By DAPO FALADE
The Ekiti State government has promised to continue to support and promote arts and music, declaring that culture is an integral cultural part of the people.
The state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Professor Rasak Ojo Bakare, made the promise when he paid courtesy visit on Africa’s largest collector of indigenous highlife music and the chairman of Evergreen Musical Company, Mr Femi Esho, in his office in Lagos, on Friday.
Professor Bakare is Nigeria’s first professor of choreography and performing aesthetics and was a former Dean of postgraduate school, Federal University, Oye Ekiti.
He said the country has a lot of tourism potentials, with music being an integral part of cultural life of the people, therefore the onus lies on all stakeholders to promote and preserve the heritage.
“My love for music and dance is unquantifiable. I started my romance with the art at the age of 17 when I premiered in Hubert Ogunde’s play Aropin N Teniyan,” he said.
While appreciating Mr Esho for his selfless service to the country in the preservation and promotion of Nigerian music, Professor Bakare promised that the Ekiti State government will continue to collaborate with Evergreen Musical Company.
In his response, Mr Esho thanked the commissioner for the visit and also expressed his appreciation to Governor Kayode Fayemi for his support for music, particularly the supportive role the state government played during the 60 years on stage celebration of the Nigerian Doyen of highlife music, the late Dr Victor Abimbola Olaiya, OON.
The event, which was put together by the Evergreen Musical Company in 2012, had the wife of the governor, Erelu Bisi Fayemi and other top government officials from different states in attendance.
Professor Bakare, who has committed over 40 years of his life to the creative arts, remains, till date, the first Nigerian to bag about three fellowships in the field of performing arts and one of the cultural ambassadors who have made it thier mission to tell the Nigerian stories with the art.