The 34th NAFEST Begins in Ekiti with Pomp, Ceremony

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Photo caption: Nasarawa State contingent at NAFEST’s opening ceremony in Ekiti, today. They were announced by their exciting choreographic steps.                          Reposted, originally posted on November 15, 2021.
By Justina Okpanku                                                                                                           The 2021 National Festival of Art and Culture (NAFEST) 2021 has begun with the expected ceremonies. There’s a lot of camaraderie as dozens of contingents from across the country have stormed Ekiti State capital, Ado-Ekiti for the event that unites the nation.            Representatives and culture-active people from well over  20 something states of the Federation lined up for a cultural parade in a stadium close to Fajuyi memorial park in the business district area of the capital boasting ample space. Interestingly, most of the contingents dressed in different colourful costumes are in high spirits and poised to celebrate the national unity in diversity. Rivers, Imo, Delta and Kogi States contingents, were cynosure of attention during the match pass this afternoon. They defied the scorching sun and entertained the audience.                       Wow! Rivers State reps who came under the banner’ Team Rivers’ made the difference after watching states with poor showings like Kaduna State contingent. They were dressed in colourful and regal costumes. The Rivers people who obviously had the largest number of participants, were an eyeful. This reporter and, for sure, many others are excited to be in Ekiti State known with the appellation the ‘Land of Honour’. There is so much to eat and drink in the cultural pavilion where tourism businesses prepare and sell local cuisine and drinks for visitors to Ado Ekiti.      The cultural fiesta, which is in its 34th edition has its theme ‘Celebrating National Unity in Diversity.’
The contingents are getting ready for a series of competitive events such as drama, cooking competition, exhibitions, art and craft making as well as music and dance.
The Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi said that culture and development work pari pasu, hinting that development of any particular area is hindered without the involvement of culture.
Fayemi made the remarks while speaking during the opening ceremony, Monday.
“We know and understand that culture is one of the main pillars of development, for without culture, it is certain that development would be greatly hindered. The critical state of our nation requires that efforts be intensified to revive our diverse culture and enhance the potential of our arts to ensure social and political stability, both of which hinge on the viability of the economy,” he said.

The governor, who is also the Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum, appreciated the Otunba Runsewe-led NCAC, organisers of NAFEST for choosing Ekiti as its destination for the hosting of the 2021 edition of the national fiesta as it was meant to draw global attention.

It has brought indeed attracted national attention. Reps of some states across the Federation are here. It has brought many stakeholders in the culture, tourism and creative world to the ‘Land of Honour.’ I have no doubt that the economic, cultural and creative fortunes of Ekiti State will improve through this unique festival,” Fayemi said.

He reiterated the joy of the state to host the festival, saying it is an avenue to further bond as a people with diverse cultural background, adding that the festival is a unique opportunity to promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and diversity.

“Apart from sports, NAFEST is another unique platform for the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to meet, showcase and promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage. Fayemi noted that his administration has ‘invested in the development of culture far beyond the performative and creative aspects’ and also developed a curriculum where culture will be taught as a discipline for primary and secondary school children. A clear proof that the government holds culture in very high esteem.

“I am glad to inform you that our core cultural values as Ekiti people have now been included in our educational curriculum to be taught in primary and post-primary schools across the State. This is to let you know how much our government believes in culture as an instrument of chang,” Fayemi said.          Contact us: just_tours@yahoo.com

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