By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Ahead of the 2019 National Festival of Arts and Culture(NAFEST 2019), the Director- General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, has said that Nigeria needs cultural diplomacy to curb persistent ethnic clashes in the country.
This is just as he noted, that Nigerians have issues due to lack of respect for each other’s culture.
Runsewe, made the disclosure on Tuesday in Abuja at the World Press Conference to flag off publicity campaign for the 2019 edition of the NAFEST expected to hold in Edo state.
He noted that NCAC plans to use Edo state to communicate to the whole world that Nigeria is indeed beautiful.
According to him, “There is a new beginning for us to speak for ourselves, enough of the negativity, enough of hearing bad things about us. We must celebrate ourselves and showcase what we have to the world.
“We are going to have a new beginning in Edo state come October 19-26. If we move from one state to the other, there will be less hate speeches, disagreement and more love. Culture is the secret to make a new beginning for our great country”, he said.
The DG, stated that NAFEST is a demonstration of the critical relevance of culture in forging national unity, peace, mutual understanding and for building bridges of love and friendship across the different ethno-religious divides in Nigeria.
“Indeed, Edo 2019 promises to be unique in all respect. Edo state has a very rich and diverse cultural heritage dating back to several centuries”, he remarked.
He also revealed, that one of the distinctive features of NAFEST 2019 would be a Day of Royal Splendour, adding that the event will be in collaboration with the revered Oba’s Palace in furtherance of the centrality of Benin Monarchy to the socio-cultural activities of the state.
He called on traditional rulers in Nigeria to collaborate with the NCAC in the task of reviving Nigeria’s cherished cultural heritage and using culture as a springboard for driving the process of national development.On his part, the Honourable Commissioner for Arts, Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Edo state, Hon. Osaze Osemwegie-Ero, noted that Edo state is prepared to take on the responsibility of hosting one of the best ever art and culture festival in the world.
He stated also that culture brings unity regardless of cultural affiliations, adding that Edo State has what it takes to make NAFEST remarkable.
In the area of providing adequate security for NAFEST 2019, he revealed that the state governor is putting a lot of security measures in place.
“We cannot talk about promoting Tourism without concern for security. Edo is very safe, we are ready to put in a lot of security measures in place before October. Edo is safe and we take security issues very seriously”, he assured.
The 2019 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST), is scheduled to hold in Benin City, Edo state from 19th to 26th October, 2019 with the theme “Our Royalty, Our Pride”.