AS Benin City, Edo State capital hands the baton to Plateau State, the next host of the 2020 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture, Nigerians agreed that Benin delivered on its pedigree as the citadel of culture the world over.
The consensus was reached by eminent personalities who participated in the event like the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other senior government officials, industry stakeholders, representatives from at least 30 states, traditional leaders and media practitioners from across the country. An unprecedented 30-state contingent featured at the cultural fiesta with Rivers emerging best overall after putting up a fantastic showing. The week-long event came to a grand close on October 26, amidst showers of blessing with many privileged to attend attesting to the fact that the festival assumed a complete royal complexion as Benin hosted for the first time in history.
The festival also coincided with the 3rd year coronation anniversary of the Oba of Benin, Ewuare 11, who against centuries- held traditions of the monarchy, participated personally in several activities lined up by the National Council for Arts and Culture to make NAFEST 2019 truly memorable. Speaking during the closing ceremony held at the University of Benin sports complex, the Director General of NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe extolled the ancient city for hosting a successful festival saying, Edo people are very hospitable and ever smiling. I must say that I am yet to meet one ugly Edo person.” The director general who has become a special friend of the Oba, congratulated all state delegations and Nigerians for using the cultural platform to continually promote unity and peace. On his part, the Edo Sate Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu who represented Governor Godwin Obaseki said Benin has made a bold statement by successfully hosting NAFEST 2019 and setting a new precedent in royalty, culture and national integration.The festival with the theme: Our Royalty, Our Pride is one of the flagship programmes of the National Council for Arts and Culture and had an array of events such as free skills acquisition, competitions, royal golf tournament, command performances, traditional cuisines, traditional wrestling and many more interesting activities.