*Obonlopol of Ugep warns against politicisation Leboku International Cultural Festival

August 08, 2012 08:51





Ugep (Cross River) Aug. 8, 2012 (NAN) The Traditional Ruler of Ugep in Cross River, HRH Ujong Inah has cautioned orgainsers of the annual Leboku International Cultural Festival against playing politics with the original concept of the festival.

Ujong stated this on Tuesday in his Palace in Ugep during a news briefing on activities lined up for the 2012 Leboku International Cultural  Festival due to hold on Aug. 24.

Ujong said the Ugep New Yam festival represented the rich tradition of the people from the ancient period, adding that any attempt to violate it might lead to serious consequence.

``You should not take Leboku too much into politics because politicians can make something good and they can also make something bad.

``So I want to advise on the way we handle Leboku so that we will not bring trouble to ourselves, ‘’ he said.

According to him, there is nothing wrong in government intervention in expanding the scope of the festival, noting that Ugep new yam festival remains the same.

``So if we are changing from left to right,  we should not forget the purpose of Leboku; whatever we are doing,  we must take tradition into cognizance.

``We must de-emphasise politics, ‘’ he added.

The Obonlopol stated that the people of Ugep held the celebration of new yam festival ``so very sacrosanct''.

 He also said that the ten Communities that formed the present Leboku international festival had their own forms of celebration.

``So our new yam celebration remains Aug. 23, while government Leboku, known as Yakur New Yam festival  is Aug. 24, ‘’ he said.

In his speech, Commissioner for Information, Mr Akin Ricketts said that government was determined to make the festival an important part of its tourism development.

He thanked the MTN for sponsoring the programme, adding that government was ready to attract more sponsors to make the festival economic driven.

``The vision of the government is to turn this festival into economic base for the people, ‘’ he added.                                            

The Special Assistant to the Governor on Tourism, Mr Wilfred Usani, said that government was not directly funding the festival.

According to him, government is promoting Leboku under Public Private Partnership.

``What government has done, is to attract sponsors in order to enlarge the festival, ‘’ he stated.

He said  the festival had encouraged many young people to take to farming rather than migrating to the city centres for white-collar jobs.

``It has also impacted on the local economy, as many hospitality outfits have sprang up here and there, ‘’ he stated.

Earlier, Special Assistant to the governor on Invent Management, Mr Totsman Etoty, said that the 2012 Leboku nal festival was going to witness lots of new innovations.

He said that venue of the event had undergone restructuring and designing in order to create necessary aesthetics.

Etoty also said that a pre-event moblisation had also taken place to ensure massive participation of the ten communities.

According to him; ``the Star Prize for Mr and Mrs Leboku is now the more prestigious Hyundai Accent Car instead of awards presented in previous years.

``Also measures have been put in place to ensure that processes to choose the winners of Mr and MrsLeboku were just and fair.'' (NAN)







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