Ekiti State government has promised to continue in its quest to make the interest of art and culture premier priorities in the state. This is coming just as the Ekiti State Council of Art and Culture plans for a festival of art and culture in December.
Against this background, the council organised the first Ekiti State Art and Culture forum, with the theme: “Art and culture for economic prosperity.”
At the forum in Ado Ekiti, Governor Kayode Fayemi said his administration believed in arts and culture as a viable tool for socio-economic revival of society. The governor, represented by the head of service, Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi, said it was on the basis that the administration organised a well-attended cultural expository and exhibition programme immediately it took over power in the state.
While congratulating the state Council for Arts and Culture for working in line with the vision for which the council was established, Fayemi explained that, “It is a known fact that one of the major causes of our current economic woes in Nigeria is that those within the productive age, who also have the capacity to contribute immensely in improving the economy, are either doing far less than necessary or directing their energy wrongly into areas that do not impact meaningfully on the economy. It is consequent upon the understanding of the immense capacity of the arts and culture sector, to impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of the people, that this administration has continued to ensure adequate commitment, both in budgetary considerations and approval of funds, to the creative sector as symbolized by the council.”
The governor stated that little or no attention was paid by the past administration into productive engagement of artisans, adding that the situation had a frustrating effect on the entire creative workforce of the state.
In her remarks, the Ekiti State First Lady, Bisi Fayemi, while congratulating the Council for Arts and Culture on organising the forum, said the programme was the type of interface that could bring about the timely achievement of transformational agenda of government. She pledged her support for art and culture as the state prepares for its festival of art and culture in December. Mrs. Fayemi stated that after the tragic interlude, during which the arts and culture sector suffered a backward plunge, the Fayemi administration for the second time is breaking the façade of inactivity within the sector through the commendable initiative. She pointed out that the strategy of open interaction with the stakeholders is another way of making them part of governance by pointing out to government their basic challenges. According to her, “the knowledge that would be gained would go a long way in widening their horizon on how to effectively access available opportunities that would make them prosper by their trades and innate talents.”
“Arts and culture has been one of the prime areas that the Fayemi administration has given attention. This is why the administration in its first tenure established the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism as well as the Council for Arts and Culture to harness the great potentials of Ekiti people in Arts and Crafts, develop and market them towards attracting economic prosperity to the people. That was the time the idea of a flagship festival known as the Ekiti State Festival of Culture and Arts Expo (EKIFEST) came up and the state celebrated 2012 and 2013 in a grand style.”
In his welcome address, the director-general of Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. Wale Ojo-Lanre, stated that the forum was another great milestone in the efforts of the Fayemi administration to reposition government towards being responsive to the yearnings of the people and the need to make people optimally responsible by complimenting the efforts of government leveraging on their God-given talents, acquired skills and crafts.