President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday Saturday 27th November 2010 declared open Nigeria’s national carnival, Abuja Carnival on an electrifying note with a 16 mile parade by participating states and amidst a call to the private sector to key into the opportunities presented by the carnival now in its sixth year.
Already supported massively by companies such as First Bank, Dangote Group, Dufill, makers of Indomie and among others, the President, represented by the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Mohammed called for even more support to make the annual event a global cynosure, “in this respect, we expect the organized private sector to take greater role in the financing both as a matter of corporate social responsibility and as investment.”
He noted that the global trend is for private companies to lubricate such occasions with private capital and thereafter cited benefits to the organizations.
The president had earlier linked the carnival, as a cultural and tourism event to the broader vision of the country’s aspiration to be one of the 20 most competitive economies by 2020. Quoting from the Vision 20:20:20 Document, he said, ‘The needs of the country must include the development of the culture and tourism sector in order to provide ample opportunity through which Nigeria can enhance its economic potentials’.
He promised to give the carnival the necessary support to attain prime position in the world, ‘Abuja carnival was not designed to be just another addition to the community of carnivals. As a national carnival of the word’s largest black nation, it can only be successful if it becomes one of the best, most visited and most colourful carnivals.
He enjoined Nigerians to identify with the carnival and make it their own.
Earlier in an address, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation represented by the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji. Ibrahim Mahe welcomed all to the event and noted that this year’s event coincides with the 50th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence.
He noted with pride, the participation of three other countries, Canada, India and Egypt.
This, he reiterated the carnival’s objectives of facilitating national unity. “It is our aspiration that Abuja carnival shall keep growing and eventually attain its pride of place as an internationally acclaimed cultural and tourism product as envisaged in the vision 20:2020”.
Also speaking, the Father of the Carnival, Rtd. Justice Alfa Belgore explained that, when the carnival was first conceived, it was for it to be an autonomous venture, non-profit making, but a veritable event that will annually be in the expectation of Nigerians, our great continent and the world in general.
According to him, Nigeria is a wonderful country, endowed with unlimited wealth in every sphere, with diversity of cultures and climates; it needs stability to be among world great economies and powers.
The Carnival is a four –day event which commenced with a street carnival that started at Area one through to the Eagle’s Square. Day two will see the hosting of a children’s Fiesta, Durbar, Traditional Food Fair and a Cultural Night.
There will be a Masquerade Fiesta on day three along with a Boat Regatta and Command performance.
The last day of the carnival is expected to have a second street procession and the closing ceremony.