The National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) on Tuesday advised the Lagos State Government to explore the forthcoming National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to propagate national unity as the 2023 elections approach.
Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director-General, NCAC, said this during the 53rd National Stakeholders’ Technical meeting in preparation for 2022 edition of NAFEST, held in Lagos.
Runsewe said that the issue of peace and national unity was quite germane now that the nation was preparing for the 2023 elections.
He emphasised the need to consolidate on national peace and unity through the forthcoming 35th NAFEST slated to hold in Lagos State by November.
“This year’s NAFEST must be used as a vehicle of consolidating our unity, peace and social harmony.
“This is important as this year’s edition of NAFEST is coming just before the 2023 general elections and it is a known fact that election years in Nigeria are usually volatile because of the conflicting and contending political issues by the various political parties in Nigeria.
“This NAFEST must be used to propagate, project and enact the fact that peace is the foundation for the growth of any nation, without peace, there can be no social harmony or conducive environment for meaningful elections,” he said.
The Director-General also noted that Lagos State had roles to play in effecting unity in Nigeria as he evaluated three scenarios to substantiate this.
According to him, significant events took place in Lagos in 1977, 1959 and 1914, which made it obvious that there was a connection between Lagos State and the development of Nigeria.
“As a nation, we need to launch the beginning of unity during Eko NAFEST, each state is well endowed and Gov. Sanwo-Olu will be unveiling the 37 wonders of Nigeria to showcase how endowed we are as a nation,” he said.
The technical committee members of NAFEST commended Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue and Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta for their contributions toward the growth of the nation’s culture.
The technical meeting holds from July 26 to July 28 with the attendance of all Lagos State commissioners and delegates from the National Institute for Tourism and Hospitality (NIHOTOUR); National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO); Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC); Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisations (CBAAC) among other agencies attended the meeting.