The 2010 Abuja Carnival Management Committee has named a Nigerian industrialist and philanthropist, Chief Gabriel Igbinedion, the Esama of Benin, as the Grand Patron of the national carnival. The investiture which took place at his Maitama Mansion was held on Tuesday 19, 2010 amidst pomp and pageantry.
Performing the investiture that was attended by friends of the Esama of Benin and the diplomatic community among others, the Honorable Minister of Tourism, Culture, and National Orientation, Alhaji Sadiq Abubakar Mohammed, said, “We are gathered here today to add a very essential element to the Nigeria’s national carnival ‘Abuja Carnival’ to install a carnival Grand Patron.”
According to the minister, who was very philosophical, “Human beings are so used to having support in their buildings that they often take for granted that a support determines how much weight a building can carry; it determines whether a building will rise to stor,y level or to be forever condemned to remain a bungalow; in bridges, it determines how much traffic the given bridge can carry and it is thanks to support, that man has been able to bridge troubled waters.”
With the aforementioned renditions, the minister noted that with such consciousness, “We are not only very careful of how we choose a Grand Patron who is expected to provide support to the carnival, but we also hold the personality in great reverence.”
Alhaji Sadiq opined that being a Grand Patron of the Abuja Carnival has two parts – it is a call to service and also an acknowledgment of service already rendered.
He stressed further that the call to service aspect lies in the future, but it presents one mystery to us, having found the carnival a Grand Patron that has demonstrated a rare and ideal combination of ability and willingness to serve.
Responding, Chief Igbinedion thanked the minister and the 2010 Abuja Carnival Management Committee, saying that of all the recognitions that he has received in his life so far, he cherished his national award and the newest one – Grand Patron of the carnival – which he promised to use his time and contact to position as a world-class event.
Earlier, the father of the 2010 carnival, former Chief Justice of the Federation-Rtd., Justice Alfa Belgore, thanked Chief Igbinedion for accepting to serve as the carnival Grand Patron. The highpoint of the investiture was a class performance by Alele Cultural Organization from Edo State and an impeccable citation of the Grand Patron by Professor Ojo Rasaki Bakare, artistic director of the 2010 Abuja Carnival.