By; OLADELE ADEDAYO, Ado-Ekiti
Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi on Wednesday said his administration is determined to increase its investment and exploits in the arts and culture sector for the economic prosperity of the state and its citizens.
The Governor who stated this resolve in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, while declaring open the 2019 Ekiti State Festival of Arts and Culture (EKIFEST), equally announced an upgrade of the state’s Council of Arts and Culture to the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism
Dr Fayemi gave the new Ministry the directive to consolidate on its various achievements, enhance the potential of creative practitioners and boost the Internally Generated Revenue of the State.
He added that the role of Arts and Culture as catalysts to progressive multiculturalism is gaining more recognition.
The Governor described EKIFEST as an economic and social strategy aimed at repositioning the creative industry of the State for optimal performance and drawing attention of the global public to the unique landmarks of the State in tourism and culture.
“In Ekiti State, our cultural heritage keeps our memories alive of how beliefs and cultural expressions have contributed to the development of our society. Ekiti is a state of rich artistic and cultural heritage and endowed with the abundance of talents. Our riches are well demonstrated through arts, dance, literature, music, food and folklore.”
“I commend the efforts of the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture towards the attainment of the target set for it. We still want the council to go a step further by consolidating on the various achievements, enhancing the potential of creative practitioners and boosting the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Ekiti State. And to enhance the progress already made in the last year, I have decided to re-establish the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism for better synergy and integration”, the governor said.
Governor Fayemi who assured investors of necessary support and encouragement called on entrepreneurs to visit the various tourism corridors in the State and invest in them, stressing that their investment is not only secured, but bound to yield good dividends.
In her welcome speech, the Chairperson of EKIFEST 2019 planning committee and Wife of the Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, said the festival was aimed at creating tourism attraction and enhance investment opportunities as well as create viable markets for local businesses.
Mrs Fayemi noted that the previous editions of the festival in 2012 and 2013 increased tourism visits to the State and created the needed exposure for the cultural infrastructure.
“EKIFEST 2019 is designed towards the restoration of our core values as well as empowerment against the scourge of poverty. Our culture is a viable solution to several problems bedeviling our society. It is in our culture to be diligent, honest and peace-loving. Our culture abhors laziness; our culture goes against the shirking of responsibilities”, she said.
In his address, the Director General of the Council of Arts and Culture, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre said Ekiti people are gradually getting used to EKIFEST as an economic diversification project. He urged the people to promote Ekiti tradition for excellence.
Ojo-Lanre thanked Fayemi for providing the wherewithal for the resuscitation of the Council which has helped remove the State from the blacklist of absentee States at both local and international cultural festivals.
He disclosed that the State Cultural Troupe had been sponsored by Fayemi to Budapest, Edo State and Ogun State to promote the State’s cultural heritage.
Highlights of the opening session of the festival were colourful and carnival-like parade by all the 16 local government areas, Nollywood stars, artists and ethnic groups in the state as well as musical jamboree round the major streets of Ado-Ekiti, the state capital.