The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, has declared that the tourism and culture sector is vital in the transformation of the Nigeria economy

President Jonathan stated this at the opening ceremony of the seventh edition of the Abuja National Carnival 2011 just as the event has proved a means of reconciliation and avenue to bring about unity in the country. The event took place at Eagle Square, Abuja

The President, who was represented by the Vice President, Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo, said that if the tourism and culture sector is exploited, it can “diversify the Nigerian economy away from its dependence on oil and gas.’’

According to him, the Tourism and Culture sector has the potential of promoting the Nigerian economy using the rich and creative aspects of our arts, crafts, dance, music, traditional dresses and artifacts. The Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation is really keying into the transformation agenda of the present administration. I commend them and also urge them to intensify efforts in getting foreign investors and the private sector to invest in the tourism and culture sector. This will help the diversification drive of the Nigerian economy which this administration is committed to.’’

Meanwhile, there was street carnival where 28 states of the federation and Federal Capital Territory, moved from Area 1 through Area 10 to the Eagle Square. This was indeed a street party of sort with artistically designed carnival floats, rich costumes and ornaments of the states in Nigeria.

In the display, the states were conscious of the theme of the carnival, “Carnival of Reconciliation”, and tried as much as possible to portray that in their parade. For instance, Kaduna State had a fleet where a Bishop and an Imam were together with their religious symbols appealing to people for religious reconciliation.

Ebonyi State’s concept where four palms carried Nigerian map with all the 36 states surrounding the train portraying unity in diversity, which Bauchi state inscribed on their own train as “Unity for Nigeria”. Other reconciliatory messages inscribed on the floatss of various states are “Unity in Diversity”, “Say No to Militancy”, “Nigeria should be One”, etc.

Some of the States in the parade which took alphabetical order were Adamawa, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Benue, Borno, Kaduna, Kano, Kogi, Ondo, Osun, Ogun, Oyo, Ekiti, Niger, Rivers, Katsina, Zamfara, Kebbi states, Rivers, and FCT.

Egypt, India and Trinidad and Tobago are some of the foreign countries that participated in the parade.

Some states had masquerades and other cultural paraphernalia they are known for, which gave the 2011 Abuja National Carnival the impetus of Carnival of Reconciliation and the capacity that will really enhance unity, peace and social cohesion among the diverse cultural entities in Nigeria.

Nwagbo Nnenyelike, Jonathan Nicodemus and Caleb Nor
Corporate Affairs