Photos from NAFEST 2016 in Akwa Ibom

Here are photos from the closing ceremony of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2016. The event with the theme “Exploring the Goldmine Inherent in Nigeria’s Creative Industries” started on the 2nd October, 2016 and it was hosted by Akwa Ibom state with 36 States of Nigeria participating .

Nigeria’s information minister, Lai mohammed, Director General, NCAC, Mrs.Dayo Keshi among many other dignitaries were present.

Below is a transcript of Lai mohammed’s speech at the event;

‘I welcome you all most heartily to the official Closing Ceremony of the 29th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2016, hosted by the Government and good people of Akwa-Ibom State.‘I congratulate and thank the Executive Governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, and the entire members of his Executive Council, for a job well done.Undoubtedly the biggest achievement recorded at the NAFEST 2016 is that the festival has once again lived up to its original concept of uniting us as a nation.As you are very much aware, what is known today as the National Festival of Arts and Culture started off as the Unity Festival.

This is because it was conceived as one of the tools to re-unite us as a people after the unfortunate 30-month civil war.Bringing people from many states across the Federation together for many days in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility is a strong statement, and it shows that we have decided to accept and respect one another’s differences and come together as one.There is no bigger achievement than this, because without peace, there can be no sustainable development. I congratulate the organizers.Another achievement is the fact that the Festival was able to hold, successfully, despite the recession which we are experiencing at the moment. This has confirmed the fact that the only sector that is recession-proof is the creative sector.

Talking about the relevance of the creative sector, it is instructive that the theme of this edition of NAFEST – Exploring the Goldmine Inherent in Nigerian Creative Industries – was chosen to utilize and explore the multi-faceted ways in which culture contributes in concrete terms to our collective quest for economic empowerment and national development.This festival has attempted to draw attention to the need for producers of cultural products and services to work towards attaining the standard of modern practice in packaging our cultural products to enable them compete favourably at the global market.

The specialized exhibitions, the cultural market, as well as the drama and poetry performances are part of the campaign which we need to sustain towards advancing our local products to meet our demands rather than relying on inferior imported goods and services.The high packaging and standard of all the events of this festival, especially the conceptualization and the finishing of the documents and exhibits, attest to the fact that the sector has a unique ability to enhance economic development through job creation and wealth generation.What we have attempted to demonstrate through the various events that made up NAFEST 2016 is that culture could be one of the potent tools for driving our development goals and aspirations if appropriately tapped.I wish to here reiterate my call on the private sector to step up efforts towards exploring investment opportunities in this sector which has a great future and is emerging as the most prospective sector in the world.

We at FMIC Nigeria are working with local and international partners, including the Tony Elumelu Foundation and the British Council, to develop the capacity of our creative artists, including festival managers, and also prepare the necessary environment for the private sector to show more than a passing interest in the sector.Once again, I congratulate all the participants, officials and contingents from the various States of the Federation and Federal Capital Territory for their wonderful performances.I must also commend the supportive roles played by the Non-Governmental Organizations, the Press and all those that have contributed to making the Festival a success.’I thank you all and wish you a safe journey back to your various destinations.

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