Delegates to the 32nd edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in Benin have commended the Federal Government for initiating the event, describing it as a veritable platform for the promotion of national peace and unity.
A cross-section of the people said in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the festival had succeeded in bringing Nigerians from diverse ethnic nationalities together. They spoke on the sideline of the closing ceremony of the festival, which took place at the University of Benin Sports Complex on Saturday.
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Mrs Saso Benson-Ali, the Director of Arts Council, Adamawa, commended the government for funding the festival.
She described NAFEST as a platform “where all the states of the federation and Abuja come together as one united identity.
“NAFEST has given states the opportunity to showcase their rich cultural heritage, including our dances and native attires, among others. “We urge the federal government not to relent in funding this platform but improve further on the activities and various aspects of the festival,” Benson-Ali said.
She appealed to state governments to identify wholly with the festival by ensuring the participation of their delegates in the annual event to further facilitate national integration. Mr Sheye Adeyemo, the Director of Culture, Ogun state, who also commended the federal government, identified poor accommodation for delegates as a major drawback that should be looked into in future editions of the festival.
“NAFEST in Benin was colourful, but there was no befitting accommodation for delegates. “Also, there was no proper arrangement to direct delegates to different venues for the various programmes,” Adeyemo said. A delegate from Enugu state, Mr Emma Udo, expressed delight over the opportunity provided by the event for closer interactions among Nigerians.
He, however, advised that efforts should be made to avoid some of the major setbacks that allegedly characterised the 2019 edition. “In future NAFEST, there should be a committee in place to direct delegates to hostels and venues of programmes and also take care of the hostels.
Udo said that delegates at the Federal Government Girls’ College, which served as one the hostels, were not comfortable throughout their stay. Another delegate from Enugu, Mr John Mark, thanked the organisers for their efforts but called for great improvement in future events.
The 32nd edition of the festival, which commenced October 19, had the theme, “Our royalty our bride.”