The Governor of Bayelsa State, Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, has directed the organization of an annual all Ijaw cultural festival in Yenagoa, to preserve and promote the rich cultural heritage of the people.
To this end, the Governor directed the State Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Hon. Austin Dressman, to liaise with all Ijaw leaders in the six states to which the Ijaws are indigenous to have a well-organized annual cultural festival.
The annual festival is expected to involve cultural dances and displays, masquerades and all other creative aspects of the people’s tradition and custom.
A statement by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, on Monday stated the Governor issued the directive during a recent visit to Ijaw National leader, Chief Edwin Clark, in Kiagbodo, Delta State.
The Governor, who was impressed with the cultural display involving masquerades, underscored the need to bequeath the rich Ijaw culture and tradition of the people to the younger and future generations.
He stressed that cultural preservation and promotion was important in the quest to foster greater unity, stability and repositioning of the Ijaw nation for socio-economic and political survival.
The Governor explained that an annual cultural summit of the various Ijaw clans was necessary as sustained cultural displays remained one of the most effective means of cultural preservation.
He said, “There is need to encourage, promote and record the various elements that constitute the Ijaw culture and keep it for posterity. The way the masquerades exhibited great skills through their dance steps; the way Ijaw people entertain guests in line with tradition are some of the vital components that we need to preserve.”
Governor Dickson expressed appreciation to the organizers of the event, stressing that, such ceremonies needed to be supported and encouraged because “what you use, you don’t loose.”
He stressed that Bayelsa remained the Jerusalem of the Ijaw Nation.