How the States Stand at NAFEST 2021


*Lagos gets hosting rights of NAFEST 22   By Justina Okpanku

Stakeholders in the tourism and creative industries relished their time in Ado-Ekiti as the state welcomed visitors to the city of culture during the just-concluded National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) held in Ekiti State.                                                                                           The audience was all ears to know how the states stand at the event with the theme “Celebrating, National Unity in Diversity.”  Ekiti State bagged the first position.        

Hon. Mrs. Tonye Briggs-Oniyide, Rivers State Commissioner of Arts and Culture  receiving  her laurel at NAFEST from Ekiti State Governor John Kayode Fayemi while Otunba Runsewe, DG of NCAC (left) and others watch.



Rivers State took second, Bayelsa and Benue States got joint third position while Delta and Nasarawa States came fourth. Ogun and Lagos States got the fifth position. Officials announced the top winners during the closing ceremony at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion Ado-Ekiti last Saturday.

The audience was a bit surprised when it was announced that the host state  Ekiti, emerged the overall winner of the 34th edition of the NAFEST christened the festival that unites. It was gratifying to see that everyone rejoiced with Ekiti people who think it’s a good result.

Not a few expected Rivers to win the overall position considering the number of laurels it raked in at the cultural fiesta. Rivers State clearly outshone other states in the event that attracted 26 states plus the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
It is heartwarming that
Rivers State, the treasure base of the nation with its show of splendour, impressed with their preparedness and it was rewarding.  Rivers won the ‘Best Costume State’, State with the ‘Largest Contingent for 34th NAFEST’, and ‘Best in Synergy and Team work.’
Not done, Rivers State also got first position in ‘traditional cuisine competition, children essay writing, children’s arts and crafts, children’s tales by moonlight and Nigeria fabric and interior decorations’ competitions.

Rivers State got second position in archery and children drama competitions, third position in traditional board game, indigenous fabric and fashion competitions.

Rivers State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Hon. Mrs. Tonye Briggs-Oniyide, was over the moon. She said the successful outing would spur the state to do more in promoting nation’s culture.
Briggs-Oniyide who was praised for her ‘can do’ attitude ( she has great organisational ability), expressed excitement that the state did their best in the outings which were keenly contested for. “I’m excited, she said.  She added that Rivers will continue in its winning ways, Rivers had won best position in many times in past editions of NAFEST. This year River came second.

“This comes as a challenge for us to be better in the next edition,” Tonye Briggs-Oniyide assured.
She had come to NAFEST to win big considering the fortune the state may have committed on costume and other cultural materials. Still, Rivers shared ‘best costume’ award category with Imo and Kogi States.                  Ekiti State Governor Dr. John Kayode Fayemi agreed on the positive outcomes of the hosting rights of NAFEST.  He said he was excited and have appreciated the event’s
organisers 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.

No doubt, Ekiti State got value of hosting rights of NAFEST 2921. One Ekiti-based tourism operator who introduced himself as Akin said Ekiti State has achieved what they want.                                                  “Ado (Ekiti) was bubbling. We never had this before. We want to be making money from tourism,” he said.
Lagos State has been announced to have gotten the hosting rights of the national festival, NAFEST 2022 as the cultural fiesta came to an end Saturday November 20, 2021.
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