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By Fred Abua,

The State Governor, Sen. Prince Bassey Otu, has called on the indigenous people of Yakurr to maintain peace as Cross River state continues to record giant strides in the tourism sector. The Governor who made this call during the 2023 Leboku Festival in Ugep urged the celebrants to give tourists and visitors who were in the community for the celebrations a memorable stay by shunning violence.

The Governor, represented at the event by his deputy, Rt. Hon. Peter Odey, pointed out that Leboku had been added to the State’s Cultural Calendar many years ago to boost the state’s tourism potential. He said it was “a known fact that since then and with the support of other partners and sponsors, the festival has continued to grow, year in year out”. He promised that the present administration will make the festival even better by securing the buy-in of the Federal Government.

Earlier at the Palace of the Paramount Ruler of Yakurr, the Deputy Governor highlighted the state’s commitment to fostering a positive relationship with the people of Yakurr and praised the Paramount Ruler for the peaceful coexistence in the community. He assured of the governor’s presence in the next edition of the Leboku International New Yam Festival.

Responding, the Paramount Ruler, Obol Lopon of Ugep, HRM (Dr) Obol Ofem Ubana, described the Leboku New Yam festival is a season of plenty and a time to celebrate abundance and survival after the planting season’s hardships. He noted that the Yakurr people had kept this tradition over the years and friendships had been forged between people during this celebration. He said prices of foodstuff will go down following the celebration.

The Obol Lopon expressed satisfaction with the present State Government, stating that although the administration was new, it had acted like an old and experienced Government by providing everything needed for the celebration to be successful and hitch-free.

The colorful festival featured various events such as a parade by the Maidens of Yakurr, traditional wrestling, August Women International and the presentation of car prizes to Mr. Leboku 2023 and Miss Leboku 2023 and the Chief harvester. Other consolation prizes were awarded to the first and second runners-up.