Kwara Speaker pledges legislative backing for culture, tourism
By Mahmood Olayinka Alaya
The Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Yakubu Danladi Salihu, has urged the people of the state to rally round Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in his quest to make the state economically viable with culture and tourism as a catalyst.
Salihu said this weekend in an interview with Journalists at 2023 Gaani Festival of Gwanara Emirate, Baruten Local Government Area of the state.
The speaker noted that the present administration has shown its commitment to use culture and tourism to stimulate the state economy, especially with heavy investment in the creative industry.
He explained that the Governor has also given priority to promotion of culture in the three senatorial districts of the state through annual celebration of festivals of local communities.
Salihu, however, pledged requisite legislative support for the state government to harness the potential in the cultural sector for the common good of the people of the state.
The speaker commended the people of Gwanara for trooping out in large number for the commemoration of Gaani festival in the ancient town.
“It is a festival that attracts princes and princesses wherever they are all over the world, they will come down to witness the day.
“As far as culture is concerned, Governor of Kwara has been doing wonderfully well to promote our cultural heritage. I know since 2019 till date, the state government has been contributing to Gaani and festivals in other senatorial districts, and obviously, the direction of these festivals are changing.
“We urge the Governor to keep up the work, and as legislators, we will support him to promote culture and tourism”, the speaker said.
The Emir of Okuta and Chairman, Baruten Emirate Council, Alhaji Idris Abubakar Shero, said the festival was not new to the people of Batonum, describing it as an inheritance from the progenitor of Borgu kingdom.
“We have to observe the festival because it is what we inherited from our great grandfathers. It is not a new thing to us. Here, we observe it yearly.
“In fact, it is synonymous with Maulud Nabiyy as we have in Islam. Because of distance, we cannot collectively observe it in the whole of Baruten Local Government same time. That is why it is observed in each of the Emirates in the local government”.
Similarly, the Emir of Gwanara, Alhaji Abdullahi Sabi Idris, who spoke through Magaji Ngeri of Gwanara, Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu, at the festival that played host to dignitaries from all walks of life, recalled that the festival was fashioned out of Eid-el-Maulud, the period designated for the celebration of birth of Prophet Muhammad in Islam.
He said the occasion provided a rare opportunity for a reunion among the people of the town beyond its economic impact.
Aliyu said, “The significance of the festival is remembrance of Eid-el-Maulud. But by tradition, we called it Gaani, and every year, we perform it in the whole of Baruten comprising the four districts.
“The importance of this is very enormous. Reasons. There are some who are faraway from us. They say out of sight is not out of mind. The people who could not visit you frequently, at least, they should visit you once in a year.
“So, that is the reason we are holding it. People faraway, who could not travel always or occasionally to this place, must visit once in a year. The gathering is enormous. Most of the Emirs are around. Those that are not here are represented by their delegates”.
The festival, which drew top government officials and stalwarts of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and held at the open field of new Palace of Emir of Gwanara, featured cultural display.
Eminent dignitaries at the event were Deputy Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Ojo Olayiwola Oyebode; Chairman, state chapter of the APC, Prince Sunday Adeniran Fagbemi; party stalwarts, members of the state House of Assembly and traditional rulers.
This medium reports that the Emir of Okuta, Alhaji Idris Abubakar Shero; the Emir of Ilesha-Baruba, Professor Halidu Ibrahim Abubakar, led other monarchs and district heads to the traditional festival.
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