NIGERIA. Niger State: Doko community in Niger state, north-central Nigeria was full of merriment and celebration as the community hosted its third edition of 2022 “Doko Agabia Festival”. The annual event which started in 2019 is organized by the Doko Progressive Forum (DPF).
Purpose of the festival
Speaking to TRANSCONTINENTAL TIMES shortly after the event, the Doko Progressive Forum (DPF) Organizing Secretary, Mohammed Idris said that the Agabia festival is aimed at enhancing and promoting the rich cultural heritage of the community, mapping out ways for the good use of the community natural resources, preaching peacebuilding, unity and togetherness among the locals.
“The festival is aimed at bringing back the oneness, peace and unity that the community once enjoined”, Idris said.
The birth of “Doko Agabia Festival”
Issues generated from leadership was what gave birth to the Doko Agabia Festival in 2019. The Doko community was known for peaceful coexistence among themselves until a crisis of leadership broke them apart some years ago which affected the peace, unity and development of the community.
The crisis led to the division of the entire community into two factions, not on the basis of religious beliefs but the leadership of the Community.
The Etsu Dazhi Doko (Emir of Doko) is the leader of the community and was dethroned and banished from the community, since then there have been issues even when a new Etsu Dazhi Doko (Emir) was appointed.
So, the annual festival is organized to help in rebuilding the lost peace and unity of the community.
The activities of the festival
The Doko Agabia 2022 edition is an eight days event starting from the 25th of December to the 1st of January. It started with a procession around the community to inform the populace about the commencement of the festival.
From Sunday to Friday it was a series of sports activities ranging from volleyball, badminton, egg on spoon race, sack race, novelty football match, cycling 100m race and table tennis.
Other activities include cultural nights, medical outreach, skills acquisition training and quiz competition among private and public schools in the area.
The biggest challenge is attributed to the lack of adequate funds; the DPF members and some members of the community contributed financially and other ways to see to the success of the event.
“Our major challenge has been funding because we contribute financially to make the program what it is”, Idris noted.
Idris however thanked God for the success recorded during the event and prayed for individual, non-governmental and government investment in the annual programme. It is the prayer and hope of the organizers that the annual festival will be recognized nationally and internationally someday.
Where is the Doko community?
Doko is a community under Lavun Local Government Area of Niger State that consists mainly of farmers and hunters. They were traditionalists before the coming of Islam and Christianity.