The 2019 edition of the Ekiti State Festival of Arts and Culture (EKIFEST) which was held recently has left a lasting impression on the people of the state and its environs.
The festival did not just provide a platform to promote and showcase culture but also boosted the economy of the state.
The value reorientation policy introduced by the governor of the state, Dr Kayode Fayemi, through cultural events, which promotes tradition and enhances moral value is yielding positive result as people are becoming conscious on the need to promote moral value and culture.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the festival , Ekiti State governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi expressed satisfaction with the way the Wale Ojo-Lanre led Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture has been raising the consciousness of the people in line with his value reorientation policy.
He disclosed that his administration is determined to increase its investment and exploit arts and culture for the economic prosperity of the state and its citizens.
Fayemi added that the rich arts, culture and tourism potentials of the state are its own oil boom that must be tapped to develop the state.
“In Ekiti State, our cultural heritage keeps our memories alive of how beliefs and cultural expressions have contributed to the development of our society. Ekiti is a state of rich artistic and cultural heritage and endowed with the abundance of talents. Our riches are well-demonstrated through arts, dance, literature, music, food and folklore.
“I commend the efforts of the Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture towards the attainment of the target set for it. We still want the council to go a step further by consolidating on the various achievements, enhancing the potential of creative practitioners and boosting the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of Ekiti State. And to enhance the progress already made in the last year, I have decided to re-establish the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism for better synergy and integration,” the governor said.
Street traders, food vendors, motorcycle riders, cab drivers, fashion designers, hotels, drinking pubs and farmers enjoyed great patronage from tourists and art enthusiasts who graced the four-day event.
According to reports, the festival brought an injection of cash into the economy of the state due to the high number of visitors who thronged the state during the festival.
The Chairperson of EKIFEST local organising committee, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, explained that the festival was designed to restore Ekiti’s core values as well as to provide empowerment for the people of the state.
She urged the youths to consider the creative arts industry as a platform to earn a living and showcase their God-given talents.
Erelu Fayemi posited that local artifacts, songs, dances, attires and physical features like hills which dot the landscape of the state have potentials to attract tourists from all parts of the world.
She also hailed the governor for creating an enabling environment for arts and culture to thrive and for upgrading the State Council for Arts and Culture to a full-fledged Ministry.
The festival also served as a catalyst for unity as it brought people from different parts of the state and other parts of the country and continent together to showcase their different cultures.
The Lantang people of Plateau State and other ethnic groups in Ekiti State thrilled the audience with their unique traditional dancing styles and costumes, just like the state cultural troupe and the local government troupes display their skillful dancing and singing style to the admiration of all and sundry.
The Director-General, Ekiti State Council for Arts and Culture, Ambassador Wale Ojo-Lanre, described EKIFEST as a huge blessing to the state, noting that for the first time, children were given the opportunity to participate in a fiesta of such magnitude.
Aside boosting the tourism potential of the state, Ojo-Lanre described the festival as a period of bumper harvest for hoteliers, cab drivers and commercial motorcycle operators, who he said profited from the influx of people from within and outside the state.
The dancing competition, games, traditional wrestling and other cultural activities that featured at EKIFEST engendered unity and create an avenue for exchange of valuable ideas.
Kegite gyration and colloquium held at Ikogosi Warm Spring brought together people from different shrines, schools and organisations to enjoy and brainstorm on how to promote arts, culture and the tourism industry for economic benefit and growth of the state.
Products on parade at the festival are artifacts, local fabrics, drums, gongs, beads, drums, agricultural produce, local delicacies, palm wine, amongst others.
Awards were given to deserving individuals and local government areas for outstanding performances
A stage play on Ifajuyigbe, which featured prominent actors like Peter Fatomilola; Peju Ogunmola, Ojo Arowosafe(Fadeyi Oloro); Muyideen Oladapo(Lala) and directed by Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare was performed at the event. A movie titled ‘The Tenant of the House’ produced by Dr Wale Okediran was also shown at the festival.