The ancient city of Benin is agog with festivities as delegates from 16 states arrived for the 2019 National Festival of Arts and Culture, which will open at the University of Benin Sports Complex, Benin City on Monday.
The News Agency of Nigeria correspondent who visited the venue on Sunday reports that accreditation of delegates had started, while participating groups were busy mounting exhibition tents and arranging their wares in preparation of the festival.
Chief Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts and Culture, organiser of NAFEST, told NAN that all the participating states would arrive for the opening ceremony by Monday.
NAN reports that the seven-day cultural show, organised by National Council for Arts and Culture, will hold at four different venues in the ancient city, namely: Oba’s Palace, UNIBEN Sports Complex, Benin Golf Club and Oba Akenzua Cultural Centre.
One of the delegates, Ngulyaro Simon-Zaro, from Adamawa State Council for Arts and Culture, said the festival would provide further cultural integration among delegates from the states.
According to Simon-Zaro, the festival will give hope for future cultural exchange programmes, which is needed to unite the nation.
“We are here to participate in traditional wrestling, drama and local cuisine competitions, we are engaging the younger ones to familiarise them with our culture,” she said.
Also, Dr. Priscilla Aletor, a Lecturer in the Painting Department of the University of Benin, said she was excited that Benin was hosting this year’s festival, adding that the theme: “Our Royalty, Our Pride,” signifies the pride and dignity of Benin City.
Aletor, who would also be exhibiting her paintings during the festival, said she expected to connect with art lovers across the country through the platform.