By Our Reporter
As the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) holds the first National Festival for Arts and Culture virtual meeting, stakeholders in the Arts and Culture sector have appealed to the Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, to consider hosting the cultural festival in November rather than December this year.
The stakeholders made up of Commissioners of Culture, Permanent Secretaries, Special Advisers and Directors of Culture and Tourism in the 36 states of the federation including Abuja, said that November remains a better period as December is usually filled with all manner of activities.
The meeting was held to review the programme for the festival and drew participants from all the states of the federation.
The Director-General NCAC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said that the advent of Covid-19 has forced everybody to think outside the box to invent new ways of making the Arts and Culture sector relevant.
He informed that NCAC in May organized the first government Drive In Theatre in Nigeria to demonstrate that even in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, entertainment still remains possible and relevant.
He reminded the participants that the Council within the pandemic period produced and distributed personal protective items to security agencies, journalists, frontline workers and several other Nigerians “to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, keep the sector busy and reposition it for greater visibility and relevance.”
Governor Lalong in his welcome address to prepare for 33rd edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture tagged “Plateau NAFEST 2020”, commended Otunba Runsewe for the “dynamic, purposeful and visionary leadership he has provided the Arts and Culture sectors since his appointment in 2017.”
He expressed appreciation to NCAC “for initiating, facilitating and successfully organizing the zoom meeting as an alternative to the physical meeting initially scheduled for Jos Plateau state”.
He said that he has followed with keen interest, the series of online meetings the Council has held with the stakeholders; the virtual cultural tour of all the states in Nigeria, the Drive in Theatre, among others.
“All these are testimonies to the fact that even in the midst of serious covid-19 lockdown, the Arts and Culture sector have been kept alive and active,” he said.
Lalong assured of his conviction that 2020 National Festival of Arts and Culture scheduled to hold later in the year is not only possible, but could be made even more spectacular in line with covid-19 protocols.
The governor reassured of the commitment of Plateau state to hosting the festival in the auspicious city of Jos, adding that the state government is working hard to put all the facility in place for a successful, hitch free festival.
Through his commissioner of Tourism, Culture and Hospitality, the governor declared open the commencements of proceedings of the Stakeholders meeting.