By Osa Mbonu
The Rivers State government is set to make this year’s National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) a world class event in the history of Nigeria.
While declaring open the National technical committee meeting of the event, Governor of Rivers State, His Excellency, Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, represented by his deputy, Dame Mrs. Ipalibo Harry Banigo, promised to do everything humanly possible to make this year’s event an unforgettable experience in terms of packaging to meet international standards.
Hosting a delegation from the National Council for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Ipalibo stated that an event as important as NAFAST goes beyond celebration. “Culture is a veritable tool upon which the strength of any given community can be sold to the international community and as such we are going to make this year’s NAFEST a festival with a positive difference,” Harry Banigo said. She warmly welcomed all the visitors and charged them to feel free and enjoy all the good things provided by the state government. One of the best places for night life, natural cuisine and peaceful atmosphere any time of the year, said the governor, is Rivers State. “Rivers State has a very secure and safe atmosphere for all to work and relax without intimidation or harassment of any kind contrary to the negative impression the state has been subjected to by some fifth columnists.
She thanked the National Council for Arts and Culture for choosing the state above all other states that bided for the hosting, promising that Rivers State government will not take the opportunity for granted.
The Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe, who is also the President of the World Craft Center, African Region, thanked His Excellency, Nyesom Ezenmo Wike and the good people of Rivers State for accepting to host this year’s NAFEST slated to hold from 21st – 27 October 2018.
The culture helmsman said that one of the best ways for peaceful co-existence and unity in any given society is through their culture. According to Otunba Runsewe, “there cannot be a better time and way to celebrate ourselves in a positive light than this type of event.”
As the custodian of culture in Nigeria, Otunba Runsewe said, choosing Rivers State for such an important national event can only be seen as apt and timely. He assured the guests in advance that this year’s festival is going to witness free eye tests, Waste to Wealth, Free Skills Acquisition and other features. Otunba Runsewe added that for over 31 states in Nigeria set to participate in the forth coming NAFEST in Rivers State shows that the event is already moving to the next level. He also said with Port Harcourt being a state symbolically referred to as Nigeria’s treasure base and home of culture and tourism, this year’s NAFAST can only be seen as a done deal. He urged other state governors to emulate Governor Wike’s kind gestures.