The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that the Rigatta Annual Fishing Festival in Yauri Emirate has the potential of producing Olympic gold medalists for the country.
The speaker said this in Yauri Local Government Area of Kebbi State on Saturday at the 2020 Yauri Annual Rigatta Festival.
“In the few minutes that I have been here, I have seen two events of water sports: board racing and calabash swimming.
“With events like these, you will begin to see the potential, you will begin to understand and realise that Nigeria is created by Almighty Allah for great purposes. It is now up to us to realise those purposes,” he said.
He also described the water sports’ participants at the Rigatta as potential Olympic gold medalists.
“The participants are potential Olympic gold medalists with the way they are, with their heavy massive calabash and trying to swim and navigate their ways.
“I don’t know whether any of those medalists out there can do this effort,” Gbajabiamila said.
According to him, this is where the strength lies in the diversity of this great country.
The speaker said, “our country is blessed beyond measure by the abundance of cultural diversity that exists within our borders; from the North to the South and from the East to the West are people of history and memory.”
Also, the secretary to the Kebbi State government, Alhaji Babale Umar, said that the rudiment of this year’s festival was to enhance economic and tourism activities in the area in particular and the state in general.
“One of the cardinal essences of giving the festival a boost by the state government is to have a multiplier effect in boosting the tourism sector, particularly, of Yauri Emirate and the state at large.
“There is a global paradigm shift and a boost in the tourism sector of the country.
“That called for the modernisation of the Rigatta festival of the Yauri people to meet present realities and attract tourist.
“This has led to the adoption of Rigatta Festival by the state government to serve as one of the cultural events in the state.”
Umar who is also the national chairman of the festival’s planning committee said that despite the changes brought about by modernity, Yauri had remained a very important commercial centre.
He said that people from other parts of the country and beyond used to travel to Yauri to buy fish, onions, livestock, groundnut oil as well as hides and skin.
Umar commended the Federal Government and Gov. Atiku Bagudu for their efforts aimed at boosting tourism and reviving the cultural heritage of the state.
“The rudiment of annually staging the festival is to enhance economic activities and tourism for the development of the emirate, Kebbi State and Nigeria in general,” he said.
The secretary urged the people of the state to support the desire of Yauri to enlarge the festival to meet the international standard for tourism and economic gain.
Also speaking, the Emir of Yauri, Dr Muhammad Abdullahi, commended the speaker, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, for attending the festival.
He also thanked the members of the House of Representatives, state government officials and emirs for gracing the annual event.