Ahead of the third World Black Festival of Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal, next year, Nigeria has commenced serious preparation for the event. In view of the Dakar festival, Nigeria organised this year’s National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) in Enugu, south east Nigeria, at which many of the performing artistes, some of whom will represent Nigeria, participated.
According to the Culture, Tourism and National Orientation Minister, Adetokunbo Kayode, “Nigeria is intensifying its preparations for the Dakar event by using local festivals to hunt for talents. “I charge you to put in the best so that you can be part of the National Troupe to represent the country,” Kayode said in a message to the artistes during the Festival which ended Saturday.
NAFEST is Nigeria’s biggest and most popular cultural event, organised annually since 1970 by the National Council for Arts and Culture, with other relevant agencies. It is used as a platform to showcase the country’s rich cultural heritage, unite and expose the various ethnic groups to each other in order to create harmonious and peaceful co-existence in the country.
“We need to be proud of our rich heritage by dressing Nigerian and communicating our culture to the outside world. The idea is to mobilise the people, particularly the Youths, to appreciate our culture better in the face of Western domination. Promoting our culture is therefore part of the seven-point developmental agenda of the Yar’Adua administration,” Kayode added.
The theme for this year’s NAFEST was “Culture and the Challenges of our time: Promoting Nigerian Dress Culture.”
“If we hope to achieve the objective of promoting our culture through dressing and meet the hope of been among the most developed economies in the world by 2020 , we must work towards reviving the collapsed local Textile industries. “We must also support the Tie and Dye industries with the necessary facilities and funding,” One of the officials of the Nation’s umbrella Labour group, Isa Aremu, said at a roundtable discussion organised as part of the festival.
Nigeria could boast of many vibrant Textiles industries scattered across the then three regions – North, East and South in the past. The Arewa Textiles factory established in 1957, located in Kaduna, served the market in that area, providing jobs for thousands of weavers, designers and other workers.
Similarly, the Asaba Textile mills in the then Midwest and several others along the Ibadan-Lagos axis were the heart beats of the country’s industrial sector. At that time, Nigeria was ranked third as the highest Textiles materials producer in Africa. But today, virtually all of them have collapsed.