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NAFEST 2018: Wike, Runsewe highlights culture as panacea for peace, unity

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NAFEST 2018The Governor of Rivers State, Chief Nyesom Wike and the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) have agreed that culture remains Nigeria’s biggest asset in enthroning sustainable peace and unity among the citizens irrespective of ethnic, religious or political divides.

The duo who disclosed during their speeches at the closing ceremony of the 31th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) held in Port Harcourt, River State, said culture no doubt is a key factor in sustaining nascent peace and unity among the ethnic diversity in Nigeria.

Speaking further, Governor Wike said Nigerians must now come together and use culture as a rallying point to promote peace and unity in all parts of the country noting that every state is blessed with very rich art and culture adding that Rivers has the capacity to keep hosting NAFEST every year.

“The NCAC DG and his team have done an excellent job putting the festival together saying his wife, Justice Eberechi Nyesom Wike, who hosted 500 children at the government house, was extremely impressed with the numerous components of this year’s edition.”

He explained that the successful hosting of NAFEST by Rivers state is a testament to the fact that the state is peaceful and the people are culture friendly, promising to support the NCAC in her mandate to continue to unite Nigerians through the promotion of culture.

Runsewe o other hand thanked the Governor and the good people of the state for the massive support, saying he was impressed at the high level of peace and security in the state as against the falsehood propagated in some quarters that Rivers State is unsafe.

The 2018 edition featured several components like free skill acquisition, indigenous games, traditional cuisines, children’s essay-writing competition, traditional wrestling, cultural market, free medical services, command performances featuring breathtaking music and dance among others.

Presenting awards in several categories to the winning states, Otunba Runsewe said this has been the best NAFEST in recent times expressing hope that the next edition slated for Benin City, Edo State in 2019 will live up to the standard set by Rivers State.

Meanwhile, at the sideline of the 2018 NAFEST, the NCAA boss has said that the role of Nigerian cuisines as a unifier has been elevated to national importance through his practical commitment and strategic activation of cultural content to change the narrative of Nigeria.

Otunba Runsewe who advocated for greater appreciation of Nigerian food during the traditional cuisines competition held at the Rex Jim-Lawson Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt forming part of several activities that boosted the 31th edition of NAFEST.

Addressing states from across Nigeria who participated at the food fare, which showcased different delicious indigenous food, drinks and snacks, Runsewe said the time has come for Nigeria to start exporting her local cuisine to the rest of the world.

He said that the essence of the competition was to celebrate Nigerian food which according to him is richer, healthier and more nourishing than the processed food people import to the country.

“Efforts must be concentrated in the right places to ensure better packaging of our indigenous food and snacks for export which will in turn translate to additional foreign exchange while improving the local economy and empowering Nigerians.

He commended the participating states for travelling all the way to Rivers State to showcase their indigenous foods for Nigerians to appreciate and savour, noting that the host state has proven to be indeed peaceful as against the falsehood peddled in some quarters that Rivers State is unsafe.

Other key aspects of NAFEST 2018 enjoyed by Nigerians include, waste to wealth skill acquisition, free medical services, traditional wrestling competition, children’s essay writing competition, cultural market, dance drama, boat regatta, tales by moonlight and many more.

Also The free skill acquisition component of the 2018 edition of National Festival of Arts and Culture NAFEST received a major boost with over 900 youths lining up to acquire various skills during the course of the event in Rivers State.

A major aspect of NAFEST 2018 organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in collaboration with the Rivers State government is focused on building capacity and equipping youths with several skills to promote self sufficiency and entrepreneurship.

This year’s NAFEST saw thousands of youths will acquire skills in the areas of soap production, bead making, fashion design, shoe manufacturing, makeup, art and craft design and many more.

According to Runsewe “The human angle to capacity-building is very important and this will be fully explored because we believe the youths must be empowered in our drive towards a better Nigeria.

“NAFEST 2018 will not only be a display of fanfare but an avenue to empower youths to create wealth while also preparing them to assume the role of future leaders fully equipped with the requisite skills to take Nigeria to the next level.

The one week festival also took participants on interesting components of indigenous games, traditional wrestling, cultural market, free medical checkups, traditional folklore, music and dance amongst many other varied inclusions.

The festival ended with Rivers State emerging overall winner while Bayelsa and Ondo states settling for the second and third position respectively.

The post NAFEST 2018: Wike, Runsewe highlights culture as panacea for peace, unity appeared first on Tribune.

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