By Osa Mbonu-Amadi
Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, National Council for Arts & Culture and the man who rebranded the National Festival of Arts & Culture, NAFEST, and its sister International Arts & Craft Expo, INAC (formerly African Arts & Crafts Expo, AFAC) into mega arts, culture and tourism events of international reputes, has advised the teeming participants at this year’s NAFEST, Eko NAFEST 2022, to use the rare opportunity offered by the festival to make enduring friendships.
The DG handed the piece of advice on Thursday at the ongoing Eko NAFEST 2022 in Lagos, while conducting the official opening ceremonies of children’s essay writing, arts, crafts, music competitions and other events.
To contestants at the essay writing competition, Runsewe said: “I am sure you are making friends from different states and meeting different people. Put in your best as you compete among yourselves. At the end of the day, this will tell you that there is hope for our country. Extend my best wishes to your parents at home. I wish you all the best and journey mercy back home after the event.”
At the Arts & Crafts section, the DG first appreciated all the adjudicators for being part of the history-making and nurturing of young people in skills that will positively shape their futures. “This aspect of what you are involved,” Runsewe told the young participants, “is what we call ‘personal creativity’ in every one of you” which has the potential to become golden in future.
“So, we are happy to have you in this competition. And we pray that at the end of the day, many of you will use what you have learned positively to improve our nation. I hope, beyond arts & crafts, you are making friends among yourselves – friends from the south, east, west and the north. Please make more friends.”
At the commencement of the drama competition, Runsewe expressed confidence that the dramas about to be staged “are going to speak to us as a people. The whole idea of these is for us to start catching our people young and helping them to understand the beauty of our culture and how it can help us to build a united Nigeria.”
The DG informed the large audience that 11 states of the country will be competing, “and I have no doubt that at the end of the day, we will see the beauty of our great country. But please, ladies and gentlemen, like the commissioners have started doing, let every one of us start making friends from the south, east, west, north – everywhere. Let’s get to know one another better. And I am assuring you, by the end of this program, we will have achieved a better unity for our country and a better understanding.”
And of course, the abilities arts, culture and tourism have in bringing diverse people together and bonding them have both theoretical and practical bases in sociology.
In an article on arts, culture and sociology published on the website, gradefixers.com, the author detailed how Tina Modotti, an Italian photographer, model, actress and political activist, through her plays, poetry, and modelling activities, “shows how individuals can use art to make friends and create social settings that appreciate people concerning their uniqueness and abilities.
“Through her photographic work such as the Worker’s Hands, Nodotti shows how people can form enduring relationships with colleagues and modify their social settings to support and appreciate each other.”
Tourism, whose key drivers are arts and culture, even possesses more power and offers more opportunities to participants to make enduring friends. So, Otunba Runsewe, no doubt, knows what he was talking about when he said, use the Eko NAFEST 2022 to make friends!