The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, on Monday, led members of the State Executive Council to the opening ceremony of the 2019 National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) holding in Benin City.
The governor was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Betsy Obaseki; Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, and his wife, Mrs. Maryann Shaibu. Also present was the Director-General (DG) of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe.
The event held at the University of Benin Sports Complex with colourful display by cultural troupes drawn from Nigeria’s 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Other performers include the Guards Brigade band; legendary musician, Sir Victor Uwaifo, and popular music artist, Innocent Idibia (2face).
Governor Obaseki, who declared the 2019 NAFEST open, said the programme will help in strengthening the bond of unity in Nigeria, noting, “We are happy to host the nation. Our culture unites us all. You saw the performances by various states today and for the first time in the history of the festival, we are having the highest number of states participating in the programme.”
“Thank you all for making the hosting right possible for us as a state. I admonish you all to participate in the programme throughout the week.”
The Director-General, NCAC and President, World Craft Council, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe said the 32nd edition of NAFEST has shown that Nigeria is a great nation with diverse culture, adding, “There is no disagreement that this programme has brought out the unity of the country as both the military and civilians participated in the 32nd edition of the programme in Edo State.”
Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Culture and Tourism, Rt. Hon. Dr. Omoregie Ogbiede Ihama thanked the Godwin Obaseki led-administration for making the programme a success.
He added, “Today is for celebration as history has been made here with Edo hosting NAFEST for the first time in 40 years. My committee is committed to supporting the festival. We beat five other states to win the hosting right. The festival coincides with the birthday and third-year coronation anniversary of our Oba, Ewuare II.”
The 32nd edition of the NAFEST in Edo consolidates Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s reforms in boosting tourism through arts and culture, which is one of the six thematic pillars of the administration.