By Innocent Orok
The 33rd edition of Nigeria’s iconic cultural festival, NAFEST may have come to a glorious end, but dignitaries, delegates and visitors would not forget in a hurry the celebration of last minute appearance of Imo State contingent to to the festival, as shouts and adulation of the State Governor, Hope Uzodinma rented and electricfied the Rwang Pam stadium, Jos.
Director General National Council for Arts and Culture ( NCAC) was heard loud and clear, praising the surprise appearance of the imo state contingent, noting that the very miraculous participation of the heartland nation was made possible by the culture loving governor of the state, Hope Uzodinma.
” We are happy to welcome Imo State delegation and due to their courage and determination to make a statement today, we shall bend backwards to accommodate them, give them the opportunity to showcase their very unique cultural dance. Their presence is indeed heart warming, an indication that Imo state is ready to join our efforts to promote Nigerian Cultural tourism endowments to the world.
The very excited Imo state delegation led by Barrister Doris Onyali, warmed up to the invitation and put up an awesome dance appearance to the delight and appreciation of the participants which included Plateau State governor, Simon Lalong, Yobe state governor, Mai Bunu and Sports Minister, Mr Sunday Dare.
Otunba Runsewe who later spoke on the development, commended Governor Uzodinma for the effort, an indication which he believes will help the heartland state to rebrand its Cultural tourism heritage.
“You can see that the governor of IMO state, Hope Uzodinma is Culture friendly and to had insisted that the imo delegates join us here, is a huge testimony to the fact that the governor does not want IMO state to be left behind as NCAC work round the clock to redefine the entire Cultural architecture of Nigeria” he explained further.
Runsewe also added that the state Commissioner for Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Barrister Doris Onyali has proven beyond doubt that she has all it takes to connect imo Cultural tourism endowments, not only to the local networks, but to International marketing opportunities.
” We at NCAC shall guide her and the state Cultural expectations. Indeed, we are happy to have her and the team as partners and will visit Imo State to properly determine and evaluate what is on ground and how to go about it. Otunba Runsewe stressed.
Doris Onyali, on the side line of the festival, stated that she is willing to change the narrative of imo state age long Cultural tourism heritage, nothing that Governor Uzodinma will want to see Imo take its rightful place in the Cultural map of Nigeria.
” You will agree with me that Imo State used to be the conference and meeting destination in Nigeria and with the support of Governor Uzodinma, we shall change the culture tourism landscape. From our famous Oguta Lake, the Golf course, the Zoo, the Mbari Culture, award winning and famous 0fe 0werri cuisine, the Bongo and Highlife music, Imo is sure got a lot to offer everyone, and don’t forget we have the biggest hospitality infrastructure in Nigeria.” She further explained.