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    Obudu mountain race returns



    Nine years after it was discontinued and missing from the annual tourism offerings of the state, the famous Obudu mountain race will resume this year.

    The tournament, a brainchild of former Governor Donald Duke, was conceived during his second term in office and kicked off in 2005.

    The 11.25km tournament was designed, among others, to boost global awareness of the Obudu Cattle Ranch in the northern part of the state and also make the youths in the state to embrace athletics.

    The mountain race gained global acclaim over the years and was an associate member race of the World Mountain Running Association and at a point was endorsed by the International Association of Athletics Federation.

    The tournament which had about $250,000 dollars available for grabs by various categories of winners was, however, suspended by the government due to a number of factors, including lack of funds and benefit to locals in the area.

    Things have, however, taken a turn for good as the state tourism commissioner, Abubakar Ewa, has announced a plan by the government to revive the mountain race.

    The commissioner, who disclosed this in Calabar, the capital of the state, said it is part of a wider plan by the state government to bring in lots of innovations into the tourism sector of the state. He also announced a plan by the government to relaunch its ecotourism sector.

    “We hope to bring lots of innovations into the tourism sector and plans are afoot to revive the mountain race this year and also relaunch ecotourism in the state.

    “We must organize packages for the leisure of tourists, particularly as the state is very rich in eco-tourism. We are also developing our tour sites in the state like the Qua Falls, which are very fantastic, Boki Water Falls, Drill Ranch, monoliths and others,” he said.

    He also announced that as part of plans to revive the mountain race, the government has been removing all the obstacles that have over the years impeded the smooth functioning of the Obudu Cattle Ranch and has paid over N200-million salary liabilities.

    Also speaking, the executive secretary of the carnival commission, Austin Cobham, said creative innovations will be added to this year’s carnival even as they intend to put non- competing bands ahead so that they can create sensitization and awareness of the carnival.

    He also announced that in addition to the Carnival Calabar in December, two other carnivals have been added to the calendar, which are the Ikom and Ogoja carnivals in October and November. He dded that the government is aggressively expanding infrastructure in the state for the carnivals and the benefit of the people.

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    Katsina Govt Hosts Dambe Warriors Competition To Promote Tourism



    To encourage tourism, the Katsina State Government has restated its total commitment to promoting the state’s cultural heritage and traditions.

    The Katsina State Commissioner for Information and Culture Bala Zango disclosed this to reporters on Sunday at the sideline of the Season 3 Dambe Warriors Circuit Fight 11 Competition, otherwise known as traditional boxing held at the Katsina Open Air Theatre.

    According to him, Katsina is a culture-friendly state, thus assuring the state government’s readiness, to organise inter-local government’s traditional boxing competition.

    On his part, the Co-founder of Dambe Warriors Chidi Anyina described Dambe as a new structure of attracting more funding from investors within and outside Nigeria, which he said will, in turn, implate the economy.

    He described the power of Dambe entertainment as one that can not be overstated, saying that the narrative can be changed through such sports as the Dambe,

    “It’s just a league. In each category, each fighter will fight in different cities starting from Katsina, Niger, Abuja, and Kano among other participating states.

    “We have light weight, middle weight and heavy weight categories. The last two will be disqualified and will leave the league and we will recruit new fighters as promotional for a competition. The third group will now fight at the finals to determine the king of Dambe in that category.

    “We sign the best fighters and pay them a good fee, monthly salaries, and appearance bonuses. For those that win at the finals, we give them one million naira each and N500,000 for the new fighters.

    “This is a new structure of attracting more funding from investment within and outside the country.

    “The locals are sleeping on this, we can take it to the international league. This will also impact the economy because the power of entertainment can not be overstated. Narrative can be changed through sports like this,” Anyina added.

    Earlier, three rounds of Dambe competition were conducted between Autan Kudawa from Kano State who eventually got 88 points, and Manu Shagon Garkuwar Cindo from Kebbi State who in the end scored 87 points.

    During the competition, a Nasarawa fighter Aljanin Bahagon defeated Dan Bahagon Zayyanu after scoring 87 points. His rival scored 86 points.

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    10 years after, Obudu mountain race returns



    The Cross River state government has said it was bringing back a rebranded Obudu mountain race which it last hosted in 2014 under the Liyel Imoke-led administration.

    The 11.25 km international mountain race, initiated by the then governor Donald Duke in 2005, was suspended by former governor Ben Ayade in 2015 for what he said was for lack of funds and sponsorship.

    But briefing Journalists in Calabar, Tuesday, the Commissioner for Culture and tourism, Mr Abubakar Ewa, said the “rebranded, reinvigorated Obudu mountain race will take place this year.”

    Ewa said the state government has paid the backlog of allowances of the Obudu Ranch resort staff and that the said staff were later absorbed into the state civil service, with more than N200 million used to settle the matter.

    Earlier, the Chairman of the Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr Austin Cobham, said the state was ready to take the Carnival Calabar to another height, describing the annual event as an asset to Nigeria.

    Speaking while releasing the time table of activities lined up for this year’s Carnival Calabar, Cobham said, “we are rejigging, reinventing and restructuring the Carnival at the same time.

    “”We are out to return Cross River state as the hub of Nigeria tourism. We are having activities from now till December in our tourism calendar. Some of the programs, like essay competition and African fashion fiesta have sponsors already.”

    The Secretary disclosed that Ogoja in the north and Ikom in the central part of the state would also have their separate Carnivals on October 27 and November 24 respectively to give the rural people a sense of belonging.

    He said the main Carnival Calabar would be held on December 28, 2024.

    The first Dry Run, he noted, would be held on October 20, the second and last Dry Run on November 27 and December 8, 2024, while Cultural Carnival and Junior Carnival would hold on December 26 and 27, 2024 respectively.

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    2023 International Tourney: Kaduna Polo Club raises N71m from sponsors



    As the 2023 Kaduna International Polo Tournament gallops-off on Monday, the premium polo club has raised over N71 million at cheque presentation night from sponsors and supporters to organise a thrilling and exciting tourney.

    The 2023 Polo Tournament, which will be in two phases, will gallop-off on Monday October 31 to November 5 with Africa’s most prestigious trophy, the Georgian Cup. The high goal (+16 to +20 goals) tourney, which will feature players from within the country and hired assassin from abroad, will run concurrent with the El Amin Cup.

    The second week of the tournament at the refurbished and very green pitch of Ahmadu Yakubu Polo Club House, starting from November 6 to November 11, will see clubs battle for the middle goal Emir of Katsina Cup and Imani Cup. Sponsor of the 17th century sliver Georgian Cup and major sponsor of the Kaduna International Polo Tournament, First Bank PLC blazed the trail with unprecedented N30 million.

    Other high donors include Taj Bank, Trobell Nigeria Ltd, Plutos Bank who gave N5 million each. Imani Group gave N4 million for the sponsorship of the Imani Cup, while El Amin gave N3 million for the sponsorship of El Amin Cup. Malcomines also gave N3 million same as Fifth Chukker and Ama Pharmaceuticals. NDIC gave N2.5 million, President of NARTO gave N2 million, while Sublime gave N1 million same as Musco Investments.

    Speaking at the Cheque Presentation, President of the Kaduna Polo Club, Alhaji Mohammed Babangida said it’s a special day for the club, its various sponsors, and supporters of the tournament. Babangida said the new exco took one year off competition to develop the facilities, while thanking those that supported the club towards the 2023 tournament. “We now have a field like never seen before, we thank you for your support.”

    The Tournament Manager, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar Saleh, said Kaduna Polo Club has a long and rich history of polo. “Kaduna Polo Club appreciates your commitments. For the 2023 tournament, the major cups to be played are; first week 31 October to 5th November, Georgian Cup (15-20 goals), El-Amin Cup (O-2 goals). Second week, Emir of Katsina Cup, formerly Dickenson Cup, (8-12 goals), Imani Cup (3-7 goals). Other selected cups include; General Hassan Cup; Isa Kaita Memorial Cup; Late Umaru Shinkafi Cup; Late Emir of Gombe, Alhaji Usman Shehu Abubakar Cup”.

    Other sponsors that are yet to disclose their donations include, Niger state government, Katsîna state government, Zamfara state government, Barbedos Group, Dangote Group, BUA Group, Rubicon, Badard Zaz and Max Airline.

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