There is brouhaha going on in Rivers state entertainment industry now as the sitting Commissioner of Culture and Tourism Mrs Tonye Oniyide is locked in a battle of words between her office and a faction of Rivers State chapter of Performing Employers Musicians Association of Nigeria-PMAN over how events should be hosted in Rivers state.
What began like a normal Government announcement coming from the office of the Permanent Secretary Mr Michael Ejiohuo Ministry of Culture & Tourism signed on behalf of the Honourable Commissioner Rivers state Ministry of Culture and Tourism states Thus “It has come to our notice that entrepreneurs in the entertainment and hospitality sector of the state, as well as some corporate organizations, have formed the habit of hosting, promoting and or sponsoring events without the knowledge of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Rivers State.
“This trend has led to hosting of entertainment and hospitality events in the state in less dignifying venues, lacking in quality and leading to a total disregard for regulations in these sectors. Accordingly, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture for Culture and Tourism, Mrs Tonye Briggs-Oniyide, has directed that all entertainment and hospitality events to be hosted or promoted in all 23 local Government Areas of the state, should be conducted with the consent of the Ministry of Culture & Tourism, Rivers state effective from Sunday 1st January, 2017.”
As if that warning was not enough the office of Mrs Tonye Briggs-Oniyide strenuously stated thus ” All entertainment and Hospitality centers in Rivers state are hereby advised to Demand for written Permission from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Rivers state before admitting any entertainment or Hospitality event into its facility. Also all media/broadcast organization in Rivers state are hereby advised to demand for a written Permission from Ministry (of Culture & Tourism) before airing promotional materials in respect of any entertainment /hospitality event in the state. In the light of the above, all entertainment/hospitality entrepreneurs planning to host,sponsor or promote an event in the remaining days of December 2016 should kindly approach the Ministry of Culture & Tourism for written Clearance.”
For the commissioner Mrs Tonye Briggs-Oniyide and event promoters, it is sad days ahead for entertainmnet practitioners in Rivers state as she further concluded her threat saying ” Entertainment/hospitality event hosts,promoters, or media/broadcast organisations are advised to adhere to this directive as the Ministry will penalize any act of disobedience”.
Trust the Nollywood actress Mrs Hildah Dokubo and other factional members of PMAN in Rivers state who went to work talking several members of Rivers state executive Government telling them how draconian the new law is without the backing of Rivers state House of Assembly. This lacuna was said to have jolted the Honourable Commissioner for Culture & Tourism Mrs Tonye Briggs-Oniyide who it was gathered feared that if any litigation up her political career may suffer greatly. There was several horse trading and lobbying in the entertainment industry verses the Government officials.
However the matter was resolved without any fist-cuff blows being heard from any quarter and people like Mrs Hildah Dokubo who owns and runs a creative school in Port Harcourt and her supporters in PMAN it was learnt hissed sigh of relief as that draconian Law without the backing of any legislative accent immediately thrown to the dustbin before it could hit the ordinary citizens thereby killing the entertainment industry in Rivers State.