Fifty-six countries and nine states have indicated interest to participate in the one weeklong commemoration of FESTAC”77@40 beginning on Nov.6 in Lagos.
Dr Ferdinand Anikwe, the Director-General, Centre for Black Arts and African Civilisation (CBAAC), told newsmen in Lagos that the seven-day programme would end on Nov.11.
Nigeria hosted the first World Blacks and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC) in 1977 at the National Theatre Complex, Iganmu, Lagos.
Nigeria’s hosting of the FESTAC led to the building of FESTAC Town by the Federal Government then for guests and participants from different parts of the world.
Anikwe said: “We have finally decided to kick-start the commemoration of FESTAC”77@40.
“We will be using the University of Lagos Sports Complex, National Theatre Complex, the Federal Housing Authority Field, Festac Town and Golden Tulip Hotel.
“The objective of the festival is to seek and re-establish the culture and confidence of the black and African races.
“It will also offer a platform and intensify campaign for continue cultural exchange, understanding and unity amongst black and African countries and communities.”
The director-general said that the centre was collaborating with UNESCO, Bank of Industry, Festac Town residents, Coca-cola among others, for the celebration.
According to him, activities lined up include: International Symposium, Colloquium, documentary on internalising the spirit of FESTAC “77, traditional wrestling competition and beauty pageant.
Others are: visit to tourist sites, cultural performances, exhibitions and African Food Fair by participating countries, states and organisations in Nigeria and Gala Night.
He said that Dr Ahmadu Ali, who was also the chairman of the festival in 1977, would also chairman the opening ceremony.
Anikwe said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo would be crowned ”Ruby King of FESTAC” and “Patron of African Culture” for his contributions to the promotion and development of African culture and heritage.
“He will be crowned by the Ooni of Ife, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ojaja1,” the CBAAC director-general said…
Anikwe said that Prof. Union Edebiri from the University of Benin in Edo, would present the keynote address at the event.