By Jimoh Babatunde
The newly appointedÂ Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Abuja Carnival, Professor Rasaq Ojo-Bakare, has reveled that the carnival will be taken to the people.
He saidÂ the organisers hope to achieve the objective by opening up the show to community-based youth associations, age grades and occupational guilds.In a chat with journalists weekend in Lagos, Prof. Bakare noted that traditionally, carnivals belong to the people, but they have discovered that in the recent past, the carnivals have been staged far away from where the people stay.
â€œIf the original concept of the carnival was derived from the people, it must be returned to the people. For instance, since the inception of the Abuja Carnival, the events were done in Abuja along routes where there were only trees and flowers, as spectators. Henceforth, we donâ€™t want Abuja Carnival 2009 to be watchedÂ by trees and flowers, but by human beings. Weâ€™re looking forward to a carnival that can compare with Nottinghill and Rio De Janeiro carnivals.â€
While hinting that the carnival routes would be re-directed, Prof. Bakare said : â€œWeâ€™re taking the carnival route to the residential areas of Abuja. We want to change the former experience whereby people were never around to watch the carnival train, because the routes were lined by government offices and non-residential apartments.â€
The professional dancer and stage light expert who expressed sadness that the carnival in the past had been run without professionalism, disclosed that the new team will bring in the needed professionalism by improving on the content of the carnival.
He said the carnival will never become another NAFEST as it was in the past where the carnival was made to look like an imitation of NAFEST, as he disclosed that they are ready to tinker with the content of the carnival.
â€œThough we cannot change all this year, but from next year, we will be looking forward and not looking backward as we are looking at a cultural carnival that is adaptive.
He added: “This year, there will be a deliberate effort at promoting and preserving and also showcasing the nationâ€™s positive image through culture. In the first place, we will not condone nudity this time around. Artistes have to be decently dressed. We will also be improving on the grand performance so as to have a complete presentation as different from the past.â€
Prof. Bakare explained that Abuja Carnival 2009 is coming with the theme: Celebrate Nigeria.While he pointed out that the new format would not detract from the former, the scholar explained that â€œit still remains a cultural carnival. Weâ€™ll still use our local fabrics, props, songs, dance and props, but weâ€™ll be doing all that to express a theme that is contemporary and can move the country forward.â€