Gov Sanwo-Olu Commends Runsewe’s Patriotism in Promoting Unity through Arts, Culture

The Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, yesterday commended the Director General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, for his dogged patriotism in promoting Nigeria’s unity and cohesion through arts and culture.  

Governor Sanwo-Olu, who gave the commendation when he received Runsewe and select members of the Technical Committee on National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in Lagos, insisted that Lagos State will bring a new vista to hosting of NAFEST also known as Unity Festival in November, noting that the unity of Nigeria should be paramount in the effort of using culture as a vehicle of promoting national unity and cohesion.

The governor, who was highly elated at Runsewe’s promotion of Nigeria indigenous fashion especially in full revelation of the beauty of South-south dress pattern, praised the NCAC boss for always putting Nigeria first in his manner of speech, public conduct, dress sense and above all consistent call for the best of Nigerian culture and tradition. 

Earlier in his address, Runsewe disclosed that the Technical Committee for NAFEST 2022 was in Lagos to put finishing touches to preparation on the iconic cultural event, appreciating the governor for hosting the technical committee and making all participants feel at home in Lagos. 

He assured Governor Sanwo-Olu that NCAC will not fail in the mission to use culture and arts to bring Nigerians together, vocalise the advocacy for love and temperance among Nigerians, and bring all shades of opinion in Nigeria to love and respect each other.

Meanwhile, the National Technical Committee of the 35th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) during its meeting in Lagos held between Monday 25th and Friday 29th July, 2022, jointly hosted by the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) and the Lagos State Government, agreed that culture has remained the `glue` that has held Nigeria together despite widening gap of distrust between the different ethnic groups and tribes that make up the country.

A communiqué after the meeting which was attended by state Commissioners of Arts and Culture, Chief Executives of Culture, Permanent Secretaries in the states Ministries of Culture, states Directors and staff of National Council for Arts and Culture as well as other key stakeholders from 25 states and Federal Capital Territory said culture is an important tool that has continued to drive peaceful cohabitation in Nigeria.

The communiqué read in parts, “It is therefore important to see the culture and arts sector as the most viable option to foster national unity and the only brand that can promote our uniqueness as Nigerians to the world. The prospects are great for us as a nation if the Nigerian development plans within all sectors are directly hinged on our cultural outlook. Afterall, our culture is business. Therefore, after a critical assessment of issues, state of the sector, deliberations and suggestions, the meeting resolved as follows: states and stakeholders should continue to mobilise interests to sustain the various national cultural programmes so that government can understand the importance of the sector to national development.

“That government and the legislature at all levels should as a matter of urgency put proper legislation in place to accord culture its proper place within the framework of national development.

“That government at all levels should make more budgetary commitment to cultural and tourism promotion as a tool for enhancing national unity, improving employment generation and promoting international relationships. The need for more synergy and cooperation between cultural agencies for greater and more sustainable gains was emphasised, with particular reference to CBAAC’s Memo concerning the 45th anniversary celebration of FESTAC ’77 participants called for the reintroduction and teaching of Nigerian History, Fine and Applied Arts in our school curriculum as a means of understanding and appreciating the Nigerian brand, encourage productivity and an all-round development of youths.

“The need for all Art Councils across the nation to begin an urgent and proper archiving (electronic and all otherwise) of our cultural practices so as to separate the spiritual from the performative available for public consumption, as this is key to growing cultural tourism business in Nigeria.”

The communiqué further stated that “Participants adopted 7th to 13th November, 2022 as the date for EKO NAFEST 2022 in Lagos State. Ratified the investiture of the Wife of the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwoolu as ‘MAMA NAFEST’.

“Finally, participants expressed their profound appreciation to the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwoolu and the entire people of Lagos State for accepting to host the 35th edition of NAFEST and for the Technical Meeting. Participants equally expressed appreciation to the wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. (Mrs.) Ibijoke Sanwoolu for her warm reception of the delegates from all the states of the federation and the FCT. The Honourable Commissioner, Mrs. Uzamat Akingbile Yussuf and the Management and Staff of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and the Lagos State Performing Troupe were also appreciated for making the stakeholders meeting successful and their warm reception.

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