Septuagenarian Sir Victor Uwaifo stole the show at the opening ceremony of the 32nd edition of the National Festival for Arts and Culture (NAFEST) being hosted in Edo State.
Sir Uwaifo who is the first musician to become a university Professor thrilled guests and participants at the event held at the University of Bénin Sports Complex.
Young and old danced to tracks and went into wild mood when he performed one of his hit tracks ‘Joromi’.
Uwaifo said he was performing ‘Joromi’ with a staccato.
About 26 states have arrived Bénin City to participate in this year’s NAFEST which made it the highest in the past 40 years the event has held.
The Nigerian Army put up a sterling performance by its Band, cultural troupe and Presidential Guards Brigade.
Speaking at the event, Governor Godwin Obaseki said NAFEST served as a bond of unity for all Nigerians.
Obaseki noted that history has been made as the festival was brought to the home of culture for the first time.
He noted that Nigerians got united with culture.
“Today, we are celebrating in Edo State because 40 years after this festival was launched; now it is coming to the home of culture for the first time.
“Is Edo not the home of culture in Nigeria? Is Edo not the home of culture in Africa? For the first time, we are hosting this event.”
Director-General of National Council for Arts and Culture, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, said Nigerians have every reason to celebrate, expressing optimism that the country (Nigeria) would be great again.
“God loves Nigeria. Tell the next person close to you that Nigeria will be great again”, he said.
Meanwhile, there was presence of heavy security around Benin City and environs.
About 750 joint security personnel have been deployed to provide security for NAFEST.
The security personnel was deployed from the Nigeria Police Marine base to secure the waterways, anti-cultism unit, anti-kidnapping unit, cybercrime, special anti-robbery, officers from the State Criminal Intelligence Department amongst others.
Chairman of Ovia South West local government, Mr. Destiny Enabulele, hailed the adequate security personnel deployed for the event.
Enabulele said the event would show the world Edo is actually the cradle of black civilisation.
Mr. Scott Ogbemudia, Chairman of Ovia North East, said tourism potentials of the state would receive a boost.
Ogbemudia said, “Benin is home to culture. The people here are out to celebrate their culture for the visitors to see.”