The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says the Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival is breeding ground for future Olympians considering the raw talents of young boys and girls at the “Kabanci display”.
The Minister stated this while speaking to newsmen at the Kabanci display arena of the ongoing 2020 Argungu fishing festival in Argungu town of Kebbi State.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports Kabanci display, one of the events for the festival, included bare hand fishing competitions by men, women boys and girls, canoe race and swimming with clay pot balanced on heads.
Other competing events at the Kabanci are water relays, swimming on gourd, diving competition, wild duck catching competition and save their souls competition.
The Minister, who witnessed the displays with Kebbi state Governor, Abubakar Bagudu, and the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Sama’ila Mera, said he was impressed and fulfilled.
Mohammed said: “What has impressed me most today are those young girls and boys swimming 160 metres and displaying their raw talents.
“This is a breeding ground for future Olympians looking at the performances of the boys and girls of about 10 and 11 years.
“If their talents can be tapped and developed they can become international great sports men and women.
“I think that next year we will ensure that the ministers of sports, science and technology and agriculture are all here.”
Mohammed said the festival is beyond entertainment because the events he had witnessed so far cut across culture, sports, agriculture and science.
He said: “The archery, traditional boxing and wrestling, swimming all come under sport.
“The agricultural exhibition and the fishing come under agriculture, while water motorcycle and motor rally all come under technology.
“You can see that from the very beginning when this festival was organised in 1934, what we witnessed today are the oldest forms of these innovations.”
The Governor said the festival is one of Nigeria’s premier festivals, noting that it is historic, cultural and designed to celebrate the nation’s cultural diversity.
Bagudu said the festival was something his people all look forward to showing their capacity, cultural heritage and agricultural prowess.
The Governor noted that the 2020 edition, which is the 60th in the series, is being celebrated after 10 years hiatus.
He said: “The events put together, especially at a time when people thought we cannot hold the festival again, is very illustrative and inspiring.
“It attests to the strong leadership provided by President Muhammadu Buhari, especially in the security of the country.
“We will continue to ensure that the festival becomes better every year.”
Bagudu specifically assured that in the subsequent editions of the festival, they would have more domestic and international participants in all the competing events.
For his part, the Emir expressed happiness that the festival has come back with big bang after 10 years it was suspended for security concerns .
Mera expressed gratitude to the President for accepting the invitation of his people to declare the festival open and witness the agricultural show.
He said: “Every person in Argungu is happy and the entire leadership of the community is here.
“We have many guests and participants from many places and since the day the events started, we have not recorded any incidence of violent crime.
“My expectation is that next year we will stage the festival better and use it as a platform to project agriculture to Nigeria and the rest of West Africa.”
The Emir appreciated his subjects for their contributions towards the successful hosting of the festival.