Abuja set for carnival
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohamed, early last week, took a tour of venues and facilities for the hosting of Abuja National Carnival 2019 coming up later in the month.
That was after he had paid a courtesy visit on the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Muhammad Bello, to intimate him of the level of preparedness as well as solicit his support towards a successful outing.
The visit marked a renewed interest in FCT minister towards the carnival as Bello pledged commitment, not just towards promoting diverse Nigerian cultures but also to showcase the beauty of the six area councils that make up the host city.
Some of the facilities toured in the company of FCT minister and his minister of state, Dr. Ramatu Tijjani Aliyu, include Kuje Stadium; Old Parade Ground in Area 10 as well as the popular Area 1 Roundabout.
With the theme, Culture for Peace, Information and Culture Minister, Mohammed, harped on the major objective of the cultural fiesta, which is to promote peace and national unity.
The carnival, which was initiated in 2005, brought with it so much excitement and drew acceptance nationally and internationally as a unifying cultural product. Unfortunately, funding challenges set in after the first two editions and since then, it has become a nightmare to successive Ministers as they struggled to fund the yearly event amidst scare resources.
However, last Tuesday’s outing seemed to rekindle the hope of enthusiasts and the art community that the carnival is in a healing process.
According to the culture minister, the carnival presents a strong platform for national unity as every state of the federation participates fully by showcasing their unique cultures.
The minister noted that even in the uniqueness and diversity of cultures, there are unifying elements in all of them. He, therefore, sought the assistance of his FCT counterpart towards a successful outing.
He said: “We come here to solicit your support towards a carnival that will be the talk of the town.”
According to him, the carnival will hold between November 23 and 25. The uniqueness of 2019 outing, however, is the plan to spread activities across the different area councils of FCT.
“We have decided to decentralize the carnival by going to various Area Councils of FCT so that the entire FCT will feel its impact”, the Minister stated.
He further revealed that this year’s outing would be showcasing about seven major events that will take place at seven different locations in the city to ensure that FCT residents feel the impact of the Carnival.
“It is about the people participating. We are here to seek your assistance and we are optimistic that you will rise up to the occasion since the carnival is a joint project between the Ministry of Culture and our host – FCT.
This year’s events will begin with a street carnival from the Old Parade Ground to Area 1. Durbar, which is one of the major attractions of the carnival, has been reintroduced and it will hold at Kuje Stadium while Boat Regatta takes place at the Jabi Dam.
There is also a children’s fiesta scheduled for Government Secondary School, Garki, Area 10. Other activities include masquerade fiesta, traditional cuisine fair, bush bar as well as a contemporary music show.
Some of the areas the federal government would be needing the assists of the host FCT for the events therefore include provision of accommodation for participants from across the country, event venues, medical services, management of human waste as well as adequate security for a hitch-free outing.
Others are decoration of venues and streets as well as traffic control, particularly during the street carnival.
Still speaking, the FCT Minister, Bello, listed some of the benefits of the carnival, which include improving the socio-economic activities in the city.
Stressing that funding has remained a huge challenge, the government should nevertheless consider the introduction of Fishing Festival into the carnival programmes in the coming year.
In her brief contribution, the Minister of State, FCT, Dr. Aliyu, stated that FCT will not shy away from her responsibility as host, despite paucity of funds.
She optimistically assured that the carnival will come out beautifully and outstandingly through partnership and collaboration of other relevant agencies.