From Julius B. Kezi, Kafanchan
The 2016 edition of the AFAN National Festival celebration by the Kagoro Community was lowkey last Friday, January 1, 2016.
The occasion held at Fadan Kagoro, the premises of Kagoro Multi-purpose Hall gathered dignitaries across the state but without the usual Federal Government delegation as against what was hitherto experienced in the past.
In a message to the occasion, through his Deputy, Arch Barnabas Bala Bantex, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, of Kaduna State said his administration was poised to partner communities to package cultural activities for the purpose of tourism development and providing additional alternative sources of economic income and employment for individuals, the communities and government.
However, the governor said to achieve this and revamping education, agriculture and health sectors, which are key to the development of all sectors of the economy, there was need for all hands to be on deck to ensure peace and security of lives and property to attract any kind of investment from the public and private institutions.
According to the governor, his administration has used the six months since assumption of office to strategize and would soon commence implementation of strategic plans in the provision of free education from primary to Junior secondary school , provision of free uniforms, text books and feeding of pupils, including access to free medical care to pregnant women and children under the age of five years.
The government, he said, had been able to restore and sustain peace and security of the state and appealed to all and sundry to cooperate in this regard, as it is the business of all, not government alone .
Assuring that government was implementing the Agwai committee report on how to restore peace in the state, the governor said government has engaged neighbouring states, especial Plateau to resolve boundary disputes once for all.
Chairman of the occasion, General Martin Luther Agwai, a former chief of Army Staff, called on Nigerians particular the youth in Kaduna state and indeed Kaduna south senatorial district to ensure personal, family and community peace for enhancement of good governance, positive change and development .
According to him, “the Bible states that poor is he that does not have peace,” stressing that friendship is understanding, tolerance and forgiveness. He called for prayers, patience and cooperation for government.
The youth should cultivate and practise good virtues of respect for elders and constituted authority, strive at hard work, educational and skill development that will guarantee long life and actualizing their ambitions, he added.
Chairman Interim Management Council Kaura Local Government Mallam Ibrahim Akut, reiterated his call for the sustenance of peace in the area to facilitate development. He assured that his administration would do its best to attract development. Akut appealed to the state government to assist offset salaries of traditional rulers and security personnel.
His Highness the Oegwang Oegworok (chief of Kagoro), Mr Ufuwai Bonet in a message through his son the Galadima Kagoro apologized for his absence from the festival owning, to his being abroad for treatment.
The traditional ruler charged his people to strive at purification of their hearts, peace with God and members of the society so as to attract public and private investments to the chiefdom.
The Oegwam Oegworok seized the occasion to, on behalf of himself and people of his domain, congratulate President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor El-Rufai for their victories at the 2015 polls and prayed for their long life and success in their tasks.
Earlier in a welcome address, President, Kagoro Development Association (KDA) Chief Paul A. Abiyong, said Afan festival was unique as it has been observed for over 400 years.
He said it was one of the most leading cultural festivals in Nigeria which fosters friendship, peace and unity within and outside the country. It is also used to glorify God for protection blessings and offering prayers for same in the emerging years.
He applauded the achievements of government at the federal, state and local governments within their short time in office. Abiyong solicited for construction of Kukum Daji- Garaje, Fadan Daji- Madakiya, Mallagum- Fadan Daji, Safio-Anya-Mafok- Sadio- Kadarko- Tachirak roads and completion of shoulders and creating gutters on Kagoro Manchok road.
The KDA president also called for the taking over and completion of Kukum Daji Earth Dam, abandoned by the Nigeria River Basin Authority , which when completed, will enable all year round farming , create youth employment, discuss and improved local and national economy.
“On the Kagoro Hills Resort project initiated by past administrations, we prayed for its construction to boost tourism and employment . The state University Kafanchan Campus and Kaduna College of Education projects in these institutions be completed urgently to reduce students’ hardship,” the KDA president pleaded.
He also requested for water supply to villages and prompt and improved seeds to farmers between February and March, entrepreneurship development for self-reliance and job creation, prompt payment of pensioners and upward review of their benefits.
Abiyong assured government of the support and cooperation from the Kagoro Community .
The occasion featured the crowing of Miss Joyce Samuel Amai as Miss Kagoro, performed by Mrs Elizabeth Onazi, the Kaduna State Head of Service, who encouraged her to use her prime to serve God, pursue education, be industrious and lay good legacies for young girls to follow, thus promoting the culture of the land.
There were cultural dances from within and outside Kagoro and attended by traditional, religious and political leaders, among were Agwam BAJJU Mal. Nuhu Bature, Senator Danjuma Laah, Hon Gideon Gwan , just to mention a few.