The Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture, and Tourism, Professor Razaq Ojo-Bakare, has assured that the state was prepared to host the best Arts and Culture fiesta ever, in the history of Nigeria.
Addressing a World Press Conference ahead of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) tagged Ekiti 2021 slated for November 13th-20th, Professor Bakare disclosed that all arrangements have been concluded for the successful hosting of the national event.
According to him, the vision for the hosting right granted to the state is for Ekiti to set a new template for other states to follow in hosting the future events, saying the state is determined to win all laurels in the competitions, to promote its talents.
Bakare, who stated that no fewer than 4000 contingents would be drawn from the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, said the cultural fiesta will expose the state’s vast tourism opportunities and cultural values as well as upscale its revenue earnings.
He hinted that the big event would also afford Ekiti people and guests to interact with top Nigerian celebrities who had indicated interest to grace the event.
Bakare described the annual cultural jamboree as a flagship festival in Nigeria for the unification of the country’s diversity, which he said was conceptualised after the civil war for robust and enduring national integration.
He said “NAFEST has impacted greatly on trade and commerce, it has brought about innovation and creativity and promoted entrepreneurship. Aside from the fact that the festival has promoted self-reliance through job creation.”
“Between 2010 and 2014, tourism development was the focus of Governor Kayode Fayemi- led administration. It was during that period that the idea of a flagship festival that will drive traffic of tourists; Ekiti Festival of Arts and Culture was mooted. With the return of Governor Fayemi in 2018, more developments have taken place.
“The Ekiti State is blessed with a lot of things which ordinarily should drive traffic of tourists to Ekiti. However, there remains the need for global attention to these unique endowments before they can begin to attract global patronage and give prospective investors the opportunity of coming to see, feel and explore all of them”, Bakare said.
On the state’s preparedness for the cultural fiesta, the Commissioner added: “Facilities are being put in place, security is being fortified than ever despite that Ekiti is one of the most peaceful states in Nigeria.
“We are meeting traders association to sell their products at reasonable prices during the time. We are also meeting with the leaders of transport unions not to jack up their fares at this period”.
The Commissioner added that the direct impact of the festival can’t be underestimated, saying: “About 1,000 artistes are at various locations in Ekiti practising, hoping to participate in the festival and all that are involved would be paid to motivate them”.
Bakare assured that the state is devising strong security measures that would ensure the safety of those that will be visiting Ekiti during the cultural fiesta.
The Commissioner added that many of the tourism potentials like Ikogosi Warm Spring, Arinta Waterfall and Fajuyi Park and Museum, are now being operated by private investors for more revenue generations and better maintenance culture.
He said: “The government is looking for investors to manage Ogun Onire Groove in Ire Ekiti and other potentials that have not been privatised, this is because the private people can manage better and this will help our internally generated revenue”.
Ekiti State had won numerous trophies in the previous national arts and culture events under the leadership of Professor Bakare.