Ekiti unveils plans for a robust National Arts Festival

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By Abimbola Mohammed

The Ekiti State Government has unveiled its plans for the 34th edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) 2021.

The plans were made known at the World Press Conference held recently in the state in a bid to keep the public abreast of the preparations.

The festival, which is slated for 13th -20th November, 2021, is aimed toward uniting the cultural entities that form the celebrated diversity of the Nigerian nationhood.

Highlighting the key point of its plans at the press conference, Prof. Rasak Ojo Bakare, the Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Ekiti State, said the vision of the state government is not just to host festivals, but to set new standards for future hosting by other states.

His words: “The vision of the state government with respect to hosting of NAFEST 2021 is not merely to host; rather it is to set a new template for the future hosting of the festival by any state. It is also to compete and win all available prizes and laurels. The only way we can prove to the world that Ekiti is a state of excellence is to win all prizes there are to win.”

He further said to achieve all its plans, the state government earlier this year inaugurated a 15-man committee consisting largely of members of the state of executive council all of whom have been tested and trusted for being target-oriented, security committees that have commenced work on security long before now, accommodation committees that are almost through with all arrangements concerning accommodation.

He added that the ministry has had a series of interfaces with hotels and hospitality operators in the state to ensure quality service delivery and consider a certain percent of rebate on hotel accommodation for the period of the festival.

Prof. Bakare also mentioned the plans of the ministry on welfare and committee that will provide quality health care service for people during the festival.

Hear him: “In-terms of welfare, the welfare committee is headed by professional health-care givers. There would be 24 hours clinic service within the accommodation venue while there would be health posts across all venues. The committee also made arrangements to have a standby Accident and Emergency unit, should there be any intervention exigencies.

“The welfare committee will be working directly with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to regularly inspect food retail markers to ensure precaution and curtailment of the incidence of food poisoning arising from the dangerous use of insecticides to preserve foodstuff. The taskforce to handle that has been inaugurated already.”

He hinted that the ministry will be meeting leadership of the Ekiti State Chapter of Traders’ Association to negotiate on the need to sell goods at reasonable cost rather than inflate prices during the period. He noted that the ministry had earlier met with the leadership of food and drink sellers, the transport union and other stakeholders to seek their cooperation throughout the period of the festival.

Prof. Bakare expressed his gratitude to His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Ekiti State, Dr. John Kayode Fayemi (JFK) for his commitment and sincerity towards hosting the most outstanding national Festival and also thanked his wife, First Lady Erelu Bisi Fayemi, Mama NAFEST 2021, for her motherly role and support.

He extend his gratitude to Mr. Ganiyu Titilope Ibrahim, Permanent secretary, staff member of the ministry, members of LOC and various task teams for their hard work, reminding them that the real work is about to start and the need to increase their speed and commitment towards the success of the Festival.

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