The Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has explained that the Land of Honour is hosting this year’s National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to showcase the Ekiti cultural heritage to the whole world and for investors to tap into its abundant economic potentials.
Fayemi said his administration also accepted to host the national cultural fiesta in November to further encourage creativity in the tourism sector and to create a viable platform and market for young people in creative enterprises.
Represented by the Deputy Governor, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi, the Governor spoke on Tuesday while addressing delegates at the 52nd National Technical Stakeholders’ Meeting of the Chief Executives of Culture in Nigeria.
According to a statement by the Special Assistant (Media), Odunayo Ogunmola, NAFEST 2021, which has its theme as “Celebrating National Unity in Diversity” will hold in Ado Ekiti between 13th and 20th November.
The Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe and State Directors of Culture and other delegates from the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory are participating at the four-day event holding at the Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex, Ado Ekiti.
Describing the state as the most suitable place to host a national programme of such magnitude, Dr Fayemi noted that Ekiti was awarded the hosting right because of its reputation as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria which has one of the most hospitable people in the world.
The Governor who noted that his administration has always given priority attention to culture and tourism expressed delight that NAFEST will provide the opportunity for Nigerians to appreciate the role of culture in promoting national unity and integration.
He charged stakeholders to use the meeting as a preparatory ground for s most eventful festival which will create windows of investment opportunities for the economic growth of not only Ekiti State but Nigeria as a whole.
Fayemi said: “As a nation, we need to appreciate the dynamic nature of our cultures and acknowledge NAFEST as veritable platform to further celebrate our unity in diversity.
“I therefore urge you to focus more on how we can redirect cultural activities towards revenue generation. We need to effectively tap into the economic potential of our cultural heritage and improve our grassroots development.
“It is important to say at this juncture, that our government is encouraging creativity in the tourism sector of the state. We now have young people in tourism businesses as well as creative enterprises.”
Apparently impressed by its breathtaking performance, the NCAC DG, Otunba Runsewe, disclosed the readiness of his agency to sponsor the Ekiti State Cultural Troupe to international cultural events outside the country.
Otunba Runsewe said Ekiti State under the leadership of Governor Fayemi, has proved its readiness to offer something remarkable to the national and global audience with the level of preparation to host the NAFEST.
He described the festival as one of the measures to cement the unity and harmony of the country as it is an avenue to showcase cultures and traditions of the various ethnic groups spread across the 36 states of the federation.
NCAC boss said: “In Brazil for example, people pay for what we have seen in Ekiti State today. We will take Ekiti Cultural Troupe to sell our culture outside our country. We should market our cultural heritage to the world, we must value what we have.
“Our country can be great again and culture is one of the platforms we can use to make it great again.”
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Ekiti State, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare, showered encomiums on Governor Kayode Fayemi for investing heavily in the sector which has launched the state on the global cultural map.
Prof. Bakare assured the delegates that “Ekiti State is 100 per cent ready to play host to both the nation as well as the tourism and culture publics across the world.”
He disclosed that the Governor and his wife, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, have fully thrown their weight behind hosting the national cultural fiesta noting that the state stands to reap bountiful benefits from NAFEST 2021.