The ‘unity in diversity’ of Nigerian culture was demonstrated again as Niger State Government organized the 1st Niger State Festival of Arts and Culture, which took place at the Trade Fair Complex, and the UK Bello Arts Theatre Complex, all in Minna, the state capital, from 1st to 4th of July, 2013.
The atmosphere was charged with the display of splendour and aesthetics that make Niger State unique and a trail blazer in the preservation and development of Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage.
The physical and metaphysical phenomenon came into play to drive home the point without doubt as people came from all works of life, in their thousands, clad in their rich and resplendent traditional attires and costumes, to showcase the beauty of Nigerian culture.
The theme of the festival, “Promoting Culture and Tourism for Peace and Economic Empowerment,” was carefully chosen in recognition of the role of culture in peace-building even at this crucial period of insurgence in the country, and it was aimed at translating the cultural heritage of the people to economic empowerment.
The programme, which kicked off with Cultural Parade of participants from all the 25 Local Governments Areas of the state, was a rich display, showcasing the unique ways of life of the people.
Other cultural activities include, Traditional wrestling, art and crafts, fashion parade, traditional circus, moonlight games, and food exhibition, where Bida Local Government Area came up the overall winner in the competitive events, just as trophies were given for all the competitive events, while others served as entertainment for the esteemed spectators.
In attendance were The Chief Servant of Niger State, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism & National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, who was represented by the Director-General, National Institute for Hospitality & Tourism (NIHOUTOR), Dr. Munzali Dantata, Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly, Niger State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Susan Adishatu Gana, and the wives of The Chief Servant and his Deputy.
The Executive Secretary of National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, was represented at the festival by his Director, Research & Documentation, Prince Dele Olusa.
Oyewole Isaac Akanle