People without culture are people without roots or background; certainly the FULANIS are not such people. The Fulanis are people with rich culture and good historical background in the annals of Nigerian history. The Fulani in Kebbi State constitute about one third of the population of Kebbi people and they are found in Gwandu Local Government ,Bunza and vastly found in Bagudo and Suru Local Government areas of Kebbi State .YAHYA SARKI of Leadership Sunday takes a look at the Huttungo Fulani festival of culture and arts and reports on this unique Fulani ceremony in Kebbi State.
In Kirya village of Suru Local Government, a small village of Fulani host the cultural event of Fulani people called the Huttungo Festival. Huttungo is a Fulani festival holding each year to celebrate the end of the rainy season and safe return of their livestock from the Southern part of the country.
Pastoralist especially the sheep rearers in Kebbi State usually pass through many neighbouring countries e.g.: Niger, Benin, Ghana, Senegal Mali and others to search for palatable greener pastures. The Huttungo is therefore like a thanks giving festival by the Fulanis.
The event featured Sheep race, camel race, the famous Sharo, praise singers and cultural dance. The most striking event during the ceremony was the sheep race and camel race, where a flock of sheep (livestock) run after their rearer competing to reach the front end line to emerge as the number one or first position. Same pattern was also displayed during the camel race.
Juli Kirya and his flock emerged as the winner during the sheep race while Maiyaki Bubakar came first during the camel race. Fulani praise singers as well as the Famous Fulani Sharo display took center stage with colorful arts display to the gallery of the anxious visitors from different parts of the state and some neighbouring countries of Niger ,Benin and Mali.
The District Head of Dakingari who is also the Lamidon of Dakingari, a Fulani descendant was full of happiness over the ceremony and acknowledged that the Fulani culture still exist despite modernization that crept into and that the Huttungo Fulani festival of Arts and culture served as rallying point of unity amongst the Fulanis.
He expressed the hoped that the Huttungo Fulani festival has come to stay promising to sustain it in the years to come for the unity of not only Nigerian Fulanis but also the Fulanis of West Africa .The Traditional Leader further pointed out the Huttungo Fulani festival would revive the Fulani culture, encourage brotherhood amongst his tribes men.
On his part, the General Manager of Kebbi State Tourism Board, Alh. Ahmed Yarima Dakingari who anchored and coordinated the event admitted that this was the maiden event the Government officially got involved which lead to its success. Yarima hinted that following the successful hosting of the event this year, the Secretary to the State Government has directed him to liaise with his office to discuss how the event would be improved to international standard so that it would serve as a tourist attraction for the State.
The general Manager further disclosed to LEADERSHI SUNDAY that plans were under way to lure private organizations and Companies to invest in the yearly event to make it one stop point for Tourist around the world.
Governor Dakingari in an effort to raise the living standard of Fulani carry out time to time vaccination of livestock ,construction of Earth Dams as drinking spots for their animals, construction of Nomadic Schools to provide education for the Fulani children and provision of animal feeds to improve the dietary of livestock. Dakingari who is also a Fulani man in an apparent show of support and solidarity to the Huttungo Fulani cultural event attended the ceremony in company of members of the state Executive council and politicians.
Although the 2nd Huttungo Annual Fulani festival of Arts and culture have come and gone with its fanfare to the admiration of thousands of visitors in around the State, still much needs to be done in some areas in order to elevate the event to national or even international standard as even the organizers rightly observed.
LEADERSUNDAY also observed that the event lacked proper coordination in almost all the areas, for example the sporting rules are not properly designed and the officials are not properly organized. Above all, the publicity before and after the event through the media was very poor. It is paramount to involve the print media and the electronic media to advertise and inform the world about the colorful event .
There is also the need for the organizers to involve stakeholders like the Miyatti – Allah Fulani organization and other government agencies who are responsible for boosting Travelling and Tourism sector like the Ministry of Commerce and the Kebbi State Investment Company. Similar gesture should also be extended to sister Federal Agencies as well as the private Sector.
Huttngo Fulani festival in Kebbi State is one unique festival that proves beyond any doubt that apart from the famous Argungu International Fishing Festival and the Zuru Uhola cultural festival in Kebbi State if developed can become an international tourist attraction capable of boosting the economy of the State and the country in general.