Bayelsa State, ‘The Glory of all Lands’, has bagged the overall first position at the National Festival of Arts and Culture, NAFEST, competitive events.
The competitive events were on traditional cuisines, arts and crafts, essay writing, quiz, traditional board game, indigenous fabrics and fashion parade, indigenous music, archery and coral competitions.
Ekiti State and Rivers State emerged in the 2nd overall position, Plateau State bagged 3rd position, Kano and Enugu states had the 4th position, while Delta, Kaduna states and the Federal Capital Territory bagged the 5th position.
The positions were announced during the closing ceremony of the 33rd edition of NAFEST which held at the Rwang Pam Township Stadium, Jos, Plateau State.
Mr Andrew Kirifagha, Director, Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, expressed his excitement over the state’s victory.
Kirifagha said he was not surprised as the state had been preparing for the various cultural competitions since August and lots of revenue had gone into the preparation.
He appreciated the National Council for Arts and Culture, NCAC, and the Plateau State government for hosting the ancient festival even as COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the world.
He said the state’s victory would further gear them to do more in promoting culture.
“I am excited for the victory achieved today, but I am not surprised because we have been practising since August, we have done a lot to deserve this victory.
“We will work hard on cultural promotion to maintain our status.
“We are grateful to Plateau State for its hospitality. We really enjoyed our stay in the state,” he said.
Earlier, Otunba Segun Runsewe, NCAC Director-General, commended the efforts of the Plateau government in hosting the festival.
He said Govenro Simon Lalong had successfully put Plateau State on the global map of tourism, calling on Nigerians to visit the state and explore the abundance of its tourism and culture potential.
“Plateau is a safe place, I call on tourists and investors to visit the state for tourism and investment purposes.
“Let us make Plateau our Dubai, Jos is a place to be, so hospitable and beautiful weather.
“By the grace of God, we shall meet in Ekiti State by 2021 NAFEST. I wish you all safe journey to your destinations,” he said.
The week long festival which commenced on November 22 and ended on November 28 with 26 states participating in various cultural competitions and displays.
Some of the states that participated were, Kogi, Bayelsa, Cross River, Kwara, Kebbi, Benue, Rivers, Delta, Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Yobe, Enugu, Imo, Katsina, Lagos, Zamfara, Plateau, Bauchi, Borno, Ekiti, Taraba states and the Federal Capital Territory.
The theme of the festival was “COVID-19 and Cultural Dynamism.”
Some of the awards during the festival were Best costume, won by Delta and Plateau states; Best behaved and disciplined states won by Zamfara and Bauchi states, and Most creative and Innovative state in design and presentation by Kwara, Cross River, Delta and Nasarawa states.
Others were Most enterprising states by Kogi, Lagos, Imo and FCT; Most entrepreneurial state by Kaduna, Kano, Taraba and Borno states and Most improved performance by Bayelsa and Kebbi states.
Also, Most compliant to COVID-19 safety protocols were Ekiti, Rivers and Plateau states, NAFEST legendary award for most consistent state by Katsina and Yobe states.
The competitive events were Traditional cuisine with 4th position to Nasarawa and Benue states, 3rd, Rivers, Ekiti and Kano states, 2nd, Plateau, Delta and Kaduna states and 1st Bayelsa state.
Also, for children essay writing competition, Kaduna State came 5th, Rivers State and FCT, 4th; Plateau state, 3rd; Bayelsa state 2nd and Enugu state, 1st.
There were also children arts and craft competition, Archery, Coral, Children Indigenous music instrumentation, Traditional board games, Indigenous fabric and fashion and Cultural Quiz competitions.