The National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO) has kick-started the process of fine tuning the Durbar Festival in Northern Nigeria to be nominated for inscription on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

The Executive Secretary of NICO, Mr. Ado Muhammed Yahuza led a delegation comprising UNESCO Desk Officers from the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture as well as Research Officers from the Institute on a 3-day interactive session held at the Kano Emirate Council on how to package the Durbar as Nigeria’s nomination to be presented before the 15th Session of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in 2021.

Meanwhile, His Royal Highness, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, the Emir of Kano and entire Emirate have embraced the idea and expressed commitment to do everything possible to support the inscription of the Durbar Festival on the ICH list of humanity.

His words “I wish to reassure you of our readiness to work hand in hand with you towards the success of this idea. It will be a major accomplishment to have the Kano Durbar take a place of pride as a major global and international event”.

While commending NICO for the noble idea and choice of the Kano Durbar for inscription, the Emir charged NICO to remain steadfast in achieving the great feat, saying it will not only be an honour to the Kano Emirate Council but also to Kano State and Nigeria at large.

The Durbar Festival is an annual religious and equestrian celebration to mark the end of Ramadan and also coincides with the Muslim festivities of Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitri and is mostly celebrated in cities like Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Zazzau, Bauchi and Bida.

As UNESCO’s focal agency on cultural matters in Nigeria, NICO has over the years, successfully facilitated some inscriptions of Nigeria’s rich intangible cultural heritages on the International Body’s Representative List that has continued to enjoy support and protection. Some of the most recent successes recorded by the Institute are the inscription of Argungu Fishing Festival (2016) and Kwagh-Hir Masquerade performance (2019). Other cultural heritages in Nigeria that are inscribed on the Representative List are: the Ifa Divination System; Ijele Masquerade and Oral Heritage of Gelede.

On the entourage of the Executive Secretary are; Mr. Mike Ekoko (Director, Research & Documentation-NICO); Ms. Rubby David (Deputy Director, UNESCO Desk, Ministry of Information and Culture); Mr. Emmanuel Odekayi (Assistant Chief Cultural Officer, Ministry of Information & Culture); Mrs. Iheoma Mzeaka (Chief Cultural Officer-NICO); and Nuru Abdulkadir (Principal Cultural Officer-NICO).

Caleb Nor
Media Assistant to ES, NICO