The calmness characteristic of the National Museum Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria was unsettled on Monday as the early morning sun shines across the large compound.
The Lagos State governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and Commissioner of Tourism and Culture, Folorunsho Folarin-Coker paid a courtesy visit to the ancient edifice ahead of its remodelling for the 50th Anniversary of Lagos State in 2016.
The visit is a follow-up to the promise by Ambode, during the minister’s courtesy visit to him two weeks ago to collaborate with the Federal Government in the modernisation of the National Museum.
The visit is part of Governor Ambode’s promise to make Lagos a tourism and entertainment hub in Nigeria. Part of his plan is to redesign and modernise the museum into a world-class historical tourist site.
During the tour, governor Ambode said the partnership between Lagos State Government and the Federal Government includes the exploitation of the unused land around the museum to build modern structures while the old building remains untouched.
The project will include a multi-layer car park, which the state government will construct close to the museum which is expected to supplement the proposed contemporary museum.
“You will recall that two weeks back,” he told media men during the tour, “the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture was in my office and we did speak about establishing a new museum here and as a follow up, he decided to invite me again today to see things for myself.
“So, what we have done today is to find out what is required to collaborate and I am happy the DG has been able to take us round. We have seen what we have here and we believe that with this new partnership, Nigeria will be better for it. What I have seen is that we have enough space to actually create a new museum – a modern one – while the old one is still also in place.”
For Lai Mohammed, the project is like a dream come true. According to him, it will be one of the biggest collaborations so far between Federal Government and Lagos State Government in the area of culture and tourism.
“That the Governor has been able to come here today is an eloquent confirmation that he is ready to walk his talk. The issue goes beyond Lagos State. I think it’s about Nigeria,” he said.
Yusuf Abdallah Usman, director general, National Museum and Monuments who took the governor, minister and Lagos State Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, observed that culture is on the synchronised list, which makes collaboration of all tiers of government to develop culture and tourism possible.