Abuja Carnival Experts differ on 2016 event

The 2016 Abuja Carnival has ended with Kogi state emerging the overall winner, followed by Bayelsa.

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Mr Robert Okoji, Director of Culture, Ministry of Information, Culture and Strategy, Abia has called on organisers of Abuja Carnival to accord priority to the welfare of contingents in subsequent edition of the festival.

Okoji made the call on Wednesday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) IN Abuja.

"The committee did not do a good job on the welfare of the contingents.

“It was challenging coming for this event with the economic recession. If not that Abia is blessed with a Governor that is culture friendly, we will not be here.

“We were still on the road on the day of the opening. We didn’t even come with our float because we couldn’t fund it.

“I believe we did well in all activities we have taken part in both at the cultural nite and the carnival dinner." Okoji said.

Okoji, who doubles as the South-East Coordinator, Abuja Carnival 2016, however, expressed delight that the event ended well.

Mrs Oluremi Melutia, the Director Culture, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Ogun, also expressed dismay over logistics which she noted was not well handled.

“I appreciate all the efforts to make 2016 carnival a reality but there were lots of problems with logistics such as accommodation, medicals, mobility among others.

“Contingents were sleeping outside, the ones that can afford alternative accommodation had to pay from the meagre money they had and probably budgeted for other things.

"Again, we must realise that money is very essential in a humongous project like this. I wish there will be an improvement next year,’’ Melutia said.

Mr Itodo Daniel, the Director Arts and culture, Ministry of Arts and Culture, Kogi also said that arrangement for the welfare of contingents was not too good.

“I can afford to get myself an accommodation if I choose to, but what about my contingents. So I decided to be sleeping outside with them.

“I am very grateful to God that all our suffering and perseverance paid off as we emerged the overall winner of the event’’ Daniel said

Mr Biodun Abe, Head, Organising Committee of Abuja Carnival and the Artistic Director, Federal Ministry of Information and culture, however, expressed satisfaction that this year’s festival was a success story.

“I am happy the carnival was successful, maybe not exactly as I would have loved it to be or as it use to be with almost all the states in attendance.

He said that irrespective of all the challenges experienced during the event, the aim of the carnival was not lost.

“The carnival is designed to give opportunity to participants to compete for awards in the various activities with the view of developing their creative abilities for economic empowerment.

“It is also a platform to present and preserve the rich intangible cultural heritage of Nigeria which abounds in the 774 Local Government Areas.

“It serves as magnet for the attraction of tourists into the country and the development of the tourism in the country.

“All these were achieved, not minding how little the impact was felt. We know that there were lots of lapses this time. The economic situation of the country contributed mostly to it,’’ Abe said.

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