The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said his government is transforming the State into Africa’s arts and tourism hub, noting that the ongoing construction of the Museum of West African Arts (MOWAA) will further bolster efforts at promoting cultural renaissance and attracting tourism receipts to the State.
Obaseki, who spoke when he received members of Jazz Culture, who paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Benin City, said the government is redesigning the city center into a cultural hub to woo more investors into the State’s tourism sector.
The governor said, “We are doing a lot in the creative arts with MOWAA, with the pavilion that we are building. We are also redesigning the city center into a cultural hub. Once we finish with the traffic studies, we will actually seal up the city center and redirect the traffic to have a proper city center with museums, galleries, and cafes, among others. Groups like yours will have outlets to perform and express themselves.”
Speaking on organizing a Jazz Festival in the State, Obaseki said: “It’s not the idea but executing the idea and making it a reality that should be the focus.
“Government facilitates and enables; the government doesn’t participate. A proper vehicle needs to be constituted first that will have the responsibility to organize and get the support and sponsorship of government and other organizations.
“As a government, we are supporting culture actively. Beyond just putting a festival together, we need to teach the whole art of and signs of Jazz in schools and other places of learning. With the support of the German Government, GIZ, we have encouraged and supported a lot of young people in theatrical productions and plays so as to encourage the spirit of theatre.”
Earlier, the leader of the group, Prof. John Ogene, who acknowledged the efforts of the governor in upgrading and revamping the tourism culture in Edo State, said: “We want to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts you are making towards elevating and uplifting culture and tourism sector in Edo State as it is a multi-billion dollars opportunity for the State. Jazz is a Legacy of the black race to the world.
“Edo State being a hub in the Country should be at the forefront of promoting this art form. If we are able to harness the available resources we have on the ground in terms of tourism outlets, we would be able to make Edo State stand out clearly as a leader in the promotion of jazz.”