Impressed with the doggedness, organisation, perseverance and innovations brought to bear on Nigeria’s cultural economy despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Plateau State governor, Simon Bako Lalong, has described Otunba Segun Runsewe, the director-general of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), as the authentic cultural ambassador of Nigeria.
Governor Lalong declared that Runsewe’s innovative spirit and determination have placed culture on the front burner of national discourse, ensuring that NAFEST, Nigeria’s cultural festival, holds despite the pandemic.
“I can’t but salute the courage and perseverance of the DG of NCAC and president of World Craft Council, Africa region, and everyone of you for trying to help us to activate the new normal, as the pandemic will be with us for a while” the governor ssaid.
Speaking at opening ceremony of the stakeholders’ meeting on NAFEST 2020 slated for Jos, Plateau State, from November 21 to 28, Governor Lalong noted that the state had put in place machinery to ensure te NAFEST 2020 will be successful.
“We shall leave no stone unturned to guarantee the safety of the delegates and visitors, most importantly, at the end, share our dream of friendship, partnership and national unity with participants, willing ambassadors of Plateau tourism and hospitality,” the governor said.
Represented by the permanent secretary, Plateau State Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, Mrs. Martha Joseph Azi, Governor Lalong explained that Plateau hosted NAFEST 24 years ago, and the 2020 edition would help birth and showcase the rich cultural heritage of the people and the giant strides of his administration to ensure peace on the Plateau and the enthronement of enabling environment for cultural tourism businesses to thrive.
“We are aware that hosting events such as NAFEST can bring about improvement in the socioeconomic engagement of our people, boost cultural tourism, which is the main component of our God-given endowment,” he further explained.
While urging participants to adhere strictly to COVID-19 safety protocols, the governor stressedreiterated that the state government would ensure that festival in Jos will comply with all directives and advice the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 and that of NCDC to prevent the spread of the pandemic: “We shall deploy all relevant health service providers, provide adequate health information to guide participants and visitors and the emplacement of necessary measures to ensure total compliance.”
The theme for the 33rd edition of NAFEST, Jos 2020, is “Post-COVID-19 and Cultural Dynamism.”
NAFEST, hosting under the watch of Runsewe’s CAC, is bidded for and rotated among the 36 states of the federation.