A tenure of many firsts.

The management and staff of the National Theatre today held a sendoff party for the outgoing GM/CEO, Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo,fsonta,fta,fsna,fana,fnipr,faan,fcrsa,FNAL. The sendoff which was held in the National Theatre marquee was a time to celebrate the time the erudite thespian had spent as head of the parastatal.

The outgoing GM/CEO ignoring his typed speech choosing instead to speak from the heart. He thanked the members of staff and management for their support. He acknowledged that the achievements of his regime would not have been possible without the support of the staff.

He went on to explain that he is happy that some of the great initiatives he established during his time will last beyond his tenure having received capital backing in the 2024 budget. These initiatives include the Festival of Unity, National Theatre Monograph Series and Public Play Reading. Each department was represented to speak on their relationship with the GM during his tenure. Professor Sunday Enessi Ododo’s tenure as GM/CEO was said to be a tenure of many firsts. From bringing his family to meet the staff on assuming office, touring the whole theatre, even to the cap of the building, staff training workshops, welfare package for Christmas and Salah in one season and so on. They praised him for paying attention to the training of staff, his openness and being accessible to staff, acting as a father to all staff and doing his best to maintain unity in the organization.

The send-off, another first of its kind in the National Theatre ended with presentation of gifts to the GM/CEO, after which the staff toasted to his health and a bright future.

Ahmed Yerima, Erstwhile GM, NT

Congratulations on the successful completion of your tenure as CEO NT. You made your mark and surpassed the contributions of others before you. I doff my hat to you. And l remain ever proud of your accomplishments. Please take a bow. God bless you Sir

Photo speaks:

A royal visit:

On the 17th of January, 2024, the outgoing General Manager/CEO of the National Theatre, accompanied by key members of the management team, engaged in a courtesy visit to His Royal Majesty Oba Abdulfatai Aremu Oyeyinka Armoire Ijora Oyegbemi 2.

Expressing profound gratitude for the honour of being received in the ancient palace, the GM acknowledged the overdue nature of the visit, citing ongoing communication with the royal subjects. A symbolic totem and publications representing the National Theatre were presented to His Royal Majesty during the encounter.

In response, His Royal Majesty extended appreciation to the GM and the management delegation for their visit, fostering dialogue between the esteemed institution and the royal domain.

speech:

A GRATEFUL JOURNEY: Changing the Narrative of the National Theatre

Dear Esteemed Members of the National Theatre Family,

As I bid farewell to every one of you, I find myself reflecting on the incredible journey we have shared during my tenure as General Manager/CEO. My first words on taking over in September 2020 come to mind for their poignant accuracy: “God is the author of time”. Indeed, God has brought this time upon us, and I am grateful to him.  Serving this vibrant and dynamic community has been an honour, and I am filled with gratitude for the enriching experiences and memories we have created together. This incredible journey, which commenced on 1st September 2020 under the visionary leadership of the former President, Muhammadu Buhari, has been a chapter of my life that I will forever cherish. This journey also dovetailed into the early months of President Bola Tinubu. I thank him for allowing me to prepare the ground for his new vision in arts, culture and the creative economy being championed by Barrister Hannatu Musa Musawa, the Honourable Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy.

First and foremost, I want to express my deepest gratitude to President Buhari for entrusting me with the responsibility of overseeing the National Theatre—a cultural institution that stands as a beacon of our nation’s artistic prowess. The opportunity to serve our great nation in this capacity has been a privilege, and I am truly thankful for the support, trust, and guidance I have received throughout this transformative period.

Together, we have embarked on a journey of progress, innovation, and unity, achieving remarkable milestones that have not only elevated the status of the National Theatre but have also left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of Nigeria. All these while the National Theatre was undergoing massive rehabilitation and turn around– a milestone achieved with the help of the former Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Bankers Committee through the Central Bank of Nigeria.

One of the hallmarks of our collective efforts has been the establishment of unparalleled industrial harmony within the institution. The fostering of a positive and collaborative environment has allowed creativity to flourish, enabling our talented artists and staff to contribute to the vibrancy of our cultural heritage and output.

Recognizing our exceptional staff’s dedication and hard work, we made staff promotions periodic and timely, ensuring that merit and commitment are duly acknowledged. Additionally, comprehensive welfare packages, study leave opportunities, and ongoing training initiatives have been instrumental in nurturing the professional growth and development of our National Theatre family.

Our commitment to excellence has been reflected in strategic postings and deployments that have injected fresh perspectives and energy into our vibrant community. The National Theatre now stands not only as a stage for artistic expression but also as a dynamic institution that cultivates talent, professionalism, and growth. We have laid a solid foundation for the New National Theatre and have undoubtedly pushed the bar higher.

The increased visibility of the National Theatre has been a collective triumph. Through meticulous publicity efforts, we have successfully positioned the National Theatre as not just a physical structure but as a dynamic and thriving hub of cultural richness. This increased visibility has undoubtedly contributed to a deeper connection between the National Theatre and the hearts of our fellow citizens.

Obtaining the National Theatre FM Radio license stands out as a monumental achievement during our tenure. This milestone will provide us with a powerful platform to amplify our message, connect with our audience, and promote the rich cultural heritage of our nation through the airwaves.

Our journey has taken us far beyond the boundaries of the National Theatre. We proudly carried the spirit of our institution to Ile-Ife and Nasarawa (for the Public Play Reading); the Durbar in Ilorin, transcending geographical constraints and sharing the beauty of our cultural expressions with diverse audiences. The impact of our initiatives has resonated far and wide, reinforcing the National Theatre as a cultural ambassador for our nation.

The National Theatre Festival of Unity, spanning four enriching editions (2020-2023), is a testament to our commitment to fostering unity through the arts. This annual celebration has showcased the immense talent within our borders and brought together artists, performers, and enthusiasts from across the nation. It stands as a shining example of the unifying power of culture and the arts.

Through the National Theatre Monograph Series, we have documented the innovations in art and cultural studies in a scholarly manner. These Monographs are leading references nationally and internationally on Nigeria’s culture theatre practices and the creative economy. This has been a unique gift to the industry and academics, and we are proud that these legacies are testimonies of our leadership path.

Let me also recall that on my first day in the National Theatre as the General Manager/Chief Executive Officer, I made a commitment that

With God helping me and with you hardworking Directors and Staffs cooperating with us to actualize our vision for the National Theatre, I am confident that I will change the narrative of the National Theatre… so let us create this orchard of beautiful flowers with our different knowledge, experiences and contributions.

With almost four years down the line, a moribund National Theatre has come alive with numerous creative activities; the building and environment wearing a new look; state-of-the-art facilities are being installed and a renewed National Theatre would soon be delivered to Nigerians. That is the “orchard of beautiful flowers” we promised. Indeed, we have “changed the narrative of the National Theatre” for good.

As I bid farewell to this extraordinary chapter, the flowery Ododo Era, I want to enjoin you to nurture, maintain and sustain our collective orchard of beautiful flowers for posterity and mankind. More than anything else we have clarified the functional distinction between the National Theatre the Edifice and the National Theatre the Parastatal. But both must work together for Nigerians to derive maximum benefits. Let me express my deepest appreciation to the entire National Theatre community— our dedicated staff, talented artists, supportive stakeholders, and the citizens of Nigeria who have embraced and celebrated the National Theatre as a cornerstone of our cultural heritage.

I am leaving for Nigeria a revitalised National Theatre. May it continue to flourish and inspire generations to come. I am confident that, under new leadership, the institution will reach even greater heights, contributing to our beloved Nigeria’s cultural vibrancy, creative economy and national pride. Please I appeal to the National Theatre workforce to be loyal and cooperate fully with the new management.

With heartfelt gratitude and warm regards, I say let love prevail in genuine fellowship. Farewell!

Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo,fsonta,fta,fsna,fana,fnipr,faan,fcrsa,FNAL

Out-going General Manager/CEO, National Theatre, Nigeria

January 16, 2024… Address to National Theatre Management and Staff

SEE SPEECH from GM/CEO’s page


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