The National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2018 themed “Our Festivals, Our Heritage’ which was held from the 21st to 27th of October 2018 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was indeed an exciting festival.
Speaking with the Delta State Head of Performing Arts Department, Mrs Akani Siri stated that NAFEST was a unity festival with the aim of bringing the various cultures of Nigeria together.
Mrs Siri shed more light on what the NAFEST festival was all about, stating that NAFEST has both competitive and non-competitive events, which the states participate in, saying also that different states usually pick the events they would participate in after the syllabus has been sent to them.
Mrs Siri who said the festival was made up of different types of events like, dance drama; traditional wrestling ;traditional cuisines which is particular to each state; craft expo; and also tales by moonlight by children which was added to the events this year, has said that all these depend on what the national council wants, with different centers for these events.
She said that NAFEST was an annual festival, with the sole motive of bringing Nigerian cultures together, saying the festival unites our heritage and our ‘fast dying cultures’, which we do not want to go into extinction.
She stated that NAFEST aims at promoting national development, harnessing our culture, bringing them from their raw state, polishing and working on them, and see if they can be a source of income by exporting some of these cultural values.
Siri went further to explain that if a festival like NAFEST was not held, then some of our cultures would just be stories to tell to our children. “It’s preserving, promoting and documenting our culture that is what NAFEST is all about”, she said.
The commissioner of Arts and Tourism Delta state, Mr Emmanuel Chinye also spoke on NAFEST being a means of uniting every culture within Nigeria, saying that NAFEST is the biggest festival in Nigeria.
Speaking on the reason most states didn’t attend as on Thursday, the commissioner said it was due to some logistics, “sometimes some logistics might warrant this, especially during an election period.”
At the closing/Award ceremony of NAFEST 2018, which was held at the Port Harcourt Sharks Stadium in Rivers State, so many exciting cultural activities were displayed and wonderful awards were given to deserving states.
The participating states which were twenty four(24) in attendance included Abia; Anambra; Bayelsa;Benue; Delta;Ebonyi;Edo; Enugu; Gombe; Jigawa; Kaduna; Kano; Katsina; Kogi; Kwara; Lagos; Niger; Ogun; Ondo; Osun; Rivers (host); Sokoto; Taraba; and the Federal Capital Territory Abuja.