Nafest Jos 2020: Gov Lalong, Gwong Gwon Jos assure FG of landmark outing

Plateau State governor, Simon Bako Lalong, and the state Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers and Emirs, Dr Jacob Buba Gyang, have assured the federal and state governments that the National Festival of Arts Culture (NAFEST) slated for Jos, next month will be a reference point in the anals of showcasing the best of the rich cultural potentialities of Plateau State.

The governor and the Gwong Gwon Jos, who spoke at different occasions during the courtesy visits of the NAFEST technical team led by Chief Segun Runsewe, Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), both reiterated the readiness of the government and people of Plateau State to host the 33rd edition of the iconic NAFEST despite the challenges of the new normal, noting that the indigenes were ready to prove beyond all reasonable doubts that it’s truly the destination and home of cultural tourism in Nigeria.

“We are more than prepared. The best hotels, recreation centers are here, the best and oldest golf course, the temperate climate unequalled, the culinary offerings, hospitality and the rich culture of our people will be generously offered to all delegates and visitors during the event,” he stated.

Amidst effusive candour and testimony of the transformational attributes of culture as tool to national integration and development, Governor Simon Lalong further assured the team of adequate security and welfare to all Nigerians including foreigners throughout the one week festival, adding that the COVID-19 protocols and health regulations would be implemented and observed to the letter.

“We are the first state in Nigeria to ensure covid testing is taken to the grass roots, starting with all ministries and agencies, the local governments and also ensured the total fumigation of all public places. It’s not a fluke that we responded and took responsibility to check COVID-19 in the state not only because of our people, but because we know we are the home of hospitality and tourism in Nigeria.”

Governor Lalong urged the technical committee to inform all delegates and visitors that the state is ready to accommodate those who wish to stay behind and take up residence in the state after the event.

Speaking earlier, the Director-General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Runsewe assured the governor and his cabinet members that the technical committee was in the state to inspect and evaluate the preparedness of the state in hosting the forthcoming edition of the festival and to thank the governor for the singular commitment towards the success of the festival.

“ It was very scary for me and all the stakeholders not knowing what will befall the hosting of this national festival because of the new normal but when you assured me that you will do the needful, I was more than relieved because we know the (visitor) COVID-19 pandemic will not be too long in leaving our shores.” Runsewe explained.

Presenting branded Nafest Jos 2020 souvenirs made from local fabrics to the governor and all his cabinet members, the NCAC boss informed that the Jos national festival is the first in Africa post-COVID-19  and will be showcased with the new normal digital marketing opportunities ever, adding that if the Jos technical meeting could witness the presence of 27 states, the prospects of the entire 36 states attending the Jos event will be more than a reality.

“Our culture is the solution to the many challenges we face as a nation and we at NCAC are  more than determined to prove to the world and to all Nigerians that our indigenous diversity  and way of life can help us reshape our future and keep us United and together.”

At the palace of the Gwong Gwon Jos, Runsewe harped on the importance and roles of Nigerian traditional rulers in the preservation of our culture, calling for concerted efforts to bring back the traditional institutions across the country into protecting the indigenous culture of the country.

“We are here to share and felicitate with His majesty on his birthday and seek his royal blessings for the upcoming national festival in November.” Runsewe added.

The Gwong Gwon, Da Jacob Buba Gyang in full session with his traditional council, expressed joy that the festival is taking place on the Plateau and admonished the delegates and visitors to disregard the tales of fear mongers about insecurities in the Plateau State, praising the efforts of Governor Simon Lalong to put state on the global cultural tourism map.

“We shall support this event and mobilise our resources and people to show case our very unique best in all areas. We only want you to tell Nigerians and foreigners coming that theyv should leave something behind as we shall be willing to offer lands for many of you who may wish  to stay behind after the event.

“We know that will happen because we are very peaceful here and accommodating with rich biosphere and template environment.” His majesty explained.

NAFEST Jos, the 33rd edition comes up from November 21 to 28. Three states, Kwara, Taraba and Kogi states have indicated interest to host the festival in 2022 while Ekiti State won the bid to host next year 2021.

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