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Jos set for Culture Feast as Lalong promises memorable outing

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The Plateau State Governor, Simon Bako Lalong, and Chairman, Plateau State Council of Chiefs, Da Jacob Buba Gyang, have assured the Federal and state governments that the National Festival of Arts Culture (NAFEST) slated for November 21 to 28 will be a reference point in organisational management, as well as showcasing the best of Plateau State.

The governor and the Gbong Gwon Jos, who spoke differently during the courtesy visit of the NAFEST technical team led by Otunba Segun Runsewe, Director General National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), reiterated the commitment of the state to host the 33rd edition of the festival despite the challenges of the new normal, noting that the Plateau nation is ready to prove beyond doubts that it’s truly the destination and home of cultural tourism in Nigeria.

“We are more than prepared. The best hotels, recreation centres are here, the best and oldest golf course, the temperate climate unequaled, the culinary offerings, hospitality and the rich culture of our people will be generously offered to all delegates and visitors during the event,” he stated

Governor Lalong further assured of adequate security and welfare to all Nigerians including foreigners throughout the one-week festival, adding that the COVID-19 protocols and health regulations will be implemented and observed in the letter.

“We are the first state in Nigeria to ensure COVID-19 testing is taken to the grassroots, starting with all ministries and agencies, the local governments, and also ensured the total fumigation of all public places. It’s not a fluke that we responded and took responsibility to check COVID-19 in the state not only because of our people but because we know that we are the home of hospitality and tourism in Nigeria.”

Governor Lalong urged the technical committee to inform all delegates and visitors that Plateau State was ready to accommodate those who wish to stay behind and take up residence in the state after the event.

“We know that we shall spoil you people beyond measure, only try and leave something behind, sow a seed in appreciation and for those who do not wish to leave after the event, we are more than willing to give accelerated approval to request for landed property,” Lalong assured.

Speaking earlier, Runsewe told the governor and his cabinet members that the technical committee members were in the state to inspect and evaluate the preparedness of the state towards hosting the festival and to thank the governor for his commitment to the overall success of NAFEST 2020.

Presenting branded NAFEST Jos 2020 souvenirs made from local fabrics to the governor and his cabinet members, the NCAC boss informed that the Jos festival is the first in Africa post COVID-19 lockdown and will be showcased with the new normal digital marketing opportunities ever, adding that if the Jos technical meeting could witness the presence of 27 states, the prospects of the entire 36 states attending the Jos event will be more than a reality.

“Our culture is the solution driver to the many challenges we face as a nation and we at NCAC are more than determined to prove to the world and to all Nigerians that our indigenous diversity and way of life can help us reshape our future and keep us United and together.”

At the palace of the Gbong Gwom Jos, Runsewe harped on the importance and roles of Nigerian traditional rulers in the preservation of the country’s culture, calling for concerted efforts to bring back the traditional institutions across the country into protecting the indigenous culture of the country.

“We are here to share and felicitate with His majesty on his birthday and seek his royal blessings for the upcoming festival in November,” Runsewe explained.

The Gbong Gwom, who expressed joy that the festival is holding in Plateau, admonished the delegates and visitors to disregard the tales of fear mongers about insecurity in the state. He also commended the efforts of Governor Lalong to put Jos plateau on the global cultural tourism map.

“We shall support this event and mobilise our resources and people to showcase our very unique best in all areas. We only want you to tell Nigerians and foreigners coming that they should leave something behind, as we shall be willing to offer lands for many of you who may wish to stay behind after the event. We know that will happen because we are very peaceful here and accommodating with rich biosphere and template environment,” his majesty said.

Meanwhile, three states, Kwara, Taraba, and Kogi states have indicated interest to host the festival in 2022 while Ekiti state won the bid to host the next year 2021.

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