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National festivals calendar near completion

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Regatta display at the festival

• Minister lauds creative industry
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the country’s Calendar of National Festivals is in the final stage of being published.

According to him, “the essence of this is for tourists, both domestic and international, to be aware so they can plan their attendance ahead.”

While lauding the Kebbi State government for reviving the two-centuries-old Yauri Regatta Festival last year, after a four-decade hiatus, the minister noted, “I have no doubt that when the Calendar is finally unveiled, the Yauri Regatta Festival will occupy a pride of place in it.”

Commending the passion and commitment of Governor Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, and the Emirate Council, he said the festival has continued to occupy a prominent place in the annals of festivals in Nigeria, attracting people from far and near.

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“We will make sure that the world gets to know about the pomp and pageantry of the Yauri Regatta Festival,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He said the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has made it a policy to support the nation’s numerous festivals by not only attending them, but by also helping to raise their profile through massive publicity.

The minister also restated the Federal Government’s determination to leverage on the country’s creative industry, which includes movies, theatre, music, fashion, festivals and tourism, to diversify the economy and provide jobs for millions of the teeming youths.

He said the creative industry, which currently employs 1 million people, has the capacity to employ millions more if it is well packaged and marketed.

Recently, the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, described the Nigerian creative industry as the fastest-growing sector of the nation’s economy, the minister said the major areas which Nigeria had comparative advantage in the creative economy were music, film, information technology industries and fashion.

She said in 2016, the film industry sector contributed N239 billion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while Nigeria’s music industry grew by nine per cent in 2016 to reach a value of $39 million.

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Expressing optimism, she said that the music industry was set to grow by 13.4 per cent by 2021, with an estimated worth of about $73 million, adding that the gaming industry in Nigeria was also growing.

“The gaming industry is benefitting from a widening customer base, mostly the large and youthful population. UNICON values Nigeria’s video game industry at $150 million.

“It also estimates mobile gaming to surpass $147 million by 2020.”

High points of the festival, which was attended by the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Atiku Badugu; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; the Senate Majority Leader, Senator Adamu Abdullahi and the traditional rulers in Kebbi State, include the Boat Regatta; canoe competition and swimming competition.

The Yauri Regatta started about two hundred years ago, when a flotilla of boats carrying warriors used to protect bridal trains from wild animals in the river as they (bridal trains) move from one island to another in the ancient Kingdom.

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