By Charity Chukwu
A carnival like atmosphere enveloped Kalama Community in Sabagreia, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area as fishing enthusiasts, fun seekers and sundry persons poured into the ordinarily quiet community ‘ It was time for the 2021 version of the Great Lake Eki traditional fishing festival which took place from June 17 to 19 2021.
The fishing festival which has become one of the major cultural events in richly endowed Bayelsa State is organised every four years. This year, Senator Douye Diri, Governor of Bayelsa Stste followed a tradition set decades ago and participated in the festival as Master Fisherman, a role first played by Alfred Diete Spiff (Now King of Twon Brass) when he was Governor of old Rivers State.
Senator Diri who in his role as Master Fisherman, declared the festival open, fished and caught a modest sized ‘Abah’ which he held up proudly, revealed his administration’s plan to boost the history and culture
Gov. Diri gets into the fray
of the state through tourism with a focus on the Great Lake Efi Fishing Festival
and other cultural events. He made the point that, ‘ I believe these are the events that would promote our history and culture. As a government, we would ensure we have our own tourist activities celebrated not only by this state, but in this nation and internationally’.
He called on the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism to include the festival and other such important events in the state’s Cultural calendar.
Speaking at the festival, Dr. Bokumo Orukari Kala X, Amananaowei of Sabagreia, traced the history of the festival to a time in the dim past when two men who were at two different points of the lake’s bank stumbled on the wonder of nature and took part in a contest to determine the Lake’s real founder. The
Gov Douye Diri gleefully holds an Abah fish he caught as Master Fisherman during the Lake Efi Fishing Festival in Sabagreia, Bayelsa State
contest was won by a forebear named Ukiriki.
Dr. Bokumo then zeroed in on the tourism and income earning potentials of the fishing festival noting that,’ Since its discovery, Lake Efi has been known for its thrilling fishing festival. Yet, its potentials as a tourism destination is yet to be tapped. Beyond fishing festivals, I see the rise of the hospitality, tourism and film industries. This I believe can be easily handled by the Bayelsa State Tourism Agency and other related departments.’