Chief of staff to the president, Hon Femi Gbajabiamila, will be the special guest at this year’s Yauri Annual International Rigata and Cultural Festival in Yauri, Kebbi State, a festival that is 200-year-old.
The governor of Kebbi State, who is also the Gamjin Yauri, Dr Nasir Idris, will be the chief host of the festival.
A statement issued by the chairman of the media and publicity committee of the festival, Alhaji Abdullahi Yelwa, Ajiyan Yauri, said the event is scheduled for February 7 to 10, 2024 and would feature an agricultural show, a trade fair, cultural dances and a book presentation on the history of the Yauri Emirate.
The climax of the festival is the Rigata Show, which contains various water sporting events, like swimming, canoe racing, bare hand fishing, boat displays and calabash races.
Tracing the history of the festival, His Royal Highness, the Emir of Yauri, Dr Mohammad Zayyanu Abdullahi, who is the convener of the festival, said the festival began about 200 years ago as a form of naval display of strength and bravery of the Gungu people.
The monarch said it has its origin in the delicate balance of nature on the Niger River ecosystem, where humans and animals coexist.
“Rigata evolved as a form of community action to curb the hostility of dangerous animals, especially hippopotamus. Annual warriors armed to the teeth would board canoes of various sizes to fight dangerous hippos that pose threat to lives and commercial activities on the river,” he said.