The Ondo state contingent to the 34th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), held in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti state capital, has won for the state, three laurels in both competitive and non competitive events.
The positions were announced during the colourful closing ceremony of the event, held at Ekiti Parapo Pavilion, in Ado-Ekiti.
Ondo state came third in the drama competition alongside Rivers state, Ekiti state came second while both Benue and Ogun states shared the first position in the category.
Also, the state was awarded for its participation in the festival, just as it also picked a trophy alongside Nasarawa and Kano states as the most creative and innovative in design, packaging and presentation.
Although, the festival had competitive events, but according to the organisers, the essence of the annual festival is not to determine winners or losers but to rather strengthen the unity of the country by providing a platform for states to showcase and celebrate their cultural diversity.
Thirty states including the FCT participated in the festival and many competed in the nine competitions that included; drama, archery, children’s craft, children essay writing, indigenous fabrics for fashion, Nigeria fabrics for interior decoration, traditional cuisine, children tale by moonlight and traditional board game.
Ekiti state came first in overall rating, having emerged winner in many of the competitions, same as Rivers state that came second and the third spot was shared by Bayelsa and Benue.
Commenting on the festival, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Mrs Boladale Akinyanmi, expressed satisfaction over the festival and encouraged the state contingent to put in better performance, having thrilled the audience in the events they competed.
She praised the National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, for the festival, adding that it helped to unite the country, just as she equally hinted that the state will host the festival in the nearest future.
“What we have seen here is a great testimony that Nigeria is rich in cultural diversity as shown by various contingents. The festival has given all states the opportunity to showcase their culture in both competitive and non-competitive events.
“And you could see that our contigent did well when they performed, although there’s room for an improvement.
“The festival is great and capable of uniting the country. I can tell you that there’s hope that the state will soon host the great festival.” She said.
In his remarks the Director General of NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe appreciated the Governor of Ekiti state for hosting the edition, stressing that the annual festival is a potent means of integrating the people and celebrating the cultural diversity of the country.
He also commended the people of Ekiti state for their hospitality and rich culture, adding that participants from other states really enjoyed their stay.
Declaring the festival closed, the Governor of Ekiti state and Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Dr Kayode Fayemi, appreciated the participants and NCAC for the festival, noting that the country though, different in tribes and tongue, stands in brotherhood, celebrates in diversity and works in unity.
He appreciated the contingent for making the state proud and said their was no winner or loser as far as the festival is concern.
“I want to commend all the 30 states that was here from the North, the West, the East and the South. This is really unity in diversity. In spite of the challenges, we were never deterred to travel from far kilometres to Ekiti State, all the way from Yobe, from Zamfara, from the creeks of Balyesa and Delta. From Borno and Sokoto States and of course from the rare forest of the south east,they were all here and our people from the southwest are here.
“Yes, we may be different in tribes and tongues but in brotherhood we stand and in diversity we celebrate and in unity we work together to show the world the stuff we were made off in knowledge, in culture, in character, in competence, in hard work that is what we have all come to demonstrate here in Ekiti State over the last one week.
“I want to commend Ekiti for doing an excellent Job but I also want to commend Rivers, Benue, Delta and all of our states for doing an excellent Job in demonstrating the splendour, the excellent, the artistic, wealth that traverse the length and breadth of our country. For us Nigeria is the winner here.” He added.
Lagos State was declared host of the 35th edition in 2022.
Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
November 21, 2021.