The race for the forthcoming general election of Association of Nigerian Theatre Art Practitioners (ANTP) has taken a new twist, with a top member of the association, Comrade Victor Ashaolu, announcing his aspiration to be president, claiming he is the much-needed ‘Messiah’.

Ashaolu, an administrator, instructor, actor and former national secretary-general of ANTP, claims to be primarily committed to the welfare of all members as well as the association’s rapid, social, political and professional development.

Speaking with, the theatre arts graduate from the University of Ibadan, said he is the most popular candidate in the forthcoming election.

He said, apart from conceiving an idea to establish an institution to be named ANTP Alarinjo Arts Movement and Foundation, which will protect members’ rights, he is also set to restructure the marketing of films produced in Nigeria.

Ashaolu, who has served the association in various capacities in the past, added that his prowess in public administration is a unique quality that can catapult the industry to greater heights.

“I do not see the office of the national president as a stepping-stone to prestige or glory, rather, I believe that ANTP has reached a stage where dedication, hard work and sacrifice must become the key factors in national leadership.

“Only a few members of ANTP can compete with me in the field of theatre arts. I am decisive and do not shy away from difficult assignments.

“I am a detribalised Ijesha man with a great talent of taking people to their desired position. I am the Messiah ANTP needs,” he said, adding that the ailing movie industry in Nigeria must be salvaged from retrogression.

“ It’s time the real administrators take over the mantle of leadership.

“This is our industry. This is where most of us earn a living and we cannot afford to watch it die. It is time we concerned members with experience in public administration, take over,” Ashaolu affirmed.

However, the outgoing president of ANTP, Prince Jide Kosoko, has promised to write his name in gold while leaving office either in December, this year or January 2010, by organising a free and fair election.