Ekiti State restates commitment to prioritize Arts and culture

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Ekene Okafor, Lagos

The Ekiti State Government in south-west Nigeria says it is resolute on promoting Arts and culture in the State.

The State Governor, Kayode Fayemi made the remarks following the completion of arrangement by the State Council of Arts and Culture for the first Ekiti State Art and Culture Stakeholders Forum, scheduled to hold in December, with the theme: Art and culture for economic prosperity.

Speaking during the forum in the Ado Ekiti, the State capital, Governor Fayemi noted that his administration believed 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 was on this basis that the Government organized a well attended cultural expository and exhibition programme immediately it took over power.

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 wellbeing 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 however, lamented 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 was the type of interface that could bring about timely achievements 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 pointed out that the strategy of open interaction with the stakeholders is another way of making them part of governance by pointing out their basic challenges to government.

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.

she also encouraged the womenfolk to see the forum as a motivation towards economic liberation and self-reliance.

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.

According to him, the forum is aimed at strengthening stakeholders in the Arts and Culture  sector to renew their zeal, rejuvenate their interest in creative businesses and widen their horizon.

Rahila L.