From Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin Kebbi

Former Nigeria’s Chief of Army Staff and Minister of Defence, Lt. Gen. Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (rtd) has urged the retired Army Generals and other para- military officers in Zuru Emirate to unite and defend the Kebbi State territory.

Danjuma stated this while speaking at the closing ceremony of 2024 Uhola cultural festival held at Zuru town, Kebbi State.

The former Defence Minister, who was the chairman of the occasion, noted that without peace in the state, there would not be meaningful development.

Danjuma, who was represented by Dr, Bitrus Bagu said: “Before I stop, we need to know that we are here because there is peace and tranquillity in the state. Without peace, we can’t be here.

“In the Zuru Emirate, we have many retired and serving Generals as well as so many serving and retired para-military officers. It is high time that all of you should unite just like your forefathers so that there will be peaceful coexistence in Kebbi state, because without peace and tranquillity, nothing can happen. Uhola cultural festival can only happen in the atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.”

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He noted that Uhola cultural festival, a cherished tradition among the people of the Zuru emirate, which is usually celebrated to give thank to God over a bounty harvest and protection against evil forces, poor harvest and catastrophes, has given an opportunity for sons and daughters of the area to bring friends, lovers back home to unite with their people.

“As we can see today, we have gathered from different parts of the country to celebrate the Uhola of Zuru Emirate. Uhola cultural festival offers an opportunity for many tribes in Zuru to display their cultures such as corn dance, yam dance and many others. The endorsement of the cultural festival by the National Tourism Commission will also pave way for many opportunities,” he said.

While commending the Federal Government for adopting the festival into national tourism events calendar in the country, noted that through budgeting and funding the festival, more opportunities would spring up in Zuru emirate.

Earlier in his address, the Chairman of the Main Committee on Uhola Festival, Lt. Gen. Ishaya Rici Bamaiyi, had commended the state government and the Emir of Zuru for the successful hosting of the festival, and urged the government to promote the festival to international standard.

He also appealed to the state government to rehabilitate and reconstruct the Koko-Zuru road to enhance agricultural development of the state.