Written By Halimat Isah & Mohammed Ahmed Yabagi
The Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello has said the culture of the people plays significant roles in societal development.
He spoke on Wednesday at the Government House in Lokoja the State capital, when he hosted the leadership of the Igala Traditional Institution who paid him a thank you visit in appreciation of his decision to lift the age-long ban on six cultural festivals in their kingdom.
The Traditional Rulers were led on the visit by the Chairman of Kogi State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Royal Majesty, Michael Ameh Oboni.
Bello used the opportunity to inform the traditional rulers that culture was important to him, hence his decision to revive all the cultural celebration peculiar to the state, assuring them of the determination of his government to tap on its economic opportunities through tourism.
The Governor specifically informed the Royal Fathers of his eagerness for the first cultural festival of the people, and promised to grace the event with members of his cabinet.
He also used the occasion to tell them that his government has contracted the Shintaku-Anyigba-Dekina road and others to Julius Berger Nigeria Plc, a leading construction company when it comes to handling of qualitative projects, saying the people deserve the best in infrastructure.
According to him, his administration would have rebuilt and equipped the Kogi State University Teaching Hospital in Anyigba and the College of Health Technology in Idah to afford students and citizens of the state the best of health care and teaching of medical studies.
He further told the leading traditional rulers the reason for the revival of the cultural festivals, saying the state had suffered too much from the effects of ethnic and cultural divisions, hence the need to revive them.
“I did make a promise when I assumed office that I was not going to play politics with the lives of the people and that was why we hit the ground running by executing projects that would have direct bearing on the lives of the people, even then, we realised something was still missing.
“We started by travelling the length and breadth of the state to get a first-hand information on what some of the issues were and discovered this issue of the ban on six Igala Cultural Festivals and had to act almost immediately to revive them.”
Bello expressed appreciation to the Attah Igala for being supportive of his government and his constant preaching of peace, love and unity, adding that his government has worked tenaciously to unite the people.
The Festivals that have been revived following their ban in 1963 by the Premier of Northern Region include Ocho, Egwu, Ogbadu, Oganyi and Iyalo.
The Attah Igala had earlier thanked the Governor for his bravery and foresight in ensuring that the injustice done to the Igala Culture even before his birth, were righted.