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Argungu Festival to attract more international participants next year – Gov Bagudu

Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has vowed to ensure that the Argungu Festival attracts more international participants beginning from next year. The governor stated…

Kebbi state governor, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has vowed to ensure that the Argungu Festival attracts more international participants beginning from next year.

The governor stated this at the just-concluded Argungu Fishing and Cultural Festival in Argungu, Kebbi state on Saturday.

“I believe next year, we will have more international participants, more sporting activities. We used to have riverine participants from all states in Nigeria that have riverine communities, neighbouring African countries and even beyond and that is what we hope to see next year.

He said the festival is something that Nigerians and Kebbi state indigenes look forward to despite the security challenges in the country.

“To show our capacity, our cultural heritage and additionally our cultural diversity, all these are coming especially at a time when people thought we cannot hold festival again. It’s very illustrative and inspiring; it reflects the courage of the people, the strong leadership that is provided by President Muhammadu Buhari that has generated confidence in the security of the country,” Governor Bagudu said.

He added that the state will continue to build more facilities in preparation for better festival outings in the coming years.

Also speaking, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the festival is a diversified one in terms of culture, entertainment and sports.

“I have travelled far and wide and have never seen anything diversified as the Argungu Festival in terms of culture and entertainment. What we have witnessed today since three days ago is culture, sport, agriculture and technology,” he said.

The minister added: “The archery, the traditional boxing, the traditional wrestling, the swimming – all come under sports; the agricultural exhibition and the fishing also come under agriculture while the water motorcycle is science and technology.”

Alhaji Mohammed said he was impressed with young girls and boys who swam 160 metres during the sporting activities.

He noted that the Ministries of Sports, Agriculture, Science and Technology will be involved in subsequent editions, adding that “you can see that this has gone beyond culture and it is a building ground for future Olympians.”

“If you look at these girls, many of them are between 9 and 11 years, if they can have that kind of endurance in swimming, if we can groom them, develop them, we can see that we can actually start getting Olympic medals soon,” he said.

Also speaking, the wife of Kebbi state governor, Dr Zainab Atiku Bagudu, said there is a lot of equity derived from the Argungu Festival.

“We all witnessed the way the men jumped into that water; and there was equal playfield, and this is what we hope and pray for all the time in our country, Nigeria.

“Equity in so many ways – as a woman, we have just finished the International Women’s Day and are always talking about equity for the women and we hope that we will live to see a more equitable world, not just in fishing, not just in financial capacity but in healthcare, which is an area that is very important to me.” she said.