Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has assured of the state’s readiness to host a world-class National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) later in the year, to raise the profile of the cultural expo.
Obaseki gave the assurance when he received a delegation of management of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), led by its Director General, Otunba Segun Runsewe, in Government House, Benin City, the state capital.
According to the governor, Edo State has huge cultural assets to showcase to the world at the festival, and noted that the agitation for the repatriation of the over 6000 artefacts looted during the Benin Expedition of 1897 was ongoing.
He commended the Runsewe-led NCAC for repackaging the National Festival for Arts and Culture, with new offerings that were on display last year in Port Harcourt and charged the council to explore the huge potential in the state’s eco-tourism sector.
He tasked the council to lead the way in the development of a world-class tourism master plan that would drive tourist traffic to sites and destinations across the country.
Obaseki told his guests that his administration was committed to developing the culture and tourism sector in the state, with ongoing work on implementable plans to reposition the sector to maximise its potential.
In his response, the NCAC DG said the essence of his team’s visit was to convey a proposal of innovative components billed to be introduced in the 2019 edition of NAFEST as well as the timeline for the various cultural events.
Runsewe congratulated the Obaseki-led administration for winning the hosting right of the festival, and promised that the event would provide the state the opportunity to reinforce her place on the world’s culture map.
He explained that one of the additions to the festival is the Royalty Day, when all the states’ delegates will pay homage to the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II.
He lauded Obaseki’s introduction of culture club in schools as well as the culture information desk at the Benin Airport, which he said would help sell the state’s culture and tourist sites to visitors.