Tony Osauzo and Lucky Ighomuaye, Benin
Edo Governor, Godwin Obaseki, yesterday, commended participants from the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory for participating in the 2019 National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) being hosted by the state for the first time since it was initiated 40 years ago.
He gave the commendation when he declaried the ceremony themed: “Our Royalty, Our Pride” open at the University of Benin Mini Stadium Benin City.
Obaseki said history has finally been made as the festival has been brought to the home of culture for the first time. He noted that the importance of culture as a veritable tool for national development cannot be over-emphasied.
“Is Edo not the home of culture in Nigeria? Is Edo not the home of culture in Africa? For the first time, we are hosting this event, is Edo not the home of culture?” he asked rhetorically.
Listing the various activities lined up for the event and their venues, Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Osemwingie Ero, said the governor has carefully chosen Igun Street as one of the places that the ceremony will take place due to its significance to the history of the Benin Kingdom.
He said the governor was pushing for the return of the Benin stolen artifacts during the 1897 invasion of the empire by the British.
He assured the contingents of a peaceful hosting as the state is known as the home of culture.
Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said the day was not for speech making but to be merry, adding “God loves Nigeria.”