By OSA AMADI
Malam Nasir el-Rufai, Kaduna State governor, has high regards for arts and culture. He believes that “arts and culture form the core values of people’s being and the essence of their existence.” This must have influenced his offer to host the 2017 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) shortly after successfully hosting the 2017 Kaduna State Festival of Arts and Culture, KADFEST.
This year’s NAFEST, scheduled to hold from October 14 to October 21, 2017, will be the 30th edition and expected to record good success. This great expectation has also been hinted by the DG of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe, who had recently toured the Kaduna International Trade Fare Complex, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Conference Centre with an Ultra-modern Theatre, amongst other impressive facilities, and optimistically concluded that Kaduna is ready to deliver and also take advantage of the huge opportunities NAFEST will throw up.
The aim, according to the NCAC chief, is to use Kaduna as a benchmark and a model for other states to start harnessing their respective cultural potentials which would translate to job creation and massive economic gains for Nigeria.
Some of the outstanding attractions in Kaduna include the Emir’s Palace, Zaria, opposite the central mosque. The cultural artifacts and architectural designs in the palace are unique. There is also the City Wall, Zaria, which is probably the best preserved among the cities of northern Nigeria. The walls, between 14 and 16km long with 8 gates, were constructed during the reigns of Queen Amina.
Of historical importance too is the Amalgamation House, the building where the colonial governor, Lord Lugard, amalgamated the Northern and Southern Protectorates in 1914. It is said to be also where cease-fire was declared in 1970 to end the Nigeria Civil War. Located opposite the Amalgamation House is Lord Lugard’s Residence, a one-storey cottage where Lord Lugard lived during the amalgamation period.
One of Africa’s most famous archaeological sites are also in Kaduna. It is called Nok. The famous terracotta sculptures of Nigeria originated around 500BC from Nok. The Afan Festival, celebrated by the Kagoro people in the Southern part of Kaduna, forms an important aspect of Kaduna culture. The festival marks the end of the annual harvest of grains, the beginning of hunting, and other activities.
Other festivals found in Kaduna are the Tuk-Ham, a combination of both ”Ku” and ”Fain” festivals, which features a lot of traditional dances and cultural displays. The Kalankuwa Cultural Festival
is celebrated in northern Kaduna.
Otunba Segun Runsewe had at the 46th meeting of the Chief Executives of Culture of the Federation in Bayelsa State, said that the Kaduna State Government’s acceptance to host the biggest cultural festival in the country underscores the importance His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, attaches to the development of culture and tourism sector.
NCAC, said Otunba Runsewe, will continue to work with stakeholders to develop the sector, so that Nigeria can join the League of Nations in tapping the inexhaustible economic resources abound in the culture and tourism industry.