The President of the Federal republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has said that the organisation of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), popularly called, the unity forum, underscores its importance as a catalyst for national unity, especially at this time, when Nigeria is facing serious security challenges.
President Jonathan, who stated this during the official flag-off of the 26th edition of NAFEST 2012, on Tuesday, 16 October, 2012, at the Metropolitan Square, Ilorin, Kwara State, “the state of harmony,” noted that the theme of the fiesta, “Culture, Peace and Economic Empowerment,” is apt and is coming at a time when it is necessary for the culture sector to harness and “promote our culture and spread the message of peace, which is a panacea for unity and development despite all the challenges of oneness as a people.”
The President, who was represented by the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, stressed that if our diverse cultures are well harnessed, it will reduce youth restiveness, poverty, and joblessness and will boost the nation’s Gross Domestic Products (GDP) in the nearest feature.
He reassured the culture sector of his commitment and support towards realizing the Transformation Agenda of his administration for national peace and unity in the country, and commended the organizers of the event for using the NAFEST platform for national integration.
The five-day festival, which is Nigeria’s biggest and most popular cultural event, organized annually by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), started off with colourful March Past by 28 participating States of the federation and Federal Capital Territory.