The Lagos State Government on Thursday inaugurated the Board of Trustees (BoT) for the J.K. Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History to restore the lost glory of the centre.
Speaking during the inauguration ceremony in Lagos House, Ikeja, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is the Chairman of the Board, pledged to make the centre a critical reference point for Yoruba culture and arts.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the seven-member board was set up to revive tourism and engender cultural renaissance in Lagos.
The board comprised four government officials and three professionals from the private sector.
He said the constitution of the Trustees was imperative, given the near completion of the reconstruction work on the centre located at Onikan area of the state.
The centre, originally built in 1928, used to serve as a hub for cultural tourism, recreation and entertainment. Its reconstruction started in 2018.
The governor said his administration’s commitment toward bringing the centre back to life remained unshaken as the government had set the completion deadline for the contractor handling the reconstruction work.
“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.
“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 will be second to none in the documentation of Yoruba history and culture,” he said.
Mr Sanwo-Olu said the state government was already in discussion with arts and culture organisations and professionals.
He said that discussions were on with the 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.
According to him, the revival of the centre will reinvigorate tourism in the state, as the board will engage both local and international players in arts and culture in conversations that will make the centre realise its mandate.
‘“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 will help bring our strategy to making Lagos a tourism destination a reality,” he said.
According to Mr Sanwo-Olu, the inclusion of private sector players in the board is to provide a robust platform for engagement that will put the centre on the world map.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, presented the board members to the governor and urged them to justify their appointments.
Newsmen report that the Secretary to the State Government, Folashade Jaji, is the Vice Chairman of the board, while the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi is the Secretary.
Other members include Olubunmi Osiewu (Treasurer), Polly Alakija, Euzebio Damazio and Abdul-Rafiu Adewale.