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Abuja Carnival

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BRIEF INTRODUCTION
The very first time the Abuja carnival was held back in 2005, it was amazing and since then has remained an event to look forward to every year .Each year offers different dazzling and spectacular display of the rich and diverse culture of one of Afrca’s richest countries:Nigeria.
The Abuja carnival showcases the creative spirit of the Nigerian people and their passon for festivity. This prestigious event is an assemblage of contingents from the 36 states of the country and of course the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. All states converge in Abuja on the set date at the given location and parade through the Abuja metropolis with each state making it’s own unique statement in whatever cultural ensemble, lifestyle or tradition that is theirs. Weeks and sometimes months after the carnival ends, one can still feel the charge of excitement surging through the city.
All over, Nigerian people are excited and ready for the lively parades, festive street parties, decorative floats, enlightening cultural exhibitions, fascinating boat regatta, dazzling masquerade extravaganzas, exquisite food fairs and upbeat music concerts. For three days,the people experience a phenomenal celebration to be remembered.
Some activities for the event include
• Durbar
This is an established cultural event commonly found among the people of Northern Nigeria. It is one of the world’s longest processions of horsemen and women and reveals the past glories of the Emirate before the influence of Western culture. The horses are clad in rich costumes and decorations and their riders are usually adorned with swords, polished and glinting and rich traditional headwear and robes.
• Boat Regatta
This is a display of the rich cultural heritage of the riverine people of Nigeria. They dance, gyrate and put up performances to thrill their audience. The Abuja Carnival parades this flamboyant and colourful regatta on the streets, as well as on the lake.
• Traditional Music and Dance
Nigerian tradition is music rich. It is said that music is the essence of Nigerian life.Some of the traditional music and dance performed include Koroso Dance Music from Kano State; the famous talking drum music in Western States; the Atilogwu from the Eastern part of Nigeria; Jarawa from Plateau; Ekemini music of Akwa-Ibom State; Swange dance of the Tiv to mention a few. Of course, all these traditional dances will be performed in both a traditional and contemporary manner and the music played will definitely include many other forms of contemporary dance.
• Static Sound Systems
DJ's playing contemporary international music from Africa, US, the Caribbean and Europe will be a major feature of the Abuja Carnival. Strategically positioned around the Carnival Route, they will encourage the cross cultural fertilisation between local art, culture and the international music scene.

• Cultural Parade
A parade that includes all cultural expressions of the people of Nigeria.
• Indigenous Circus show
The circus is made up of itinerant players who are mostly acrobats, comedians, fire-swallowers, jugglers, magicians, live animal handlers and jesters.
• Nigerian Cuisine
Suya,Eran Igbe Venison, Isi-ewu, Cow foot, Salted Meats, Fish, Pepper Soup,Ogi, Garri, Obe-Onigba, Obe Eja Dindin, Chin Chin, Puff Puff, Spicy Scrambled Egg, Waina, Akara, Fried Plantain, Kuli Kuli, Dodo Oni and many more delightful dishes to make your mouth and eyes water.
• Crafts exposition and lots more
Textiles; Leather craft; Carvings; Bronzes; Beads; Paintings; Plaited Baskets etc.
• Processional Route
The planning of this event starts a yer bfore the event
DATE
There is no particular fixed date for the carnival but it happens every last weekend in November.
VENUE
It kicks off with a parade from Eagle’s square and then a road show parade in Abuja metopolis and then proceeds to the Old Prade Ground in area 10, Garkior sometimes, back to to Eagles Square.
SWOT
Strengths and Opportunities
• It is a medium wherby Nigerians as a people come together to showcase and celebrate our country
• It enables participants to be creative each year
• It can be used to generate income and revenue
• It encourages the spirit of reconciliation and peaceful living
• Gives the people something to look forward to every November
Weaknesses and threats
• Sometimes there is a long hold up because the parade practically shuts down most streets
• There is a tendency to repeat the same thing year by year
• With the current security issues on ground, most participnts are little bit skeptic concerning their safety.
• Christian and Islamic leaders have strongly criticized the event and their reason being that it will showcase immorality.
SPOKESPERSON
The Minister of Culture and Tourism or the Chairman of the Planning committee is usually the spokesperson for the event
SPONSORS &SUPPORTING ORGANIZATION
The Federal Government has been the sole sponsor of this event. Supporting organizations include the Ministry of Culture and Tourism
PUBLICITY STRATEGY
• Posters
• Fliers
• Radio jingles
• Magazine and Newspaper adverts
• Billboards
• Street décor (cultural décor)
• Buntings
• Internet

CRITICIZING THE EVENT
The carnival has been a successful event but in 2010 it ws not really up to the standard. Tagged ‘the Jubilee Carnival’ to mark the country’s 50th independenc anniversary, the programme of events for the 2010 carnival kicked off on Friday, 26 November, 2010, at the Old Parade Ground, with cultural performance, among others. On Saturday, 27th November, 2010, at 9am, the street carnival and the opening ceremony took place at Eagle Square, while on Sunday 28 November, at 9am, the children's programme held at Millennium Park and other places, on Monday, 29 November, 2010 the masquerade parade and other performances took place before the final ceremony on Tuesday, 30th November, 2010 at Eagle Square. Lots of people were quitedisappointed to say the least asit turned out to be huge flop.
First of all the publicity was so poor that people actually got to know about the event only few weeks to the event. As of the 13th of October, the mrketing ws yet to kick off. For unknown reasons, theNigerian Tourism Development Corporation [NTDC], established to market and promote all of Nigeria’s tourism potentials within and internationally, were unwilling to do so. No explanation was ever given as to why the poor publicity and planning committee and the NTDC. The poor publicity awareness and marketing was rather alarming and disheartening.
Secondly, the rather poor planning of the event ws quite evident at the scheduled Durbar (an elegant parade and showcase of swordsmen and their well decorated and endowed horses) which had become a staple at the event, when a polo event was showcased instead of the prestigious Durbar. The Artistic Director, Professor Ojo Rasaki argued that polo was n equestin sport and also said that the number of states taking part in the Durbar was negligible and his committee could not be bothered to expend the huge sum of money that the participating states were asking for. Athough he later retraced his steps after realizing the implication of his unguarded outburst on Nationl Television and attributing the absence of the durbar event to the none release of funds from Governors of the participating who allegedly returned from Hajj the night before commencement of the carnival, the damage had already been made.
Thirdly, events that were held in previous years were cancelled and there ws no backup activity for them. One of the event that was cancelled completely from the Abuja carnival 2010 line-up was popular music which previously featured popular Nigerian artiste and was a major item that drew revelers in Abuja to the concert venue every evening for the duration of the carnival. The stage plays that was usually held on the cultural night were also cancelled. According to a report on the This Day newspaper, the cultural night at the Old Parade Ground was a quick fix that did not excite anyone at the venue; and it ended as abruptly as it started. The presentation could pass for an attempt by the organizers to provide an alibi.
Also sometimes the event can be quite predictable. I suppose that was what the planning team had in mind when they dcided to take off some activities from the event. In their bid to do so, they failed to come up withsome other activities to compensate or replace the others.
Finally, more private sectors need to sponsor the event. With more sponsorship, the event will be ale to run smoother with less hitches. At least if the ederal Government slashes down the budget or disappoints one way or the other, there will always be another avenue to get money tho host the event. Better hosting will draw more international tourist and that will boost the economy of thhe country.
AFTER 2010
It seems the plnning committee learnt from the mistakes of 2010 because 2011 was more exciting, more colourful and had better performances. Tagged ‘Reconciliation’ it was an improvement over past editions in terms of content, which skewed towards showcasing the contemporary artistic elements of the nation’s cultural heritage. If the rich and diverse contemporary cultural elements of the carnival content are anything to go by, this year’s edition, many believe experienced a paradigm shift (Uhuakheme, 2011).
2012 promises to be better then 2011.
IMAGES OF SOME CULTURAL WEARS

REFERENCES
Abuja Carnival. (2005). Retrieved November 18, 2012, from the Carnival Tv: http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/arts/life-midweek-magazine/27988-carnival-of-peace-unity.htm
Abuja Carnival 2010 Struggles Against Odds. (2010, December 4). Retrieved November 13, 2012, from THIS DAY LIVE: http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/abuja-carnival-2010-struggles-against-odds/72707/
GEORGE, L. O. (2010, October 13). Why Abuja Carnival remains the only viable tourism product for Nigeria. Retrieved November 11, 2012, from e Turbo News: http://www.eturbonews.com/19063/why-abuja-carnival-remains-only-viable-tourism-product-nigeria
Uhkheme, U. (2011, November 30). Carnival of peace, unity. Retrieved November 18, 2012, from THE NATION: http://www.thenationonlineng.net/2011/index.php/arts/life-midweek-magazine/27988-carnival-of-peace-unity.htm…...

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