Rivers set to position Carniriv as world’s biggest carnival

Posted: November 2, 2012 in travel & tourism

Rivers State Government has formally flagged off activities for this year’s edition of its internationally acclaimed cultural fiesta popularly referred to as Carniriv2012, declaring it intention to make the annual event one of the world’ biggest cultural festival.

This year’s festival, which is branded Carniriv 2012Port Harcourt 100 Edition, will hold from Saturday 8 to Saturday 15, December 2012. It is being celebrated in a special way this year as it coincides with the commemoration of the 100 years’ existence of the City of Port Harcourt.

Addressing a world media conference at Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, on Thursday, where the detail programme of activities for this year’s Carniriv was announced, the state government also unveiled an advancement plan for the CARNIRIV brand with the projection to make it one of the world’s biggest cultural fiestas by 2015.

The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Nabs Imegbu, said the intention of the administration of Governor Amaechi was not just to make Carniriv a platform to project the rich cultural value of the people of the state, but to make it become a major pillar for the socio-economic growth of the state.

‘‘The government of Rivers State, over the past five years, has been consistent in its efforts to make Carniriv a tool for cultural revival; I mean culture in the broad sense of it.  That is, the articulation of the special values, customs and attitudes of the people into a whole sellable package. In Rivers State, we are a people founded on unique good values which we individually and collectively express in the way we live and interact with others’’, Imegbu said.

The commissioner, who added that Carniriv is the second largest cultural event in Nigeria currently, revealed further that the government also desires to make CARNIRIV one of the most sought-after cultural fiestas in the world by tourists. To this end, he said the state government was doing all that was necessary to make Carniriv 2012 like no other in terms of planning, content, logistics, security, attendance and participation among others.

‘‘A carnival is about big media, big mobilisation and big performance, and we are improving on these at every yearly edition of Carniriv, he said while assuring prospective guests and tourists that the carnival would be an unforgettable experience. He informed that his ministry and the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA) are collaborating to actualise the policy of the state government on cultural revival by according Carniriv its pride of place as a focal policy thrust of the Amaechi administration.

In his presentation, the Director-General, RSTDA, Dr. Sam Dede, stated that the growth potential for Carniriv was unlimited, and that was why the state government was projecting it to become a global brand with the largest support and attendance possible. ‘‘Carniriv will evolve into a recognizable global brand beyond the imminent demands of 2012 edition. Our projection is to make it a carnival brand of reckon and a recognisable global brand that would become the biggest cultural fiesta by 2015, in terms of impact, benefits and attendance,’’ he declared.

Dede added that the envisioned future for Carniriv also included its financial autonomy, stating that the era of dependence on government subventions was over. In the light of this, he explained that this year’s carnival has been packaged to attract more corporate sponsors as well as deliver greater return on investment. The director-general further gave a thumb-up for the carnival for its wide acceptance among the people while assuring that it would continue to impact the prosperity of the people.

On the activities lined up for the carnival, he stated that the carnival would be kick-started on Saturday, December 8 with a Stage Performance entitled King Jaja, which renders momentous account of the earliest migrations of the Riverine peoples onto the precipice of Western reckoning. Another activity is the Old Port Harcourt Town Groove, this is designed to enliven the fond memories of the city.

Other activities include kids Carnival in demonstration of the importance attached to children in Carniriv and by extension tourism development in the state while Carnival Praise Jam is meant to uplift and inspire the added spiritual ambience for which Port Harcourt is renowned. Local and international groups including Soweto Gospel, a choir from South Africa is expected to feature during the praise jam.

There will also be the unveiling of the Carnival Monument one of which is the Carniriv’88 monument. The old carnival monument is the symbol of Carniriv, the oldest carnival in Nigeria established in 1988, has just been renovated into a befitting memorabilia. The second is the new CARNIRIV monument, a towering monument to mark the Port Harcourt 100 Edition of the Carnival.

Carniriv 2012 Colloquium, a forum for intellectual discourse on issues that border on the state and nation, is another A-list event outlined for the carnival with the Nobel Laureate; Prof. Wole Soyinka expected to give the keynote address.

Monday, December 8 is the grand official opening of Carniriv 2012 and it will commence with the opening of the Carnival Village by Governor Amaechi. ‘This is an elaborate display of fireworks and it is meant to set the tone for a memorable opening ceremony with attendees enjoying all-round free access into the Carnival Village to view the artistic renditions of the different cultural climes  of Rivers State’’, Dede said.

Also to feature are Dance of Fireflies (DOFF), a nostalgic retrospection into the ancient ageless fireplace gatherings of indigenous African tribes and Rhythm of The Tribes in which the 23 local government areas will parade the best of their cultural heritage. Hosh Jam, a reminiscence of the old highlife style of the people, International Aquatic Fiesta as well as the Black African Music Festival (BAMFest), a celebration of the black African heritage will also be on display, among several other events designed to make CARNIRIV 2012 an unforgettable experience.

The rest are Raggae-360, International Heritage Parade, Old Port Harcourt Town Groove and Garden City Freestyle Parade. The weeklong Carniriv 2012 will be rounded off with a World Peace Concert amidst a rhapsody of spectacular fireworks.

In a goodwill message, former Miss World and Face of Carniriv 2012, Agbani Darego, expressed delight to be the face of the brand. ‘‘It’s great to return home; to familiar soil and the loving people of Rivers State for an occasion that celebrates our rich heritage and buoyant culture in all its splendour’’, she stated.

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