Gov. Bello Pledge to Make Lokoja Boat Regatta Festival a National Event

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Gov. Yahaya Bello of Kogi State said necessary steps will be taken to raise the annual Lokoja Boat Regatta Festival to a national event as from next year.

Bello who made the promise on Wednesday in Lokoja while speaking at the 2018 edition of the festival said that the government will also deploy enough financial and human resources to make this a reality.

He described the state as a beehive of Nigeria’s culture, saying that the move will also create jobs for the youths and increase the state’s internally generated revenue of the state.

Bello commended the organizers of the annual event, Forum of Lokoja Patriots for its efforts to preserve the culture and tradition of the people of Lokoja and its environs.

He assured the members of the forum that government intention was not to relegate them to the background but to partner with them and the Lokoja Traditional Council to reinforce the unique position of Lokoja in the history of Nigeria.

The governor who was represented at the event by his Commissioner for culture and tourism, Mr Arome Adoji showered praises on the Maigari of Lokoja, Alhaji Muhammadu Kabir for using his throne to defend and promote the culture of his people.

The Managing Director of the National Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA), Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora said that the authority will soon embark on the development of Lokoja waterfront to add further value to the aesthetic beauty of the town.

Mamora who was represented by Director, Special Project of NIWA, Dr Sheu Gidado said that move will also nuance security and businesses  of the people living along the waterfront.

The Chairman of the occasion, Mr Hassan Kilani urged Federal and state government to pay more attention to the development of the country’s tourism potential to reduce dependence on oil.
Kilani said that tourism as one of the fastest growing sector globally if fully tapped can generate  millions of jobs and serve as foreign exchange earners for the country.

The Chairman of the Lokoja Forum of Patriots, the organizer of the event, Alhaji Idris Baba’ango commended government decision to partner with the Forum to raise the status of the festival.

He, however, appealed to corporate organizations  and individuals to  rally round the forum in its efforts to prevent the traditional festivals of the people from going into extinction.

A Correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) who was at event said that apart from the boat regatta, the event features cultural display, swimming and boat padding competitions and raffle draws.

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