By Victor Graham
In a bid to preserve and promote the rich culture, tradition and language of its people, the Bayelsa State Government has announced plans to introduce an annual cultural festival with the maiden edition billed for this year.
The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Iti Orugbani, said the State Executive Council (SEC) has approved the festival after a memo to that effect was presented before it last week.
Dr. Orugbani, said among other reasons, the initiative would be to consciously harness, preserve and promote “our rich cultural heritage for socio-economic development of the state.”
He explained that the festival would also create an avenue to showcase the diverse cultural heritage, talents, spirit of Ijaw Identity and to promote peaceful co-existence among the people in the state.
According to him, the event will also provide a platform to project Bayelsa as a peaceful and investment/tourist friendly state to the international community.
“The Bayelsa State Annual Cultural Festival will also inculcate responsible norms, values and good morals into youths since culture is transmitted from one generation to another.
“The approval for it has be given by the State Executive Council and we will host the maiden edition by December this year. It is going to be an annual event that will attract people from far and near.
“As a state, we are blessed with a unique identity because of our existing culture and tradition. We can’t allow it to go into extinction. So this annual festival is to preserve, promote and protect it” he said.
The events of the festival will include; Street Carnival, Boat Regatta, Canoe Race, Traditional Wrestling, Cultural Dance, Board Game, Native Attires Display and Local Cuisine Exhibition.
Others are; Arts and Crafts Exhibition, Fishing Spear Demonstration, Fishing Throw Net Display and Variety/ Award Night.