The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), on Tuesday advised Nigerian youths to embrace handcraft to enable them to remain creative and productive rather than engage in frivolous activities and social vices.
Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General of NCAC, gave the advice during the opening of the 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) free skill acquisition programme and quiz competition held at Landsfileld, Jos, Plateau state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the festival is “COVID-19 and Cultural Dynamism” with over 21 states participating in the festival.
NAN also reports that over 280 youths are currently benefiting from the skill acquisition programme which comprised of soap making, tailoring, make-up, cosmetology, disinfectant, Air freshener making and more
Runsewe said that the youths could also play huge roles in solving the nation’s unemployment problems by embracing vocational trainings and thereafter being employers of labour.
He noted that the creative industry is such that has not been fully tapped, urging Nigerian youths to embrace the industry and aspire to be employers of labour.
”Not everyone will get white collar jobs, lots of Nigerians have made themselves millionaires through practising make up, tailoring and other forms of vocation.
”I encourage you all to emulate the successful ones and do not engage in frivolous activities but in fruitful ventures.
”Take advantage of the fact that Nigerians are fashion crazy and can make businesses in the creative industry thrive,” he added.
Runsewe also discouraged women from embracing prostitution as it was an act that grievously erodes the nation’s rich culture.
He said that all beneficiaries of the free skills acquisition will get their certificates upon completion of their courses by Friday Nov. 27.
During the quiz competition, Runsewe urged the students to get themselves acquainted with the nation’s culture which is the whole essence of the competition.
He noted that one of the problems confronting the nation is that of the gradual loss of nation’s cultural values.
He said the competition was meant to ensure cultural integration in the children as well as catching the children young by instilling cultural knowledge in them.
”We have put this competition together to allow for individuals understand other people’s culture properly to be able to respect such cultures.
”This is not only a competition but an interaction strategically planned to know each other better,” he said.
Runsewe explained that the quiz competition questions were picked from history, indigenous cuisines, arts and culture of Nigerians to keep the children abreast of their root and culture.
NAN reports that the final stage of the quiz competition will hold on Nov. 25 where the final winning state will be announced.
The states that took part in the competition include Plateau, Benue, Kaduna, Kano, Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa, Kwara states and the Federal Capital Territory.
Edited By: Modupe Adeloye/Vincent Obi
Sen. Rochas Okorocha, Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, has expressed greater hope that Nigeria will definitely lead the world with the vast culture and tourism potential.
Okorocha said this at opening ceremony of the 33rd National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) held at Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos, Plateau on Monday.
The theme of the event was “COVID-19 and Cultural Dynamism”.
The lawmaker advised Nigerians generally to keep hope alive as the COVID-19 pandemic and the ENDSARS protests which had caused lots of havoc to the nation would be forgotten issues with time.
He said Nigeria was only going through a phase that would lead to greatness as some other countries had experienced in the past.
He noted that the two incidences had aggravated the nation’s problems of unemployment.
“Our nation is going through a difficult moment but this is not the period to apportion blame.
“Year 2020 has been a difficult and unique year for us all. We lost our loved ones, our economy is affected and unemployment has increased due to COVID-19 pandemic.
“I believe there is a future for Nigeria. Nigeria will soon take the centre stage.
“We are created specially and we know that definitely Nigeria shall one day lead the world. I appeal to the youth to relax because a greater Nigeria will be here soon.
“For the younger ones, I want to assure you all that all hope is not lost; we are only going through what other nations have gone through before the attainment of greatness, Japan once went through these,’’ the lawmaker said.
Okorocha commended Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau for efforts put in place to host this year’s festival amid COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged Gov. Lalong to make the state showed the lead in tourism as the state was known as the State of Peace and Tourism.
“Plateau State must show the lead in tourism. The Kura falls is there for tourists; the weather is spectacular and the diverse rich culture of the people.
“There is no better place to start tourism in Nigeria than Plateau. May we begin to package tourism such that the foreigners can visit.
“When we market our tourism potential well enough, oil and petroleum will no longer be our sole sources of revenue,” he said.
Okorocha urged the NCAC boss to invite most of the foreign Ambassadors for subsequent editions of the festival to enable them see what the nation was endowed with culturally as well as tourism.
Earlier, Runsewe suggested Plateau as a suitable location for medical tourism considering the beautiful weather condition and other tourism potential embedded in the state.
He urged indigenes of the state to live in peace and harmony and focus on building on its cultural and tourism potential.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 21 states participated in the cultural parade during the opening ceremony.
Edited By: Adeleye Ajayi
The Minister of Women Affairs, Pauline Tallen, has urged indigenes of Plateau to live peacefully in love and harmony, jettison every form of differences in order to make meaningful impact as a state.
Tallen made the call during the command parade to herald the 33rd edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST), held on Sunday at Landsfileld, Little Rayfield, Jos.
She said that the state was such a unique one strategically located and endowed with lots of potential.
She, however, advised the people to embrace peace and dialogue with the government on ways to move the state forward.
” I appeal to everyone in the Plateau, particularly the elders, traditional leaders and youths to please let’s give peace a chance.
” All we need to do is to be united, theme up with government and the Plateau will be the best state in the country.
” We just need to build on loving ourselves, working together and making a difference because God has strategically placed us on the map.
” Plateau is strategic in the history of the country, it is the heart of the country.
” This is my best evening since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic earlier in the year, this evening signifies hope for Plateau indigenes, hosting NAFEST now means peace has been restored to the state,” she said.
The Minister commended the efforts of Otunba Segun Runsewe, the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), and Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau state for the courage and fate to host the ancient festival amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tallen who was impressed with the performances of the children, urged NCAC and Plateau Government to continue to educate the children on cultural values as they ought to be caught young.
” I salute the confidence of the governor and Runsewe in hosting this edition of NAFEST, Runsewe is a goal getter and I must say that today is historic, I am moved for all that has happened so far.
” The cultural performances by the children were quite unique and interesting, we must continue to catch the children young so that our culture becomes part of them,” she said.
Edited By: Abdullahi Yusuf
Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau has assured participants of the 2020 National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) of safety and compliance to COVID-19 protocols.
Lalong gave the assurance during the grand performance of the 33rd edition of the festival, tagged, “Cultural Dynamism and Post COVID-19’’ in Jos.
News Agency of Nigeria reports that NAFEST 2020 being hosted by Plateau would feature traditional board game, archery, indigenous fabrics competition, traditional cuisine competition and children’s essay competition.
He urged the visitors to feel comfortable, enjoy the hospitality and conducive weather of the state, saying they would be protected, with no infection of COVID-19 as the festival would be memorable.
“You are free to enjoy the hospitality and accommodating nature of the people.The thing you will temper with the Plateau people is when you dabble into their culture and tradition,” he said.
The governor expressed confidence that the festival would be fun, entertaining, build lasting friendships and would set standard for subsequent editions.
He applauded various presentations by the cultural groups, especially the children, saying the festival was a platform to showcase their potential.
According to him, Plateau groomed many musical artists such as Tuface and PSquare, and is also a breeding ground of Nollywood.
“In sports we had the best from Plateau, in music we have artistes such as Tuface, PSquare, Also, Nollywood started with programmes such as Cock Crow at Dawn, a series that gave way to many productions,”he said.
Lalong said he was committed to restoring the glory of film production in the state through his peace efforts.
Earlier in his remarks, Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council of Arts and Culture,(NCAC), thanked the governor for hosting the event in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic impact on the economy.
Runsewe said that the state could be transformed to a tourist hub with the needed support from Lalong, while assuring participants of visits to tourist sites.
Also, the Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs Pauline Tallen, said the event was historic as it signified hope for progress after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
Tallen also commended the governor for promoting culture and bringing hope to the state.
She urged traditional leaders and youths to cooperate with Lalong on peace efforts, noting that the festival was a chance to foster unity for progress in the state and the country.
NAN reports that highlights of the event was the symbolic release of Doves for the restoration of peace in the state and other parts of the country.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey and Abdullahi Yusuf
Some tourism stakeholders have called on operators to explore digital marketing for speedy recovery of the sector post COVID-19 pandemic.
The stakeholders made the call at the 2020 Assocation of Nigerian Journalists and Writers of Tourism (ANJET) seminar on Tuesday in Lagos.
The theme of the seminar was: ”Post-COVID-19: Recovery Strategies for Hospitality and Tourism Sector in Nigeria.”
Coker, represented by Mr Aiyetan Olurotimi, Lagos Office Coordinator, said that tourism business would thrive better by exploring digital technology and other social media platforms to market the sector.
He said that for success in business transactions, efforts should be intensified by showcasing tourists attractions digitally to attract visitors.
The NTDC boss urged practitioners to intensify efforts at training themselves on the use of innovative technologies to execute businesses.
“Most business outfits need to review their rates or prices to encourage their lost customers and remain in business rather than close outrightly.
“For instance, hoteliers may give free day or complementary service to encourage the use of their conference halls or other infrastructure that have been abandoned due to COVID-19 government regulations,” Coker said.
Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism (NIHOTOUR), also urged operators to digitalise their operations as many relied on digital connectivity and virtual promotional campaigns to boost tourism recovery.
Kangiwa, represented by Mrs Chinyere Uche-Ibeabuchi, Lagos Office Coordinator, said there was need to diversify into niche product offerings that catered for the circumstances the pandemic presented.
“Embracing digital technological options such as virtual strategies, online offerings to showcase and market destinations and experiences to stimulate demand and address a wider target audience, will be a crucial component of a future tourism recovery strategy for Nigeria.
“Some countries are already upscaling the designation of special tourism resorts or lodges as quarantine zones into post-COVID-19 retreat packages.
“Maldives, for instance, are using their unique, contained island geographical configuration to offer exclusive resort or island retreats for travellers.
“Others, such as Antigua and Barbuda, are converting hotel accommodation into self-catering options to allay travellers’ fears of virus transmission,” he said.
Kangiwa said it was essential to initiate strong marketing and promotional campaigns both locally and internationally, adding that promoting flexible services would be another strategic tool to attract potential customers.
“Hotels might need to offer flexible prices, cancellation policies, flexible work environment, all these would be beneficial in achieving long term sustainability of the hospitality business industry,” he said.
Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), also stressed the importance of engaging the digital space in marketing tourism.
Mr Ikechi Uko, Organiser, AKWAABA Africa Travel and Tourism Market, said stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality industries should encourage collaborations to ensure money flows through the various value chains.
He also said stakeholders should ensure that all COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols were adhered to during physical meetings to guide against another spike in the country.
Edited By: Chidinma Agu/Wale Ojetimi
Foreign delegates from Argentina and Lebanon have commended the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) for hosting the 2020 International Arts and Craft Expo even as COVID-19 pandemic continues ravage the world.
They gave the commendations while speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria at the drive-in-exhibition which ended on Friday night at the Sheraton Hotel open space in Abuja.
According to them, the drive-in-exhibition which happens to be the first at this critical period held complying with COVID-19 safety protocols.
Mr Mishaal Khodr, Economic Attachè with Lebanon Embassy in Nigeria, said the platform created was innovative signifying Nigerians’ resilience toward promotion of culture.
Khodr said that Lebanon could not participate fully this year due to the poor state of its economy presently but would be on ground in the 2021 edition to showcase its culture better.
According to him, video clips of cultural performances from his country were showcased to the public.
He expressed his love for Nigerians and their culture, adding that there were some cultural and educational collaborations between the two countries already that would be improved on.
“This is a beautiful platform to educate someone coming into Nigeria for the first time, the various states and countries’ cultural documentaries and displays are quite educating and entertaining.
“I also love and appreciate the fact that international players are also given opportunity to promote and market their culture, crafts and arts.
“As a matter of fact, I’m in love with Nigeria, it is my new favourite place, I never feel away from home here.
“I commend NCAC for this unique form of exhibition and hope this further unites countries across the globe,” he said.
Also, Mr Fernando Lacabanne, Consul in Argentina Embassy in Nigeria, said the exhibition was quite a unique one which combined audio-visual and physical means of exhibition.
Lacabanne said the entire programme was interesting and educating as it also tried to enliven cultures across the world even as COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the world.
He urged other countries present to emulate such an innovation in cultural exhibition to unite countries across the world.
“It is amazing that such an event could hold in this era of COVID-19 pandemic, we have presented video clips containing various cultural displays from Argentina and we hope lots of people have learned from the exhibition.
“We hope to collaborate more with Nigerians as COVID-19 pandemic subsides to further strengthen our relationship,” he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the exhibition was held as a drive-through to ensure that those in attendance complied with the COVID-19 pandemic safety protocols.
Viewers were seen in their parked cars at the venue of the expo watching cultural displays by artistes, arts and crafts on exhibition.
Eleven states out of the 36 in the federation displayed Nigerian arts and crafts at the exhibition which also featured arts and crafts from India, Venezuela, Syria, Lybia, Lebanon, Ghana, Argentina and Kenya.
The states that exhibited their arts and crafts were: Adamawa, Anambra, Borno, Ekiti, Kwara, Kwara, Nasarawa, Zamfara, Ogun, Kaduna and Katsina.
Edited By: Peter Ejiofor)
A two-day first-in-Africa drive-through exhibition of arts and crafts is on-going in Abuja.
Staged by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) the exhibition has “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World’’ as its theme.
It is the 2020 edition of the International Arts and Craft Expo and it markets Nigerian arts and crafts to the world.
At least 11 states out of the 36 states of the federation are displaying Nigerian arts and crafts at the exhibition also featuring arts and crafts from India, Venezuela, Syria, Libya, Lebanon, Ghana, Argentina and Kenya.
States exhibiting their arts and crafts are Adamawa, Anambra, Borno, Ekiti, Kwara and Kano.
Others are Zamfara, Ogun, Kaduna, Ekiti and Katsina.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the exhibition is held as a drive-through to ensure that those in attendance comply with the safe distance protocol as demanded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Viewers were seen in their parked cars at the Sheraton Hotel venue of the expo watching cultural displays by artistes and arts and crafts on exhibition.
NCAC Director-General, Otunba Segun Runsewe, told NAN that the main objective of the expo was to promote, import and export the business of arts and crafts from Nigeria to the international community.
He said it was also designed to sensitise investors on the need to invest in the arts and crafts sector as a way of encouraging enterprise development and export-oriented production.
Runsewe urged Nigerians to tap into the arts and crafts business as it had the potential of reducing poverty as a money spinner.
“Right at the exhibition stands, we have rich and diverse crafts, cuisines, fashion and cultural displays that provide great opportunities for effective and focused promotional and marketing incentives for would-be sponsors.
“We also have documentaries on display from the respective participating states and countries.
“INAC expo avails various opportunities for trade and investment in the economy with a view of promoting greater integration and synergy among players to boost economic and social development.
Mr Kingsley Okafor, an arts practitioner called on Nigerians to focus on the development of the arts and culture industry to boost the nation’s internally-generated revenue and to tackle the problem of unemployment.
Okafor said that the industry, which had suffered negligence over the years, must be harnessed as stakeholders re-strategise to develop local contents of comparative advantage.
“If Dubai can be transformed from a desert land to a city of marbles, then our dreams of transforming our arts and crafts is possible.
“A lot of money can be made from Nigerian arts and crafts; the Nigerian economy has waited too long for the all-important diversification.
“We must tap our creative talents, focus on our arts and crafts to generate the revenue we need in this country,’’ he said.
Also Nigerian visual artist, Ndu White, also told NAN that for Nigeria to generate adequate revenue from its arts and crafts, there must be improved information and communication, data collection platforms and the launching of innovative alliances.
He said there was also the need to forge alliances with technological companies and improve on digital skills.
Edited By: Alli Hakeem
A federal lawmaker, Hon. Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, on Thursday night called on the Federal Government to pay proper attention to the development of the culture and tourism subsector to improve the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Ogbeide-Ihama, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, made the call in Abuja at the 13th edition of the International Arts and Craft Expo (INAC) which held at the Sheraton Hotels.
He said that it had become imperative to focus on growing the nation’s culture and tourism subsector as it could assist in job creation.
He noted that at this critical period practitioners in the sector must begin to think out-of-the-box and explore other ways of marketing the industry.
Ogbeide-Ihama praised NCAC for successfully staging the exhibition.
” I want to seize this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to pay proper attention to this sector because it is yet untapped.
” I think it is this sector that can create jobs for our teaming youth, empower people, boost our economy and most importantly foster unity among us.
” For us in the National Assembly, we want to assure NCAC and other agencies under the culture and tourism sector that we will continue to support them in any way we can, in the area of funding to encourage everyone to keep growing the sector,” he said.
The lawmaker encouraged other sectors to emulate the innovative idea of the drive-in-exhibition, think-out-of-the-box to ensure the nation’s economy was improved upon even as COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world.
“Extraordinary times require extraordinary actions,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that 14 Nigerian states and 10 other countries participated in the event in which crafts and arts were showcased in a drive-in-exhibition.
States including Ogun, Kaduna, Zamfara, Kano, Kaduna and Kwara were at the event.
Others were Nasarawa, Borno, Ekiti, Adamawa, Anambra and the Federal Capital Territory.
India, Ghana, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Venezuela, Kenya and Argentina were some of the countries that also took part in the event.
The theme of the cultural exhibition was “Networking Nigerian Crafts to the World”.
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
Shameen Ahsan, outgoing High Commissioner of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, has commended the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) for using arts and culture as a veritable tool to unite the diplomatic community in Nigeria.
The Bangladeshi envoy gave the commendation during a farewell organised for him by NCAC as he departed Nigeria to continue his diplomatic mission in the Republic of Italy.
According to a statement issued on Wednesday in Lagos by Chief Segun Runsewe, the NCAC Director-General, Ahsan said that his stay in Nigeria had culturally cemented the existing relationship between Nigeria and Bangladesh.
“I will remain eternally grateful to the D-G and the entire NCAC family, for the platform provided for my country to showcase our rich cultural heritage during the 11th and 12th INAC Expo, those memories I will ever cherish,” he said.
The outgoing Bangladeshi envoy noted that during his stay in Nigeria, his country participated fully in the Abuja Carnival, Calabar Carnival, two editions of the International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC).
He said that Bangladesh also participated in other cultural events, which over 60 delegates from the country were able to participate and witnessed the Bangladesh/Nigeria joint cultural show.
Ahsan thanked the director-general for being a wonderful host and assured him that the People’s Republic of Bangladesh will attend the 13th edition of INAC in November this year.
In his response, Runsewe said that the memory of the harmonious diplomatic relationship shared with the outgoing High Commissioner would remain evergreen.
Runsewe noted that this was evident in his attendance of the 11th 12th editions of the International Arts and Crafts Expo (INAC) and other cultural events organised in Nigeria, with robust display of his country’s cultural endowments.
The director-general stated that the outgoing envoy, who is an expert in Security and International Relations, had served in countries like Kuwait, Washington and parts of Africa, before his posting to Nigeria in 2017.
Runsewe described the relationship that existed between Nigeria and the Republic of Bangladesh as very cordial, and had created strong bond as well as opened window for cultural diplomacy between the two countries.
The NCAC boss, therefore, urged the outgoing high commissioner to sustain his high-level of integrity and diplomatic acumen in his new assignment, as the council would dearly miss his wealth of experience.
The high point of the event was the presentation of souvenirs to the outgoing envoy, cutting of cake and a farewell toast conducted by Runsewe.
Edited By: Folorunso Poroye/Wale Ojetimi