is obvious that the appointment of Mr. Tar Ukoh is illegal, null and void as the position of Artistic Director of National Theatre and National Troupe does not exist in Nigeria’s legal lexicon.

Your Excellency Sir, while we align ourselves with the vision of this government to make the creative and entertainment industry stronger and more economically viable, we strongly believe that laying the foundation through the Rule of Law is the way to go.

This post first appeared on TNS.

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