CONTINGENTS from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory are presently in Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State Capital, for the 34th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), which kicked-off on Monday, November 15, at Ekiti Parapo Pavilion.
Declaring the cultural fiesta with the Theme, “Celebrating National Unity in Diversity”, open, Ekiti State Governor and Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), Kayode Fayemi, described the annual cultural event as a vital tool for integration, unity, economic prosperity and political stability of the country..
Dr. Fayemi maintained that the current economic and political state of the country requires concerted efforts and investment in arts and culture to give room for the expression of talents, promotion of unity of the country in its diversity and harnessing human potentials for economic prosperity.
The governor who stressed the importance of culture in national development and economic growth, said culture impacts on economic growth by strengthening social virtues, creating trust which facilitates relationships and inspiring motivation that stimulates entrepreneurship.
“We know and understand that culture is one of the main pillars of development, for without culture, it is certain that development would be greatly hindered. The critical state of our nation requires that efforts be intensified to revive our diverse culture and enhance the potential of our arts to ensure social and political stability, both of which hinge on the viability of the economy.
The Governor said that his administration in Ekiti has taken arts and culture beyond mere performance to the realm of cultural re-orientation, attitudinal change, value orientation and its integration into the state’s educational curriculum to be taught at primary and post primary level.
Speaking at the event, the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runwese, commended Governor Fayemi for not only demonstrating strong political will in hosting this year NAFEST but for also mobilizing government apparatus to take active role in ensuring the success of the event.
He said that this year’s event would feature several competition including tales by moonlight, drama, traditional board games, children’s drawing and painting, children’s essay writing, traditional cuisines, archery, indigenous fabric and fashion and cultural market display where winners would be given prizes and award.
Otunba Runwese added that participants would also have opportunity to visit the rich cultural tourist centres in the state like the popular Ikogosi warm spring, Arinta water fall, Fajuyi park and amusement, Ogun Onire groove and others in the course of the week- long event.
The contingents at the opening ceremony, observed a cultural parade that reflected their rich cultural heritage in colourful attires and peculiar cultural instruments. There was also the staging of a melodious drama titled “Children of the rolling hills” that was orchestrated by the Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi.
Dignatries at the event were the; Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi; Speaker of Ekiti State House of Assembly, Funminiyi Afuye; Secretary to the State Government, Biodun Oyebanji; Head of Service, Mrs Peju Babafemi, Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Prof Rasak Ojo Bakare and his counterparts from the states of the federation and the FCT among others