The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has noted that culture is a strong instrument for peace, national unity and development.
The Minister stated this during the 25th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2011 at the U. J. Esuene Township Stadium in Calabar, Cross Rivers State, describing the Essay Competition organized for children as part of the event with the topic, “Culture as an instrument of peace and national unity,” as inculcating a sense of value in the children as Nigeria’s future hope and leaders.
Chief Duke said that to achieve peace through culture, the entire culture sector should be objective driven, and described NAFEST as a festival that brings all Nigerian cultural heritages together, disclosing that it is the intention of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, to move the country forward through the use of culture.
According to him: “NAFEST, as an annual festival, serves as a veritable index for exchange of our diverse cultural manifestations; it is a forum for talent exposition. It brings the 36 states of the federation and FCT together. So, all Nigerians are gathered in U. J. Esuene Township Stadium in Calabar, Cross Rivers State to witness the 25th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2011. NAFEST began in Lagos in 1970. It is a festival that unites Nigeria. That is why in my Ministry, I am determined to pursue the vision of Mr. President through our culture. I commend Mr. President for this vision, which will take Nigeria to the top. Nigeria is the cultural pot of Africa. I commend His Excellency, President Goodluck Jonathan, for all the efforts towards uplifting Nigeria through culture. That is why I call on all the stakeholders in the culture sector to join hands so that we can achieve our cultural goals.”
Commenting on the theme of the festival, “Nigerian Traditional Music: A Vehicle for Economic Transformation,” the Minister said Nigerian traditional music is one of the defining cultural performances that distinguishes Nigeria and as such: “This year’s festival will faithfully expose, document and explore, not only the Nigerian traditional rhythm and dance steps, but will also promote the paraphernalia associated with these phenomena. The theme has really provided an avenue for Nigerian traditional music to be fully and proudly showcased. Our youths are therefore encouraged to tap into the huge economic potentials that abound in the various aspects of our cultural industries for gainful employment. We are really determined to be more creative in our quest for national development such that the cultural market component will be showcased in the physical products for further appreciation as well as creating investment opportunities.”