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2024 Zuru Uhola: Path to Become International Tourism Destination – By Abdullahi Idris Zuru

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The Zuru Emirate Council under the Chairmanship of His Royal Highness Major-General Muhammadu Sani Sami, Sami Gomo ll, has commenced full preparations for the hosting of this year’s edition of  2024 annual Zuru Emirate Uhola Cultural Festival and Agricultural Show.
Already, the Festival Main organising Committee, being Chaired by the former Chief of Army Staff,  Lieutenant General Ishayi Rizi Bamaiyi UBANYAKIN Zuru,  has released the programme of events scheduled to hold between 25th and 27th April, 2024.
The Cultural Festival with combination of some modern innovations,  packaged with facinating events would be chaired by a former Minister of Defence Lieutenant General Theophilus Yakubu  Danjumma.
 Kebbi State Governor Comrade Nasir Idris Kauran Gwandu, who also holds the traditional title of Garkuwan Zuru, is expected to be the Special Guest of Honour.
 The line- up  of events includes Public Lecture and Zuru Auto Rally, Agricultural Show and Archery Competition and the Grand Uhola Festival on Saturday, the final day.
However, when he ascended to the throne of Zuru Emirate in 1995, Major-General Muhammadu Sani Sami Gomo ll, started the process of modernising the Cultural Festival.
He introduced stages of the organisation and hosting festival from the district level to the grand final at the Emirate headquarters, in addition to the introduction of new and unique events.
Among the new events introduced by the Emir as part of his Uhola standardisation initiative includes Archery, Agricultural Show, improved wrestling dynamics and of recent Zuru Auto sports.
Participants are normally being drawn from the villages and towns within Zuru,  Danko/Wasagu,  Fakai and Sakaba local government areas of the emirate.
With barely three weeks to the commencement of the festival, Zuru emirate Council in collaboration with the state government are from all indications, making a comprehensive arrangement for this year’s edition expected to be better and bigger than the previous festivals.
The renewed and positive approach is required for meeting certain standard of the festival, preparatory to the federal government’s participation next year, as partners following the endorsement of the festival as a National Festival.
 It could be recalled that the federal government has early this year, through the National Tourism Development Authority endosed Uhola Cultural Festival as a National Festival.
The endorsement was based on the federal government’s conviction that the indigenous festival showcases Nigerian’s rich and diverse cultural heritage that will attract both local and international tourists.
To demonstrate its commitment to the partnership and creat a semblance of international standard before the federal government involvement, the various sites of the festival are to be expanded, more historic sites be identified and developed in order to widen the scope of the festival and accommodate more tourists.
Inclusion of cultural groups of different tribes from the neighbouring Sokoto, Zamfara, Niger,Katsina is also been considered, depending on the availability of funds.
 Interestingly, both the emirate Council and the state government are fully committed in view of the socioeconomic benefits of the festival to the government and hosting communities.
While the people of Zuru emirate awaits the federal government’s full participation next year, there are some basic infrastructure and facilities that must be put in place in Zuru to ensure large turn out and make the festival attractive within the country and globally.
It should be noted that Zuru emirate that share boundary with Zamfara, Niger and Sokoto states is not accessible by road from the neighbouring states including from some local government in the state.
To make the venue of the anticipated National Festival accessible,  Koko-Zuru road, Daki -Takwas- (in Zamfara state) through Rijau ( in Niger state) and Bena- Wasagu- Ribah- Zuru roads must comprehensively be reconstructed.
Similarly, the epileptic telecommunications services, being provided by the various service providers in Zuru, must be overhauled for efficient services.
The present electricity supply is not only insufficient but also unreliable for even domestic use.
The security challenges resulting from armed banditry must squarely be addressed to make the area safe for tourists.
Investors in hotels and tourism business, particularly the indigenes of the state should be encouraged to upgrade or provide befitting and affordable hotel accommodation in Zuru and environs.
Therefore, for the festival  to be truly National with expected participation of tourists across the country and beyond and at the same time make it safer and facinating,the Federal and Kebbi state governments should in collaboration with Zuru Emirate Council and do the needful.
Governor Comrade Nasir should demonstrate his love for the people of Zuru, appreciate their support for his election and exhibit his sensitivity to their unfortunate plight by taking the bull by the horns and commence the reconstruction of Koko-Zuru road  with or without revocation of the federal government abandoned project.
The Governor had at different forums announced that ” i have made substantial budgetary provision in 2024 state budget for the Koko-Zuru road as soon as the contract is revoke by the federal government “.
Idris Zuru writes from Birnin Kebbi ,Kebbi State

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