INTERVIEW: Kebbi state will display its tourism credentials at the forthcoming RIGATA 2020 – Abdullahi Yelwa

Rigata 2020 is the official name of the Yauri Annual Cultural Festival which began over 200 years ago. it is a display of naval strength of the Gungu people in their relationship with their natural environment. This year’s event have been slated for the 20 and 22 February 2020. GovernanceNews chats with Alh. Abudullahi Yelwa Yauri, a veteran journalist who is the chairman of the publicity committee of the festival, below is the excerpt:

Mr chairman, what is the Yauri Rigata 2020 annual Festival that is about to take place all about?

The Yauri Rigata Festival is a combination of water sports and display of water versatility in addition to cultural dances and also agricultural show, the rigata watches the main event comprises series of water sporting events canoe racing, swimming and many other activities that are unique to our people and unique to our culture, tradition dates back to two hundreds years, it involves the display of maritime fairwels for young man of our areas especially in converting the manners of dangerous animals along the river niger, the hippopotamus and sometimes a crocodile that have gone out of hand, they used together annually young women from different communities and do battle along the river Niger with this dangerous animals so it involve like a series of activities and later to a festival which we now do it annually.

What is the social economic impact or advantage the festival is going to impact on people of Kebbi State?

Well, a normal social impact already Yauri is one of the economic hope for not only Kebbi but the entire north west Nigeria, we have the largest fresh water market in the north if a aware, and there also difference agricultural produce, we produce rice three times in a year and there are over ten rice meals now establish around Yauri just to promote agriculture and agro allied industries, so this activity will bring together people from different part of the country and part of the world and expose them to the economic potentials that are all over Yauri emirate and we believe in no time this festival will become a major business talking point not only for Nigeria but west Africa as well.

This Festival you are going to attract people from all over the country and some international participant, what word do you have for the people of Kebbi State so as to receive the visitors as they come?

Well, we are already a very hospitable people, and Kebbi state is one of the relatively secured state of the north west, so it is an event we hope Nigerians will be glad to come and watch and we call on the people of Kebbi state to remain hospitable as they are all as being, we fully appreciate the contribution of the Kebbi State Government under the leadership of Senator Atiku Bagudu who has done so much to make sure the festival has grown into an international status, credit gone goes to his royal highness the emir of Yauri Dr Muhammad Zayyanu Abdullahi CON, vice chancellor emiratus of university of Sokoto since you have appointed the emir of Yauri over twenty years ago he has been engross in the effort to revive this cultural activities which culminated to the hosting of the first Rigata festival last year, he has remain stead first, he has remain committed, he has remain dedicated and everybody in the community has been galvanised to make sure that those who attend the festival will have a very interesting time there.

Apart from the government participant in the organisation of the festival, is there any individual or company that are investing in the organisation of the festival?

Yes we have made some effort this year to invite companies especially multi-national companies, telecommunication companies, agora lied companies and other companies interested in the development of culture and tourism, it is continuous process like I said this is the second time this festival is holding, we believe that the time we organise the next one next year God willing we shall have greater cooperate participation than we have in the past and and this year.

Do you have any information that you want to share regarding this festival to the general public?

Well, the important thing to know is that the Yauri Rigata festival is a unique and powerful festival and it is festival unlike any other you will see around Nigeria or west Africa it is not only display of water sport but.

It is a festival like you have never seen, last year when it was health, people came from all over the country and they left with a very exciting experience of what had happen, it is not merely a water sport or Rigata in the sense of  display, this is far beyond that, you are talking of a substantiation of a cultural civilization that has lasted over six hundred years, and we believe that some of the event we have today you might never find any where in this country or any where abroad so we are proud of what we have and we will continue to satisfied our visitors and we invite Nigerians to come, Yauri is safe, Kebbi state is safe and our people are hospitable I have no doubt that who ever comes will have an everlasting experience.