Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the nation’s rich arts and diverse cultures remain Nigeria’s greatest asset and unifying factor.
Mr Osinbajo said this on Friday when he visited the Oba of Benin, Oba Ewuare II, in his palace in Benin, the Edo capital.
The vice president, who was in Benin for the ongoing National Festival of Arts and Culture, NAFEST, said: “We are here in Benin to celebrate the NAFEST, taking place in your kingdom.
“This event is special because Edo is the center of culture. I am sure we will have the best of NAFEST in the state.”
He further thanked the Oba for the support given to art, which he described as “a unifying factor for Nigeria.”
He said: “Art unifies this nation. There is no country in the world that has as much languages and sub-culture like Nigeria.
“When people talk or speak in terms of separation and disunity, they fail to note that our diversity is our strength and our bond.”
The vice president congratulated the Oba on his birthday and third anniversary on the throne.
He also thanked the monarch for his support to President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and prayed God to grant him long life and good health.
Responding, the Oba thanked the vice president for the visit and assured him of the hospitality of the Benin kingdom.
He described Edo as “the center of culture,” saying that the state was doing its best to keep the culture alive.
“I have to preserve the culture and tradition of Benin kingdom because I know no other.
“We are doing our best to ensure that our culture and tradition are not watered down by Western culture.
“I reassured the international community that Nigeria is a great nation and not as bad as they project it to be,” Mr Ewuare said.
He expressed appreciation to the president for giving two ministerial positions to Edo, in addition to other appointments.
He also commended the state government “for bringing NAFEST to Benin to celebrate my birthday and third coronation anniversary.”
“I am grateful to all those who played one role or other to see to the success of NAFEST. I have enjoyed the festival so far.”