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Gov. Lalong Opens NAFEST 2020 In Jos

Plateau state governor, Simon Lalong, has flagged off the 33rd National Festival for Arts and Culture in Jos which has as its theme: Post COVID-19 and Cultural dynamism. The festival runs from November 23 to 28.

During the opening ceremony which took place at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Gov. Simon Lalong stated that Plateau state was a miniature Nigeria and that his administration has succeeded in restoring substantial peace hence the staging of the event in the State. According to him, we can’t allow the COVID-19 pandemic to erode arts and culture as a pillar of the society. He, however, advised all to remain vigilant in order to contain the pandemic. He noted that our diversity should be the bedrock of our society and not what divides us.

Lalong revealed that the state would celebrate people who made a name in Plateau State next year.

In his remarks, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Otumba Runsewe, pointed out that Plateau was the first State to host an event of this magnitude since COVID-19. He noted that the weather in Jos was one of a kind and wondered why people will have to travel abroad. “I want to invite all to be on their way to Plateau,” he added.

Also speaking, Chairman of the occasion and Chairman, Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism, Rochas Okorocha, confessed that COVID-19 has taken our livelihood away but has not taken our culture. He was optimistic that Nigeria would soon take the world’s centre stage.

He stated that if Nigeria must get it right in tourism, then it must start from Plateau state and advised that we begin to package our tourism for exports.

On her own part, the Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen, disclosed that the turnout of contingent across the country was a testimony that peace has returned to Plateau State. She stated that Plateau State was a melting point that unites Nigeria and prayed that mothers would bring up their children to respect our culture.

The Plateau state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Tamwakat Weli, thanked the governor for declaring a state of emergency in tourism as part of his three-point policy action, while Chairman, State House of Assembly Commitee on Culture and Tourism, Hon. Yakubu Sanda also expressed his solidarity for the event.

The highlight of the event was a parade by contingent from the 36 states of the federation and FCT as well as a captivation display and rendition of the Plateau history, art and culture by ‘Dantala’.

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