Junkanoo festival: Country rep. advocates peace to drive Nigerian culture

Amb. Felix Ihonre, Nigeria’s Country Representative for World Junkanoo Foundation and World Carnival Commission, has called for peace in order to drive Nigeria’s cultural heritage and harness its potential.

Ihonre made the call in Abuja on Monday at a news conference on the upcoming World Junkanoo Festival for Tourism and Culture, scheduled to hold in Vaughan City, Canada, from July 4 to 8, 2024.

The country representative, who said that the culture and tourism activities only thrived in a peaceful society, urged the government at all levels to intensify efforts in their fight against terrorism, kidnaping and other vices.

‘I will like to say that since the inception of President’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration, there had been a promotional atmosphere of culture and tourism activities in all parts of the country.

‘And there is need to intensify the activities to make sure that culture thrives but I will tell you that culture and tourism activities cannot thrive in the mix of terrorism.’

Ihonre added
that the cultural activities could not thrive in the mix of violence atmosphere, hunger and poverty.

‘That is why today we are happy to say that this present administration has really come up to say we want to fight terrorism and kidnapping. We want to fight every thing that serves as detriment to our cultural heritage.

‘The first aspect of our cultural heritage is agriculture and farming. Food security becomes a problem in the country today because there is violence every where.

‘Where farmers are supposed to go to farm, they are deprived to farm. This is why we are calling on both federal and state governments to intensify efforts in their fight and approach to reduce or eradicate completely the act of terrorism and kidnapping.

‘Herdsmen/farmers crisis should be removed completely. I happen to come from Niger Delta and when there was crisis from Niger Delta, we stood by the then government and we embraced peace in NIger Delta.

‘That was why Nigeria started to get good proceeds from the oil that is sus
taining the country today. If the Niger Delta youths that have oil are saying yes to peace, northern youths should also embrace peace.’

He called on northern youths to end violence situation in the north, adding that they have capacity to do it.

According to him, when the youths work with this present administration, peace will reign and we will have more foods.

‘I will tell you today that I happened to be somebody who grew up in Makurdi, Benue State. Yam happened to be one of our favourite foods, the so called ‘Opa’ happened to come from Benue, fruits and tomatoes that are feeding this country came from Benue State.

‘But today, there is violence in Benue State. There is violence in Edo, Maduguri and Bauchi and the rest. Why don’t we call it short and sheath the guns, machetes and fear situation in the area.

‘We are saying this because we want the next World Junkanoo festival to be hosted by Nigeria and we cannot host this programme, if there is no peace in this country.

‘The whole world will not want t
o come to Nigeria if there is no peace in this country.’

The country representative said the upcoming Junkanoo festival would provide investment opportunities for Nigeria, saying that Nigeria’s cultural heritage would be showcased to attract people living abroad to invest in the country.

‘The festival will provide us opportunities to have our pavilion and showcase Nigerian cultural heritage. This will attract many investors to come and invest in culture, tourism, sports and other sectors of Nigerian economy.’

Source: News Agency of Nigeria