Lagos has hosted the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) technical committee for the Eko 2022 programme at Highpoint Events and Lounge, Ikeja, from July 25 to 28, 2022.
Delivering an opening address at the event, Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Honourable Commissioner for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Pharm. Mrs Uzamat Akinbile-Yussuf, expressed delight that Lagos State was granted the rights for NAFEST 2022, noting that three other States vied to host the festival.
Sanwo-Olu recalled that the inaugural edition of NAFEST was held in Lagos, saying the 1977 event united the nation through arts and culture, just as it was the foremost cultural event in Nigeria.
His words: “It is on record that the inaugural edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture, NAFEST, was held in Lagos in 1977 to promote national unity. Therefore, for us in Lagos, NAFEST is merely coming back home and we are ready to host a most befitting festival”.
According to the Governor, the festival would kick-start with a seven-day pre-NAFEST event to showcase the rich cultural heritage of all the Local Government Areas in Lagos.
He gave an assurance that Lagos will make the event colourful and memorable for all the participants, expressing optimism that the State would emerge overall winner of ‘EKO NAFEST 2022’ while providing adequate security.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Director-General of the National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, appreciated Governor Sanwo-Olu for promoting arts and culture to boost tourism, describing him as a “special breed”.
Runsewe said the National Stakeholders Technical Meeting was an avenue to interact, review and critically appraise plans for the impending event, disclosing that the theme for this year’s edition is “Culture and Peaceful Coexistence”.
He pointed out that the theme was designed to appraise the current security challenges facing the country and also focus on the need for sustainable peace, social harmony and national unity.
“EKO NAFEST 2022 will be one of a kind in the history of Nigeria”, Runsewe said.
Also speaking, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mrs Oyinade Nathan-Marsh, affirmed that Lagos would justify winning the right to host the event by ensuring that all participants have a memorable experience during the festival.
The communique issued after the technical committee engagement noted that there was a consensus among stakeholders to mobilise interests and improve funding to sustain national cultural programmes, provide employment, promote international relationships and enhance national unity.
Participants also called for the reintroduction and teaching of Nigerian History with fine arts in the schools to enable youths to understand and appreciate the Nigerian Brand.
Stakeholders adopted the 7th to 13th November 2022, as tentative dates for the EKO NAFEST 2022 in Lagos State.