Delta State emerged fifth overall at the 33rd National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) which ended in Plateau State with display of the rich cultural heritage in Nigeria, just as the state bagged the best costumed state,
However, at the end of the festival, Bayelsa State emerged overall winner at the festival.
The NAFEST held at the Jos township stadium, began in 1970, and is regarded as a forum for building unity and seeks to promote the diversity of the nation as it has moved from state to state since inception.
In some of the events, Delta won the position of the most creative and innovative state in design packaging and presentation, and second position overall in cuisine, second position overall in traditional board game (Ayo).
The Honourable Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Sir Lawrence Ejiofor while congratulating Delta for emerging tops in some of the events, reiterated the greatness of Delta in Nigeria, saying that NAFEST would not be complete without Delta and what he referred to as the state’s unmatched uniqueness.
The commissioner who was represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Directorate, Mrs . Angalaere Umukoro-Prest, thanked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for the opportunity to show case Delta heritage.
He noted that Deltans were blessed and had the potentials to standout in every aspect of life wherever they go and encouraged the participants and all involved to stay focused while he pledged to do all within his power to ensure better outcome subsequently.
The General Manager, Delta State Tourism Board, Mrs. Josephine Ogbolu, observed that one of the numerous aspects that Delta stood out in was in traditional cuisine. She said that Delta had made quite an impression on Nigerians as can be evident in the love people showed for her food and hospitality.
Speaking on the just concluded NAFEST, Mrs Ogbolu noted that the festival which sought to X-ray, preserve and promote the cultural identity of the Nigerians, was veritable especially to the younger generation.
She explained that it created an avenue to put things in proper perspective, learn our culture, language, cuisine and ways to promote and export our culture.
While reiterating the dynamic nature of culture, she urged Deltans to keep improving, promoting and marketing Delta as the very big heart and applauded the state government for efforts the development and growth of the tourism industry.
Also speaking at the 2020 NAFEST was the Director, Council for Art and Culture, Mr Patrick Clark, who affirmed that NAFEST had helped to put the council on its toes to surpass what obtained in other parts of the country.
He disclosed that Delta had been awarded once for the most consistent state in NAFEST attendancenand also thanked the governor for his efforts in making this possible.
Clark, however, hoped that more attention would be given to the preparation and actual participation subsequently for a better outcome.
He urged Deltans not to forget their culture, charging them to use their cultural heritage as a barometer with which to take in, absorb and adapt to modern day scientific development.
Meanwhile, at the opening ceremony, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong disclosed that in line with the theme ‘Post COVID-19 and national dynamism’, the main aim for this year’s event was to critically examine the challenges brought by the COVID-18 pandemic and how culture and tourism coul be used to cushion the effect.
The governor encouraged the states to actively participate in wealth creation for the nation and promote cultural values and advised against the misuse of social media to ensure proper representation of the country and its resources.
The opening featured match past from the states present at the time which were Benue, Ekiti, Kaduna, FCT, Delta, Cross River, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Lagos, Kano, Nasarawa, Yobe, Rivers, Zamfara, Bauchi, Bayelsa, Enugu and Plateau.
The states came out in their colourful attires as they wowed the audience with their dance and beautiful attire. Also, part of the event was a grand dance drama mime by the Dan Tala group of Plateau State amongst other presentations.