As part of the sensitization strategies for the forthcoming Edo State Festival of Arts, Culture and Tourism tagged, â€œEDOFEST 2009â€ coming up some time in November this year, the Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism has commenced his sensitization visit to the 18 Local Government councils of Edo State, beginning with Edo South, Edo Central and North Senatorial Districts, to formally intimate them with plans for EDOFEST 2009 and to solicit for their co-operation and support.
The team which was led by Hon.Vincent Akhere, Commissioner for Arts Culture and Tourism, who is also Chairman of the Edo Organising Committee (E.O.C.), had notable culture consultants like Rich Art Media Representative, Representative of Broadside Investment Limited. Hon. Victor Osareren, Representatives of Foundation for the Protection of Benin Heritage and Relics, Nollywood super stars like Mr Alex Osifo, Mr Sam Obeakheme, Lancelot Oduwa Imasuen and Francis Duru as well as Ministry Officials.
The first port of call was the Office of the Chairman of Uhunmwode Local Government Council, where the Commissioner lamented the dearth of cultural activities in the State, which according to him had become moribund and comatose. He told the Council Chairman that the festival was put together to revive Edo State cultural heritage as well as have a common point for the unity of the people.
He also informed him that the project has received the full blessing of the Comrade Governor Adams Oshiomhole, the Oba of Benin, Otaru of Auchi, Okaijesan of Esan Land and other traditional rulers in the state and that within the next few days, the EdoFest Organising Committee (E.O.C.) would be inaugurated.
Commissioner Akhere also used the opportunity to solicit for the support of the local government council towards the success of the festival as they also have a lot to gain in the long run, by way of identifying tourist sites in the area for the primary purpose of attracting UNESCOâ€™s recognition and funding.
In his response, the Chairman of Uhunmwode Local Government Council, Hon. Obazee, who led his councillors and other local government officials to receive the EDOFEST Team thanked the Commissioner for the noble initiative which he said was novel and timely, as the Edo people will once more relive their culture, which was part of their existence. He assured of his Councilâ€™s support at all times to ensure a successful festival.
The story was not different at Uromi, the headquarters of Esan North East Local Government Council, where the team met with the Chairman, Hon. John Yakubu, who lauded the initiative and assured Commissioner Akhere and his team of his councilâ€™s preparedness to support EDOFEST, but said that though resources to the Local Governments were lean, that his council will support within the limits of available resources.
The Commissioner also took his tour to Esan Central Local Government and Etsako Central Local Government Councils respectively. At Etsako Central, the Chairman pledged his support to EdoFest and noted that it was coming at a time when the State was ready to witness a great transformation and wear a new look in terms of roads and beautification, noting that guests at EDOFEST will be delighted at the colouration of the cultural fiesta.
Commissioner Akhere gave hint that Governor Oshiomhole has approved the renovation of Sam Ogbemudia Stadiium and Oba Akenzua II Cultural Centre, in preparation for the festival. Other venues also to be renovated for use according to him includes the National Museum, Benin City and Obaâ€™s Palace, Benin City for which His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Benin has given his blessings.