Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti says the state will host the 2021 National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to showcase its cultural heritage to the world.
The governor also said the state expected to attract investors to tap into its abundant economic potentials through the hosting.
Fayemi stated this on Tuesday, while addressing delegates at the 52nd National Technical Stakeholders’ meeting of Chief Executives of Culture in Nigeria, at Adetiloye hall in Ado-Ekiti.
Fayemi, represented by his deputy, Chief Bisi Egbeyemi said his administration also accepted to host the national cultural fiesta to further encourage creativity in the tourism sector.
He said the festival was to create a viable platform and market for young people in creative enterprises.
According to him, NAFEST 2021 with its theme, “Celebrating National Unity in Diversity” will hold in Ado-Ekiti between Nov. 13 and 20.
Fayemi described Ekiti as the most suitable place to host a national programme of such magnitude, noting that the state was awarded the hosting because of its reputation as one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria, which had one of the most hospitable people in the world.
He noted that his administration had always given priority to culture and tourism and expressed delight that NAFEST would provide opportunity for Nigerians to appreciate the role of culture in promoting national unity and integration.
The governor charged stakeholders to use the meeting as a preparatory ground for a most eventful festival, which would create windows of investment opportunities for the economic growth of not only Ekiti but Nigeria as a whole.
“As a nation, we need to appreciate the dynamic nature of our cultures and acknowledge NAFEST as a veritable platform to further celebrate our unity in diversity.
“I, therefore, urge you to focus more on how we can redirect cultural activities toward revenue generation. We need to effectively tap into the economic potential of our cultural heritage and improve our grassroots development.
“It is important to say that our government is encouraging creativity in the tourism sector of the state. We now have young people in tourism businesses as well as creative enterprises,”he said.
The Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) Chief Olusegun Runsewe and State Directors of Culture and other delegates from the 36 states, including the Federal Capital Territory were participants at the four-day event holding at the Adetiloye Hall, Trade Fair Complex in Ado Ekiti.
Speaking, Runsewe disclosed readiness of his agency to sponsor the Ekiti Cultural Troupe to international cultural events.
He said Ekiti under the leadership of Fayemi, had proved its readiness to offer something remarkable to the national and global audience with the level of preparations to host the NAFEST.
The NCAC DG described the festival as one of the measures to cement unity and harmony of the country, as it was an avenue to showcase cultures and traditions of the various ethnic groups spread across the 36 states of the federation.
“In Brazil for example, people pay for what we have seen in Ekiti today. We will take Ekiti cultural troupe to sell our culture outside our country. We should market our cultural heritage to the world, we must value what we have.
“Our country can be great again and culture is one of the platforms we can use to make it great again,” he said.
The Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Ekiti, Prof. Ojo Bakare showered encomiums on the Fayemi led-administration for investing heavily in the sector, which had launched the state on global cultural map.
Bakare assured the delegates that Ekiti was 100 per cent ready to play host to both the nation as well as the tourism and culture public across the world.
He disclosed that the governor had fully thrown his weight behind hosting the national cultural fiesta, noting that the state stood to reap bountiful benefits from the NAFEST 2021. (NAN)