We cannot negotiate participation for Abuja Carnival…Duke

Posted: December 12, 2012 in travel & tourism

edem duke, tourism ministerMinister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has dismissed calls for the Abuja Carnival Management Committee (CMC) under his ministry, to engage interest groups and the organized labour in the area of mobilization for subsequent editions of the Abuja carnival.

Fielding questions from journalists at the just-concluded Abuja Carnival in Abuja, Duke said issue of the relatively low turn-out that characterized the Abuja Carnival could not have been due to the absence of mobilization, but instead the dearth of funding that could have gone into strengthening mobilization mechanism already in place.

The minister who also noted that the concept of the carnival did not accept negotiated participation, further stressed that if the funding was made available in time, a better carnival can always be organized even with the structures on ground.

“It’s not a problem of mobilisation but of funding. Carnival attracts spontaneity. You cannot go and negotiate participation, especially the interest groups. It attracts spontaneity on its own. I am not bothered about what you call non participation of interest groups. I am not even keen on filling the stands. If I am then we can always go and hire a crowd to fill those stands and make a good show and once you have paid up the crowd they leave. It’s about the people wholly buying into it, that is, participation. And this will take a bit of time because we are looking at positioning and repositioning.

“We look at some of the images conveyed and you see that there’s a lot of difference from previous years. But you must also understand that when you are talking about mobilization, you know that in our peculiar nature it’s not about crafting nice messages, instead it’s about the resources to back those messages to enable them to get into the nooks and crannies of the country.

“If you give me the resources I can tell you the things I can do with it six months ahead. So in terms of mobilization, it heavily depends on making the funding available on time. You can craft all the nice messages you want and on the day of the carnival if my spirit doesn’t tell me come out and watch I will certainly not even come out to see the carnival.

It would be noted that the Eagle Square melting pot of events at the 2012 Abuja Carnival witnessed fewer crowd attendance, as many posit that last year’s edition was considerably better from this edition.

However, observers are also quick to commend the carnival management committee for going ahead to stage the carnival in the face of security challenges that daily threaten the northern regions of the country, moreso with the participation of a record 12 countries at the carnival.

Many also noted the seriousness and competitiveness of participating state contingents and troupes compared to previous editions when they simply made up the numbers., although they express fear that except urgent attention by the federal government is not given to the carnival by way funding, the whole essence of a cultural platform to showcase the country’s tourism potential, which the Abuja Carnival represents, might tarnish.

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