Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State has called on his colleagues in northern part of Nigeria to give premium to organising and hosting of cultural festivals, to sustain the cultural heritage of the region.
This is contained in a statement issued to newsmen by the Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the Governor, Malam Muhammad Bello in Sokoto on Monday.
According to the statement, the governor made the call at the occasion of the 41st edition of the annual ‘Sabre National De Lutte Traditionnalle’ (Traditional Wrestling Festival) held in Maradi State of Niger Republic, on Sunday.
“The event was organised by the Niger Republic Ministry of Youths and Sports in collaboration with the organized private sector as well as philanthropists inside and outside the country,” he said.
The spokesman quoted Tambuwal as saying that although many of such cultural displays abound in many parts of Northern Nigeria, “We are yet to harness the full potentials that they embed in the quest for national awakening.
“We could upgrade such cultural festivals like wrestling, which is in popular display in Northern Nigeria and standardize them in the manner Niger Republic has been able to do in the past four decades.
“Thus bringing all manner of spectators from far and wide to participate in the the Sabre fiesta,” he said.
The governor expressed hope that Sokoto State, which has been gracing the annual event for many years would continue to do so even after his tenure.
“As you all know my predecessors have been coming to this country to participate in this fiesta every year. I have also maintained that tradition and I hope it will continue,” he added.
Tambuwal also harped on the age-long relationship between the people of Niger Republic and those of Northern Nigeria.
“This annual festivity also underscores the historical unity of Nigeria and Niger Republic, which has subsisted from the pre-colonial period till date,” the governor explained.
The statement says that the overall winner of this year’s wrestling contest is Usman Hassan from Tillaberi State of the Niger Republic. He floored his opponent, Tasi’u Sani from Zinder State.
“His victory is the first for his state in the last 41 years since the fiesta debuted. He went home with a prize gift of CFA 5 million in addition to other prizes.
“Equally, in recognition of his victory, Hassan was dressed in an overflowing gown, turbaned and given a sword as he rode on horse back to the VIP stand,” Bello said.
Tambuwal and his entourage were hosted by his Maradi counterpart, Zakari Oumarou, the minister of Youths and Sports, Moctar Kasum as well as the Prime Minister of the Republic, Birgi Rafini.