To further deepen national peace and unity, as well as showcase the rich cultural heritage of Ogun State, the State’s contingents thrilled spectators at the opening ceremony of the 2019 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), held at the University of Benin Sport Complex, Benin City, Edo State.
The Contingents, led by State House of Assembly Chairman, House Committee on Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon. Yusuff Adejojo, marched out in their colourful Adire and Aso-Oke fabric, rendering indigenous songs, accompanied with drums and sekere which had a loud ovation from spectators.
Declaring the festival open, with a symbolic opening of a calabash, Edo State Governor and Chief host, Mr. Godwin Obaseki said the 32nd edition of the festival in Nigeria, with the theme; “Our Royalty, Our Pride”, was the first of its kind in the State, urging all participants to be actively involved in all outlined activities of the festival which would officially come to a close on Saturday, October 26, 2019.
In his speech, the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture and President World Crafts Council, Africa Region, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said the Council usually adopt the instrument of Culture to promote unity, peace, social integration and harmony among Nigerians, saying ‘’if the abundant potentials of our diverse culture can be properly harnessed and developed, our teeming youths and women would be gainfully engaged’’.
“The National Festival of Arts and Culture is a living acknowledgement of the Council’s determination and consistency in unveiling the invaluable abundant resources domiciled in the culture sector, which has the capacity to turn the fortunes of this nation,” Runsewe stated.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Diaspora Affairs, Hon. Osaze Osemwengie-Ero, pointed out that the essence of the gathering was to ‘’celebrate the culture God has blessed us with’’, saying the theme of this year’s festival was chosen to let the world know that the nation’s rich cultural heritage was highly valued.
Highlights of the opening ceremony include Military Parade by the Nigeria Army Women Corp and the Presidential Guard Brigade, Cultural parade by different cultural troupes from the 36 States of the Federation, musical entertainment by popular musicians, among whom are; 2face Idibia and Sir Victor Uwaifo.
Other contingents from the State are; member, Ogun State House of Assembly, Hon. (Barr.) Solomon Osho, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Alhaja Salimot Ottun, Director of Culture