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10th November, 2017.

NAFEST ends on colourful note as Rivers State emerges 2018 host

It was an exciting moment for participants from River State and their well wishers following the emergence of the State as the host of the 2018 National Festival for Arts and Culture NAFEST.

The State which was was handed over the gong as the next host of NAFEST at the just concluded event in Kaduna was full of confidence for a spectacular outing in 2018.

From all indications, the festival is going to be bigger and better based on the track record of Governor Nyesom Wike and his giant stride in the state.

This is coming just as Bayelsa State emerged the best overall winner at the event.

Speaking while handing over the gong to River State as the next host of NAFEST, the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam Nasir El Rufai, who was represented by the commissioner for Sports, Arts and Culture, Hon. Daniel A Danauta stated that Nigeria needs unity and peace and NAFEST is the platform to foster that unity.

He said the the theme of the event as "Nigeria peace and unity our pride" is very apt at this crucial period of the history of the nation.

Governor El Rufai said the state would have wished the event to continue a little longer so that the participants will experience more of the Kaduna state hospitality.

He maintained that peace and unity is of outmost importance as Nigeria has come to be as a nation.

In his remarks at the event, the director general of the National Council of Arts and Culture, NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe stated that the hosting of 2018 NAFEST by River state will open a new vista for culture in Nigeria.

He said nobody will build Nigeria for us except by Nigerians themselves. While urging Nigerians to hold tenaciously to their culture, Runsewe added that "our culture is our pride and all hands must be on deck to move it forward".

He re-emphasised the need to use cultural diplomacy to tackle the issue of hate speeches in the country.

The DG thanked the management of the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA and others for their support and participation at the event.

Commenting on the new features of the 2017 NAFEST, Ann Kanu, director corporate and strategic planing of NCAC explained that for NAFEST 2017 skill acquisition, the students were taught on how to useful to themselves through the learning of skills and knowledge that will shape their future.

According to Mrs Kanu: "Basically what we are doing is to add value and look inwards. We class the children and they will be given certificates, like this task is rags to rugs, teaching them how to make rugs from rags, they are also learning how to produce rugs by using bags of rice and wool.

With the training, they can make some little money anywhere they found themselves instead of waiting for government or somebody to give them money. Some of participants are learning how to do hair, traditional hairdo, perfumes production, hand washer, necklace, bags, some others how to do slippers. The participants are coming from outside, some are housewives, children. This is making them to look inwards and is alternative to looking for jobs".

Speaking also, the director Lagos state council of Arts and Culture, Mrs Saidat Olaitan-Otulana who also participated in some of the skill acquisition progammes observed that the training has been participatory and exciting.

In her words: "You can see am an adult, I am learning also. Some of the children we brought are here learning, am also applying myself as there is no limit to learning, to being creative and innovative. There is no limit to what we can put our hands or creative abilities to, so am glad am here.

Not only would i go back and impact this knowledge to my people, I tend to use it for prudent productive endeavour for myself, so am learning to become an entrepreneur ultimately."

She applauded the management of NCAC for introducing the skill acquisition programme at no cost. Over 350 participants were trained on different skill acquisition programmes at the event.

The DG of NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe and the Kaduna State Commissioner for Sports, Arts and Culture, Hon. Danial A Danauta at the closing ceremony of the event

At the closing ceremony of the event, some of the outstanding states were honoured for their spectacular showing at the event.
The legendary award for most consistent states at NAFEST was given to Kaduna, Rivers, Ogun, Katsina, Kano. The host state kaduna was honoured for their outstanding role for Nigerian children.

In the traditional wrestling contest, Kaduna came tops, Kano came second,Katsina came third while Lagos came fourth, in children essay writing competition, Rivers came first, Kaduna second, Bayelsa third and Taraba came fourth, Bayelsa state won the traditional Cuisine competition, followed by Delta, Kaduna and Rivers at second, third and fourth respectively.

In the children painting and drawing competition, Lagos came first, Kaduna second, Katsina third and Niger state fourth, Delta came first in group instrumentation, followed by Bayelsa, Ogun and Sokoto states, Bayelsa won the traditional board game, followed by Ogun at second, Kaduna at third and Delta and Benue at fourth, in the children stage performance, Lagos came first followed by Ogun, Bayelsa and Niger state tie at third position, the competitive event award went to Rivers, Kaduna and Bayelsa.

Nassaawa won the most innovative award in packaging and innovation, Kaduna was presented the golden giant gong as the host state.

In the over all winners category, Bayelsa came first, followed by Kaduna, Ogun and Lagos at third and Delta at fourth. Best behaved and disciplined states went to FCT, Jigawa, and Benue states, Borno, Rivers and Sokoto won best costume states, states that are the most creative in design, packaging and presentation went to Ogun, Rivers and Taraba states.

Kaduna state had the highest number of participants with 1225, Bayelsa with with 254 contingents among others.

The event came to a close with the symbolic closing of the calabash by the representative of Governor El Rufai which has become the unique way of declaring cultural events open by Runsewe with the opening of calabash and close by the closing of calabash instead of usual cutting of tape.

The event was graced by the Emir of Zauzau, Alhaji Shehu Idris who was represented by the Galadima among other notable dignitaries from and outside Kaduna.

The event attracted participants from over 24 states.

Credit: nigerianfranknewsng.com

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