As Nigerians await the staging of the nation’s biggest arts and culture fiesta, National Festival of Arts and Culture, ‘NAFEST Rivers 2018’ in Port Harcourt, from October 21-27, the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC) has applauded Governor Nyesom Wike for great preparations and described Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital as the Nigeria’s ‘Culture Capital’.
Addressing journalists after inspecting facilities put in place by the Rivers State Government to ensure successful hosting of the event, the Director-General of NCAC, Otunba Segun Runsewe expressed satisfaction with the quality and beauty of the projects, noting that the ultra-modern Rex Jim-Lawson Integrated Cultural Center is in his words, ‘an edifice that has all it takes to host any international event’.
He likened Port Harcourt to Dubai which although is not the capital city of the United Arab Emirate, UAE, has projected its uniqueness and popularity, stressing that the Garden City of Port Harcourt has stamped its place as the hub of culture and tourism in Nigeria.
Runsewe who is also the President of the World Crafts Council (Africa Region), said the facilities provided by the State are a dream come true, as according to him, the Council had desired and prayed to have all that have been provided by the Rivers State Government.
Acknowledging that he was ‘speechless’ at the spectacular findings, the man who is popularly called ‘Game Changer’ by Rivers Culture and Tourism Commissioner, Mrs. Tonye Briggs Oniyide, went on to give a graphic description of his assessment.
His words: “This is the first padded stage I’ve seen to withhold music sound where three models of orchestra can easily perform. Two minutes after, a film show can come up.
“There is an air-condition system that has a chiller of networking through the roofs. You don’t even see anything, you just see the cooling coming out!
“They have enough adjoining room facility for other events that can take place. Honestly, I can tell you we are very pleased and happy that one State in Nigeria has been able to provide what we have been dreaming of”.
Otunba Runsewe who was accompanied on the tour by Commissioners of Culture and Tourism as well as Directors-General of States Council of Arts and Culture from 31 States of the country, including the FCT, Abuja, described the projects as ‘excellent plus’ and lauded the developmental strides of Governor Nyesom Wike, stressing that they were unparalleled.
The NCAC boss who also made a brief stopover at the Rivers State University, Port Harcourt, commended the Vice Chancellor, Professor Blessing Didia for his efforts to transform the institution to an enviable height.
He also thanked the Vice Chancellor for providing what he called a model accommodation for delegates of the NCAC, even as he praised the Entertainment Village located at the Convocation Arena, adding that it speaks volume of the fact that Rivers State is prepared for the big October cultural carnival.
“I was a bit worried when Governor Nyesom Wike came out last week to say that he would do something that has never happened in Nigeria before. Now I can see the colours coming out bright that in October, Rivers State and by extension, Nigeria would showcase our rich cultures to the world using technology”, he declared.
Other areas visited by NCAC Director-General and his entourage were the Secretariat of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Abuloma-Woji-Elelenwo By-pass, Elelenwo-Slaughter Road, Nkpogu Road and the ultra-modern Port Harcourt Pleasure Park.