Obaseki, appoint a commissioner for culture in Edo State
Sir: We write to request the Edo State governor to appoint a commissioner for culture in Edo State. To that effect, we want to quickly say that our request is not predicated on, nor are we unnecessarily interested in the appointment of a commissioner just for the sake of fulfilling a constitutional mandate.
Our request is predicated on the very far-reaching role that culture plays in the politics and economies of our lives. Recall that in 2019, Edo hosted the National Festival of Arts and Culture, NAFEST, not just because it had to be hosted in Edo, but that Edo is the undisputed home of culture, what with its very rich cultural antecedents, and its strong links to many tribes and cultures in the Niger Delta. That event had centripetal and centrifugal ramifications for Edo and Nigeria like it or not. And in recent times, the state is the cynosure of all eyes, and centre of attention worldwide over stolen cultural artefacts from the palace of the Oba of Benin in 1897.
But WADONOR has noted with dismay that in spite of this lofty position of Edo State, the state government sometimes just gives that sector of the economy some sort of perfunctory attention. On the recent appointment of commissioners in Edo, none was assigned to the culture sector. We ask, how can an administration seeking to build a museum aka Edo Museum of West African Art, EMOWAA not have a commissioner to provide interface between the administration and the people? If we want information on the progress or lack of it with that project, who do we interact with?
Prior to the hosting of NAFEST in 2019, the state government often used the Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre just opposite the Palace of Oba Ewuare II as a motor park. Its adjoining street, the Ezoti was hurriedly tarred apparently because of the embarrassment its deplorable state would bring Edo State. And just after NAFEST 2019, cultural activities seem abandoned, as if culture is just a coincidence, and an incidence of inconsequence. It should not be so.
WADONOR encourages Governor Godwin Obaseki to appoint a culture commissioner. Arts and culture, not politics and economics, is what Edo is known for.
Bob MajiriOghene Etemiku
WADONOR…cultural voice of the Niger Delta.