Ahead of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) scheduled for November in Jos, the Plateau State capital, the Director-General, NAFEST, Segun Runsewe, has assured that the whole country is being mobilised to converge in Jos for the festivity.
Mr Runswe was speaking during a visit to the Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong.
Mr Runswe said NAFEST 2020 will be a historic event because Plateau State is the home of peace and tourism and has a rich cultural history that has been at the centre of national development in many ways.
He praised Governor Lalong for approving the hosting of the event in the state.
“Plateau State is an attraction to people within and outside Nigeria. By restoring peace to the state, you have increased the invitation for development and progress of the people.
“This is why tourism and culture can now be used as a tool for improving the economic fortunes of the people and showcasing the hospitality and beauty of Plateau. This we shall achieve by staging NAFEST,” he said.
He commended the governor for showing leadership, particularly resolving the date for the event, which he said was an initial challenge. This, he said, has motivated about five states to begin jostling for hosting rights for the next edition.
Commenting in a statement by Makut Macham, his director of press and public affairs, Mr Lalong said the state was honoured to host NAFEST 2020 because it will further confirm the peace and tranquillity pervading the state, which makes development possible.
“We have to promote our culture and heritage which is a great asset. If we do not market Nigeria, no one can market it for us. Our focus is to develop tourism and culture as another way of harnessing economic and social resources. This explains why it is difficult to leave Plateau when people come here,” he said.
He assured that the government will expedite action on the completion of the Luka Bentu Indoor Theatre for the event while the airlines operating to Jos have been advised to make adequate arrangements for people attending the event.
The governor also said that the state will ensure that everything is done in line with COVID-19 protocols even as the coronavirus cases have dropped significantly in recent times due to the proactive approach adopted by the government.
In August, stakeholders, comprising 36 state commissioners of culture, permanent secretaries, special advisers and directors of culture and tourism in the 36 states of the federation, including Abuja, appealed to Mr Lalong to accept hosting the festival in November during a virtual meeting organised by the National Council for Arts and Culture.
PREMIUM TIMES reported how the 2019 National Festival for Arts and Culture took place in Benin, Edo State, where the NAFEST director announced that Plateau State will host the 33rd edition in 2020.
The Edo episode of the festival, tagged ‘Edo 2019,’ with the theme ‘Our Royalty, Our Pride’, recorded the participation of 30 states in cultural activities held in four centres across Benin City, including the Uniben Sports Complex, Oba’s Palace, the Benin Golf Course and the Akenzua Cultural Centre.