The 2018 National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) ended in Port Harcourt on Saturday, with the host Governor, Nysome Wike, commending the 25 states that participated.
Wike, who declared the 31st edition of the fiesta closed, which took place at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt, said “NAFEST is not just a competition, but a platform to promote the culture of Nigeria.
“I see NAFEST as showcase of our diversity and cultural heritage. Let us use culture to unite this country, the entire country is here and we are celebrating in unity, apart from sports, culture is the uniting factor in Nigeria.”
The governor, who described Rivers as the economic centre of the country, added that the state was the most peaceful for investment and hosting of events.
He said “with successful and peaceful hosting of NAFEST 2018, we have made another statement that Rivers is safe and secure.
“Rivers has hosted the PDP National Convention, NAFEST and the Presidential Visit without hitches.”
He added that he would support the 25 states with the sum of N5 million each “to appreciate them for colouring Rivers State with colourful display of the nation’s culture and tradition.”
Meanwhile, Rivers emerged the overall best state in the festival, while Bayelsa came second, and Ondo State took third place, as Federal Capital Territory came fourth, and Delta took fifth position.
During the fiesta, states displayed their traditional music, cultural dance, traditional acrobats and masquerades.
Dignitaries at the closing ceremony were Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi, Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia and Otumba Segun Runsewe, the Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture, among others.
Umahi said culture was a major tool that would unite the country and enhance her greatness, adding that NAFEST Rivers 2018 would serve as springboard for the greatness of the country.
Runsewe said that the successful hosting of NAFEST in Rivers showed that Nigeria was a great country.
Mr Ferdinand Alabrabra, the Chairman of the event, said that NAFEST 2018 had achieved the core objectives of the festival.
High point of the closing ceremony was the presentation of different categories of prizes to winners from different states of the country.