BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
LAGOS—As the eight-day Lagos carnival ended yesterday, the Federal Government called for the inclusion of more local content in such carnivals in the country.
Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State, however, urged residents to be vigilant and peacefully coexist among themselves, saying; “This is the only panacea to boost tourism in the country.”
Minister for Tourism, Mr. Edem Duke made the call at the Tafawa Balewa Square, venue of the carnival tagged ‘Lasgidi 2014.’
Duke said that this would further boost the nation’s economy and expose the rich culture of the country to the world, saying “it will embellish the carnival. We don’t want people to criticise us for maintaining the Caribbean style of carnival or festival alone.
“We must enhance the local content through the carnival. From Badagry, Epe, Ikorodu and others, there must be some indigenous or local content in the carnival.”
Speaking on the benefits of carnival, Duke said “I also see an opportunity in organising carnivals, so there is need for us to develop it as a means to attract tourist to the country.”
The minister explained that carnivals were the only time old and young converged at a particular venue to have fun.
He said “To develop this, we need to have a carnival institute. With the institute, Nigerians can be certified as professional costume designers for carnivals. With such certificate, one can go to anywhere in the world to design costumes for carnivals and festivals.
“The Lagos carnival has over the years attracted large crowd but I still see a lot of potentials in terms of the development of costumes.
“The Calabar is almost ten year old and so it has benefited a lot because of the number of years it has existed.
“We must work to ensure that these and other carnivals go beyond entertainment but to become an industry. Then whether it is the development of the content, dance steps and choreography, designing of the costumes, media and others, all of these will be a value chain. And youths can find their own fulfilment, talents and ability in any of these areas.”
Addressing the over 60, 000 residents who thronged TBS, Fashola said “this is the end of a whole week of fun from the regatta to the carnival.
According to him “This is the real spirit of Lagos. Little by little, we have built our own canival and it has grown from strength to strength.”
Tourists laud carnival
Tourists at the carnival yesterday commended the richness of the cultural heritage exhibited by participants at the carnival.
The tourists said the carnival was of high standard and could compete with similar carnivals globally.
Michael Duncan, a tourist from the U.S. said Nigeria was indeed blessed with diverse beautiful cultures.
He said he had watched the Brazilian Rio de Janeiro carnival, which he described as of same quality and standard as the annual Lagos carnival.
Alhassan Aziz, a tourist from the United Arab Emirate, said the carnival had become a yearly ritual for him and his family.
Miss Mario Roberto, an Italian, said she was attracted to the carnival by the display of African culture, colour and glamour.
“I enjoy the music and the food and the hospitality too,” she said.