Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal of Sokoto State has called on his colleagues in the northern part of the country to give premium to organising and hosting of cultural festivals in order to sustain the cultural heritage of the region.
According to Muhammad Bello, Special Adviser Media and Publicity to the governor, 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 event was organised by the Nigerien Ministry of Youths and Sports in collaboration with the organised private sector and philanthropists inside and outside the country.
According to Tambuwal, “although many of such cultural displays abound in many parts of northern Nigeria, we are yet to harness the full potentials that are embedded in the quest for national awakening.”
He opined that “we could upgrade such cultural festivals like wrestling, which is a popular display in northern Nigeria and standardise 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 Sabre fiesta.”
The governor 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.
The governor 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 overall winner of this year’s wrestling contest was Usman Hassan from Tillaberi State of the 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 made its debut. He went home with a prize gift of CFA 5 million in addition to other prizes. Equally, in recognition of his valour, Hassan was dressed in an overflowing gown, turbaned and given a sword as he rode on horse back to the VIP stand.
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.