The Kebbi State Governor , Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu has said his administration would continue to support the annual Rigata Cultural Festival in Yauri until it attains international recognition and standard.
The governor who made the pledge while making his speech during the closing ceremony 2020 edition of the annual cultural festival in Yauri on Saturday played host to many important dignitaries such as Speaker of House of Representatives, Right Hon. Femi Gbajamiamila and Honourable Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senators, House of Representative members, representatives of the Sultan, Emirs of Gwandu, Argungu,Yauri,Zuru and Kontagora.
Other personalities at the ceremony included members of Kebbi State House of Assembly, Local Government Chairmen amongst others.
He said Kebbi State Government has supported the staging of the festival to the fullest and will continue to do so in the future.
He said Yauri Emirate was rich in cultural heritage such as the Rigata festival.
” Iam sure everyone who saw what was on display here today about the rich cultural heritage of Yauri Emirate must be very very pleased and proud about its beauty “.
Governor Bagudu congratulated those who participated in the festival from the inception of the event on Thursday 20/2/2020 .He also commended the emirate for hosting such an important dignitaries who had come to witness the festival, saying it was all for the spirit of the festival.
He also acknowledged the effort of the Emir of Yauri, Dr. Muhammadu Zayyanu Abdullahi for what he described as his zeal to build up the festival to greater heights while promising to invite President Muhammadu Buhari to come and witness the event when next was to be held in Yauri.
Bagudu who said he was happy that Kebbi State was indeed blessed and rich in culture said more the state rich culture would be displayed in March this year during the Argungu International Fishing Festival and later during the Uhola Festival which will also hopefully come up in the year.
He thanked the emirs for promoting the diversity of the state as well as its peaceful coexistence.
The Governor thanked members of the National and state Assembly led by the Senate Leader for supporting and promoting the event as well as their role in ensuring the coming of the House of Representatives Speaker to the festival.
In his speech, the special guest of honor, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Right Honourable Femi Gbajamiamila who earlier bagged a traditional title of “SADAUKIN YAURI ‘ expressed happiness to be part of the event.
He said the country was blessed beyond measure by the abundance of its cultural diversity that exists within its borders, from North to South,East to West, Nigerian people were people of history.
The Speaker lamented that too often , our culture is replaced by adaptation of foreign practices and memories of the time past erased to make space for new things that neither uplift us nor celebrate us.
He said however, the Yauri Rigata Festival was the revival of all that was lost in our culture ” But today here in this acient kingdom, all that was lost was found , all that was given away was returned and we gathered in joyful celebration for Rigata festival ” .
He congratulated the emir,Dr.Muhammad Zayyanu Abdullahi, governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu and the entire people of Kebbi State for reviving what he described as grand festival of water and power.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed congratulated Yauri emirate and people of Kebbi State for sustaining Rigata Festival after many decades.
He applauded Governor Bagudu and the emirate over their continuous commitment to the survival of the festival.”This festival has continued to occupy a prominent place in the annals of festivals in Nigeria “.
He expressed happiness that “After 40 years of dormancy, the festival came back with a big bang”, he said.
Earlier, when he visited the emir at his palace on a courtesy call, he said the federal government is taking the issue of cultural heritage seriously and will always endavour to preserve and promote it.
He promised the emir to showcase the Rigata festival to the world.
On his part , the emir of Yauri who was elated by the presence of prominent dignataries and large crowd that attended the festival said the 2020 edition of the festival was an event that is not only about Boat or Canoe racing, but a cultural and socio-economic jamboree of the diverse peoples of Yauri emirate.
The monarch appealed to federal government to extend the dredging of the river Niger to Yauri which started up to Baro in Niger state in order to address the navigational problem at the portion of Yauri.
He also thanked the federal government for locating the Yauri Model Fish Market in Yelwa while also acknowledging the contribution of the Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu for his big role and contribution in reviving the ceremony.
The Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Babale Umar said the festival started from time immemorial as a display of the strength of Gungu Warriors who from time to time had to attack the most dangerous Hippopotamus in the area on River Niger but has been transformed .
He commended Governor Bagudu for being not only a good friend of Yauri but a man who has made it possible for over 40,000 farmers to benefit from the Anchor Borrowers Program in the area, wooing two major investors leading to the establishment of two important industries , Dangote at Shanga and Tomatoes factory at Gafara in Warra as well as construction of towndhip roads in Yauri.