Home Special Report It’s Wrong To Link NAFEST With Idol Worship – Ekiti Commissioner

It’s Wrong To Link NAFEST With Idol Worship – Ekiti Commissioner

Rasak Ojo Bakare
...Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Ekiti State, Professor Rasak Ojo Bakare...

Ekiti State Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare has described attempts to link the National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFEST) to idols and demons worshipping as an unfortunate effort at subjugating Africa’s rich cultural heritage with bigotry and heresy.

A statement from the office of the Commissioner who is also the Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the 2021 NAFEST, defined Culture as a set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that define a group of people of a particular region while Arts is a vast subdivision of culture composed of many creative endeavors and disciplines including visual arts, literary arts and the performing arts.

Prof. Bakare stressed that contrary to the bigoted believe that African Arts and Culture is synonymous with idol worshipping and capable of attracting demons, Art is mere expression of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power, adding that various branches of creative activity, such as painting, music, literature, and dance are parts of Arts.

According to him, Culture serves as a guideline for behaviour, dress, language, and demeanour in a situation, which serves as a template for expectations in a social group.

Stressing that only mischief-makers and ignoramuses would refer to the rich cultural heritage in the country as idol worshipping, Bakare noted that even the erstwhile colonial masters recently started to return the treasured cultural artefacts that were removed from the country including the Benin bronzes, sculptures that once decorated the royal palace of the Kingdom of Benin, now in south-eastern Nigeria, were looted by British forces in 1897, along with thousands of other precious items.

“Why were the artefacts stolen and kept in the museums of the colonial rulers if they actually considered them to be idols and not work of art? Is the famous Grammy awards considered idolatry or is the ubiquitous America’s Got Talent and Britain’s Got Talent (BGT) not seen as great shows that attract viewers worldwide? Why then do these people persist in running efforts at improving the lot of the State?” he queried.

He explained that NAFEST is basically a forum to promote diverse culture and various arts and crafts that are peculiar to them, adding that it would feature competitive and non-competitive events such as dance, drama, essay writing, cuisine, moonlight story-telling, craft exhibition amongst other.

The LOC Chairman said that the hosting of the festival by Ekiti State would boost commercial activities with the influx of tourists and visitors to the State stressing that no fewer than 4,000 participants from the 36 States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) as well as a conservative estimate over 5,000 tourists are expected in the State for the festival.

He wondered if Lagos State that was the first host of NAFEST about 50years ago and had not only been the venue on three occasions in 1970, 1974 and 1988 but also slated to host next year’s edition is more demon infested than any other State, saying that the State had benefitted immensely from hosting the festival.

Bakare highlighted other States that have hosted the festival to include five times in Kaduna in 1972, 1974, 1990, 2004 and 2017; three in FCT, 1992, 1997 and 1999; adding that Edo hosted in 2019 and plateau in 2020.

The Commissioner solicited the continued support of people in the State stressing the need for them not to allow narrow-mindedness of some opinionated individuals or group of people to hinder efforts of the present administration to develop the State and place it in its pride of place amongst the comity of States and the world at large.

Packaged by Emmanuel Adeniran

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