The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs , Hon Benjamin O. Kalu, was on Thursday honoured with “Humanitarian Service Award” by the creative industry group in Abuja.
The award was representedin recognition of his contributions towards empowering the youths, the downtrodden and the common man.
The group’s Executives led by Felix Duke, Emeka Osai, Chico Ejiro, Ngozi Nwosu and others while presenting the award,said they went round to find out who has done well and who fights for the common man and the downtrodden. But that in all, it was the name of Hon Benjamin Kalu that resonated and sounded loudest.
In their words: “We went round to find out who has done well and who fights for the common man and the downtrodden and your name came up. It was not a selective thing that it must be you. We asked and they told us that you have overtime been consistent with your work and the youth. People say when you come back home, your house is like a mecca where everybody come to have a great time. So we deemed it fit by our exco, led by Felix Duke, Emeka Osai, Chico Ejiro, Ngozi Nwosu and others to present this award.
“We decided that we need to personally come and see you, especially for the fact that you were randomly nominated for this award even without us having any prior meeting with you, the group added.
“On behalf of the national exco of creative industry group, represented by the Abuja chapter, we make this presentation to you, a Humanitarian service award.
“Our youths are very creative, but when nobody harnesses their potentials, they will not live up to expectations. We need people who can help revive our creative industry, and that is what our organization is about. We provide platforms for creative people to thrive. We teach them how to fish.
In his remarks, Hon Benjamin Kalu who commended the creative industry for their role in national integration, added that it gives him sense of fulfillment to see people of different nationalities playing and dancing to our music each time he travels around the world.
Hon Benjamin promised that the green chamber will support the creation of commission and a bill that will give legal backing to all the activities of the industry.
According to Hon Benjamin, “Most of the movies you do is like creating classrooms for people to learn. Sociologically speaking, you are playing a major role in national integration. Since the creative industry emerged, it became a major source of entertainment and source of easing tension and stress for people. Economically, it is a source of income that we need to tap into deeper than what we are currently doing. This nation is interested in diversifying its economy and its sources of revenue. We are trying to shift from total dependence on oil to non-oil products, and art is a comparative we have and need to leverage on to increase our revenue.
“It gives me a sense of fulfilment whenever I travel around the world and see people of different nationalities playing and dancing to our music. That is the kind of positive values we need to export out of this country. You need to be sustainable. You need to be encouraged. Policies need to be tailored to support the industry so that you can do more. If you are supported with the right policies and the right laws, you will do more.
“The country needs to go beyond what we are doing now for the creative industry. There must be a dedicated commission for the creative industry, and it is something we will try to push for it. With that commission, government can hear you better, and the basic qualification for those that will head that commission is that they will understand the industry. It will not be headed by outsiders but by those that have been in the industry who understands the potentials better than anyone else. That is what the bill will propose.
“”The current leadership of the house is in support of programs like this, and also the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is also interested in diversifying the economy. So we will create a platform that will help diversify the economy, and this is what he will accept. I can assure you, the same way he assented the bill for not too young to run, he will assent to the bill for a commission to be established for the creative industry. Benjamin O Kalu will be at the fore front always. You can take my word to the bank that we will commence work on it. And we will work collaboratively with you on that to get technical information that we need, and you can always rely on me for the necessary support any time.
“If there is anything you want to find out or push for you in the legislative arm of government, you are free to come. You need the backing of law in whatever you want to do to survive. We hope to see when the government will create an allocation to the industry, and we will oversight to see to its fruition. It will help reduce unemployment and expand the economy.
The group which said that the decision to support them was the best thing to happen to them, thanked him for his open door policy also promised to work with him after their meeting with their members.