Rufus Olusesan, Chairman, Victor Osakwe, Secretary
3 September 2007
Campaign for Democratic and Workers Rights (CDWR) strongly condemns the planned privatization of the National Theatre by the federal government.
To us, the fundamental problem with the National Theatre is the age long deliberate neglect by the Federal Government in line with the neo-liberal policies of privatization, commercialization etc. For example, the 2005 budgetary appropriation for the National Theatre was N850million but only N22million representing 3.4% was released. Besides, the National Council for Arts and Culture got 1.8% of its budgetary allocation etc. The actual money invested on the National theatre and creative art is ridiculous to say the least, and it clearly shows that the Federal Government is not genuinely interested in promoting the country through the arts and culture despite the celebrated lip service to that effect. This is symptomatic of its irresponsibility to the well being of Nigerians.
The CDWR strongly frowns at the political order that guarantees extreme privilege, profligacy, looting and corrupt practices for the few and side by side abandoning the intellectual and academic well being of the vast majority. How would one explain a situation whereby the total money spent by the federal government on the National Theatre and creative art in 2005 is less than what is spent on renovation of the official residence of the Speaker and Deputy speaker and of the House of Representative and also 12 jeeps totaling N628million. It is also unjustifiable for 17474 political office holders and bureaucrats to get a whooping N4.5trillion- about 1/3 of the revenue from crude oil sales, in the next 4 years in line with the new salary and allowance scale while schools, hospitals, roads etc., are begging for rehabilitation.
The CDWR feels strongly without any iota of doubt, that to subject the lives of the vast majority to the ruthless free market economy (profit avarice of a few) in line of the neo-liberal policies will further devastate the living condition of the overwhelming working masses and the entire nation.
CDWR hereby calls on the federal government to reverse the privatization of all public utilities and to be nationalized. The best way out of this vicious circle of poverty is the massive investment in public utilities including arts and creativity and to be subjected to democratic control and management of the working people wherein elective representative of workers, communities etc., with right to recall and to earn the average wage of a skilled worker in order to guide against corruption, waste, profligacy and undemocratic conduct.
We also call on the NLC, TUC, UAD, DSM and other pro-masses organizations to form a united Mass Working People’s Party with a pro-people political alternative different from the present neo-liberal economic agenda of the present government that will fundamentally protect the socio-economic and political interests of the vast majority.