REX LAWSON CULTURAL CENTRE: A PRIDE OF PLACE FOR TRADITION
It is said that culture is the way of life of a people. The Rex Lawson Cultural Centre was initiated for that purpose. To promote the culture, tradition and philosophy of Rivers people.
It was situated at the heart of the Old Port Harcourt Township. Granted, that the construction was started by the immediate past Amaechi administration. But, in their character, they abandoned this laudable project after three years of block work.
They stopped the funding of the project and channelled all resources to funding APC National Campaign. Therefore, the minimal structure they had erected became a robber’s hide-out, a security threat to the Old Port Harcourt Township. It was embarrassing that the immediate past Amaechi administration neglected this project despite the huge resources at her disposal.
Upon assumption of office, Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike called for the project situation report. Upon evaluation, he invited the contractor for negotiation. The negotiation led to the return of the contractor to site.
Governor Wike directed the dedicated funding of the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre. The governor backed the funding of the project by regular supervisory visits to the site. These supervisory visits ensured the timely completion of the edifice. It was delivered after 120 days of sustained construction.
Considered the best cultural centre south of the Sahara, the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre has exciting modern facilities to promote arts, culture and tradition.
The Rivers State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mrs Tonye Oniyide explained the situation thus: “A structure like this that could not be delivered for eight years due to irregular funding was delivered in 120days”.
Facilities at the edifice include: International standing lighting, sound project systems, ambience simulator, artistic environment all structured for outstanding cultural pleasure.
According to the Culture and Tourism Commissioner, the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre has a touch of French, British and American architecture, steeped in traditional Nigerian planning. The international outlook is designed to stage national and international events at the facility.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (m), Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi (r) and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi during the commissioning of the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre
To optimise pleasurable experience, the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre has an ice cream bay, popcorn centre, restaurant, 4000 gallon water reservoir, Governor’s Lounge, light projector system, fire room, 48 restrooms, central air-conditions, 1200 square metre stage and 1800 sitting capacity.
Fundamentally, this facility has changed the landscape of old Port Harcourt Township. Governor Wike stated that by reason of its completion, a profound urban renewal will take place in the adjoining area. To begin with, the popular Dame Patience Jonathan Road (Former Creek Road) has been reconstructed. The Bonny-Bille-Nembe Jetty is almost completed. The Creek Road Market is already being designed.
There is the job component of the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre. The Rivers State Government has resolved to lease out the management of the edifice for the creation of employment opportunities and sustainability.
The beauty of the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre was highlighted shortly after the project was commissioned by the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi . Artistes displayed their artistry on stage to the admiration of a select audience and all the facilities were put in motion for the viewing pleasure of the select audience. For forty minutes performing artistes, comedians and musicians exhibited their talents.
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (r) and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi during the commissioning of the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre.
Commissioning the project, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi lauded the Rivers State Governor for promoting culture, tourism and tradition through the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre.
He praised Governor Wike for working for the ordinary people, a situation which has made him very close to the people
He noted that he is proud to be associated with Governor Wike because of the governor’s love for Rivers people. He urged other governors to emulate the Rivers State Governor.
“Your Excellency, God will continue to be with you. God will continue to be with the good people of Rivers State. How many leaders can execute and commission projects so close to the people? How many leaders can stand tall and speak so close to the people.
“Today, I am very proud to be associated with Mr Projects, the governor of Rivers State for the love he has for his people. I want other governors to learn from him”, the Ooni of Ife said.
Ebonyi State Governor, Engr David Umahi who witnessed the commissioning of the Rex Lawson Cultural Centre declared that he will replicate same in Abakiliki.
Visioner and Nigeria’s best performing governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike noted that his administration’s decision to complete the project stems from its relevance to the promotion of culture and tradition. Upon renaming the edifice, Governor Wike outlined why the State Government chose to honour Rex Lawson.
He noted that the new name is to immortalise the legendary musician whose music promoted Rivers State and brought joy to the people. Rex Lawson is best known for quality High Life songs that ruled the airwaves for many years.
Governor Wike said that the Cultural Centre was abandoned by the past Amaechi administration, but his administration resolved to complete the project because of its importance to the state. The Rex Lawson Cultural Centre represents Governor Wike’s commitment to the comprehensive development of the state. From sports to infrastructure to education, healthcare, judiciary and now cultural development, Governor Wike has shown that Rivers State will accommodate all shades in the evolution of a New Rivers State.
Published by Akudo for|wakeupafrica360
Pictures by Simeon Nwakaudu