Chairman, Travel Writers’ Corps of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Bayelsa State Council, Mr Piriye Kiyaramo has advised communities to make their festivals inclusive to meet local needs of communities through meaningfully involving residents with a view to creating powerful sense of belonging among the people.
Mr Kiyaramo made the remark when members of the Travel Writers’ Corps of NUJ paid an advocacy visit on the chairman of Kolokuma/Opokuma Development Initiative, Rear Admiral Woyengidinikpe Geoffrey Yanga at his country home, Sabagreia ahead of the popular Lake Efi fishing festival in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa State, on Sunday.
The travel writers’ chairman noted that festivals create exciting spaces for tourists and residents to experience art, music, culture and film, pointing out that local festivals play transformative roles in communities as they provide platform to celebrate traditions while powerfully expressing the meanings that places hold for the people.
He maintained that a well planned community festival can help residents to explore different ways of belonging in the community to enable the people re-engage with their past and imagine the future with hope.
According to Mr Kiyaramo, sustainability is not just about protecting the environment, but about fostering connections between people and places, reiterating that: “local festivals have the power to bring diverse groups of people together, often with shared commitment to better lives and places.”
Responding, chairman of Kolokuma/Opokuma Development Initiative (KDI), Rear Admiral Woyengidinikpe Geoffrey Yanga (rtd) who indicated his group’s interest in promoting heritage sites across the local government area with a view to attracting tourists to the area expressed readiness to collaborate with the travel writers corps to build synergy to promote domestic tourism in the area.
Also speaking, chairman, sub-committee on culture of KDI, a former Permanent Secretary and one time Executive Director of Bayelsa state council for arts and culture, Mr. Ineye Johnny Dudafa, expressed great delight in the travel writers’ corps, informing that his committee will partner with the NUJ to promote the rich cultural heritage of the Kolokuma/Opokuma people.
He also used the occasion to invite members of the corps to participate in the forthcoming Lake Effi fishing festival that was coming up soon at Sabagria in Kolokuma/Opokuma local government area.
Lake Efi, which approximately covers 2km square area, has crocodiles that do not harm humans during the festival. Another mystery about the lake is that it is self-purifying as it clears every fallen piece of debris to its banks, leaving its entire surface pristine at all times.
Lake Efi festival which was originally celebrated once every seven years and as directed by the chief priest of Efi Lake is now celebrated every four years interval.
During the fishing festival, residents and visitors witness the event and purchase assorted kinds of fish of various sizes at affordable prices. The locals visit this lake from time to time for sight seeing and fishing.
By Glory Edoni