The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, declared open the 2022 National Festival of Arts & Culture, NAFEST, titled Eko NAFEST on the 9th of November, 2022, urging Nigerians to elect only leaders who will “protect our rich cultures and unite the country.” The governor also said that Otunba Runsewe’s doggedness was instrumental to the success of this year’s festival so far. Runsewe is the Director General of National Council for Arts and Culture, which organises the yearly iconic festival.

In his words “We are deliberate about promoting every aspect of tourism, arts and culture, which is why we make it a practice to support, partner and collaborate in activities that would further strengthen our cultural heritage and promote our unity in diversity.

“As the headquarters of entertainment in Africa, Lagos will continue to represent globally in creativity, music, film & culture.

“We are committed to supporting local talents & helping them export their creative ideas to the global market where they can exchange them for value.”

The governor revealed that Lagos State’s desire to further support and showcase arts & culture informed the hosting of 2022 Eko NAFEST. “To meet and surpass the standards set in past editions of NAFEST is the aim of Lagos,” he enthused, expressing confidence that Lagos will perform excellently in the 2022 Eko NAFEST as it has done in past editions. He reiterated that entertainment and tourism are among the 5 main pillars of development in Lagos.

Given that 2023, an election year in Nigeria, is very close, the governor appealed to Nigerians to elect only leaders who will “protect our rich cultures and unite the country.”

In addition to other cultural displays from different states such as the popular Ohaofia War Dance from Abia State, different parts of Lagos, the host state, showcased colorful Masquerades and breathtaking dances.

Some of the dances and masquerades that made appearances include the Agbo Remireke from Ijede, the Zangbeto Dance from Badagry (an official traditional police force, originally created to stave off criminals and protect the people), Igunuko Masquerade from Lagos Island (these tall masquerades possess the ability to drastically reduce their heights), the Apesi Masquerades in raffia costumes, etc.

As at the time of the opening ceremony, 29 out of the 36 states in Nigeria have registered for the 2022 Eko NAFEST. Some of the states are Rivers, Bayelsa, Ondo, Ekiti, Lagos, Benue, Abia, Kaduna, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Nassarawa, Jigawa and Katsina.

Other states are Edo, Kogi, Gombe, Delta, Kano, Zamfara, Osun, Kwara, Imo, FCT, Ebonyi, Taraba, Yobe and others.