·        Receives awards in Synergy, Team Work, Children Essay, Others

Lagos State has been named the host for the 35th edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) coming up next year.

The Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Chief Olusegun Runsewe made this known at the closing ceremony of the 34th edition of the Festival in Ekiti State where Governor Kayode Fayemi presented the hosting rights of next year’s NAFEST to Lagos State Government through the Special Adviser to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Tourism, Arts and Culture, Mr. Solomon Bonu.

Speaking shortly after receiving the hosting rights on behalf of the State Government, Bonu said that the administration will ensure the event receives the necessary support, saying that preparations towards the year 2022 NAFEST will commence immediately.

He said: “The administration of Governor Sanwo-Olu will ensure that the event is well organised in such a way that it will surpass the records already set by other State Governments in previous editions of the Festival”.

He applauded the sterling performance of the Lagos contingent at this year’s NAFEST as Lagos State won awards of the Best State in Synergy and Team Work, Best in Children Essay Writing, Children’s Arts and Craft and Children’s Tale By Moonlight Competitions, including Traditional Board Game, Ayo Competition and others.

According to Runsewe, NAFEST remains a veritable tool for uniting the nation and such cultural Festivals would stop agitations for separation.

His words: “We will get Nigeria united by all means; we must remove that spirit of dishonesty, hatred and fake news, all must go now. Despite the story being carried around that Nigeria is going to be divided, you can see 31 States in Ekiti; this is to tell us that nothing can divide this country, the country will remain.

“There is no reason to disagree among ourselves considering the beauty of this nation, rather, we should stand together in love, peace and harmony. I thank Ekiti people and the government for receiving the 31 States and giving us the impression we need, it is a big statement and I remain grateful”, he said.

Speaking on the event, Runsewe noted that over 450 Ekiti indigenes were empowered with skills like wig and bead making, tailoring, cosmetology, shoe making and conversion of waste to wealth, while it also raised the income of Ado-Ekiti residents, especially those in hotel, transportation and other businesses.

Earlier during the opening ceremony of the event, Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, urged Nigerians to fully harness the nation’s cultural potentials for national development.

Fayemi called on Nigerians to engage in innovative and creative solutions by investing in culture, which would in turn impact economic growth.

“As a country with diverse cultures, it is imperative for us to take advantage of the innate gains of our diversity; we are hospitable, generous and peace-loving people”, he said.