Goodluck Jonathan Solicits for the promotion of Cultural Heritage
During the opening ceremony of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in Yenagoa, the capital city of Bayelsa, NIGERIA’S rich cultural heritage received presidential commendation on Wednesday.
Declaring the one-week festival open, President Goodluck Jonathan said, “As we are gathered for the official opening ceremony of NAFEST 2013, the clips of what we have seen during the match past constitute an exciting display of our rich cultural heritage in a convivial atmosphere. This is indeed reassuring.
“I therefore, urge you all to leverage on the NAFEST platform in tapping and promoting the virtues of cultural heritage, which abhors vices such as violence and indolence but encourages hard-work, peaceful co-existence and national integration.”
Represented at the opening by the Bayelsa State Governor, Henry Seriake Dickson, the President underscored Federal Government’s belief that “a proper grasp of people’s culture enhances understanding and smooth administration at all levels.”
According to him, for tourism to make significant contribution to the GDP, “it must be driven by the people’s culture and heritage.”
The President commend the efforts and success of Nollywood, which he stressed has continue to give “Nigeria a good image in the international arena”, in addition to becoming “a potent tool of national rebranding. This is attracting the desired global attention to our culture.”
Jonathan therefore pledged continued support for the sector, as it has become one of the key drivers of the “Transformation Agenda of my administration.”
Culture and Tourism Minster, Chief Edem Duke tasked participants from all over the country “to demonstrate that best that our culture has to offer as we earnestly seek new pathways to attract development and investment to our communities via the sector.”
In his capacity as chief host, Dickson stressed that NAFEST is not just a cultural fanfare but rallying point for us to uphold and propagate our rich art, aesthetics and cultural values. “Apart from being instruments for promoting socio-political stability, Arts and Culture also generate revenue through tourism, thereby contributing to the nation’s economic growth.
“Let me therefore, enjoin our artists and cultural workers to continue to protect the values and traditions which give us a unique identity as a people, to boost poverty reduction, wealth creation and value re-orientation in line with the Federal Government’s Transformation Agenda,” noted the governor.
The Festival Director, M.M. Maidugu who is also chief executive officer of National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC), the organisers of the yearly culture fiesta said: “NAFEST, in addition to promoting national unity, which is fundamental, has over the years developed to becoming an avenue for talent hunt, skill development, job creation and economic empowerment.”
With “Culture, Peace and National Transformation” as theme, the festival runs till Saturday, September 21. Other highlights include Traditional Dance Music, Arts and Crafts, traditional furnished apartment, traditional cuisine, traditional wrestling, and the intellectual component and the colloquium.