By Victor Nze
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the “Ijakadi” Festival in Offa, Kwara State will be included in the National Festival Calendar in 2018.
The Minister stated this at the grand finale of the 2017 celebration of Ijakadi (traditional wrestling) festival in Offa near Ilorin in Kwara.
Mohammed who was a guest of honour at the event said Ijakadi festival had come to stay and grown from strength to strength in celebration of rich Offa culture, adding that the significance of the festival was not just about the history of the people, rather a celebration of the virtues of “equity, justice and wisdom”.
The Minister said that the festival also showcased the affinity between the Offa and Ile-Ife, and how Moremi Ajasoro, the daughter of Offa rescued the Ife Kingdom from the `Igbo’ marauder.
“What we have come here to celebrate is history that dated back to 14th century. We have an MoU with the British Council through which every year, we train festival managers all over the country. I want to assure you that the Ijakadi festival will benefit from this training.
“This kind of festival is one of the reasons why this government has placed so much emphasis on our culture being encouraged and we are going to put Offa in the world map.”
The minister said that the government would assist to put the festival on the world records to attract people from across the globe.
There was also horse raising competition among the five Offa districts while a raffle draw concluded the event.
The star prize for the draw was a motor bike while the first and second Runner up for draw went home with a generator and a flat screen television respectively.