Abuja - The Minster of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has hailed the revival of the centuries-old ”Ijakadi Festival” (traditional wrestling) by the Offa Kingdom in Kwara State.
The minister gave the commendation when he received a delegation of the Offa Descendants Union (ODU), who visited to formally invite him to the festival, scheduled for Offa, Kwara, on December 29.
He assured that the festival would be one of the beneficiaries of the training for festival managers being planned by the Ministry, in collaboration with its partners.
He said the decision to revive the traditional wrestling festival, which dates back to the 14th century, is in line with the ongoing efforts by the present administration to leverage on the creative industries in the diversification of the nation’s economy.
Mohammed said the festival had the potential to attract domestic and international tourists to Offa, thus impacting positively on the economy of the town and the state.
He added that “we will provide the enabling environment for the festival, as well as similar ones across the country, to achieve their full potential.”
The minister said he was “humbled and honoured” to receive the delegation, led by ODU President, Alhaji Najeem Yasin.
While accepting the invitation to attend the festival, he commended the “resilience, honour, principle and industry” of the Offa people, saying the qualities were responsible for the uniqueness of the town.
Earlier, the ODU president had urged the Federal Government to support the festival to enable it to achieve its full potential and boost culture and tourism in the community, as well as the entire Kwara State.
He said “we want the Ijakadi festival to be included in the list of festivals being promoted by the Ministry of Information and Culture because of its rich content.”
Yasin congratulated the minister on the first anniversary of his assumption of office.
He also commended the minister “for bringing to the new assignment the same passion with which you successfully carried out your responsibility as National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC).”
He said that the Ijakadi festival, which was revived in 2012 after a three-decade lull “reinforces a tradition that encourages strength and determination, in addition to addressing the notion of equality among the indigenes of Offa.”