Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital was agog, Tuesday, 17th September, 2013, with activities as stakeholders in the arts and culture sector converged in the oil rich state to participate in the 27th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), organised by the National Council for Arts & Culture (NCAC).
The opening ceremony, which was held at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa, had in attendance the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, who represented the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, among other dignitaries.
While welcoming dignitaries and the various state contingents, the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Mr. Malgwi Mwajim Maidugu, stated that NAFEST, in addition to promoting national unity, has over the years, developed to become an avenue for talent hunt, skill development, job creation and economic empowerment.
He further stated that the theme of this year’s festival, “Culture, peace and National Transformation,” was chosen in recognition of the festival’s potency in tackling the challenges currently facing the country, and that competitive events lined up include traditional dance and music, arts and crafts, traditional wrestling, children’s essay writing, children’s story telling, traditional cuisines, and traditional furnished apartments, as well as colloquium.
Before declaring the festival open on behalf of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, warmly welcomed all the artists and officials to Bayelsa State, the glory of all lands, and commended the Honourable Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, the management and staff of National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), for the unique opportunity of hosting the national festival.
He stated that the good people of Bayelsa State are very hospitable and that the guests will always remember the NAFEST Bayelsa experience as his government had provided the enabling environment for a hitch-free cultural fiesta, and assuring that they had nothing to worry about security challenges as Bayelsa State happens to be one of the most peaceful states in the country.
The theme of this year’s NAFEST, which will come to a close on Saturday, 21st September, 2013, is “Culture, Peace and National Transformation,” and most of the events will take place at the Gloryland Cultural Centre complex, which has hosted several international programmes, such as the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA); and Bayelsa State, known for her rich cultural heritage is expected to leverage on the opportunity offered by the fiesta to display its rich culture.