The Plateau Government says it is fully ready to host the 33rd edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) scheduled for Nov. 23 in Jos.
The Acting General Manager, Plateau Tourism Corporation, Mrs Salome Bida, disclosed this in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria in Jos on Tuesday.
Bida said the week-long event would attract representatives from all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
“As you can see, we are here at the venue where the event will take place, making sure that everything is put in place.
“Plateau is fully ready for the festival which promises to be remarkable and memorable.This state is known for its beauty; there can be no better place for this event to hold than here.
“We are setting up the place for the necessary activities that will happen here such as the archery for shooting competitions, traditional huts, dance podiums and others.
“We have a natural water body at the venue where fishing and other activities will hold. Plateau will leave a lasting impression on the minds of Nigerians,” she said.
The acting general manager added that the 2020 edition of the festival would be more spectacular, and that all COVID-19 protocols would be observed for the safety of all participants.
The week-long NAFEST jamboree attracts participants from the 36 states of the federation to participate in the competitive and non-competitive events, and the festivities include performances in dance, drama and music.
Edited By: Joseph Edeh and Abdullahi Yusuf
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has updated President Muhammadu Buhari on security developments across the northern parts of the country and also expressed support for ongoing reforms in the Nigerian Police Force.
The governor, who is also the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, told State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday that he also briefed the president on the state of community policing in Plateau.
He disclosed that already, those recruited by the state for community policing had commenced training in Makurdi.
“As the chairman of Northern Governors’ Forum, I am here to also update him (Buhari) and to remind him about certain issues discussed with Mr President that have now taken place.
“For instance, when we had the challenge of insecurity all over the north, we called for community policing.
“So, when you see things being done, it’s good to also update him. Things are going our way now because the training of community Policemen is going on at various zones, particularly for me in Pleateau State.
“About 70 percent of those we recruited for community policing are now in Makurdi undergoing training. Just yesterday, I appointed a new coordinator, a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG), to take care of it.
“This is to tell you that things about security should be taken seriously if we have to keep the nation united.
“Secondly, we are also aware that so many issues are cropping up and people are making suggestions which Mr President has gladly accepted.
“Some of the recommendations are disbandment of the SARS and also refunding and reform of the Police.
“These are issues that require all leaders’ contributions to Mr President so that we can have a way forward in addressing the national security of the state.’’
The governor appealed to those protesting against SARS in spite its disbandment by the president, to stop their agitation as government had met all their demands.
“If there are bad ones, holistically, bring them together and reform them.
“So, our opinion and conclusion at that stage is that let us not just say that we are throwing away the baby with bath water. If there are good ones, you don’t chase them away.
“So, if you are addressing this issue of SARS, you need to know what is wrong in some places. Is it the process of recruitment? Is it the character of the people? You can’t say because somebody is wrong, everybody is wrong in the country.
“These are some of the issues we concluded yesterday. It’s for the Chairman (Gov. Fayemi of Ekiti), to go and meet Mr President to still look at this issue holistically and critically so that we understand where we are going.
“On a whole, we all agreed that there must be general reform within the Police. But you can’t do general reform without proper funding.’’
Lalong stated that the government must equally address the problems facing the NPF, including its financial and logistics challenges.
The governor also intimated the president on the opportunity given to Plateau to host NAFEST in November.
“So, we are happy to invite people to move to Plateau to see the home of peace and tourism and this was one of the issues that I also discussed with Mr President,’’ he said.
On the protests by northern youths over insecurity, Lalong promised to engage the affected youth organisations with a view to addressing their grievances.
“I am also going to talk to them to see the genuineness of their grievances and we all look forward to addressing them,’’ he added.
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has called for the promotion of Nigeria’s image through culture,food and indigenous fabrics.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that preparations have already begun for the 33rd edition of the National Festival For Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to be hosted by the state.
Lalong made the call on Wednesday during a courtesy visit paid to him by the Technical Committee of NAFEST led by the Director-General of the National Council of Arts and Culture(NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe , at the Government House, Jos.
He said NAFEST was a platform to showcase the potential of Nigeria and market its rich cultural heritage, saying this would boost economic development and the progress of the country.
The governor said preparations had reached advanced stage to host NAFEST in the state, saying work would commence on the Prof. Luka Bentu Theatre as part of the exercise.
“We are doing our best to see the possibility of doing NAFEST at the theatre even if its not completed, “he said.
He said Plateau had a unique weather for the comfort of visitors and that it was home to historical sites, including the oldest golf course in Nigeria established in 1913.
Lalong wished the director-general and his delegates a fruitful technical session for the success of NAFEST that is scheduled to hold in November.
Runsewe thanked the governor for his commitment toward the success of NAFEST in Plateau.
He said that there was no sentiment in developing the cultural sector, saying it was primarily to empower people and celebrate the rich cultural heritage of various groups in the country.
He said the vision of NAFEST was to promote the patronage of indigenous cultural products , saying they were working toward ensuring that every golfer in Plateau dressed in local fabrics during the festival, saying it would be the beginning of adopting the practice.
The director-general said a special COVID-19 temperature apparatus and dispenser were brought to the state for use to combat the pandemic, saying Plateau deserved the best.
NAN reports that Runsewe presented indigenous laptop bags and other gifts to Gov. Lalong,his wife Regina, and members of his cabinet members, as part of the occasion.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
Culture industry stakeholders have commended President Muhammadu Buhari and his Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed for responding to the challenges facing the sector through the creation of ‘Creative industry’s COVID-19 Committee’.
Prof. Ojo Bakare, Ekiti State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism made the commendation as he spoke on behalf of the delegates.
This was during a technical meeting held in Jos, Plateau state on Tuesday, in preparation for the 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST).
NAN reports that the COVID-19 palliative committee is headed by Mr Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) which is also saddled with the responsibility of organising the annual NAFEST festival.
Bakare, in a statement, said that Runsewe led committee on COVID-19 palliatives would bring a rapid turn around to the sectoral players whose businesses were battered by the pandemic,
He urged the Federal Government to institute an Arts and Culture endowment fund.
” We want to appeal to President Buhari and the Minister, through Runsewe, to approve this initiative.
” It will help the industry find financial solution and succour which will help us each time we run into problems such as we experienced under COVID-19,” he said.
Meanwhile, three states, Kwara, Taraba, Anambra have indicated interest to host NAFEST 2022 as the technical committee confirmed Ekiti State to host 2021.
Edited By: Kamal Tayo Oropo/Emmanuel Okara
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, on Monday in Jos promised to complete the 2,000 capacity, Luka Bentu Indoor Theatre in the state capital preparatory to the hosting of the 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in the state.
The National Council for Arts and Culture granted Plateau the hosting right of the 33rd edition of the festival last October.
Conducting an inspection of the abandoned project, Gov. Lalong said: “By God’s grace we will complete it; the contractor has agreed to work day and night. We have hope we are going to finish it, even if partially for NAFEST to be held here.’’
He said his administration was committed to completing projects abandoned by its predecessors to pave the way for new projects for the development of the state.
“When we see a project that is very important, viable and very significant to the people we complete it.
“We have done roads and a lot of other projects. I have just finished a theatre in government house with over 2,000-capacity which I inherited and completed,’’ he said.
Lalong said when completed, the indoor theatre would generate revenue for the state through private sector engagement in the theatre’s shopping mall while also providing employment opportunities.
He said the theatre would also encourage and endear youths in particular to fine arts while boosting the tourism sector.
“We must complete it so that whoever hears Luka Bentu, would remember him as the first fine art expert in in the northern part of Nigeria and some people will aspire to be fine artists,’’ the governor said.
Earlier in her remarks, the Commissioner for Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, Mrs. Tamwakat Weli, thanked the governor, for his commitment to reposition the tourism sector, expressing optimism that NAFEST 2020 would be successful.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the resuscitation of the project will be done in three stages – completion of the indoor-theatre, erection of an Information Communication Technology Centre and the completion of the shopping mall and the parking lot.
Edited By: Benson Iziama/Alli Hakeem
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has cancelled some activities which usually featured during the annual National Festival of Arts and Culture ceremony.
Runsewe said the decision was reached after a zoom meeting to review the syllabus for the 33rd edition of the festival scheduled to hold in Jos, tagged “Plateau NAFEST 2020”.
He noted that some events that involved crowds would not be part of the year’s NAFEST because of strict adherence to physical distancing.
” The advent of COVID-19 has made it imperative for everybody to think outside the box in order to invent new ways of making the arts and culture sector busy and relevant.
”It also help to keep the sector busy and reposition it for greater visibility and relevance,” the NCAC boss said.
He further said that arts and culture stakeholders, unanimously requested that the festival slated for December be moved to November due to the busy nature of December.
He appealed to Gov. Simon Lalong to reschedule the festival for November as December was usually loaded with activities.
In his welcome address, Lalong commended Runsewe for the dynamic, purposeful and visionary leadership provided for the arts and culture sector since his appointment in 2017.
He expressed appreciation to the NCAC management for initiating, facilitating and successfully organising the zoom meeting as an alternative to the physical meeting initially scheduled in Jos.
The governor said that he had followed with keen interest the series of online meetings the council held with stakeholders within the sectors.
Lalong noted that the meetings were testimonies to the fact that even in the midst of COVID-19 lockdown, the arts and culture has been kept alive and active.
The governor also assured participants that Plateau was fully committed to hosting the 33rd edition of NAFEST.
He said that the state was working hard to put all necessary facilities in place for a successful hitch free festival later this year.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/ Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has condoled with Eggon nation and family of Enna Akama over death of Prof. Dauda Musa Enna of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University, Lafia.
Sule in a tribute to the late professor on Monday in Lafia, said that the state has lost a theatre icon and a teacher par excellence.
He prayed God to grant Eggon nation and his family the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
“I wish to express my earnest commiseration to the entire Eggon nation and the Enna Akama family over the demise of our friend, brother and a worthy citizen of Nasarawa State, Prof. Dauda Musa Enna of the Department of Theatre and Media Arts, Federal University, Lafia.
“Late Prof. Dauda Musa Enna was a theatre icon who served Nasarawa State in various capacities including as Special Adviser & Principal Private Secretary to the first military governor of Nasarawa State.
“Enna was a member of consortium of consultants to Nasarawa State on Culture, whose service paved the way for the State Cultural Troupe to win national laurels at NAFEST for five consecutive years.
“Professor Enna’s illustrious career in arts, culture and humanities showcased the `way of life of our people’ and was a `window to the world’ bout the very best outlook, attitudes, values, morals, and customs shared by the people of Nasarawa State.
“Enna unselfishly put his humane worldview, knowledge and skill to support our people to transform their lives and strengthen our communities, through the making and experiencing of world class theatre and participatory arts.
“Professor Musa Dauda Enna who was also Chairman of the Visitation Panel to College of Agriculture Lafia, will fondly be remembered as a teacher and an intellectual par excellence.
“One of those silent heroes who contributed in no small measure to blend the `heterogeneous’ nature of Nasarawa State by giving our people of different ethnic groups, sense of higher purpose, brotherhood and unity.
“As it is written; `it is appointed for man to die once and after this, judgment’ but this I pray that God’s divine mercy reigns over the judgment of Dauda Musa Enna,“ he said.
The governor urged the family to see his death as an act of God while praying for the reposed of his soul.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that late Enna died on April 14, and is yet to be buried.
Edited By: Ifeyinwa Okonkwo/Obike Ukoh (NAN)
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau State, has promised to thrill guests during the forthcoming 2020 edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) which the state would be hosting in October.
Lalong said this while playing host to Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), saddled with the responsibility of organising the annual event at the Government House in Jos.
Mr Frank Meke, the Media Aide to Runsewe, said this in a statement in Lagos on Thursday.
Meke said the governor was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Sonni Tyoden
He quoted the governor as saying that the state would be thrilling guests with a whole lot of cultural activities and a world class cultural centre which was under construction to be ready for use before the festival.
Lalong said that the opportunity given to the state to host the annual event would not be taken for granted while the state planned to make history.
“Plateau State being a home of hospitality, tourism and peace will host mother of all NAFEST by all standards.
“All basic requirements needed to make the festival a success would be put in place,” he said.
Lalong commended Runsewe for his doggedness in promoting nation’s culture and for doing well at the council.
He appreciated the culture helmsman for dimming it fit in giving NAFEST 2020 hosting right to the state.
He said although the state suffered various forms of conflicts before now, it was time to reposition the state through promotion of huge cultural activities.
“Before now the council has been in existence but little is been heard about the organisation but at your arrival a lot is been done through your visionary and effective dynamic leadership,” he said.
Earlier, Runsewe praised the governor for consenting to host the ancient festival as he was not surprised haven known the governor as a man that wants the best for his people
He said that one veritable tool that would be used is cultural diplomacy to foster unity, peace, hospitality and togetherness during the festival.
“Your exceptional leadership style can be seen visibly in all what you do,” he said.
Runsewe who went down memory lane said in1996 when the state first hosted the festival, over six African countries participated and now all the seventeen local governments of the state were expected and the entire states of the federation.
According to him, NAFEST remained the festival that fosters unity among the states.
He implored the governor to complete the theater arts hall being one of the edifices that will give employment to over five hundred people when completed.
“As the world anxiously looks up to Plateau come October this year, all golfers, business entrepreneurs are planning to come to the state during the event,” he said.
Customised posters of various inscriptions promoting the festival such as biro, exercise books, calendar, T-shirts were presented to the governor as a sign of early preparation in kick-starting the event.
Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Isaac Aregbesola
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti has expressed interest of the state to host the 2021 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST).
Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture saddled with the responsibility of hosting the annual cultural festival received the bidding document from Prof. Tunde Bakare, Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism.
The bidding document was submitted to Runsewe at the NCAC headquarters in Abuja by the Commissioner on Monday.
This is contained in a statement issued to newsmen in Lagos by Runsewe’s Media Aide, Mr Frank Meke.
Runsewe commended Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti for early indication of interest to host the cultural fiesta.
He described Fayemi as a proactive leader who was committed to giving the best to his state at all times.
“The early submission of the bidding document by Ekiti government is a sign of early preparation toward putting in place the necessary logistics and infrastructure for a successful event.
“The council is expecting more bids from more states in respect of NAFEST 2021,” he said.
NAN reports that Plateau government was given the hosting rights for the 2020 edition of NAFEST at the closing ceremony of 2019 Edo edition of the ancient festival held in Benin City on Oct. 26, 2019.
Arrangements are already in top gear for the hosting of the 2020 edition of the festival in Jos, Plateau in October.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Donald Ugwu
One of the dances at 2019 NAFEST in Benin City, Edo State in October.
Feature: Uniting Nigerians Through NAFEST Despite Cultural Diversities and Insecurity
, Nigeria News Agency
The National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) was established to effect peace and unity among Nigerians in 1970 after the civil war. But has it has effectively achieved that aim?
When Edo State hosted the 32nd edition of NAFEST in Benin City, between Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, 2019, it was a time for soul-searching by Nigerians on the objectives of setting up the institution.
The theme for the celebration was “Our Royalty, Our Pride’’, and the participants used the opportunity to explore the nation’s cultural essence and royalty of the traditional institutions.
They came out of the event expressing strong belief that Nigerians still stand united in the face of cultural and religious diversities, problems of insecurity and unemployment.
They also believed that with over 371 tribes and 590 languages, culture still serves as a powerful unifying force in Nigeria just like sports.
This attests to the fact that the purpose for the creation of the ancient festival 32 years ago had not been defeated, rather the purpose has been immensely achieved.
The decision to create NAFEST was taken by the then Nigerian leaders who saw the need to create programmes capable of uniting the citizens and they came up with two products which were culture and sports.
The participants also were confident that in view of the security challenges in the country, NAFEST has continued to play a significant role in salvaging national unity.
As it is obvious, no nation can achieve remarkable success in a tensed, disorganised society, but NAFEST has proven its worth like sports.
This is the best decision the nation has ever taken in the culture industry as evidenced during the 32nd edition of the festival in Benin City.
Nigerians from 30 the states were seen in their various indigenous attires with beads and different adornments depicting royalty, dancing and showcasing their cultures.
The event featured local cuisine, essay writing, quiz and poetry competitions, traditional wrestling, drama, royal attire splendour, entrepreneurship, roundtable, free skills acquisition programmes, cultural golf tournament, free medical services and book fair.
These activities united the nation more as Nigerians across the 30 states present were made to compete in various exercises, thereby strengthening cultural integration and diplomacy.
This has also encouraged cultural exchange programmes between states.
The Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre, assessing the 2019 festival, said this was the best festival ever held as it was getting better on a yearly basis.
He said this was made possible through the introduction of new programmes into the festival, engaging the youth and children in cultural affairs.
“This is the best NAFEST so far in the history of our dear country, you can see youths and children are seriously engaged, they are the leaders of tomorrow.
“We are getting it right I must confess, and I commend the organisers of this festival, spearheaded by Mr Olusegun Runsewe. He is really making remarkable achievements as Nigerians are getting more united,’’ he said.Edo State Contingent to 2019 NAFEST in Benin City, the Edo capital in October.
Also, Mr Bisi Oyewale, Director, Kwara State Council for Arts and Culture, said the fair was an eventful one uniting Nigerians across board.
He urged the Federal Government to create a special fund for this purpose to enable more state contingent to participate in the festival in subsequent years.
According to him, a good number of people should be able to learn from other cultures and tradition.
“The 32nd edition of NAFEST is quite eventful but for subsequent editions, the Federal Governments must try to earmark some funds for states so that more people can participate in the festival.
“It is a place to be educated,’’ he said.
The highlight of the festival was the performances by Veteran Musician, Victor Uwaifo and Innocent Idibia, popularly known as 2face.
They performed to the excitement of the audience during the opening ceremony Oct. 21, as 2face kept emphasing the essence of imbibing the spirit of love as Nigerians.
The Nigerian youths and students benefited immensely during the 32nd NAFEST as over 2,000 youths graduated after five days of intensive training on various skills acquisition programmes.
They were engaged in Beads, shoe and bag making, baking, make-up, auto-gele craft and Ankara accessories.
Some of the beneficiaries who spoke appreciated the opportunity and hoped to establish their businesses and be employers of labour.
There is no doubt that the festival has added immense value to individuals, states and even national economy as business activities were on the increase as taxi drivers, food vendors, hoteliers, businessmen and women attested to.
It was also observed that all hotels in Benin City were fully booked during the festival, likewise flights flying into the city.
The real essence of using culture to boost the economy was evident and this sends signals that culture is a veritable tool for economic growth.
Three Nigerians were also recognised and compensated for their contributions toward nation building having carved niches for themselves in the Nigerian creative industry.
They are Nigerian film maker, Lancelot Imasuen, a 14-year-old photographer, James Ikemsinachukwu and Mrs Florence Robinson, who through sales of “Akara’’ (bean cakes) was able to train two of her children in the university.
Mr Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), rewarded Robinson for frying Akara for all 2019 NAFEST revelers, while Ikemsinachukwu became the official photographer of the ancient festival.
Imasuen on the other hand, spearheaded the production of an African drama, entitled “Life is a Dance’’.
Runsewe said this drama would be exhibited across the country and beyond to showcase the nation’s rich cultures.
The director-general, during the closing announced Plateau State as host of the 2020 edition of the festival.
**If Used, please credit the writer as well as the Nigeria News Agency