The Government of Kaduna State, the “Centre of Learning” has accepted to host the 2017 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST).

This was disclosed at the just concluded 46th Meeting of the Chief Executives of Culture of the Federation (CEC),which held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on the theme: Culture: Nigeria’s New Oil”.

According to the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, the Kaduna State Government’s acceptance to host the biggest cultural festival in the country underscores the importance, His Excellency, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, attaches to the development of the culture and tourism sector.

To him, Kaduna State stands to benefit as the first state to host NAFEST, under his watch, stressing that efforts are in top gear to ensure that the festival moved away from the old fashion by deploying all expertise that will provide a direction that will arouse the consciousness of Nigerians on the need to preserve, protect and promote our cultural heritage and make maximum use of the latent capacities in the Arts and Culture sector that can deliver great economic gains to the country.

His words: “During my tenure in the Council, our focus would be on how to effectively tap into the hidden goldmine and economic potentials of our Cultural Heritage to improve the Nation’s GDP, wealth creation and decent living of our Artiste(s), as well as serving as a panacea for Peace, Unity and Diplomacy.

NCAC will continue to work with Stakeholders to develop the Sector, such that Nigeria can join the League of Nations that are tapping the inexhaustible economic resources that can be found in the culture and tourism industry”.

Continuing, he said: “As cultural administrators, we must come to terms with the fact that
throughout history, but more so in this era of the world being a global village, a Nation’s only real wealth is its Cultural Heritage, which therefore must be preserved and fully exploited to preserve the its identify and natural comparative advantage”.

Otunba further disclosed that NCAC shall henceforth give priority attention at accelerating the commercial and economic contents of cultural assets identifiable to each state of the
Federation, look at developing and improving on our festival format, which today remains one of the fastest growing forms of tourism activities.

On his part, the Executive Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson, commended the NCAC DG for the patriotism and passion which he has brought into the sector, since his assumption of duty as the new helmsman of the Council, saying it brings great hope for the industry and Nigeria in general.

Governor Dickson, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, HRH, Barrister Serena David Spiff, expressed confidence that although the Arts and Culture sector with its huge potentials have been, hitherto, relegated to the background in national affairs, there is hope that with the right funding and direction, the sector can still take Nigeria to higher heights.

In all, twenty (20) Directors of States Councils for Arts and Culture/History and Culture Bureaus were in attendance at the event, which ended on Thursday, 11th May, 2016, with the presentation of briefs from the various state councils on their achievements for the year under review, as well as challenges, to which the DG, NCAC assured a new lease of life as he promised to meet with their respective State Governors to give priority attention to the culture sector.

Also in attendance were: the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma; Hon. Commissioner and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Bayelsa State, Mr. Austin Dressman and Barr. Mrs. Bio Charles Onyema, respectively; and Executive Director, Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, Mrs. Payeboye Festus-Lukah, among others.

Caleb Nor (Media Assistant to ES, NICO)

Clifford Ugwu & Esther Ziprekumor (NSSZ)