Apart from the 36 States of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory, billed to participate in the 8th edition of the Abuja National Carnival, scheduled for November 24th-27th, 2012, fifteen countries have confirmed their readiness to participate in the Carnival.
The countries, which spread across Asia, South America, Africa and the Caribbean, are Botswana, Cameroon, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Namibia, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The Honourable Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, made this known on Friday, November 16, 2012, at the SilverBird Galleria, Central Business District, Abuja, while briefing the media on preparations towards Abuja Carnival 2012.
Describing the development as the beginning of the efforts to mainstream Abuja Carnival in the global carnival circuit, Duke attributed it to the determination to make the Carnival that holds in the most populous black nation on the face of the earth, a truly international event that draws participation from all over the globe.
According to him, “It is not only the determination of the present administration that Abuja National Carnival will transform the expression of the cultural orientation and values of our people, but will also be a platform for youths, women and special groups to express their creativity and use culture as an enterprise to ensure that we escalate the understanding of the creative industries.”
To this end, the Minister said the 2012 edition of Abuja Carnival is set to witness very large participation of women, which will be led by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, as well as the National Council of Women Societies, further disclosing that the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) has also confirmed their readiness as major participants at this year’s carnival, stressing that it is an opportunity for the expression of youth dynamism.
Another special activity that will feature this year at the Carnival is the participation and competition for schools, within and around Abuja, which, Duke said, was important in order to integrate the schools and communities within and around the Federal Capital Territory into the Carnival, to enable the identify with the carnival in the final analysis.
Since its inception in 2005, the carnival had been showcasing a maximum of nine events; but this year, fourteen events will be showcased which include, Street Carnival, Primary Schools Performances, Secondary Schools Performances, Opening Ceremony, Durbar, Children Fiesta, Food Fair/Bush Bar, Cultural Night, Masquerade Fiesta, Boat Regatta, Command Performance, Exhibition, Contemporary Music Fiesta, and Closing Ceremony.
Five Ambassadors of participating countries were present at the press briefing, namely, the Chinese Ambassador, High Commissioner of Trinidad and Tobago, The Ambassador of Egypt, Cuban High Commissioner, and the Deputy Head of Missions of the Republic of Sudan to Nigeria.
Others present were the Artistic Director, Abuja Carnival, Professor Ojo Rasaki, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mr. Chudi Nwandu, Director of Culture in the Ministry, Mr. George Ufot, Executive Director, National Council for Arts and Culture, Mr. M.M. Maidugu, Director-General, National Gallery of Art, Alhaji Abdullahi Muku, and the Executive Secretary, National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, who was represented by the Director of Orientation and Cultural Affairs, Mr. Festus Ihenetu.