By Dayo Johnson
Akure—As the 2010 edition of the annual “MARE FESTIVAL”, organised by Ondo State government at the weekend, no fewer than 35 school children from age ten and above were trained in the modern techniques and art of mountaineering by a team of mountain climbers from Spain during the fiesta.
The training of the young mountain climbers, which was described by some of the beneficiaries as an eye-opener in mountaineering, took place on some of the several hills dotting the ancient Idanre town for three days.
A media aide to the governor, Akinwale Oshodi, said in a statement in Akure.
The state governor, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, who presided over the three-day festival, told the participants that the government was committed to making Idanre a cynosure of all eyes around the globe through the continued promotion of the natural tourism endowments of Idanre Hills.
According to him, “as you all know, tourism has become one of the fastest growing economic sector in both the developed and the developing nations of the world.
“ Today no country can afford to neglect tourism. Ondo State is fortunate to be blessed in terms of tourism endowment of which Idanre Hills is one. “MARE FESTIVAL” was therefore conceived as an annual cultural event to promote tourism.
“Idanre Hills is an old heritage site with a peculiar landscape. In the pursuit of the 12-point agenda of my government, we are determined to develop Idanre Hills as a pilot project to launch Ondo State into the global tourism market.
“I want to assure all that the state government will fulfil all its obligations to those who excel in the various contests during this festival while we shall continue to be focused in our quest to make this MARE Festival become a world-class event in no distant time” Mimiko declared.
The governor presented prizes and awards to winners of the various competitions held at the fiesta.
They included the winner of the male category of the 20-kilometre Marathon Race from Akure to Idanre, 29 year-old Lance Corporal Stephen Jurbe of the 1 Division of Nigerian Army, Kaduna, the first and second runners-up.
Others include Tojbe Christopher of the Borno State Sports Council and Gowok Joshua of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps while Constable Jinatu Yohanna of Nigeria Police, Taraba State won the female category.