… as southeast traditional rulers confer chieftaincy title on tourism commissioner
Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Anambra State Commissioner for Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs, Sally Mbanefo, says plans are underway for the state government to organise national new yam festival at Igboukwu, Aguata local government area of Anambra state later this year.
She said the new yam cum cultural festival would not only feature the showcasing of the agricultural potential of Ndi-Anambra but would also be a veritable platform for Nigerians at home and those in the Diaspora to come and savour the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo nation particularly Anambra state.
Mbanefo who disclosed government’s intention to organise the national iri-ji festival to newsmen on Monday at the state secretariat complex Awka, explained further that the new yam festival would also serve as a tourist attraction as the international community were expected to be part of the event to add glamour and glitz.
Apart from the up-coming national new yam festival, the commissioner also told journalists that the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Diaspora Affairs planned art exhibitions to encourage young people to showcase indigenous art works as well as provide platform for them to attain their full potential adding that Anambra was the best state for arts and culture.
The commissioner, who said that she had travelled far and wide promoting arts and humanities, posited that she decided to return to her home state to give back to her people following Governor Willie Obiano’s clarion call for indigenes of the state to come back home and contribute their own quota to the development of the state.
Mbanefo said she had toured all the tourist sites in the state since she assumed office and expressed her commitment to the upgrading of the sites, monuments and museums across Anambra state to meet international standards as well as enable government to generate revenues from the tourist attractions.
The commissioner also hinted that due to her contributions and accomplishments in the nation’s culture and tourism sector, traditional rulers in the southeast geo-political zone conferred a chieftaincy title of Olamma on her. Apart from that, she disclosed that the Ooni of Ife made her the Moremi of Ile Ife while the Alafin of Oyo also gave her title among other numerous traditional titles. She expressed her avowed commitment to promote domestic tourism also.
Mbanefo therefore maintained that she would bring her wealth of knowledge and exposure to bear on the culture and tourism sector of Anambra state to make it a money-generating sector, noting that festivals in the state could be packaged and sold to the rest of the world in the form of bilateral and multilateral relations.