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Abuja Carnival: Hoteliers say they’re being sidelined

The President of the Association, Mr. Tomi Akingbogun, said HOFA which was established in 2002, is ready to assist the Federal Government to develop tourism…

The President of the Association, Mr. Tomi Akingbogun, said HOFA which was established in 2002, is ready to assist the Federal Government to develop tourism in Nigeria.

In his response, the Minister assured that his ministry will henceforth, involve them in any of their activities in the country. “The ministry will continue to cooperate with HOFA so as to deliver effective service to the society”, adding that, “there is need for you to continuously train your staff because they are the first point of contact with tourist coming into the country. He urged them to uphold their capacities and skills.  There is also need to standardise the cost of hotels across the country.”

In another development, the Botswana Commissioner of Tourism, Mr. Clifford Maribe, has said Nigeria and Botswana have no existing cultural and educational co-operation, but noted that signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to promote cultural ties between the two countries will help share experiences in a more formal environment. Mr. Maribe made these remarks when he visited Alhaji Abubakar Mohammed.

Alhaji Mohammed said Nigeria and Botswana have so much in common to share which involves strong ties for cultural agreement.  

He said the Federal Government will give unreserved attention to Zuma Rock. He said there is need to create an enabling environment for the development of the tourist sites as he received a delegation from the Niger State Ministry of Culture and Tourism headed by the Commissioner, Alhaji Abubakrar Chika Adamu.

He lauded the efforts of the Commissioner for promoting culture and tourism in the state, pointing out that the development of tourism requires a collective responsibility. “Your promotion of tourism is known to Nigerians and we hope that together with you we will find investors to make the Zuma Rock a tourist site.”

Alhaji Mohammed explained that developing the Zuma Rock as a tourist site will help villagers within the vicinity to display their arts and crafts which will help promote tourism in Nigeria.

According to him, the Ministry has many packages to partner with Niger State, adding that the proximity of the state to the Federal Capital Territory enhances the keenness to promote culture in Nigeria.

The Commissioner had earlier stated that Niger State is a centre of tourist attraction in Nigeria and “we are here to discuss with you the way forward in terms of developing tourism in the country.”

He expressed worry that many tourists’ sites were not being tapped. “We have sites that have not yet been tapped like the Zuma rock, Zungeru colonial site, where the amalgamation took place, Gurara waterfalls, Bida brass, among others”. He suggested the building of a cultural village around Zuma Rock to comemorate Nigeria’s golden jubilee. This, he said will help promote culture in the country.

Meanwhile, the Minister has announced activities for this year’s Abuja Carnival tagged, ‘The Jubilee Carnival’, slated for November 27 to 30. This year’s event will begin with a stakeholders’ meeting on July 31 followed by a pre-carnival open-air concert, a Sponsors’ Forum as well as a potpourri of sensitization activities to sustain mass mobilization towards the carnival proper.

He also said there will be workshops in the six geo-political zones which will serve as a quality control mechanism to ensure states comply with artistic, technical and aesthetic vision of the 2010 Abuja Carnival.

This edition will comprise a Main Street Carnival and an  opening ceremony, cultural night, exhibition and traditional cuisine, youths and children’s programme, durbar, masquerade, boat regatta, command performance and contemporary musical fiesta. The event will end with a second street carnival and the closing ceremony.

Regarding the likelihood of the carnival reflecting the celebration of Nigeria at fifty, the artistic director of the carnival, Prof. Ojo Bakare Rasaki said that the Carnival is not an item on the agenda of the Nigeria @50 celebrations and also not a national festival. However, he said, it is tagged ‘The Jubilee Carnival’. “This is so that we can elevate the aesthetics to make it good enough to celebrate Nigeria at fifty.

Responding to questions regarding the tonic of this year’s outing against the backdrop of the seeming recurring events in spite of the many promises of new introductions, the artistic director of the carnival, Prof. Ojo Bakare Rasaki explained that, “worldwide, the carnival content is not changed. The only difference is the packaging and the aesthetic statement and artistic presentation of the package. This not withstanding, we have made changes. The concept and venue for the Durbar will be different this time around so that we can have a display the way we want it rather than the restricted manner it has been presented in the past. Also, the contemporary music fiesta will have a different approach this year from what it has been.”

He informed that seven countries have indicated interest to participate with South Africa and The Gambia already confirmed.

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