BY BENJAMIN NJOKU
The Director General and CEO of the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, Dr. Sam Dede has said that this year’s edition of the state-owned cultural tourism brand: The Port Harcourt carnival,CARNIRIV, is set to go down in history as the most colourful and memorable carnival event ever witnessed on the African continent in recent times
Dede, an award winning actor and lecturer, gave the hint at a media interactive forum held in Port Harcourt to announce the 2014 edition of the carnival which is scheduled to hold from Sunday, December 14 through Saturday, December 20, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
He revealed that this year’s event has been repackaged to deliver value and cement Port Harcourt’s reputation as a foremost tourist city in Africa, hence the One Love, One People edition.
Speaking further, he said that an estimated number of over five hundred thousand participants made of residents, tourists, fun lovers and representatives of corporate bodies will converge on Port Harcourt during the one week duration of the carnival with estimated daily business exchanges running into several millions.
‘Because of the traditional high influx of carnival lovers to our city during our annual showpiece event, we have put in place adequate security measures to ensure the protection of lives and property during the entire duration of the carnival. We are also working with other stakeholders in the health and other key sectors to ensure that we create a conducive environment for our visitors,’ he said.
Dede also hinted about the technical innovation of the 2014 edition of the carnival. ‘This year, we are set to introduce our state-of-the-art performance stage spanning 140 feet and reputed as the biggest of its kind in Africa. The stage has the capacity to hold a large collection of performers at once and withstand heavy duty equipments and stage accessories. The stage will also be deployed for the first time for the benefit of sponsors in the areas of branding and related purposes,’ he said’
Chairman of the Board of Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, RSTDA, Deacon Vincent Erinwo assured that the RSTDA will judiciously expend every fund released by the government for the purpose of the carnival, reiterating that the carnival is a project that is dear to the heart of the Government and people of the state. On the series of activities lined up for this year and the new things tourists and the people should expect, he said, the include the Kids Carnival, Praise Jam, Dance of Fireflies, Keera – rhythm of the tribes, Egelege – champion of the sand arena and Hosh Jam. Others are the International Aquatic Fiesta, Black African Musical Festival (BAMFEST), Raggae 360, International Heritage Parade, Garden City Free Style Parade and the World Peace Concert. There will also be a beauty competition tagged, “ Miss Carniriv Beauty Pageant (MCBP)” as part of the carnival.
The pageant, slated for the 13th of December, is a special event that will herald the carnival and introduce the beauty of Port Harcourt and indeed Nigeria to the world. “I will also like to add that successful participants and fans alike are set to go home with unique prizes and gifts as a token of appreciation from the organisers. And there are more that we can not reveal in one sitting”, said Dede.