The 7th edition of Argungu Polo Tournament and Cultural Fete holds from September 8 to 10, at the sprawling NSK Polo Ranch and Resort in Argungu, Kebbi State.
Alhaji Nura Kangiwa, Director General, National Institute for Hospitality and Tourism, NIHOTOUR, disclosed this in a statement by Joesef Karim, the Secretary, Organising Committee on Monday in Abuja.
According to Kangiwa, Nigeria’s dominance of West Africa’s bourgeoning sports and cultural tourism industry, will be further showcased at the annual Argungu Polo Tournament and Cultural Fete.
He stated that Argungu Polo Tournament and Culture Fete had over the years lived-up to its billing, as one of the most spectacular and massively visited African Polo and cultural tourism festival in Nigeria.
He said international dignitaries would herald the event, adding that since its inception in 2016, leading Polo teams from popular Nigerian Polo clubs had regularly featured in the prestigious tournament.
He added that the tournament was powered by Argungu Emirate Council, the Government of Kebbi State and Fan Milk, among other corporate organisations which had historically supported the event.
Argungu is one of Nigeria’s historically significant towns and the host town of UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage asset in Nigeria – the famous Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival.
“Over the years, the tournament organisers have consistently rallied stakeholders in the Polo and Tourism communities and Corporate Nigeria, to partner in making the event more beneficial to the rural host communities.
“NSK Ranch & Resort started hosting the Polo Tournament in Keffi, Nasarawa State and now holds the event in Argungu, Kebbi State,” he said.
He, however, added that the cultural entertainment groups from neighbouring West African countries had been enchanting players, residents, visitors and tourists with awe-inspiring traditional performances.
According to him, the groups come from Niger Republic, Benin Republic and the host destination, the ancient kingdom of Argungu, now referred as Argungu Emirate.
The NIHOTOUR DG said the organisng committee of the event had announced that participating Polo clubs in the tournament would be playing to win any of the prestigious Cups such as Governor’s Cup and Sultan’s Cup.
Others, he said, were Emir of Argungu’s Cup, Emir of Kano’s Cup, King Appolos Chu’s Cup, Lai Mohammed’s Cup, Shehu Kangiwa’s Cup and Abubakar Dangiwa Umar’s Cup, among other laurels.
“The committee indicated that 6 polo teams will take part in the tournament, which are the NSK Farms Team, H. Hago Team, Ayatun Team, JRB Solar Team, NIHOTOUR Team and Osolo Team,” he said.
He stated that not less than 24 polo players, some of whom are the best in Nigeria, and over 80 Polo horses would be involved in the tournament for three days.
Kangiwa, who holds the traditional title of Turakin Kebbi, and also patron of Argungu Polo Tournament and Cultural Fete, promised that the activities lined-up for this year’s tourney would surpass previous editions’.
“This year there will be more emissaries, international dignitaries and foreign governments’ officials in attendance at the event.
“The cultural entertainment groups from West African countries have confirmed their participation and are currently making arrangements accordingly.
“Some of the traditional displays at the event will be Culinary arts, Traditional wrestling, Camel racing, Horse racing, mini-Durbar, Folk dancing, Bull fighting, and many other uncommon traditional spectacles,” he added.
He disclosed that the event was one of the most veritable examples of successful Nigerian tourist product management by the private sector, in partnership with host communities.
Kangiwa extolled the pioneering roles and fatherly support provided by the Emir of Argungu, Alhaji Samaila Mera, who is the Grand Patron of the Polo Tournament.
Argungu Polo Tournament and Cultural Fete, served the domestic and inbound Nigeria markets by offering the majesty of the Polo game, traditional sports and cultural activities in a historic African destination.
The objective is to sustainably improve the economic multiplier-effects of the event to Kebbi State residents and tourist host communities.