By Innocent Orok
Nigeria’s iconic cultural diversity was on display, Monday in Jos, Plateau State capital as over 22 States and FCT in full compliance of the Covid19 protocols, proved beyond measures that Culture holds the tripod for national unity and development.
Major highlights of the over four hours duration heralding the opening ceremony,of the 33rd edition of National Festival of Arts and Culture ( NAFEST) was Governor Simon Lalong’s testimony that Plateau has returned to winning peaceful ways.
“Peace has returned to the Plateau nation. We have invested on security and welfare of our people, we cherish our culture and unity, and today we are here to show to the world that Plateau is the place to be.” he started.
Launching a book on Nigeria at 60 in company of Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Governor Simon Lalong noted that Nigeria must take Cultural tourism very seriously and use it as veritable platform to promote rural development and empower women.. The book was written by a journalist, Lanre Alfred.
Speaking also at the occasion, Senate Committee Chairman and former Governor of Imo State, Owelle Rochas Okorocha noted that any nation without Culture and history, will struggle with national identity among the commity of nations. He commended Governor Simon Lalong for hosting NAFEST and using the platform to tell the peaceful story of the Plateau nation.
” Governor Lalong has done well despite the challenges of Covid19 to the economy and I must also appreciate the DG NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe for making this happen.
“Runsewe deserves our support and encouragement and that is why I had to be here today. NAFEST must be used to market Nigeria, so next time, I will want to see all the foreign diplomatic communities attend this Cultural program.” Okorocha further explained.
Dame Pauline Tallen, Women Affairs Minister, was also excited about NAFEST impact on the Jos, Plateau tourism economy, stating that Governor Simon Lalong has returned peace to the Plateau, making it once again the heartbeat of Nigeria’s Cultural tourism destination.
” A look at the map of Nigeria shows the unique place Plateau occupies in the heart of the nation and am proud of what we are seeing here again in Jos. We are ready to occupy our rightful place in all areas of national development and credit today goes to the governor, the people of plateau state”. She emphasized.
Otunba Segun Runsewe, in his opening remarks noted that Jos Plateau, cannot be ignored in the Cultural agenda to rebuild Nigeria, noting that all covid protocols will be observed to the letter even though as Nigeria prepares for a post Covid Cultural tourism economy.
” We are conscious of the impact and challenges posed by Covid, and so we are ready to observe all it’s protocols but we must prepare and engage our people and investors on the post covid 19 outlook in order not to completely lose focus on the market” Otunba Segun Runsewe explained.