The Edo State Government has assured of the Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration’s commitment to repositioning the state as a destination of choice for tourists in the country.
Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Comrade Philip Shaibu, said this in his speech at the maiden edition of the Edo State Polytechnic Festival of Arts (Edo Poly FEST), held at the institution’s premises, in Usen, Ovia South-West Local Government Area of Edo State.
At the festival, the Osewengie Ebohon Museum was unveiled, which is to be built and furnished by High Priest Osewengie Ebohon, who donated cultural artefacts to the polytechnic.
The deputy governor, who was represented at the occasion by Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Pastor (Mrs.) Dorcas Idehen, said the state government will continue to promote arts, culture and tourism for the benefit of Edo people.
He said the state got the hosting rights for the 2019 National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in recognition of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s effort in promoting and preserving the state’s cultural assets.
According to him, “This is worth celebrating as arts is celebrated worldwide. As a state, we are poised to project the state and transform it into a tourism hub in the country. We will be celebrating the coronation of the Oba of Benin as well as NAFEST in October this year. These are remarkable events.”
Shaibu urged residents in the state to support the successful hosting of the 2019 NAFEST, which will be used to positively project the image of the state globally.
Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, who was represented by Director, Edo Arts Council, Moses Obakpolor, said Edo Poly FEST is a prelude to the 2019 NAFEST, noting, “culture remains the bedrock of society. It represents our past. Anyone without a past will certainly not have a future.”
“Edo State is not a pushover in terms of cultural heritage. The state hosts several cultural assets. We are proud of our culture and determined to promote and preserve it,” he added.
The Rector of the Polytechnic, Prof. Abiodun Falodun, said the festival is a celebration of talent and creativity in Ovia community, the institution’s host community, adding, “The festival is aimed at promoting cultural values among students, staff, and provide an opportunity for the exchange of information and ideas.”
“Culture is not just the economic value of our creative industry. It defines our civilisation, as it helps us explain and understand the world around us. The festival will help us project and resuscitate Edo cultural values and heritage as well as enlighten the youth to cherish their cultural heritage and preserve their creative language.”
In his lecture entitled “Advancing Edo Culture Through Education, Language and Arts: A Cultural Re-Awakening,” the guest lecturer, High Priest Osemwegie Ebohon, called on stakeholders to work towards correcting misplaced and misrepresented values and norms.
According to him, “We no longer speak our language and value our inspiring adages, proverbs, parables, idioms and poetry. Superstition and wise-saying are now treated as unholy and one can conclude that we may soon lose our heritage, which codifies our identity.”