The Director General of the National Council of Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, has disclosed that the forthcoming Ohafia Heritage Festival and Slave Route Tour (OHFESRT), scheduled to hold between January 2 and 3, 2022, in Ohafia Abia State, will among others boost the economy of the local community and the state in general.
Speaking on the benefits of the debuting cultural tourism event that would help in driving the economic agenda of the present administration by creating economic and business opportunities in Ohafia and the old Bende division, Runsewe, whose NCAC is one of the partners for the event, said it is a welcome development that should be embraced by the state government and all corporate bodies as well as the people of the state.
“Nigeria is known to be one of the most cultural diverse nations of the world. With over 250 distinct ethnic groups, each with a unique cultural manifestation, Nigeria clearly has a comparative advantage over all other African nations in the area of cultural tourism, said Runsewe.
He further stated that: “In line with the current economic policy of the present administration, with particular emphasis on the economic diversification, the National Council for Arts and Culture is working in close collaboration with state govern- ments and key stakeholders i n the arts, culture and tourism sector in developing, harnessing and promoting these cultural products as rich economic assets to drive the diversifi- cation agenda.
‘‘It is in the light of the above that the council has given its full endorsement for the take off of Ohafia Heritage Festival and Slave Route Tour (OHFESRT).” The NCAC boss also said that Ohafia boasts a rich and colourful cultural history anchored on the creative artistry of its people. According to him, the Ohafia war dance with its fearsome warlike display, rendered in rhythmic drum percussion, energetic and intimidating dance steps as well as the Slave Trade Route and relics of the slave trade era are some of the materials that could be developed as a rich and riveting tourism attractions for the economic benefits of the people of the region.
He said further that: “The rich culture of Ohafia and historical remains of the slave trade, including the Slave Trade route hold enormous potentials for sustainable tourism industry with huge economic benefit to the people of Ohafia in particular and Abia State in general.” According to the organisers, OHFESRT aims to build a cultural tourism product that would drive traffic to Ohafia and Abia North, and in the process create a tourism economy.