ABAKALIKI – Host state, Ebonyi, has emerged the winner of this year’s edition of the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST).
Ebonyi emerged tops at the 28th edition of the festival by winning six events– Arts and craft, documentary, traditional cuisine, essay writing, traditional storytelling and traditional wrestling.
A total of 19 states participated in the festival, with Niger and Akwa Ibom placed second and third respectively while Benue, Bauchi and Anambra were joint fourth place winners.
Ebonyi also won the hosting state gong award as it replicated Bayelsa’s feat in 2013 when it hosted and won the festival.
Gov. Martin Elechi said at the closing ceremony on Saturday at the Abakaliki Township Stadium that the event lived up to the billing.
“It is gratifying that the festival was a huge success despite the teething problems and uncertainty surrounding its exact date of commencement after the Ebola-induced postponement.
“Abakaliki has been a beehive of activities in the past one week as the contingents jostled for honours in various events.
“Our state and its people were witnesses to creativity and history.
“ I declare that all participants are winners in their own right though winners of competitive events would savour their victory,” he said.
Elechi said that like the International Olympic Movement which places premium on participation above laurels, NAFEST provides a unique platform for the celebration and renewal of the nation’s rich cultural heritage.
“Nigerians of diverse geo-cultural areas have come together in unity and brotherhood to celebrate our culture, as the emblem of our identity and the showpiece of our tourist endowments,” he said.
He congratulated the participants from various states for being part of the historic celebration.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, represented by Mrs Dayo Keshi, the Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, thanked the government and people of Ebonyi for hosting a successful festival.
“This festival ranks among the best in the festival’s history as it justified its tag of being a symbol of national unity, ” he said. (NAN).