As this year’s Port Harcourt Carnival (CARNIRIV 2013) climaxes this weekend, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State has said that the event offered immense opportunities for small and medium enterprises to thrive.
Speaking at the carnival opening ceremonies at the Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt during the week, Governor Amaechi expressed delight at the rising profile of CARNIRIV, which he said has become an iconic brand with wider appeal across geography and strata of society.
Amaechi said, “CARNIRIV is a platform for social interaction; with what I have seen I have no doubt that in the next couple of days we will be thrilled to what we consider the pride of our heritage by the foremost and oldest carnival in Nigeria. It gives opportunity, after our hard days of work, to mix and mingle in atmosphere of friendship.”
The governor assured visitors and participants that adequate security had been put in place to secure lives and properties, stating “To our visitors, we promise you that all efforts have been made to make sure that security is not compromised.”
Represented by the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Nnabs Imegwu, the governor said “Let me be sincere with you, in all the series of carnivals we have had, I have not seen a crowd as huge and intimidating as the one we are witnessing tonight. This is not just a carnival but a CARNIRIV. It promises all the theatrics of fun and entertainment.”
This year’s edition was kick started with the children’s version of the carnival called Kids’ Carnival during which the children advocated a culture of environment preservation to engender sustainable national growth.
Hundreds of school children who converged on Liberation Stadium, Port Harcourt were spectacular in their enthralling and creative costumes that encapsulated the essence of the first carnival in Nigeria.
importantly, their beautiful and creative carnival costumes reflected the theme for this year’s CARNIRIV dubbed the ‘Green World Edition.
The lads in their renditions and messages emphasised responsible environmental culture by all and sundry to stem the current global warming, while calling on all stakeholders to show more concern by doing everything possible to curtail activities which could impact negatively on the environment.
Apart from the matched dance steps, well-choreographed body swings and acrobatic display, their messages of environmental responsibility were very strong and captured in very emotional phrases like “say no to marine debris”, “give a hoot, don’t pollute”, “say no to plastic, say no to trash”, “trash is dangerous, dispose your waste properly.”
Speaking on their excitement and involvement in this year’s CARNIRIV, Miss Elizabeth Ucheawaji and Master Chigozie Obikwere, both pupils of Government Secondary School, Elekahia, said the message of environmental sustainability could not be over-emphasised because “our environment is our heritage.”
“CARNIRIV is a very big event for us in Rivers State, and I love what is going on here this year. The environment is crucial for our survival, we must take care of our environment”, Ucheawaji said.
On his part, Ucheawaji declared, “I am happy to be part of the contingent, and also to speak on the issue of our environment. Without a sustainable environment, no human being, plant or animal can survive; this is why we must be responsible the way we handle our environment.”