NAFEST 2016: Nigeria takes steps to diversify her economy

Solomon Chung, Abuja

Nigeria’s Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed says, Nigeria has made very deliberate effort to move her economy away from oil.

He said the trend all over the world is that creative industries are becoming creative economies, and no country wants to be left behind.

He made this known during a press briefing in his office ahead of the forth coming National Festival on Arts and Culture to be held in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital, South South Nigeria.

He said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has strategically included the creative industries, as well as tourism, among the core areas for the diversification of the nation’s economy.

“There is no doubt that over the years, the festival, which later became known as the National Festival on Arts and Culture, has helped tremendously in bring us closer as a people. The festival has succeeded in re-awakening our consciousness and drive to leverage on the abundant potentials in the cultural industries for youth empowerment and wealth creation,” the Minister said.

Explaining the cultural uniqueness and socio-political advantage of the festival for the nation, Alhaji Mohammed said, “Some 46 years after the civil war, the festival is more relevant than ever. There is an urgent need to bring us closer together as a people, amid widening divisions along ethnic, religious and social lines. The fact that contingents from different parts of the country come together annually, irrespective of their ethnicity or religion, to showcase their arts and culture and leverage on their
comparative advantage is very healthy for our country.”

The Minister said the festival has evolved from being an instrument of unity to being a platform to help raise the level of economic activities in the country.

“Some of the objectives of the National Festival on Arts and Culture include; Promoting our much cherished values of understanding, peaceful co-existence, love and national unity, using culture to galvanize the citizenry towards achieving our national aspirations and growing our GDP  Job creation and economic empowerment, celebrating our collective heritage, talent hunt, the display of creativity as well as exchange of ideas, skills and indigenous technologies”, he explained.

The 2016 edition of NAFEST will mark the 29th edition of the festival that began in 1970 after the Nigerian civil war. The event started off as the Unity Festival, since it was part of efforts to reunite the country after the 30-month internecine war.

The 2016 festival which comes up from Oct. 2nd to Oct. 9th 2016 in Uyo, the capital of Akwa Ibom state in South South Nigeria has the theme; Exploring The Goldmine Inherent In The Nigerian Creative Industries.