By Ado Hassan, Sokoto
AFTER his visit to neighbouring Niger Republic where he witnessed its annual cultural festival and got impressed, Sokoto state Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal called on his northern counterparts to give premium to organizing and hosting of cultural festivals in order to sustain the cultural heritage of the region.
Tambuwal who was a guest at the 41st edition of the annual ‘Sabre National De Lutte Traditionnalle’ (traditional wrestling festival) held in Maradi state of Niger Republic, made the call at the occasion on Sunday.
The action rising event, according to a statement by Muhammad Bello, Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to the governor was organized by the Nigerien ministry of Youths and Sports in collaboration with the organized private sector and philanthropists inside and outside the country.
According to the governor “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.”
He opined that: “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 expressed hope that Sokoto state, which has been gracing the annual event for many years will 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,” Tambuwal said.
Accordingly, Tambuwal 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.
However, Usman Hassan from Tillaberi state emerged overall winner of this year’s wrestling contest after defeating his opponent , Tasi’u Sani from Zinder state.
Hassan’s victory which broke the 41 year jinx for his state to emerge for the first time since the fiesta debuted, won him a prize gift of CFA 5 million in addition to other prizes as well dressed dressed in an overflowing gown, turbaned and given a sword as he rode on horse back to the VIP stand for his valor.
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.