The Honourable Minister for Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke has said that 15 countries have indicated their readiness to participate in the 2013 edition of the Abuja National Carnival, which is scheduled to kick off in Nigeria’s Federal Capital from 23rd-26th November, 2013.
Disclosing this, Thursday, 14th November, 2013, at a pre-carnival press briefing in Abuja to announce the Carnival of the Nigerian Centenary, Duke stated that the participating countries include Cameroon, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Zimbabwe, China, Saudi Arabia, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The minister expressed delight that the carnival has come at a time where the rest of the world will be focused on Nigeria, the biggest black nation on the face of the earth, with a people of immense cultural diversity, and a people whose culture and creative industry had redefined the shared strength of Africa and its creativity.
“This is a season for the celebration of carnivals around the country and you all will recall that as soon as Abuja Carnival kicks off, there will be a relay of carnivals across the country. There will be the Calabar Carnival, Carnival in Rivers State (Carniriv), Bayelsa Carnival, the Enugu Fiesta and, of course, the Special Celebration of Christmas that is usual with Akwa Ibom state and so on,” he said.
According to him, Abuja Carnival, the biggest festival on the African continent, was growing and acquiring a truly international flavour and the 2013 edition will not only witness the usual great performances, street parade, children’s programme, masquerade performances, boat regatta, and cultural presentations, but will be enhanced with the introduction of an operatic performance by Opera Abuja, adding that there is also going to be an art exhibition by some distinguished artists.
Reiterating that carnivals are not just seasons of revelry but veritable opportunities for nations to boost their economy, Duke recalled how countries like the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have converted carnivals into what Nigeria is using oil to do, talk less of China that had embraced civilization for centuries and had used festivals and carnivals as platforms for national cohesion and the expressions of the creativity of the youths and children.
Laying specific emphasis on Trinidad and Tobago, the minister appreciated particularly, the enthusiastic spirit from Trinidad and Tobago stressing that Nigeria desires to learn the intricacies of carnivals from them as an economic tool for the development of creativity and promotion of enterprise, job creation and wealth creation.
While expressing optimism that Abuja Carnival 2013 will present a wide range of colours, Duke maintained that the states of the federation will be coming in their splendour and for them, it is perhaps a carnival that nobody should miss, which explained the high level of enthusiasm from the various states.
He also disclosed that there were various collaborative platforms for Abuja Carnival 2013, saying that while partners like Airtel Nigeria will be supporting the command performance, MTN Nigeria will be partnering the carnival in the musical concert, while Guinness Nigeria will support the street parade; and that Phase III Telecoms, Nigerian Breweries, Honeywell, Televarez and Julius Berger, will also support the carnival in one aspect or the other.
Duke also disclosed that, for the very first time, ABC Transport Company will be partnering the carnival as the official carrier of the carnival troupes, especially international delegates, and that the company had provided two choice double-decker buses, with open roofs, to enable visitors from the participating countries and other tourists to see Abuja, Nigeria’s beautiful Federal Capital Territory.
Dignitaries present at the press briefing were the High Commissioner of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Mr. Nyahuma Obika, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Nigeria, H.E. Deng Boqing, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, the Artistic Director, Abuja Carnival, Professor Ojo Rasaki Bakare, the Director-General, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mr. Mike Omeri, and Director-General, National Commission for Museums and Monuments, Mallam Yusuf Usman Abdallah.
Meanwhile, the Executive Secretary of the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (NICO), Dr. Barclays Foubiri Ayakoroma, was represented by three Directors in the Institute, namely, the Director Admin & Human Resources, Barr. Abayomi Oyelola, mni; the Director, Finance & Accounts, Mr. Godson Ordu; and the Acting Director, Orientation & Cultural Affairs, Mr. Alex Omijie.