Ekiti state



Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Rasaki
Ojo Bakare has described attempts to link the National Festival of
Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to idols and demons worshipping as an
unfortunate effort at subjugating Africa’s rich cultural heritage with
bigotry and heresy.

Ekiti state
A statement from the office of the Commissioner who is also the
Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 2021 NAFEST,
defined Culture as a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and
practices that define a group of people of a particular region while
Arts is a vast subdivision of culture composed of many creative
endeavors and disciplines including visual arts, literary arts and the
performing arts.

Prof. Bakare stressed that contrary to the bigoted believe that
African Arts and Culture is synonymous with idol worshipping and
capable of attracting demons, Art is mere expression of human creative
skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or
sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their
beauty or emotional power, adding that various branches of creative
activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance are parts of

According to him, Culture serves as a guideline for behaviour, dress,
language, and demeanour in a situation, which serves as a template for
expectations in a social group.

Stressing that only mischief-makers and ignoramuses would refer to the
rich cultural heritage in the country as idol worshipping, Bakare
noted that even the erstwhile colonial masters recently started to
return the treasured cultural artefacts that were removed from the
country including the Benin bronzes, sculptures that once decorated
the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, now in south-eastern
Nigeria, were looted by British forces in 1897, along with thousands
of other precious items.

“Why were the artefacts stolen and kept in the museums of the colonial
rulers if they actually considered them to be idols and not work of
art? Is the famous Grammy awards considered idolatry or is the
ubiquitous America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) not
seen as great shows that attract viewers worldwide? Why then do these
people persist in running efforts at improving the lot of the State?”
he queried.

He explained that NAFEST is basically a forum to promote diverse
culture and various arts and crafts that are peculiar to them, adding
that it would feature competitive and non-competitive events such as
dance, drama, essay-writing, cuisine, moonlight story-telling, craft
exhibition amongst other.

The LOC Chairman said that the hosting of the festival by Ekiti State
would boost commercial activities with the influx of tourists and
visitors to the State stressing that no fewer than 4,000 participants
from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory
(FCT) as well as a conservative estimate over 5,000 tourists are
expected in the State for the festival.

He wondered if Lagos State that was the first host of NAFEST about
50years ago and had not only been the venue on three occasions in
1970, 1974 and 1988 but also slated to host next year’s edition is
more demon infested than any other State, saying that the State had
benefitted immensely from hosting the festival.

Bakare highlighted other States that have hosted the festival to
include five times in Kaduna in 1972, 1974, 1990, 2004 and 2017; three
in FCT, 1992, 1997 and 1999; adding that Edo hosted in 2019 and
plateau in 2020.

The Commissioner solicited the continued support of people in the
State stressing the need for them not to allow narrow-mindedness of
some opinionated individuals or group of people to hinder efforts of
the present administration to develop the State and place it in its
pride of place amongst the comity of States and the world at large.




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