|Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture.|
With the newly announced appointments of Director-Generals for both National Gallery of Art (NGA) and National Commission for Museums and Monuments (NCMM), the anticipated merger of the two government agencies under Ministry of Information and Culture may have been suspended.
Among the list of new appointments announced by the Federal Government on Tuesday are Mr Ebeten William Ivara and Prof Abba Isa Tijani as D-Gs of NGA and NCMM respectively. Ivara replaces Dr Simon Ikpakronyi while Prof Tijani takes over from Mr Kadiri Abdulkareem.
In 2014, under Dr Goodluck Jonathan regime, FG announced its intention to implement the White Paper on Stephen Oronsanye-led Presidential Committee on the Restructuring and Rationalisation of parastatals, commissions and agencies. The NGA-NCMM merger was listed among others, but the implementation did not take place. In May 2020, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government revisited the merger issue, citing lean budget and set up a committee for the implementation of the much-awaited merger.
However, in announcing the new Chief Executive Officers for nine agencies under the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, this week, there was silence on the proposed-merger. Yesterday, some members of staff from both NGA and NCMM disclosed that since the FG revisited the merger few months ago, nothing seems to have happened so far. A director in one of the departments at NGA who did not want his name mentioned specifically said: "we have not seen any signs that the merger process is on going." He added that "the committee set up for the implementation has not visited NGA; we don't even know any of them." Also, a management source at NCMM was asked if any work-in-progress about the merger has happened so far. He simply replied: "No."
Indeed, if the planned-merger were actually meant to take off as intended, why a new D-G for NGA? "It's a confussion really," one of the management staffs argued. He suspected that the merger "may have been suspended." The new appointments, according to the government, will take effect from September 1 2020.
Other new appointments announced by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed include: Mr Buki Ponle, Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN); Mr Nura Sani Kangiwa D-G, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism; Mr Francis Ndubuisi Nwosu, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Press Council (NPC); Mr Olalekan Fadolapo, Registrar/CEO of Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON); Prof Sunday Enessi Ododo, General Manager/CEO, National Theatre; Mr Ado Mohammed Yahuza, Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO); and Mrs Oluwabunmi Ayobami Amao, D-G, Centre For Black And African Arts And Civilization (CBAAC).