Director-General, NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe flanked by Comrade Philip Shuaibu (left), Deputy Governor of Edo State, Hon Commissioner of Culture ,Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Mr. Osemegie Ero, presenting the festival gong to the Rivers State delegation who emerged best overall at the just concluded 2019 edition of NAFEST held in Benin.
As Benin City, Edo State capital hands the Barton to Plateau State, the next host of the 2020 edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture, Nigerians are generally agreed that Benin delivered on its pedigree as the citadel of culture the world over.
The consensus was reached by eminent personalities who participated in the event like Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and other senior government officials, industry stakeholders, representatives from at least 30 states,traditional leaders and media practitioners from across the country.
An unprecedented 30-state contingents featured at the cultural fiesta with Rivers emerging best overall state after putting up a fantastic showing.
The weeklong event came to a grand close on Saturday 26th October amidst showers of blessing with many privileged to attend attesting to the fact that NAFEST 2019 assumed a complete royal complexion as Benin hosted for the first time in history.
The festival coincided with the 3rd year coronation anniversary of the Oba of Benin, HRM Oba Ewuare II who against centuries-held traditions of the monarchy, participated personally in several activities lined up by the National Council for Arts and Culture to make NAFEST 2019 truly memorable.
Speaking during the closing ceremony held at the University of Benin sports complex, the Director-General of NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe extolled the ancient city for hosting a successful NAFEST saying, “Edo people are very hospitable and ever smiling. I must say that I am yet to meet one ugly Edo person”
The DG who has become a special friend of the Oba, congratulated all state delegations and Nigerians for using the cultural platform to continually promote unity and peace.
On his part, the Edo State Deputy Governor, Rt. Hon. Philip Shuaibu representing Governor Godwin Obaseki said Benin has made a bold statement by successfully hosting NAFEST 2019 and setting a new precedent in royalty, culture and national integration.
The festival with the theme: Our Royalty, Our Pride which is one of the flagship programs of the National Council for Arts and Culture had an array of programs like free skill acquisition, competitive events, royal golf tournament, command performances, traditional cuisines, traditional wrestling and many more interesting activities