The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has promised to push for the recognition of more cultural festivals in Kebbi and other states to complement the inscription of Argungu festival as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
The minister made the promise in Kebbi State yesterday, shortly after he was turbaned as the ‘Kakakin Kabi’ (Cultural Ambassador and emirate’s spokesman) by the Argungu Emirate Council in Kebbi State.
He described Kebbi State as a frontline cultural and tourism state in the country, thanks to its many unique cultural festivals which, he said, are also veritable tourism products.
“Kebbi State today is one of the frontlines cultural and tourism states in the whole country. I say this not because I am being turbaned as ‘Kakakin Kabi’ but because of the reality. Each of the four emirates that constitute the Kebbi Kingdom actually has unique and sellable tourism products.
“I start with Argungu. The Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival is known not just in Nigeria but all over the world and I am proud to say that it’s one of the few that have been inscribed on the list of intangible heritage of UNESCO,” Mohammed said.
He said while the Gwandu Emirate showcases the annual Hotungu cultural festival of thanksgiving by the Fulani for the safe return of their cattle after the farming season, the Yauri Emirate boasts of the Boat Regatta while the Zuru Emirate owns the Uhola Festival to celebrate bumper harvest and showcase different farming tools and implements.
“As the Cultural Ambassador of Kebbi, I would endeavour to ensure that we develop all these festivals in a manner that many more will be listed on the UNESCO list of intangible heritage. We will also work assiduously to ensure that these festivals become a magnet to unite Nigeria,” he said.
Speaking at the colourful ceremony held at the palace of the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Muhammad Mera, the minister thanked the Emirate for turbaning him as their Cultural Ambassador and described Kebbi State as the citadel of culture and tourism.
In his remarks, the Emir of Argungu said the emirate conferred the title of ‘Kakakin Kabi’ on the minister in appreciation of his efforts in promoting the Argungu Fishing Festival to a World Heritage status as well as his unflinching loyalty, courage, and strength of character in the discharge of his duties to the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
both locally and on the international stage.