Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has described the annual countdown event by the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwumi Ambode, to usher in the New Year, as the biggest of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa.
In a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by his Special Assistant, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said the rejigging of the event under a platform known as ‘One Lagos Fiesta’ will promote Nigeria’s rich culture and also create more awareness on the need for unity and peaceful co-existence in all the five administrative divisions in the state.
Speaking at the kick-off of this year’s event at Agege Stadium in Lagos, on Sunday, the minister said ‘’Instead of the omnibus show that is usually held at the Bar Beach in Lagos, the state government has now decided to organise the ‘One Lagos Fiesta’, starting from today, December 27, running through January 1, 2016.
‘’This will ensure that all the five administrative divisions have a taste of the crossover celebration. In addition to bringing the annual event closer to the people by staging it in Agege, Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and the Bar Beach, ‘One Lagos Fiesta’ will also showcase the multi-cultural endowment and arts of the various communities in the five administrative divisions,’’ he said.
He said the rejigging of the annual Lagos countdown event is in line with what the federal government is planning next year.
‘’We intend to create a calendar of cultural and creative arts festivals across the country in such a way that we will have at least one festival of culture or creative arts every day of the year. The strategy we plan to adopt is simple: We will work with each of the 36 states to give us a list of 10 cities where key festivals are held every year. That will translate to 360 cities, plus another five from each of the five area councils constituting the Federal Capital Territory, making 365 cities. In other words, we will have a festival of Culture/Creative Arts every day of the year.
‘‘Spinoffs from these festivals cannot be over-emphasised in terms of showing the nation’s rich and diverse culture, creating jobs, attracting tourists and enhancing security, as many otherwise idle hands will be put to work under the country’s very rich creative industry and cultural sector. This is also in line with the federal government’s ongoing efforts to diversify the economy and cut dependency on oil,’’ the minister said.
He expressed hope that the event will become bigger and will form a major part of the annual Calendar of Festivals which we plan to unveil in the days ahead.
While flagging-off the ‘One Lagos Fiesta’, Ambode said the programme was in fulfilment of the promise he made during the electioneering campaigns to operate an all-inclusive government.
“We promised you that we are going to bring governance to the communities, we promised you that we are going to have a government of inclusion where all of you will be included in everything that we will be doing in Lagos State and that is why we are here to say that One Lagos Fiesta is about all of you and is about the wealth of Lagos,” he said.
Prominent musicians including Dbanj and Seun Kuti performed at the fiesta.

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