November 30, 2022
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NAFEST 2021: Nigeria is winner, says Fayemi – The Nation Newspaper

  • November 25, 2021
  • 10 min read
NAFEST 2021: Nigeria is winner, says Fayemi – The Nation Newspaper

Nigeria news – Nigeria's breaking news website
For seven days, stakeholders from the creative sector converged on Ado Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital for the 34th edition of National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2021, to celebrate the nation’s unity in diversity. The seven-day event attracted no fewer than 25 states including FCT, Assistant Editor Arts OZOLUA UHAKHEME reports.
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Few minutes into the close of this year’s National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) there was anxiety amongst the state contigents. It was time to announce the overall winner of the festival last Saturday. The build up to this moment was intense as states such as Rivers, Delta, Bayelsa and Ekiti were possible winners of the festival gong. Venue was Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado Ekiti.
‘And the winner is Ekiti state’…. And the crowd erupted into a thunderous celebration.
Reacting to the declaration, Governor Kayode Fayemi said Nigeria was the winner at the festival and not Ekiti as a state.
“We are all winners and there is hardly a state that is not going home with a prize in a particular segment of the festival. Eventual overall victor has gone to Ekiti state and I don’t think it was done by any manipulation. We demonstrated the stuff we are made up and we gave a good impression of ourselves. I want to commend Ekiti people for their excellent job. I want to commend all the states for doing excellent jobs. For us Nigeria is the winner here… Ekiti will be hard to beat in next year NAFEST in Lagos state,” Governor Fayemi added.
Rivers won the second position while Bayelsa and Benue got the third position. Delta and Nassarawa won fourth position. The fifth position went to Ogun, Lagos and FCT. Other winners are:
Best costumed states: Rivers, Imo and Kogi states; Largest contingent: Rivers and Baeyelsa states; Best behaved and disciplined states: Yobe, Taraba and Sokoto; Most improved state: Jigawa, Gombe; Most creative design and innovative package: Ondo Nasarawa and Kano; DG Gong for states outstanding support for children and women: Erelu fayemi; DG gong for host state hospitality: Governor Fayemi; Best entrepreneurial state: Osun, Niger and Zamfara; Best in digital marketing of arts: Abia, Bauchi Plateau; Best in synergy and team work: Lagos, Rivers and FCT and Ogun; Most consistent state: Borno, Kaduna, Katsina and Benue; Traditional cuisine: 5th FCT and Imo
4th bayelsa, 3rd  Ekiti and Delta, 2nd Nasarawa, 1st Rivers, Children Essay writing: 5th Lagos, 4th Nasarawa
3rd Gombe, 2nd Benue, 1ST Ekiti and Rivers, Children art n craft competition: 5th FCT, 4th Benue, 3rd Ogun
2nd Lagos, 1st Ekiti, Archery: 4th Kaduna and Rivers, 3rd Borno, 2nd Ekiti, 1st Nassarawa; Drama children
5th Bayelsa, 4th Delta, 3rd Rivers and Ondo, 2nd Ekiti, 1st Benue and Ogun; Children tales by moonlight:
5th Delta, 4th Lagos, 3rd Benue, 2nd Bayelsa, 1st Ekiti and Rivers; Traditional  board game: 4th Nasarawa 3rd Rivers, 2nd Ekiti, 1st Bayelsa; Indigenous fabric/fashion competition:5th FCT, 4th Delta, 3rd Ekiti, 2nd Bayelsa
1st Rivers; Nigerian fabric interior decoration: 5th Niger, 4th Delta, 3rd FCT, 2nd Bayelsa, 1st Ekiti, Special gong:
Lagos.
The festival also featured non-competitive events such as free skills acquisition and entrepreneurship roundtable, which featured Ekiti State House of Assembly Deputy Speaker Hakeem Jamiu as special guest, Miss Funke Awodiya, marketer of Iru, poet and sickle cell advocate; Nuhu Wajiu, of Ifrique Ecosystem, an environmentalist and Mrs Bose Falegan a restaurant operator who specialises in pounded yam.
Students of Mater Christi College, Ado Ekiti formed the majority of the audience at session which lasted few hours. The relevance of entrepreneurship in the empòwerment of Nigerian youths formed the thrust of the session held at the Conference Hall, Civic Centre, Ado Ado Ekiti.
Director General National Council for Arts and Culture Otunba Segun Runsewe enjoined the students to be patriotic in all they do. “Nobody can build your nation for us. We are here to put you on track on how you can make your inputs into making Nigeria great. We are all stakeholders in the Nigeria nation,” he said.
Hon. Jamiu urged the students to have the desire to be employer of labour by being an entrepreneur adding that this does not interfere with academic pursuit.
“Nobody is useles because there is inherent talent in everybody. What you need is to discover your talent….and develop it. You can go to school but you must have skill and that will take you to places. Don’t depend on cert alone,” Jamiu said.
Miss Awodiya recalled that for over four generations her grandparents made ogiri and iru which are good food for our health.
She stated that during Covid-19 pandemic, she explored the health benefits of iru and how to make it acceptable. Those efforts, she said, gave birth to iru salad and responses were encouraging.
Why iru? You may ask. According to her, it takes care of stomach disorder, boosts immune system. It is preserved by smouldering.
“I later decided to take Iru Ekiti to everywhere which first came in smaller containers. From market feedback, I improved my products and distribution network using social media.
“If I have my way, iru should be packaged with biodegradable items like leaves. Interestingly my iru has gone far to countries i have not been to. Hope every part of the world will have iru in their homes,” Awodiya said.
 For Wajiu who spoke on how to create wealth from waste such as water sachets and pet bottles said his organisation used such waste items to make pave-lock and interlocking tiles to reduce environmental hazards. He noted that it is good for everyone to be conscious of the environment, which can be a good source of wealth. “There is wealth in waste.. it can be transformed into reusable products,” he stressed.
Mrs Falegan who started the business of pounded yam in 1991 with her mother said she made up her mind to follow the business because it is honourable to identify with such a business.
“We make use of different yams to make pounded yam. Challenges in the business are the effect of using
Q fire wood to cook. However I trained my children to varsity through this business. It is a business of my choice,” she declared.
Like the roundtable the Free Skills Acquisition programmes attracted a large turnout of participants especially youths and women who took part in beads making, hair tie making, shoe making, tie and dye, waste to wealth and sewing. All the training and materials were provided free by NCAC.
Earlier on Tuesday, kidnapping, terrorism and banditry dominated the themes of drama presentations by participating states.
Both Delta and Lagos states staged plays whose themes centered on insecurity, mirroring the unfortunate conditions in the country. Even the Niger State troupe whose own drama didn’t necessarily dwell on insecurity as theme, nonetheless explored wide ranging human misery, reflective of the prevailing conditions of life in Nigeria.
Bayelsa State explored the theme of disunity, hatred and greed for one another which are all banes of Nigeria and malaises afflicting the country.
Otunba Runsewe observed that in the last 20 years,  “our youths have imbibed foreign cultures. So, this is a platform for reawakening our people to tell them that we are rich and well endowed.”
According to him, one of the major fallout of the festival in the state is empowering the people of Ekiti State. “Most of the hotels in Ado-Ekiti are fully booked. People have had to be sharing rooms. It may interest you to know that the same thing happened in Canada – they had an event, but they didn’t have enough rooms. They had to build more hotels. So, we are now begging Ekiti people and saying to them: “Before we come back (for another NAFEST), please build more hotels.”
Speaking at the opening of the festival earlier in the week, Governor Fayemi called for the use of arts and culture in achieving social and political stability for Nigeria.
The festival, which opened at the Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, Ado-Ekiti penultimate Monday has as theme “Celebrating national unity in diversity.”
Dr Fayemi said the critical state of Nigeria requires that efforts be intensified to revive the country’s diverse culture and enhance the potential of its arts for social and political stability.
He decried the country’s sole reliance on the performance of crude oil in the international market, which has continued to cripple the country. “Investing in culture is crucial to the general development of any society. Culture impacts on economic growth by strengthening social virtues, creating trust which facilitates relationships and inspiring motivation that stimulates entrepreneurship,” the Governor said.
Dr Fayemi described culture as a glue for uniting people because “it allows for various forms of talent expression.” He said apart from sports, NAFEST is another unique platform for the 36 States of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory to meet, showcase and promote Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage and diversity.”
He said Ekiti State is peaceful, hospitable, generous and has peace-loving people. “So many people who once came as visitors,” the Governor said, “found out that Ekiti is one of the safest and conducive places to settle in. Many of them are today landowners in the State. Many have significant investments in various sectors of the economy. Many have also chosen to be our in-laws.
“So, beyond your participation in NAFEST and visitation to our amazing sites and heritage, feel free to see how well you can integrate yourself and feel at home with us,” the Governor said.
Dr. Fayemi congratulated the staff of the National Council for Arts and Culture and the Ekiti State Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism for their preparedness for the 34th edition of NAFEST.
He said the state has taken the development of culture to the realm of cultural re-orientation, attitudinal change and value orientation. “I am glad to inform you that our core cultural values as Ekiti people have now been included in our educational curriculum to be taught in primary and post-primary schools across the State. This is to let you know how much our government believes in culture as an instrument of   change, capable of transforming our society and changing our socio-political and economic narratives for the better.
“Our willingness to host the 34th edition of this national fiesta is not because Ekiti State has huge financial resources or reserves. In fact, Ekiti State, like most States in Nigeria, is currently challenged by the imperative to manage conflicts of multiple financial commitments and very lean revenue income. However, in spite of our meagre financial resources, our administration, in conscious determination not be deterred from achieving this long-time aspiration, decided to pursue the unique opportunity of hosting the festival, and here where we are to witness this glorious moment.”
The Governor assured all of a good time in Ekiti, adding “these include, but not limited to adequate security all around the venues of the events, the hotels and accommodation venues.”
The festival which held  between November 13 qnd 20 featured events such as traditional board game, fashion competition, archery competition, children essay writing, children arts and craft, children story-telling and puppetry competition and traditional cuisines.
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