If you want to have an idea of the deplorable situation of the Agbowo Shopping Complex Ibadan, a visit to the once upon a time Baba Sala Cinema inside the state owned Shopping Mall will give you a vivid idea of how wasteful government can become when maintenance of public institution is not part and core of its policies.
The late theatre legend and comedy icon Dr Moses Olaiya Adejumo managed the Baba Sala Cinema during his lifetime before he was frustrated out of the place due to arbitrary increase in the rent without commensurate maintenance couple with non-provision of basic amenities at the Mall even at a time when the economy was experiencing serious turbulence during the Political upheaval of June 12.
IbadanCity Announcer visited the Agbowo Shopping complex, opposite the University of Ibadan, we decided to check out the current state of the Baba Sala cinema but met the place in a terrible state, dusty, unkempt and dilapidated. The once upon a time hotspot for fun lovers, entertainers and many cinema goers from different parts of the world was desolate and we had to walk tip-toe to avoid stepping on human wastes both fresh and stale, laid from the bottom of the staircase leading up to the verandah, the entrance and inside the abandoned cinema.
Though the Agbowo shopping complex is owned by the Oyo State government under the management of the Oyo state Housing Corporations, this facility was made popular by the foremost comedy merchant Baba Sala theatre troupe until combination of factors made this facility moribund.
After the demise of the Baba Sala cinema, a Pentecostal Church took over the abandoned building and used it for a while as their place of worship before they also left the building which has not been occupied for more than 8 years now.
The sorry state of this public infrastructure speaks to the very ludicrous and unfortunate maintenance culture in this part of the world. The power supply has been cut off not just to the cinema but the entire Agbowo Shopping Complex, the cinema hall like other stores was in total darkness with disjointed sitting arrangement, the chairs were soaked in dust while the cinema screen have been removed completely, virtually all the doors within the cinema complex have been vandalized.
The Oyo State government can revamp this facility and privatize it for optimum usage. Private establishment can also take this up. We cannot afford to continually waste our commonwealth.
Since this facility was made popular by Baba Sala, the government can honour the name of the prominent comedian by revamping and re-branding the facility and name the cinema hall after the entertainment icon.
Report and Pictures By Adefarati Abiodun