Bit Gamai, the annual cultural festival of the Gamai people of Shendam local government area of Plateau state, north central Nigeria is an event which cements relationship among people of diverse culture.
As the community marks this festival, the Gamai Unity and Development Association, GUDO, has set up a fund raiser for the building of a cultural centre which will serve as a bastion of culture.
Nasarawa state governor Mr.
Abdullahi Sule who chaired this year’s event described Bit Gamai and other cultural festivals as a way of life that distinguishes people in dressing, value and believe system.
Governor Sule was represented by his deputy Dr.
He commended the effort of the association to sustain cultural values.
”We can only prosper as a people when we keep our culture alive.
I commend governor Simon Lalong for keeping the peace and I urge people of Plateau state to support him for greater development of the state, our relationship will continue for the good of our people,” Sule said.
Deputy speaker, House of Representatives, Idris Wase said Shendam has kept it’s status as headquarters of lower Plateau state by uniting the people noting, building Plateau state is a collective responsibility as such they should remain united.
He also said that the peace achieved through the efforts of the Governor was commendable as it was bringing people back to the state.
Wase further ascribed his emergence as deputy speaker to Governor Lalong’s resoluteness “come rain or sunshine we shall walk together for the sake of Plateau state, together we will define benefits that come to Plateau state.
”Today with the efforts of the Governor and members in the national assembly, the new polytechnic will take off in January as appropriation has been made for that.
”On the issue of electricity, one billion naira has been earmarked for electrification of southern Plateau state,” he announced.
Governor Simon Lalong who expressed joy over the festival said the threat to indigenous languages by English and other languages means the Gamai people must rise to help children and youth speak the Gamai language.
Lalong said as part of the legacy projects the Shendam by pass, Ajikamai / Shimankar road, the longest bridge in Plateau state and other projects are being completed for the benefit of the people, “all I need is peace for security to be sustained and projects such as the federal polytechnic Nyak, hospitals and other developmental infrastructure will come to the state for good of the people”.
The governor condemned the kidnap of the Paramount traditional ruler of Gindri, the Sum Pyem, Charles Dakat Mato describing it as a desecration of traditional institution promising to deploy technology to stem the tide of kidnappings in the state and condoled the Mwaghvwu traditional council on the death of the Paramount leader.
Lalong commended organisers of this year’s Bit Gamai judging it a lot better than previous years urging them to be innovative in the years ahead.
Chief executive officer Institute of Human Virology, IHVN, Dr Patrick Dakum said ” festivals such as Bit Gamai are a platform for unity and togetherness, with so many cultural festivals it is important to harness them from the ward level into a money spinner for the state being the home of peace and tourism”.
Dr Dakum a governorship aspirant in Plateau state believes ” harnessing the cultural potentials of Plateau state will generate millions in revenue especially with innovation and packaging to attract tourists for m within and outside the state.
Bit Gamai, which attracts citizens, friends and admirers of the Gamai people from across the country, is an old cultural festival on the Plateau where the rich cultural heritage of the Gami people is put on display, This is in dressing, food, masquerades, drumming and dancing.
Over one hundred million naira was raised for the construction of the Gamai Unity house and museum.
Bit Gamai is the festival that closes the year while Bit Pol, which holds on first January ushers in the new year with drums and dancing in Plateau state.
Bit Gamai Festival: Community Raise Funds for Cultural Center