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Fayemi Calls for More Investments in Arts, Culture

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NAFEST

By Adedapo Adesanya

The Governor of Ekiti State, Mr Kayode Fayemi, has called for more investments into the arts and culture sector of the country.

This charge was given by the state governor at the opening session of the 34th National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST).

Declaring open the cultural fiesta themed Celebrating National Unity in Diversity,  the Ekiti State Governor, who is also the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF), described the annual cultural celebration as a vital tool for integration, unity, economic prosperity and political stability of the country.

He maintained that the current economic and political state of the country requires concerted efforts and investment in arts and culture to give room for the expression of talents, promotion of the unity of the country in its diversity and harnessing human potentials for economic prosperity.

Stressing the import of culture for national development and economic growth, the Governor said culture impacts economic growth by strengthening social virtues, creating a trust which facilitates relationships and inspiring motivation that stimulates entrepreneurship.

“We know and understand that culture is one of the main pillars of development, for, without culture, it is certain that development would be greatly hindered. The critical state of our nation requires that efforts be intensified to revive our diverse culture and enhance the potential of our arts to ensure social and political stability, both of which hinge on the viability of the economy.

“The burden of our national commitments which has rested solely on the performance of our crude oil in the international market has continued to render the nation immobile. This calls for an innovative solution.   Investing in culture is crucial to the general development of any society.

“As a country with diverse cultures, it is imperative for us to take advantage of the innate strength in our diversity, and our human and natural resources, to build a united, just and prosperous country for the present and future generations,” he said.

The Governor disclosed that his administration in Ekiti has taken arts and culture beyond mere performance to the realm of cultural re-orientation, attitudinal change, value orientation and its integration into the State’s educational curriculum to be taught at primary and post-primary levels.

Mr Fayemi added that the national event was in fulfilment of his administration’s efforts at exposing Ekiti to both national and international attractions to woe more stakeholders in the culture, tourism and creative world to the State.

On his part,  the Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr Segun Runwese, commended Governor Fayemi for not only demonstrating strong political will in hosting this year NAFEST but for also mobilizing government apparatus to take an active role in ensuring the success of the event.

He disclosed that this year event would feature several completion including tales by moonlight, Drama, traditional board games, children’s drawing and painting, children’s essay writing, traditional cuisines, archery, indigenous fabric and fashion and the cultural market display where winners would be given prizes and award.

Mr Runwese added that participants would also have the opportunity to visit the rich cultural tourist centres in the State like the popular Ikogosi warm spring, Arinta waterfall, Fajuyi park and amusement, Ogun Onire groove and others in the course of the week-long event.

At the event, where representatives across the states of the federation observed a cultural parade that reflected their rich cultural heritage in colourful attires and peculiar cultural instruments witnessed the staging of a melodious drama titled “Children of the rolling hills” that was orchestrated by the Wife of Ekiti State Governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi.

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Drug Trafficker Conceals 23.55kg of Heroin in Baby Food

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drug integrity test

By Adedapo Adesanya

A suspected drug trafficker has been arrested by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) for concealing  22 blocks of heroin weighing 23.55 kilograms in packs of baby food at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Ikeja, Lagos.

According to a statement issued on Sunday by the agency, the consignment with a street value of over N4.5 billion came from Johannesburg, South Africa on board a South African Airways flight on Wednesday, June 29 as part of a consolidated cargo that arrived at the SAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport.

After a series of follow-up operations that led to the arrest of two freight agents, the actual receiver of the drug consignment, Mr Chike Okeke Eweni, who allegedly distributes the substance for his South Africa-based partner, was arrested the following day, Thursday, June 30 at a logistics warehouse in Ajao Estate, Ikeja.

Mr Chike who hails from Anaocha LGA, Anambra State, claimed during a preliminary interview that he’s also into fish farming.

Before his arrest, NDLEA officers at the airport had on Monday, June 27 arrested a former driver with a public transport company, BRT, Mr Muyiwa Babalola Bolujoko, for ingesting 90 pellets of cocaine. He was arrested at the screening point before boarding a Qatar Airways flight en route from Doha to Sharjah, with his trip expected to terminate in Dubai, UAE.

The 39-year-old from Ijebu South LGA, Ogun State, was placed under excretion observation after body scan results confirmed drug ingestion. While in custody, the suspect excreted all the 90 pellets in four excretions.

He claimed he left his N60, 000 per month job as a BRT driver in February and decided to work as a drug courier to raise funds to buy a shuttle bus popularly called Korope in Lagos to continue his transport business.

Operatives also on Thursday, June 30, intercepted an inbound consignment of khat leaves, which arrived at the NAHCO import shed of the Lagos airport on a Royal Air Maroc flight from the Middle East. A total of 71 cartons of dried khat leaves with a gross weight of 2,434.3 kg were discovered in the cargo.

In the same vein, anti-narcotic officers of the Agency also last Thursday seized 36 parcels of Colorado, a variant of cannabis with a total weight of 19.30kg which arrived at the NAHCO import shed from Los Angeles, US on a Delta Airlines flight.

After a series of follow-up operations in which four persons were arrested, the alleged owner of the drug consignment, Mr Abibu Afis Sola was eventually nabbed on Friday, July 1 in the Gbagada area of Lagos.

Meanwhile, in Rivers state, NDLEA operatives on Wednesday, June 29 arrested a 68-year-old woman, Mrs Celina Ekeke at Obunku community, Oyigbo LGA with 231.2kg cannabis, while one Mr Shedrack Eze, was arrested the following day Thursday, June 30 at Yankarfe, Zaria, Kaduna state with 250,000 tablets of Exol 5, weighing 75 kg.

In Borno state, Mr Usman Haruna, 27, was arrested at the BCG checkpoint in Biu on Saturday, July 2 with 19.7kg of cannabis.

In his remark, the Chairman/Chief Executive of the NDLEA, Mr Mohamed Buba Marwa expressed satisfaction with the exemplary performance of the officers and men of the MMIA command in the past week while also commending those of Rivers, Kaduna and Borno for being vigilant.

He charged them and others across the country to remain steps ahead of the tricks by the desperate drug cartels.

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Council Approves Board to Manage Power Sector Liabilities

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power sector liabilities

By Adedapo Adesanya

The National Council on Privatisation (NCP) has approved the board composition and proposed governance framework for the sustainable management and payment of post-privatisation power sector liabilities transferred to the Nigerian Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) Board.

In a meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the council also approved the fast-tracking of the work plan for the concession of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant (ZHPP).

On the board of the NELMCO board are the Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, who is the Chairman; while members will comprise the Minister of Power, Mr Abubakar Aliyu; Director-General, Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE), Mr Alex Okoh; Director-General, Debt Management Office (DMO), Ms Patience Oniha; Managing Director, NELMCO, Mr Adebayo Fagbemi; and all its Executive Directors.

It was also resolved that two key members from the private sector be included on the board.

Also at the meeting, it was noted that the key objectives of the Zungeru Hydroelectric Power Plant concession include leveraging private sector access to finance and reduce the reliance on government budgetary allocation to fund the China EXIM Bank loan; and leveraging efficiencies and better facility management (maintenance) culture of the private sector for long-term preservation of the asset.

The Council had, in its December 2020 meeting, approved the concession of the ZHPP.

Similarly, the team was briefed on the performance assessment report of the nine Electricity Distribution Companies (DISCOs), which has been forwarded to the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC), the sector regulator, for further review and action.

At the meeting, it was noted that a thorough performance assessment revealed that most of the set performance targets were not met by the nine electricity distribution companies.

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Google Organises Residency Programme for Young Non-mainstream Creators

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Google Accelerator Programme

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Some young non-mainstream creators were recently gathered in Nairobi, Kenya for a two-day residency programme organised by a tech giant, Google.

The bootcamp took place from Tuesday, June 28 to Thursday, June 30, 2022, and helped participants learn how to better connect with their audiences and move the culture forward through platforms like Google Arts & Culture, YouTube and YouTubeShorts.

The program will see the first batch of 25 young Alté creatives from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Botswana, and South Africa attend the residency and be equipped with entrepreneurial skills on how they can enhance the visibility of their brands.

Google explained that it came up with the idea to upskill and celebrate the young creatives, who are normally not given a chance on mainstream media, which resulted in many of them taking to YouTube and others to tell their stories.

“It’s exciting to see creators that identify as non-mainstream find community on our platform. This comes just a few days after we announced a call for applications for the YouTube Black Voices Fund for 2023 aimed at elevating marginalised voices.

“The aim of the residency is to amplify the impact of the Alté movement in Africa and the world. We also want to showcase how products like YouTube and YouTube Shorts and platforms like Google Arts & Culture can help drive the culture forward,” the Communications and Public Relations Manager for Google West Africa, Taiwo Kola-Ogunlade, said.

Though it started in Nigeria, it has strongly taken root across the continent. Recent Google Search trends from across Africa show an increase in `Alté’ related searches from 2020, with questions like ‘What is alté?’, ‘Who is an alté?’ and ‘How to dress alte?’, being the most searched alté related questions.

Other top searches in Africa on Alté include alte’ music, alte’ songs, alte’ suit designs, top alte’ vibe, alte’ kids, alte’ Nigeria, alte’ in Ghana Music, and alte’ food.

Google has also invited Alté creatives that have global brands such as Tshepo The Jeans Maker to give career talks to the young creative entrepreneurs on how to further build and monetise their brands.

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