Ekiti state government has promised to continue in its strive to make the interest of Art and culture premier priorities in the state.
This is coming just as the State Council of Art and Culture has set the necessary machinery in motion for a successful festival of art and culture in December.
It was against this background that the state Council of Art and Culture organised the first Ekiti state Art and Culture Stakeholders Forum with the theme: Art and culture for economic prosperity.
Speaking during the recent stakeholders forum in Ado Ekiti, the state Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi noted that his administration believes in Arts and Culture as a viable tool for socio-economic revival of the society.
The Governor who was represented at the forum by the head of service, Mr. Ayodeji Ajayi said It is on this basis that the administration organized a well attended cultural expository and exhibition programme immediately it took over the reins of power in the state.
While congratulating the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture for working in line with the precepts and vision for which the Council is established, Fayemi explained that, “It is a known fact that one of the major causes of our current economic woes in Nigeria is that those within the productive age, who also have the capacity to contribute immensely into improving the economy are either doing far less than necessary or directing their energy wrongly into areas that do not impact meaningfully on the economy. It is consequent upon the understanding of the immense capacity of the Arts and Culture sector, to impact on the socio-economic well-being of the generality of the people, that this administration has continued to ensure adequate commitment, both in budgetary considerations and approval of funds, to the creative sector as symbolized by the Council.”
The Governor stated that little or no attention was paid by the past administration into productive engagement of its artisans, adding that the situation had a frustrating effect on the entire creative workforce of Ekiti State.
In her remarks, the Ekiti state first lady, Erelu Bisi Fayemi while congratulating the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture for organizing the forum, said the programme is the type of interface that can bring about timely achievement of transformational agenda of the government.
She pledged her continuous support for art and culture as the state prepares for its festival of art and culture in December.
Mrs Fayemi stated that after the tragic interlude, during which the arts and culture sector suffered a backward plunge, the Fayemi administration for the second time is breaking the façade of inactivity within the sector through the commendable initiative.
The First Lady of Ekiti state pointed out that the strategy of open interaction with the stakeholders is another way of making them part of governance by pointing out to government their basic challenges.
According to her, “the knowledge that would be gained today would go a long way in widening their horizon on how to effectively access available opportunities that would make them prosper by their trades and innate talents.
Arts and Culture has been one of the prime areas to which the JKF administration gives attention. This explains why the administration in its first tenure established the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism as well as the Council for Arts and culture to harness the great potentials of Ekiti people in Arts and Crafts, develop and market them towards attracting economic prosperity to the people. That was the time the idea of a flagship festival known as the Ekiti State Festival of Culture and Arts Expo (EKIFEST) came up and the State celebrated 2012 and 2013 in a grand style. The Festival recorded a remarkable turn out and attracted the attention of the global tourism public to our State. It would be an open truism to say that, during this period, the Arts and Culture industries in Ekiti State experienced an unprecedented boost in patronage”.
She enjoined the participants to take advantage of the programme to air their views and be ready to explore new innovations.
Mrs Fayemi encouraged the womenfolk to see the forum as a motivation towards economic liberation and self-reliance.
In his welcome address earlier, the director-general of Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Wale Ojo-Lanre stated that the stakeholders forum marks another great milestone in the efforts of the Dr. John Kayode Fayemi administration to reposition government towards being adequately responsive to the yearnings of the people and the need to make people optimally responsible by complimenting the efforts of government leveraging on their God-given talents, acquired skills and crafts.
Wale Ojolanre explained that the Arts and Culture sector has evolved between the last ten months and now from being a mere entertainment establishment into a vision-driven sector that is focused on empowerment of people through discovery and exposure of talents to ensure self-reliance and economic prosperity.
He stated that the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, knowing the capacity of arts and culture to impact on the economy has embarked on massive consultation with stakeholders to elicit their support.
The DG added that the consultation has taken the Council to the chambers of the Ekiti State Council of traditional rulers, the tertiary institutions in the State, corporate institutions and individuals who can assist in effecting a positive change in the sector.
He emphasised that the stakeholders’ Forum is hinged upon the need to create an interface with its local artisans, men and women who constitute the creative workforce of the State and, who have, over the years, suffered neglect and treated with disdain by the immediate past administration.
Ojo Lanre pointed out that the idea is to address the glaring depletion of the of the State creative industries as a result mass departure into other areas where innate talents are relegated and people earn far less than their worth.
According to him, the forum is aimed at strengthening the Arts and Culture Stakeholders as an intervention which would renew their zeal, rejuvenate their interest in creative businesses and widen their horizon.
The forum attracted top government functionaries, experienced speakers, creative entrepreneurs as well as cultural performances .