Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has said the Festival of Arts and Culture (ARTFEST) will drive more development in the state by projecting its rich cultural heritage to the world.

The Governor said his administration’s commitment to the development of the arts, culture and tourism sector of the state was part of his vision to explore the socio-economic potentials of arts and culture to drive tourism development, create employment and empower the people.

The Governor spoke at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Festival of Arts and Culture, held at the MKO Abiola Democracy Park, Akure.

The Aare Ona Kakanfo of Yorubaland, Otunba Gani Adams, graced the event, which also featured musical artists like Demola Suzi, Saint Janet and others.

The event, which was also supported by Nigerian Breweries, was filled with funfare and massive turnout.

Arakunrin Akeredolu said the Ondo Artfest platform will help to create wealth, using art and culture for employment generation and opening up the state for investors and tourists with the aim to improve the economy.

He said the Artfest template will also create the platform for various artistes to showcase their talents and propagate rich cultural heritage of the state to the outside world.

Governor Akeredolu said: ”You will agree with me that cultural festivals, such as the ARTFEST offer the perfect opportunity to experience the very best of our unique culture, which is the embodiment of our ways of life.

“More than anything else, this festival is a celebration of life. The joy of living is something every person can embrace.

“Today, with so much attention focused on the things that separate us, this festival is, however, an affirmation of elements which bind us together in a common quest to enjoy living, hence the theme TOGETHERNESS.

“Culture is a mould for uniting the people. We are therefore not unaware of the power of arts and culture to promote unity, peace, social integration and harmony in our society.

“Ondo state has a lot to showcase in the area of culture given the fact that every community in the state is uniquely endowed. We are indeed a people of rich culture which can be described as a true reflection of “a state of unity in cultural diversity.”

Speaking earlier, Aare Gani Adams urged tourists and investors to come to the state, adding that the state is safe for investment and tourism.