Lagos - A popular comedian, AY (Ayo Makun), on Friday urged the federal government to set up a ministry to oversee the booming entertainment industry in the country.
AY said in Lagos that the entertainment industry was too big to be put under the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism and described the entertainment industry as "huge."
"It’s for a special ministry to be put in place; the industry is too big to be under Arts, Culture and Tourism. Because Nollywood alone is an entire industry, is a very huge industry.
"Then, before you narrow it down to music and before you take it to the comedy sector and other forms of entertainment.
"I am of the opinion that if the government decides to set up an entertainment ministry, it should put people who have paid their dues in the same industry.
"People who know and who understand the needs of the industry, to run it, it will be a plus.
"I am not an advocate of those who just cry `I am an entertainer; we need help; I am a youth on the street; government should come to our aid’.’’
He said that taking the shows outside Nigeria was an idea that came about because there was the need to export the comedy brand.
AY said that Nigerians who lived in overseas should enjoy the Nigerian brand of comedy.
He, however, identified transportation as a major issue, saying that airlines were not always ready to partner with professionals in the entertainment industry.
"In the area of transportation, we hardly get the airline companies assist unlike before.
"If government really wants to help young people with talents, the requirements should conform to them.
"You don’t put up a requirement that a Dangote would be in position to meet up to before there would be access. Then you are not helping them.
"If government can implement that, trust me, a lot of people are going to go off the streets and be useful not to just themselves, but to society and to government.
"So they won’t have all the time to be criticising government because they would know that government has played a role in their lives. So what have you done to give back to society?
"I am not an advocate of wait for government to do everything for you. I believe that when you are making visible efforts it should be recognised and you are compensated."
AY first appeared on the Nigerian comedy scene in 2006.
He owns various comedy brands including the AY Show; AY’s Crib – a Sitcom; the annual Easter Day comedy and a music show, AY Live.