Vice Chancellor of the Federal University Oye Ekiti (FUOYE) Prof. Kayode Shoremekun and former Director General, Abuja Carnival, now Dean, School of Post Graduate Studies, FUOYE, Prof. Rasaki Ojo Bakare, have tasked President Mohammadu Buhari to give more support to develop the country’s cultural heritage for tourism marketing, saying it will boost the Nigerian economy.

The university dons advised the President to consider exploring the tourism potentials of the country’s rich cultural heritage in his effort to diversify the economy.

They made the call on Wednesday when students of the university’s Department of Theatre and Media Arts, led by Prof. Bakare, Dean of Arts Faculty, Dr Ipoola, and Head of Department, Dr Desen Jonathan Mbachaga, presented the award of third best it received at the recently concluded African Drum Festival (ADF) in Abeokuta, Ogun State.

The ADF, directed by Nigerian literary icon Wole Soyinka, is the biggest percussionist contest on the continent, featuring renowned and professional drummers and FUOYE’s team, which was the first educational team to participate.

Presenting the award plaque and its cash prize of N500,000 to the VC at the VC’s conference room in FUOYE, Bakare said: “All we wanted to achieve was to expose our students and build their morale for professional service so they won’t waste time to excel when they leave schools. We wanted them to meet with professionals, and interact with them. But we were highly encouraged that out of 167 groups we got the third highest score.

“I was the Chief Judge of the competition, but when it was the time for FUOYE’s group to perform I refused to take part as a panelist, so I didn’t adjudicate in their performance; but all the judges agreed that our students did very well and deserved the award.

“A few months ago we hosted International Conference of the Society of Nigeria Theatre Artists (SONTA), and I am glad to report to you that the conference remains the best of SONTA in history.”

Responding, the excited VC said: “l am overwhelmed by the the superlative output of Department of Theatre and Media Arts under the able leadership of Prof. Bakare and my comrade Dr Mbachaga and other colleagues. What has been achieved today would not have been possible without the cooperation of the lecturers and our dear students. This is a young varsity but what is definite is that it is going places and making a mark on the world of varsities. The challenge is that we must make sure that in various fields of human endeavour this varsity makes its mark and this can only be possible through the efforts and exertions of those who are here.

“Let me also say that what your department has achieved is not an isolated phenomenon. At a recent council meeting, the Department of Mathematics had informed the management that they won a prize at a national completion in Abuja. In sports also, we are soaring high, As we have one of our students just being invited to the World University Games in abroad. This means that, apart from the new buildings springing up in the university premises, the people also are making a difference, and if we continue like this we will go behind the sky,” Shoremekun said.