The Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson, has said that the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) has the potentials that will help grow Nigeria’s economy.
Governor Dickson, who made this known on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Samson Siasia Sports Complex in Yenagoa, in an address to officially declare NAFEST 2013 closed, said the festival presents opportunities that if properly harnessed, can be turned into industries and further urged the Bank of Industry (BOI) to also look at possible ways of financing the festival.
His words: “I want to encourage the Bank of Industry to take a second look at the content of this group for possible financing since opportunities abound for turning their hard work into cottage industries for the mass production of the accessories and items presented.”
Represented by the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd), the Governor said that the different categories of the competitive events at the festival, beginning from the children’s essay writing, traditional music and dance, children’s painting and traditional story-telling, were laudable and that his government is interested in the promotion and development of the traditional Ijaw language and culture.
He therefore called on the Ministry of Culture and Ijaw National Affairs as well as its Education counterpart in the State to study some of the scripts used at the events with a view to taking advantage of the body of works presented, stressing that the State Government is ready to partner authors whose works meet the Universal Basic Education Curriculum.
On the traditional wrestling event, Governor Dickson maintained that NAFEST had proven that amateur wrestling is a window to professionalism: “I see an opportunity of this yearly event becoming a veritable ground for preparation for major international sporting competitions such as the All African Games and Olympics. World champions are all in the making from NAFEST. I want to encourage Nigerians with huge potentials not to neglect these events as scouts for talents may chance upon an individual and open the world to him or her.”
Speaking further on the traditional cuisine event, he expressed confidence that those who participated in the segment must have been aware that the state is indeed a home for hospitality in the country, stressing that the country’s rich cultural heritage has proven the point that culture is a meeting point and an instrument for national cohesion.
According to him, not only has the participation of other states added colour to the event but also impacted positively on the local cuisines in the state, giving the assurance that the state indigenous menu had been enriched with new meals showcased at the event.
“Let me say that the economy of Bayelsa State was energized as a result of NAFEST. For those of you who want to do business with us, the event offered an opportunity, exposing our potentials in different fields and sectors of the economy,” he said.