The Bartonum-speaking people of Benin Republic has joined their Nigerian counterparts to celebrate the 2014 Gani festival in Okuta, Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara State.
The annual festival, witnessed by dignitaries from both countries, featured horsemanship display, prayer session, cultural dances, among other entertainments.
Speaking with journalists, the Senator representing Kwara North Senatorial District, Alhaji Sha’aba Lafiagi, advocated adequate media coverage of Nigerian cultural festivals.
Media showcase of cultural event according to the lawmaker is important for protection of cultural heritage in the country.
He stated that both local and international media should be given a greater participation in the celebration because two nations were involved.
“I’m extremely impressed with this festival; the turn-out of people is quite encouraging and I also appreciate the support of the people of this community for the emir.
“My presence here as well as that of Alhaji Zakari Mohammed, a House of Representatives’ member and that of the chairman shows our support and respect for the festival,” he said.
The senator noted that the cultural displays at the festival were attractive, saying that Nigeria is blessed with good cultural heritages.
In his message, the Emir of Okuta, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, urged politicians to have the concern of the masses in mind.
According to the monarch, politics is about fighting for the welfare of the people.
The traditional ruler urged government to ensure that employment generation is given an utmost priority in the country.
“Government should ensure they give employment to people and focus more on agriculture to guarantee food security,” said the monarch.
Abubakar, however, commended the Abdulfatah Ahmed led-administration in Kwara State for projects continuity from the previous administration.
The festival was graced by dignitaries from Nigeria and the neighbouring Benin Republic, members of the state executive, national and state assemblies, among others.