By Osa Mbonu-Amadi, Arts Editor

The National Stadium, Lagos has been bequeathed a new look in preparation for the 2022 National Festival of Arts and Culture, NAFEST, tagged Eko NAFEST 2022. NAFEST is organized yearly by the National Council for Arts & Culture, and this year’s edition is being hosted by Lagos State.  

The changes are visible at the soccer laboratory facilities of the National Institute for Sports, NIS, the planned venue of Eko NAFEST 2022. The sports institute presents impressive and colourful features in its facilities, a transformative connect between cultural tourism and sports.

From the lodging facilities of NIS to about five mini stadia, originally conceived for training and other games, the splash of colourful paints, artistic work display and renovations of toilets and recreation areas, signpost a great outing for Nigeria’s biggest cultural tourism extravaganza, which may break the over four years records of Governor Wike of Rivers state. Wike had deployed the greatest incentives and enabling environment when Rivers hosted the iconic NAFEST in 2018. The 36 states of the federation are expected to storm the city of Lagos from November 7 to 13 for the festival.  

Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, and President, Africa Region of World Craft Council, was in Lagos recently, putting heads together with Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Mrs. Uzamat Akinbile-Yusuf for a spectacular 2022 NAFEST and to showcase the culture and economic investment opportunities in the city of aquatic splendour.  

A special media tour was undertaken last Friday to officially unveil this refreshing transformation of the Sports city by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, and also its capacity to provide revenue-yielding opportunities for outdoor events on sports, culture and tourism.

Akinbile-Yusuf, other officials upbeat about Eko NAFEST, Eyo masquerade’s signature appearance

Meanwhile, Uzmat Akinbile-Yusuf, Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, says preparations for the 35th edition of NAFEST, has reached 99 percent. From security, transportation, accommodation and sundry logistics commitments, Akinbile disclosed that the deployment to fully ensure a hitch-free event, and showcasing of the diversity of Nigerian culture tourism, particularly the signature outing of Eyo masquerade, is top-notch.

The commissioner gave kudus to the Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture, for providing the platform and expertise for the flourishing of all preparation efforts.  

“We are excited,and cannot wait to welcome Nigerians from all walks of life to our city of aquatic splendour and excellence,” Mrs. Akinbile-Yusuf said. “We shall more than bring glamour to this iconic festival, with a special outing of the Eyo masquerade and believe me, the opening ceremony at Onikan stadium will unveil the full entrainment entrapment ever seen anywhere,” the commissioner explained.  

Speaking at the sidelines of the meeting of the National planning Committee for the festival held at National Institute for Sports, National stadium in Surulere, recently, Mrs. Uzmat Akinbile-Yusuf assured that Lagos will make a significant difference never seen before at NAFEST, which Lagos held last in 1988.

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