•Governor Appoints Trustees for Yoruba History Centre, Pledges to Restore Lagos Heritage
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Thursday, reiterated his resolve to restore the lost glory of the J.K. Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, as he inaugurated the Board of Trustees (BoT) for the Centre.
The Governor is the chairman of the seven-member Board set up to revive tourism and engender cultural renaissance in Lagos. The Board comprises four Government officials and three professionals from the private sector.
The BoT members were inaugurated at a ceremony organised by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and held at the State House, Alausa.
The Centre, originally built in 1928, used to serve as a hub for cultural tourism, recreation and entertainment. Its reconstruction started in 2018.
Sanwo-Olu, as chairman of the Board, pledged to make the Centre a critical reference point for Yoruba culture and arts, stressing that the constitution of the Trustees was imperative, given the near completion of the reconstruction work on the Centre located in Onikan.
The Governor said his administration’s commitment towards bringing the Centre back to life remained unshaken, saying the Government had set the completion deadline for the contractor handling the reconstruction work.
He said: “I take up this opportunity to serve as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the J.K. Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History with a sense of responsibility, and I assure stakeholders in the Arts, Culture and Tourism ecosystem that we will do everything to ensure that the Centre becomes a reference point, not only for Yoruba culture and arts, but also brings back the old glory of Lagos culture.
“We are expecting the reconstruction work on the Centre to be completed before the end of the year. That is why it is important to have a Board of Trustees to run the institution and take it to the level where the Centre would be second to none in the documentation of Yoruba history and culture. Our commitment on this project is unshaken and we are monitoring the contractor, which has committed itself to the delivery of the project.”
Sanwo-Olu disclosed that the State Government was already in discussion with arts and culture organisations and professionals, including national museum, British Museum, and private Arts collectors on the availability of compendiums and collection of works documenting the rich history of Yoruba and their arts in the Centre.
He said the revival of the Centre would reinvigorate tourism in the State, stressing that the Board had been empowered with administrative authority to engage both local and international players in arts and culture in conversations that would make the Centre realise its mandate.
He said: “We are not leaving anything behind to ensure the J.K. Randle Centre becomes an international destination for local and foreign tourists to learn about old and contemporary cultural heritage of the Yoruba. The Centre is sited on a location that is accessible and it provides the ambience for people to learn.
“The building of the Centre also fits into our overall global objective in Arts, Culture and Tourism. We recently launched our 20-year Arts and Tourism master plan and delivering the Centre would help bring our strategy to making Lagos a tourism destination a reality.”
Sanwo-Olu said the inclusion of private sector players in the Board was to provide a robust platform for engagement that would put the Centre on the world map. He charged members of the Board to bring their wealth of experience to bear as they serve in the capacity.
Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, presented the Board members to the Governor and urged them to justify their appointments.
Secretary to the State Government, Mrs. Folashade Jaji is the Vice Chairman of the Board, while the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs. Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi is the Secretary.
Other members are Mrs Olubunmi Osiewu (Treasurer), Mrs. Polly Alakija, Chief Euzebio Babajide Damazio, and Mr. Abdul-Rafiu Babatunde Adewale.