The Minister of Art, Culture, and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, has sought the support of the Nobel laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, in providing strategies for the promotion and preservation of literary art in the country.

Musawa, who paid a courtesy visit to the playwright at the weekend, said the sector needed to tap into the wealth of experience of Soyinka in promoting the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria.

“It is an honour to share my vision for the development of the arts, culture, and creative economy with the Nobel laureate. The purpose of this visit is to invite you to share your invaluable experience with us, including insights, guidance, and advice on how to add to the development of literary arts in the country.

“This is the first time that we are having a ministry created specifically for this sector which is the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Creative Economy. Nigeria has a huge cultural content including music, films, fashion and literary arts of which our priorities include the preservation of literary works. This, we intend carrying out by formulating policies that will ward off piracy and plagiarism,” a statement by the minister’s media aide, NnekaAnibeze, quoted her to have told Soyinka.

The minister noted that “Nigeria boasts of great writers like Soyinka, the late Prof. Chinua Achebe, Chimamanda Adichie, Prof. Okey Ndibe and many others”.

“We will be happy to see Prof Soyinka lead the way on these strategies. We look unto your antecedents for initiatives to encourage the younger generation to embrace and celebrate their cultural identity,” she added.

Responding, the literary icon expressed delight in the visit, describing his interest in culture and literary arts as a comparative one.

While calling for a conscious effort to preserve the culture and tradition of the Nigerian people, Soyinka said: “Culture is interrelated and inter-connected with different other cultures, so culture is universal.

“Nigerians are faced with diverse issues due to the neglect of heritages and monuments. We need to promote indigenous languages and cultures to preserve morals and values across the country.”

The playwright maintained that a performing artist was at a disadvantage because his resources were limited, saying all an actor could do was to join forces.

Soyinka also called for the return of all looted works, stating that would return the spirituality of Africans to them as a people.

“Nigeria boasts of writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, and artists who believe in opening up certain horizons for human striving. I am an artist and a producer, a creative person, and I like to go into galleries, listen to music and read books.

“The arts are the material expression of the people’s essence, of their spirituality, and of their dignity. Return the spirituality to Africa by returning all the looted works,” Soyinka said.