2020 Argungu Fishing Festival: NSK, Malcomines, others rekindle Polo rivalry

A previous edition of the International Argungu Fishing Festival
A previous edition of the International Argungu Fishing Festival

Former champions, NSK Malcomines polo kings are set for another titanic clash at the forthcoming Fishing Festival, as the countdown to the highly anticipated festival in Argungu gets to its feverish heights.

Organizers and hosted by the Kebbi State Government under the leadership of Governor Atiku Bagudu who has taken a personal interest in the annual fiesta that has been one of the enduring legacies that put Nigeria on the global stage of tourism for many decades now.

Polo Royals also gathered that unlike the past two years where the Jos Miners and the Argungu based polo warriors merely strolled to clinch the titles, their roads to a successful encore would be treacherous one this time around, no thanks to the battery of other ambitious teams lining up for the showdown.

As at press time, a handful of regular teams from Zaria, Kaduna, Abuja and Port Harcourt are also listed to actions during the foremost festival. Players from these teams are already laying claims to the titles on offer, vowed to make life difficult for the former champions in Kabbi State next month.

Festival Organizing Committee Secretary, Nura Kangiwa who disclosed this to Polo Royals confirmed that the festival is billed to thrill from March 1-7, 2020 in the ancient city of Argungu, Kebbi State.

The Turaki Kebbi confirmed to Polo Royals on the phone that the return of the fishing festival that predates the Dakar Motor Rally in pomp and pageantry is spearheaded by the Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu in his drive to revamp the tourism sector of the state.

It was also confirmed that Alhaji Bagudu, the executive governor of Kebbi State, is giving his all to revive the cultural extravaganza as he believes it will create more jobs for the unemployed youths and empower others.

In a bid to attract foreign investments and foster more positive narrative about Nigeria, arrangements are in place between Argungu and Borough of Manhattan New York City, in a Sister City partnership on Tourism and culture.

Revered as one of the oldest festivals in the world, the fishing festival which was last held in 2009 has been repackaged to run alongside the polo tournament as part of the restoration and reposition of the tourism potentials of the state.

The ultimate revival of the fishing festival confirmed for September last year during the NSK Polo Fete Tournament was moved forward to the first quarter of 2020, due to rising water levels at the Argungu River, the traditional venue of the event.

According to Kangiwa, the fishing festival did not stage for a decade due to logistic challenges, but now they have been abated, the entire state is looking forward to the March date for the much-awaited return of the festival.

“Everything is being done to not only to bring back the international fishing festival but to raise the stakes to the standard it deserves.”

Polo Royals also gathered that apart from the game of kings, the annual fiesta would feature other sporting activities like wrestling, Camel racing, Horse racing contests, and a handful of cultural displays, drawing participants from neighbouring Niger, Burkina Faso and Benin Republics.

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