By Fidelia Femi-Adedoyin
Once upon a time, I had a grandfather and one of his most profound statements that became a vital ingredient in holding his legacy in place is “play your part”. I never quite understood this saying till my own father began to reiterate it and it dawned on me that life is like a huge piece of art that will only come together to reveal its beauty when we all play our different roles.
It is this saying, this understanding that has kept the torch of the National Festival of Art and Culture (NAFEST) burning through 33 editions. For years NAFEST has travelled from State to State annually, showcasing our cultural heritage, emphasizing our unity in diversity for all the world to see how tourist worthy we are.
With all that we have been through as a nation, we have consistently ensured that this is not taken from us. We have continually strived to keep the torch of unity burning through our diverse uniqueness. Individuals, associations, governments have played their part in ensuring that this event which may very well be the most uniting in the country at present, continues, year in year out.
The yearly coming together of our different tribes to showcase the rich cultural heritage of our nation is certainly a sight to behold as each state gives a glimpse of their peculiarity in events such as archery, moonlight tales, cultural dance steps, cultural cuisines, painting, wrestling, amongst so many other arts.
I therefore make bold to say that all stakeholders in the arts, culture and tourism industry have been and are still playing their part; from the Director General of the National Council for Art and Culture, Otunmba Olusegun Runsewe (OON), to the State Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries, down to the directors troupes, artists, drivers and all who yearly contribute to the success of NAFEST.
Seeing how the barriers of tribalism are brought down and the walls of unity raised higher in the interactions brought about by division of labour and a healthy competition, one is reminded of what is supposed to be and how it is supposed to be. How we make friends from other states who are drawn to us and we to them by the display of native cuisines, attires, languages, dances steps and the likes.
How tourism and commerce take a prominent spot in the numerous transactions that go on while we learn from one another the beauty and serenity that abound in our States, in our cultures… how we all fight for the first position yet are willing each time to rejoice with the winner and be content to let the best win.
This is us, this is the true Nigerian Spirit. This is who we are and what we represent. Through NAFEST, we once again play our part in upholding the unity of our beloved nation as we prepare for the 34th edition holding in Ekiti State from 13th to 20th November 2021 with theme; Celebrating Unity in Diversity.
All hands are on deck to ensure a breath taking experience and I can tell this from the level of preparation going on at least in my beloved Delta involving everyone from the Governor, His Excellency Ifeanyi Okowa to the Honourable Commissioner, Lawrence Ejiofor, the Permanent secretary, Angalaere Umukoro Prest, all the Directors, and stakeholders in the State.
Memos running up and down the corridors of the State leadership, regular strategy meetings and brain storming sessions, preparation in every aspect necessary and possible is on, as the excitement of this forthcoming colourful event fills the air. It’s almost like Christmas!
I want to believe that every state is working. We must however never forget the essence of the festival which is to play our part in promoting National Unity, social integration, redirect cultural activities, revenue generation, and create windows of investment opportunities for the economic growth of Nigeria.
Playing your part doesn’t have to be as tedious as ours, you can play your part by supporting this great initiative; be there, display your cultural items, stream live, make a post, upload pictures, invest in our arts, culture and the tourism sector in your own little way. Join us, as we celebrate the true Nigerian Spirit of Peace and unity.
The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation invites all Nigerians and the international world to our unity feast, a beautiful showcase of art and culture in the land that houses the legendary Ikogosi warm Springs, rocks and waterfalls amongst others, the land of honour and integrity. See you at Ekiti.