The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, has challenged stakeholders in the culture sector to research into the nation’s rich cultural heritage, with a view to unearthing the various indigenous products and practices that will be used to deepen the course of peaceful co-existence, patriotism and discipline and develop the country economically, as envisaged by the Vision 20:2020 development plan.
Duke made this call on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, at the Metropolitan Square, Ilorin, Kwara State, during the official opening of the 2012 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), which has as theme, “Culture, Peace and Economic Empowerment.”
According to the Minister, NAFEST, the biggest cultural fiesta in the country, popularly called, “the Unity Forum,” has increasingly evolved from its modest beginning in 1970, to a cultural platform that brings together, both practitioners in the industry and Nigerians from various walks of life, across the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to celebrate our cultural heritage.
The Minister, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, re-iterated his continued desire to repackage, refocus and reposition the Arts, Culture and Tourism sector, to make it a major platform towards the Transformation Agenda of the present administration, saying the Ministry is committed in its effort towards identifying and harnessing the components of the arts and culture industry that will facilitate job creation for our teaming unemployed youths.
He expressed satisfaction that the Ministry’s desire to build a sector with clear-cut goals was already yielding fruits, saying, “Despite the present challenges facing the country today, almost all the states of the federation are gathered on the Unity Forum’s platform to celebrate the uniqueness, richness and diverse cultures of Nigeria.”
According to him, with NAFEST 2012, which is the 26th edition in its series, it had become necessary to start from the background that led to the festival as the unity forum, to apply it to our present circumstances, and urged all stakeholders in the culture industry to demonstrate the best that our culture had to offer, and earnestly seek new pathways to attract development and investment to the country, via the sector.
While commending the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, for his continued interest and support for the growth of the Tourism and Culture sector, Duke further re-iterated the pledge of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Parastatals under the ministry and the entire Tourism, Culture and National Orientation sector, to continue to link the sector with Mr. President’s overriding drive to make a difference through good governance and effective service delivery, in the nation.
He noted that this year’s NAFEST emphasizes the participation of children in areas such as essay writing, drawing, painting, and traditional moonlight games competitions, alongside other events such as dance drama, art and crafts competition, including traditional wrestling, traditional furnished apartment, and colloquium as vehicles, through which the objective of NAFEST 2012 would be realized.