Makurdi, the capital city of Benue State, “the food basket of the nation,” is today, Thursday, 11th February, 2016, gearing up for the opening ceremony of the reinvented Kwagh-hir Festival, the Benue State Ministry for Arts, Culture and Tourism under the leadership of the Honourable Commissioner, Hon. Sekav Iyortyom.
The event, which will take place at the Basketball Court of the Aper Aku Stadium, Makurdi, at 7.00pm, is expected to have the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Assoc. Prof. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma delivering a lecture on the theme, “Celebrating our Creativity;” and he is focusing on Kwagh-hir theatre, a rich cultural display in Benue State that celebrates the inherent creativity of the people, which has immense economic benefits.
Benue State possesses a rich and diverse cultural heritage, which finds expression in the colourful cloths, exotic masquerades, sophisticated music and dances of the people; and dances like Ingyough, Ange, Anchanakupa and Swange are popular among the Tiv, while there are Anuwowowo and Obadaru among the Idoma.
It is not surprising that the Executive Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom approved the hosting of the Kwagh-hir festival because the State has an array theatre academics: the first Professor of Theatre Arts from the whole of Northern Nigeria, Professor Shamsudeen O. O. Amali and the first academic to carry out extensive research work on Kwagh-hir, Professor Iyorwuese Hagher, are all proud sons of Benue State; and Hagher’s seminal work, The Kwagh-hir Theatre: A Metaphor of Resistance has been a ready source book for critical studies on Kwagh-hir.
Furthermore, Benue State boasts of the highest number of very distinguished theatre professors in Nigeria, namely, Charity Angya, James Alachi, Saint Gbilekaa, Idris Amali, Tor Iorapuu, Ameh Dennis Akoh, Ama Gowon Doki, Kwaghkondo Agber, and many others, who have contributed immensely to studies on Kwagh-hir theatre.
From NICO news, we say, keep up the spirit because, “culture is the vehicle that drives tourism.”
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