The Abuja Carnival, which began on Saturday, has recorded poor turnout by the residents of the Federal Capital Territory.
Some of the residents, who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria, said the carnival should not be the priority of the Federal Government and that measures should be taken to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
NAN reports that this year’s carnival was devoid of the fanfare that characterised the event in the past.
Our correspondent also observed that some designated streets of the FCT usually decorated for the carnival looked ordinary.
Samuel Olawale, who was at a newspaper vendor’s stand while the street procession was going on, said that though there was a bit of awareness on the carnival, “the citizens are hungry.”
“I am aware of the carnival, flyers were distributed, but it is not masquerade dance that people want to hear. The President should know that people are hungry and are more interested in putting food on their table,’’ he said.
Afolabi Alade, a taxi driver around Area One, however disagreed with the respondent above, saying there was no public awareness.
“Other years when the carnival held, you would see the obvious signs on the road that the carnival was holding.
“This time around, we did not see the signs compared to other years where the Police would have barricaded the roads and vacated us from our parks,’’ Alade said.
According to him, the low awareness can be attributed to the lack of interest from the Presidency to project the carnival.
Naeema Abduraman, a spectator, also agreed that the turnout was low and not really eventful considering the insecurity in the country.
“The carnival does not look eventful and people did not come out that much unlike the previous years.
“There is also insecurity in the country which will discourage people from participating.
“Worse still is that the economic situation of the country is so bad and people will prefer to satisfy hunger before coming for carnival,” Abduraman said.
Blessing Ayiba-Dusa, who is the Head, Research, Documentation and Publication, Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, also agreed that the turnout of participants was poor compared to the previous years.
She said, “People didn’t really come out for the carnival and for sure it is due to the hardship in the country.”
“Whatever the situation is, the most important thing is that we are here to celebrate the common heritage and culture of our country.
“Bayelsa State is not regretting participating in the carnival, because we are celebrating one Nigeria.’’
The Abuja Carnival, which started as an annual event in 2005, is conceived to preserve and present the rich cultural heritage of Nigeria. As a form of cultural tourism, it is a platform to build bridges and enhance friendship.
The theme for this year’s carnival is ‘’The Creative Industry: A Pivot to Economic Growth.” It will end on December 6. (Punchng.com)