NAFEST 2020: Celebrating Nigeria’s rich culture on the Plateau
Nigeria’s iconic cultural diversity was on display on Monday in Jos, Plateau State capital, as over 22 states and FCT, in full compliance with the COVID-19 protocols, proved beyond measures that culture holds the tripod for national unity and development.
Major highlight of the over four hours duration heralding the opening ceremony of the 33rd edition of National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), was governor Simon Lalong’s testimony that Plateau has returned to winning peaceful ways.
“Peace has returned to the Plateau nation. We have invested on security and welfare of our people, we cherish our culture and unity, and today we are here to show to the world that plateau is the place to be,” he said.
Launching a book on Nigeria at 60, in company of Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), governor Lalong noted that Nigeria must take Cultural tourism very seriously and use it as veritable platform to promote rural development and empower women. A journalist, Lanre Alfred, wrote the book.
Speaking also at occasion, Senate Committee chairman and former governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, noted that any nation without culture and history, would struggle with national identify among the commity of nations.
He commended governor Lalong for hosting NAFEST and using the platform to tell the peaceful story of the Plateau nation.
“Governor Lalong has done well despite the challenges of covid 19 to the economy and I must also appreciate the DG NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe for making this happen. Runsewe deserves our support and encouragement and that is why I had to be here today. NAFEST must be used to market Nigeria, so next time, I will want to see all the foreign diplomatic communities attend this cultural program,” Okorocha said.
Dame Pauline Tallen, Women Affairs Minister, was also excited about the impact of NAFEST on the Jos tourism economy, stating that governor Lalong has returned peace to the Plateau, making it once again the heartbeat of Nigeria’s Cultural tourism destination.
“A look at the map of Nigeria shows the unique place plateau occupies in the heart of the nation and am proud of what we are seeing here again in Jos. We are ready to occupy our rightful place in all areas of national development and credit today goes to the governor, the people of plateau state,” She emphasised.
Otunba Segun Runsewe, in his opening remarks, noted that Jos Plateau cannot be ignored in the cultural agenda to rebuild Nigeria, noting that all COVID-19 protocols will be observed to the letter even though as Nigeria prepares for a post pandemic cultural tourism economy.
“We are conscious of the impact and challenges posed by COVID-19, and so we are ready to observe all it’s protocols but we must prepare and engage our people and investors on the post COVID outlook in order not to completely lose focus on the market,” he said.
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