The Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe (OON) who is also the President of the World Crafts Council, African Region, has said that his ultimate goal as the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture is to use culture to unite Nigeria and bring about sustainable peace and national development.
Runsewe stated this at the opening of a three-day meeting of the National Technical Stakeholders of the National Festival of Arts and Culture holding in Ado Ekiti, in Ekiti State from 3rd to 5th August, 2021.
The Ekiti State Governor who was represented by the Deputy Governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi expressed his excitement that Ekiti State will be hosting the 52nd edition of NAFEST later this year.
He expressed the readiness of Ekiti State to host this year’s NAFEST saying that NAFEST will present a good opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage of the state for the world to see and to tap into its economic potentials.
He added that any state that fails to take into account the need to situate culture, as well as the creative capacity of its people within its developmental plan, is bound to face serious social, political and economic crises in the long run, hoping that the forth coming NAFEST will promote national unity, social integration, redirect cultural activities, revenue generation and create windows of investment opportunities for the economic growth of not only Ekiti State but Nigeria in general.
The Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Professor Rasaki Ojo Bakare in his opening speech said that the essence of the meeting was a reminder to the stakeholders of the Iconic American President, Abraham Lincoln who said and I quote: “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.” This quote, according to Professor Ojo Bakare, underscores the importance of proper planning towards having satisfactory NAFEST.”
According to him, this collective interface among all the principal implementers of the National Festival of Arts and Culture 2021 project has become and will continue to be a major success factor in every successful edition of the NAFEST.
Prof. Ojo Bakare promised all the stakeholders at this meeting that the forthcoming National Festival of Arts and Culture with the theme: Celebrating Unity in Diversity, scheduled for 13th to 20th November, 2021 promises to be a festival Nigerians would be proud of.
Professor Ojo Bakare reiterated that Ekiti State which is the home of honour, a home of professors, a home of good food and the most hospitable and peaceful state, harbours people of different ethnic and religious groups from all over the country, adding that Ekiti State will set a new standard in the hosting of NAFEST.
At the meeting which was attended by over 30 Commissioners of Culture and other stakeholders in the Culture and Tourism sector of the country, the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe added that time has come for the stakeholders to change the narratives of culture in Nigeria.
According to him, it is time for all hands to be on deck to take our good hands, good ideas and good culture to other parts of the world.
Runsewe also commended the EKiti State Cultural Troupe for their wonderful performances and promised to give them more exposure to the outside world.
He urged the Culture Commissioners and stakeholders to tap into the SWOT analysis and emphasize the good aspects of our country for time has come for the nation to blow its trumpet.