The Ogun State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, on Tuesday, 19th April, 2016, played host to the culture community, with its maiden edition of the Nigerian Drums Festival (NDF), at the Cultural Centre Complex, Kuto-Abeokuta, where a crowd of culture enthusiasts were treated to different scintillating drum performances from around the country.
In his welcome address, the Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Basorun Muyiwa Oladipo, expressed appreciation the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, for approving the organisation of the first-ever Nigerian Drums Festival in Africa, and indeed the world, adding that the event was in response to the need for Ogun State Government to enhance its revenue profile.
According to Oladipo, apart from celebrating the traditional significance of drums in Nigeria, the event aims at reawakening in the minds of people, the historical importance of this medium of communication and entertainment, informing that the first-ever 16ft drum will be unveiled in the course of the opening ceremony, by the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in his Goodwill Message, stated that the concept of the Nigerian Drums Festival was in line with his vision of state governments identifying in their states unique tourism products, which could be developed and packaged to international standards.
The Minister, who was represented by the Executive Secretary/CEO, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, said that with the grand nature of the opening ceremony and the enthusiastic audience reception, there was every indication that the Nigerian Drums Festival would not just transformed to be an African Drums Festival, but a World Drums Festival.
He observed that if some countries do organise Beer and Popcorn Festivals, which do not have immense cultural significance, there was no doubt that the Nigerian Drums Festival, as conceptualised by the Ogun State Ministry of Culture and Tourism, was a product that has the prospects of attracting millions of tourists around the globe to the Gateway state every year.
Declaring the festival open, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, who was accompanied to the event by his wife, Her Excellency Mrs. Olufunso Amosun, noted the significance of drum in the daily existence of Africans, saying that the Nigerian Drums Festival, which will be renamed, African Drums Festival, aimed at creating a cultural tourism product to attract local and international tourists to Ogun State, the Gateway State and the home of creativity in Nigeria.
According to him, while the thinking of the Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as enunciated by his representative, Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, the Executive Secretary, NICO, was heart-warming, the state government will draw a large number of African ountries to the event in the next few years and then look at the global perspective.
Governor Amosun used the occasion to call on other state governments to come out with unique tourism products to further project the cultural potentials of the culturally, richly endowed country, and stem the tide of Nigerians going outside the country in search of culture and tourism activities; and he went on to unveil two giant drums of 16feet each.
Other Goodwill Messages were also delivered by the Director-General, National Council for Arts Culture (NCAC), Mrs. Dayo Keshi; the President, La Campagne Tropicana Worldwide, Dr. Wande Akinboboye; Director-General, Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo; the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi (Ojaja II), and other traditional rulers in Ogun State.
The vision of the Nigerian Drums Festival (NDF), with a registered Board of Trustees states thus: “the business of gathering drummers around the world and motivating them to do the business of beats creation. We aim to achieve this position through enlightened drummers enthusiasm and continuous improvement driven by can do spirit, determination, teamwork, innovation and great deference for our culture and tradition which will in turn, help to preserve, protect and advance our cultural values and artefacts.”
The opening ceremony of the festival, which will last for four days, featured performances from Ara, the world renowned female talking drummer, late Hubert Ogunde Memorial Theatre Troupe, Ogun State Troupe, as well as other groups; and it had in attendance Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Benin, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, and Jamaica, among others.
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