Prince Chris Ogan, a partner at Jadeas Trust Consortium, managing the National Art Theatre, has described the proposed takeover of the National Art Theatre by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers Committee, as a breach of contract.
Ogan said the decision breaches due process. According to him, the conclusion of the Presidency on the takeover came as a surprise because the government was involved in the mediation that resulted in the Memorandum of Understanding between the bidders for the National Art Theatre.
Nairametrics had reported that the Federal Government gave approval to the CBN and the Bankers Committee to reconstruct the National Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, into a world-class convention centre. The development is meant to boost the growth of the creative sector in diverse areas like entertainment, movie, music, fashion, and ICT.
CBN defended FG’s decision: After the Presidency’s approval, the Governor of CBN, Godwin Emefiele, said under the CBN Creative Industry Financing Initiative, the National Art Theatre would be 10 times the size of the Convention Center in Peru when fully developed.
Clause and contract breach: In an interview with The Nation, Ogan said the only clause is if the consortium is unable to fund the project after two years of signing the concession agreement. But this takeover implies the government and CBN are trampling over the laudable outcome.
“The Federal Government agencies responsible for the privatisation/concessioning of Federal Government assets are the BPE and ICRC, under the supervision of the National Council on Privatisation, chaired by the Vice President.
“None of these agencies and even the Ministry of Culture and Board of the National Theatre are aware of the purported takeover of the asset by the CBN. The only clause is if the consortium is unable to fund the project after two years of signing the concession agreement. What the CBN Governor is purporting to do under the guise of “ the Presidency “ is a breach of due process and particularly surprising given the stance of the Presidency on respect for probity and rule of law.
“Given that the Presidency was responsible for the mediation that resulted in the MoU between the two preferred bidders, we do not believe they will in good conscience trample over the laudable outcome of a process which they were instrumental in midwifing,” Ogan said.
“One of the consortiums which enjoy an internationally recognised expertise in providing innovative platforms for the creative and digital industries, received a grant from the World Bank to provide business development support to the over 60 SMEs in the creative industries that work out of the Artists Village of the NCAC. Meanwhile, the other has been able to raise over $2b for the project.”