52-edition of NAFEST theme ‘Celebrating Unity In Diversity’ Nov.13-20, 2021.

The Director General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe (OON) who is also the President of the World Crafts Council, African Region, has said that his ultimate goal is to use Culture to unite Nigeria and bring about sustainable peace and national development.

Runsewe said this at the opening of a 3-day meeting of the National Technical Stakeholders of the National Festival of Arts and Culture held in Ado Ekiti from August 3-5, 2021.

The Ekiti State Governor who was represented by his deputy Otunba Bisi Egbeyemi expressed his excitement that the State will be hosting 52-edition of NAFEST for this year with the theme ‘Celebrating Unity In Diversity’ scheduled for November 13-20, 2021. He said this year’s NAFEST would present a good opportunity to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Ekiti State for the world to see and to tap into its economic potential. He added that any State that fails to take into account the need to situate culture as well as the creative capacity of its people within its developmental plan is bound to face serious social, political and economic crisis in the long run.

“The forthcoming NAFEST will promote national unity, social integration, redirect cultural activities, revenue generation and create windows of investment opportunities for the economic growth of not only Ekiti State but also Nigeria”.

The Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Professor Rasaki Ojo Bakare in his remark also said that the essence of the meeting was a reminder to the stakeholders of the Iconic American President, Abraham Lincoln quote that “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four hours sharpening the axe” Bakare said the quote underscores the importance of proper planning towards having satisfactory NAFEST.  He said: “This collective interface among all the principal implementers of the National Festival of Arts and Culture 2021 project will continue to be a major success factor in every successful edition of the NAFEST.”

The first lady of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi, whose presence added colour to the Technical Stakeholders meeting, was decorated as “Mama NAFEST 2021”. She appreciated the Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture, for giving her the award of Mama NAFEST 2021. She however urged the delegates and stakeholders to explore all the good experiences that Ekiti State has to offer during the forthcoming NAFEST.

The meeting was attended by over 30 State Commissioners of Culture and other stakeholders in the Culture and Tourism sector of the country.

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France, Oyo Govt. Meet to Develop Tourism Sites

French Embassy is working on a new way to develop tourism in Oyo State, especially as it looks to expand its bilateral relationship with the State.

A team from French Embassy said this over the weekend when they visited the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and a tourist site, Ado-Awaye hill.

Speaking during the visit, the leader of the French delegation, Dr. Vincent Hiribarren said the country is determined to stay engaged with Oyo State and seek ways to explore its tourism potentials in different archaeological and historical sites.

His words, “Currently, France is seeking to help the Oyo State Government to document its tourism potentials. This is the first working visit to the State’s tourism sites”.

He said “the field visit to potential archaeological sites in Oyo State would afford us the opportunity to assess them, with the aim of developing an archaeological project”.

The team also toured studios and archives of the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism with the aim of developing a project on digitalisation of archival materials and training of personnel.

Dr. Vincent Hiribarren also promised the French Government’s support to Oyo State, in ensuring the full digitisation of its archaeological documents, archival materials and cultural heritage.

The team thereafter met management of the Ministry to deliberate on possible projects to be developed based on the assessments made.

The French delegation added that the relics put up for consideration include Idere Relics, Kunrunmi Relics, Iyake Suspended Lake Ado Awaye & Aso Ofi centre, Iseyin (home of weavers).

“This official visit to the State is marked with a trip to the famous Ado-Awaye hill where we discovered big tourism potentials such as the Iya’ke suspended lake, the Iya’laro lake and an ancient cave”.

Dr. Hiribarren, who heads the French Institute for Research in Africa, promised the French Government’s support to ensure Ado-Awaye among other tourist sites in the State are enlisted on the UNESCO recommendation for tourism, which he noted will consummate the State’s economic diplomacy upgrade.

“We will ensure this is established as part of UNESCO tourism sites, such that it will influence tourists and improve the rating and cultural heritage of the community”, he said.

He added that the visit was an attempt to build on the priorities set by the French Government, saying it was also a sign of Paris’ “willingness to change the narrative of the relations between the State and France”.

“We are working for a new, more sustainable, fairer way to support the tourism potentials in Oyo State. We want to find ways to partner with Oyo State on tourism to create more jobs, and to create more economic growth”, he added.

Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, Dr. ‘Bunmi Babalola appreciated the French Government for the visit, which he noted will increase the volume of economic impact on the people of Ado-Awaye.

He also promised the State Government’s full support to prioritize the tourism sector, which will in turn expand the State’s economy.

The Alado of Ado-awaye, HRM, Oba Sunday Oladapo Oyediran said the community has waited long for the realisation of this age-long dream.

Noting that the community hosts the only natural suspended lake in the African continent, the Monarch added that the development will not only enhance tourism potentials in the State, but curb criminality and other vices.

The French Embassy Mission included, Professor Gerard Chouin (Williams & Mary USA), Dr. Vincent Hiribarren (Director IFRA Nigeria), Ms. Lea ROTH (Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne), Prof. R. A. Alabi (Head of Department of Archaeology UI), Joseph Ayodokun (Department of Archaeology UI and Field officer of IFRA Nigeria’s Archaeological Projects) and Patrick Babalola (Archivist , IFRA Nigeria).

e-signed:

Dr. Bunmi Babalola,

Permanent Secretary,

Oyo State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism

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