As Edo State government gears up to host the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in October this year, Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Segun Runsewe has assured tourists of a rebranded festival to be filled with exciting offerings including royal touch.
Runsewe disclosed this in an interview with journalists where he spoke on the viability of the festival in bolstering Nigeria’s image through culture.
The streets in Benin City have received a facelift in preparation for the festival as major artworks in the city centre have received some restorative touch. The major artworks in Ring Road and other parts of the city are being repainted while bronze casters at Igun Street are excited.
Speaking on the 2019 NAFEST, Rusewe noted, “Nigerians should look forward to a rebranded festival. Don’t forget that the festival will coincide with the anniversary of the Oba of Benin, which means we are going to have some royal events like Royal Nite and Royal Splendor, among others, to propagate what the Oba of Benin means to his people.”
He added that the plan is to transform the popular Igun Street in Benin, into a festival site, noting “Igun Street, where the bronze and artworks are made will be transformed into an arena that is going to be active for the duration of the festival. We will get more people to go there, buy more items and appreciate what is being done in Edo State.”
Recall that Governor Godwin Obaseki in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy, Mr. Crusoe Osagie said, the state is set to boost its inbound tourism figures with the planned host of the NAFEST.
He noted, “Tourism is one of the priority sectors currently receiving the attention of the Obaseki-led administration. We have huge tourism assets that the state government is committed to developing and NAFEST will offer us the opportunity to parade these assets to investors and tourists.
“The National Sports Festival is yet another fiesta that will attract sportsmen, women, enthusiasts and investors to the state. What is instructive is that Edo State is fast- becoming a highly sought-after destination for national and international events.”
Urging residents of Edo State to brace up for an eventful season in the state’s tourism calendar, Osagie said, all sectors of the state will benefit from these events, adding,
“NAFEST is clearly the country’s biggest assemblage of craftsmen and women, art collectors and enthusiasts, restauranteurs that will exhibit several African Cuisines, visual artists, dancers that will represent the 36 states of the country and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) amongst others. Our hotels will swell with guests in their thousands during the period, our transporters, bronze casters, bead makers, will witness a bullish trend and smile to the banks with more money.”