FG to roll out cultural festival calendar, says Minister
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Sunday, said his ministry would soon roll out a cultural festival calendar for the country.
Mohammed announced this at a news conference at the Music Festival in Kaduna.
He said his ministry would collaborate with state governments to produce the calendar to guide Nigerians, particularly tourists on when and where festivals were holding.
“The truth of the matter is that today we have so many festivals in many parts of this country.
“One of the suggestions that I put on the table in my ministry is that we will liaise with every state government to give us ten cities in their states and these cities in each state will give us 360 cities.
“And with the five local governments in the Federal Capital Territory, we will have 365 festivals. Then, we can have a calendar of festivals in Nigeria which means at least one day in Nigeria there will be festival’’, he said.
According to him, this is going to help to attract tourists to Nigeria.
“The problem we have today is that nobody knows where and when the festival is holding. It is part of the things we are trying to do and we know that we can get ten cities that have different culture, craft and art.’’
The minister said his ministry would encourage states to have more than one festival owing to the nation’s diversity.
Mohammed, who described entertainment industry as a huge potential to boost the nation’s economy, said if properly harnessed, it would make up for the shortfall in oil price.
“I have seen the huge potential of the creative industry and what we need to do is to provide enabling environment for it.
“More importantly is the energy that youths are coming out with today and that energy must find outlet in the creative industry like music, movies, entertainment.
“When Nigeria rebased its economy, the increase you saw was largely due to this self-effort of the creative industry.
“And I believe that you could have seen much more if only we are able to help them by giving them long term loans to boost the industry.’’
According to him, the ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Information and Culture are collaborating to provide supports for the creative industry.
“You see the young musician, Dauda Rarara, that performed during the opening of the festival. The young man is not just a musician but a great mobiliser and influencer.”
The minister recalled that when Nigeria was trying to change driving from the left side to the right side of the road in 1972, it made use of musicians like this.
“We also need young people like Rarara to assist us in our reorientation programme.
“It is a young man that has a huge followership and when that kind of person is enlisted into our campaign – Change Begins with Me, it will go a long way in changing peoples’ attitude positively.”
Gov. Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State said the motive behind the Kaduna Music Festival was to create jobs, promote Nigerian culture and mobilize youths positively to channel their energies to productive endeavours.
The governor, who said the State Government used to hold Kaduna Cultural Festival annually, announced that it would be merged with the music festival in 2016 to enable the state extend its festival period from two to seven days.