The 35th edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) has been officially declared open in Lagos with a colourful cultural parade from 29 states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The seven day cultural festival with the theme: ‘Culture and Peaceful-Coexistence’, according to the Director General of the National Council For Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe was deliberately planned as a unifying ground for exchange of culture, promotion of the country’s rich cultural heritage, skills acquisition and talk shows that are aimed at improving the peaceful co-existence of Nigerians.
The impact, significance and side attractions of this iconic festival is so glaring as some of those in attendance expressed said culture remains a unifying factor that binds Nigerians together.
Tagged Eko NAFEST “” EKO For show”” Yes it was really a colourful show as contingents from Twenty nine states adorned in different colourful cultural attire danced to the tune of their cultural songs.
Some of the contingents said they are aiming at taking the first position when the results of the cultural parade will be announced.
In an opening remark, the Director General of the National Council For Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe who went down memory lane about the unity of the country said NAFEST was designed to reunite the country and change the narrative.
He said NAFEST would be a new beginning in the history of Nigeria and that is why Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu will be the first governor to launch a book entitled the “” Thirty seven wonders of Nigeria”” during the closing ceremony of the festival.
The NCAC boss commended Lagos state for it’s efforts towards ensuring a successful festival.
Governor Babajide Sanwo Olu in an opening remark said the State was delighted to have won the hosting rights of NAFEST 2022 which was keenly contested by three other states.
The governor said the decision to host this year’s edition was borne out of the desire to further support and showcase the state’s arts, crafts, entertainment, nightlife , the people, their disposition, and the aquatic splendor of Lagos state.
He explained that a lot of effort has gone into the preparation of this national event including a major facelift of the National Institute for Sports, a venue which was carefully picked for its historical value and importance.
Equally the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, formerly known as Onikan Stadium, the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies which is the oldest stadium in Nigeria and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture co-opt other relevant sister Agencies to ensure the event goes on without a hitch:
The festival was attended by many traditional rulers from within and outside the State, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi.
Reporting by Chioma Ezike, Editing by Omotola Oguneye