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NAFEST: We believe in Nigerian’s unity, but FG frustrating our efforts – Wike

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  • Assures participants safety, memorable experience

Tony John, Port Harcourt

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has reiterated his belief in the unity and progress of the country.

Governor Wike stated this yesterday, in his speech at the National Technical Committee on the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) programme, tagged “Our, our heritage”, in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

He said the state government had provided enough logistics for security agencies, regretting that the outcome of the recent suspended Port Harcourt City (PHALGA) Constituency 3 by-election in the state, confirmed the partisanship of Federal security agencies.

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Wike expressed: “As a government, we believe so much in the unity and progress of the country. We are very much particular about security and have supported security agencies maximally to function.

“It is very sad that two weeks ago, we had a by-election, where people came out to vote. But, the experience was not what we had expected.

“We had expected that the Federal security agencies, hired and paid with the tax payers’ money, would conduct a free, fair, credible and violence-free election. But, they abated the destruction of electoral process.

“We have to mention it here, so that we can all tell the international community to air their voices, so that this does not occur again.

“Our vision is on development, provision of good roads, bridges, education health care and culture and tourism. The governor want to make the state the centre of culture and tourism. He has supported the security agencies maximally and contributed to the ease of doing business in the state.

“We are mentioning these because we believe in democracy and if this continues it will affect our democracy. Our concern is that this should not happening anywhere else.

The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Dr. (Mrs.) Ipalibo Harry Banigo, assured the participants of safety throughout their stay in the state for the festival, promising them of having a memorable experience in Rivers.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Segun Runsewe, noted that the programme was remarkable because it was exactly 60 years after the first commercial quantity of oil was produced in Oloibiri (now Bayelsa State).

Runsewe, who commended Governor Wike for his commitment to the unity of the country, especially by accepting to host NAFEST, urged Nigerians to respect their respective cultures to avoid crisis.

He noted: “It is not usual to pray for somebody in a programme like this. The Rivers Governor (Wike) deserves prayers. He is behind some of the good things happening in this sector.

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“Culture is the newest thing that will change the narrative of this country. Culture is that thing God gave to man to ensure peace.

“There is problem in this country because we are not respecting each other’s culture. God is about to start a new beginning in this country, that is why we are holding this programme today”.

The DG also disclosed that skills acquisition and health outreach would be organised in the state in October by NAFEST as part of activities to mark Rivers 2018.

However, the State Commissioner of Culture and Tourism, Tonye Oniyide, noted that Arts and Culture is driving the aspirations of the nation.

She said: “This is the national platform to re-ensure our unity as a nation. This sector is leading the move in driving our national aspirations.

“The Culture Ministry and the Ministry of Justice are working together to make policies that will reposition entertainment in Rivers State”, she stated.

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