*As FCTA plans collaboration with organisers
It was an afternoon of culture, traditions and re-union on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 when Gbagyis in Abuja and outside the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) converged on Karu town in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) for the 3rd Annual Cultural Festival of Karu Chiefdom in Abuja to herald the New Year.
The colourful event had in attendance the representative of the FCT Minister Mohammed Musa Bello, Adamu Abubakar Bappa, who is the Secretary in charge of Area Councils Secretariat in the FCTA; Senator Philip Aduda; Etsu of Karu in Nasarawa state, Pharm. Luka Panya Baba; father of the day and the traditional ruler FCT Karu, Dr. Emmanuel Yepwi (Sakaruyi of Karu), among other eminent personalities present.
In a welcome address delivered by a son of the soil and former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences at the Nasarawa State University Keffi, Prof. Andrew Zamani, he pointed out the benefits of the annual festival, adding that the event was necessary to sustain bond of friendship and unity.
He therefore commended Karu youths for sustaining the initiative, which he noted has become an annual event in Karu land, even as he commended the FCT Minister; AMAC chairman, Abdullahi Candido; and all Gbagyi lawmakers in the National Assembly for their responses to Gbagyi cause and various developmental strides in their respective domains.
“You will agree with me that occasions like this serve a very important function, as they strengthen the bonds of unity and cords of friendship. I am particularly happy that the Karu youths have sustained this effort which is gradually transforming into a cultural industry. It is our hope that the next festival will showcase the conglomerate of the ingenuity of the FCT,” Prof. Zamani said.
Also, in a goodwill message by the FCT Minister, who was unavoidably absent at the occasion, and read by his representative, Adamu Bappa, he expressed the willingness of the Federal Capital Territory Administration to key into the annual event, noting that it is a “manifestation of the true history of Gbagyi people.”
Highlights of the event included breathtaking performances by cultural groups of Gbagyi and other ethnic groups from within Abuja and neighbouring Niger and Nasarawa states; and public presentation and launching of the 2017 annual cultural festival CD plates. There were display of cultural fabrics, art and foods of the Gbagyi people with intermittent gunshots by traditional hunters, which caught some people unaware and rattled others given the attendant deafening noise.
In an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the event, the Senator representing FCT in the Senate, Philip Aduda, underscored the importance of the annual festival, saying that the tempo was being sustained with a plan to enhance it to an international status because Abuja is fast becoming a cosmopolitan city and there was a need for people to know the history of the original inhabitants of the FCT.
“We must continuously, consciously and deliberately promote our various cultures. So that we can be a people that have a culture, people that are recognised in the society because if there is no culture, it means there is no history,” Aduda said.
In the same vein, the Sakaruyi of Karu, HRH Dr. Emmanuel Kyauta Yepwi, told journalists that the essence of the annual Karu cultural day, which has a fixed date of January 2 of every year, is to “exhibit the lifestyles of our people, so that our children already born and those yet unborn will have the history of the life of the Gbagyis in the past even before the coming of Christianity and Islam.”
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