The event which held at the Eagle Square in Abuja was preceded by a procession which commenced from Area 1, Garki, Abuja by contingents from participating states of the federation and visiting cultural troupes drawn from ten countries across Asia, Europe and America.
Delivering her address at the occasion, Patience Jonathan expressed delight for the opportunity afforded her to be part of the celebration. She noted that the Abuja National Carnival has paved the way for the country to showcase its diverse cultural performances and congratulated the state governments and participants for contributing to the colourful displays.
She also commended the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke for presenting the 2012 carnival tagged: “Carnival of Peace and Harmony”, saying it will serve the purpose of bringing different groups of people in the country together as a platform for highlighting cultural values. “Significant in the history of the carnival is the participation of countries from different parts of the world. This means that the carnival is growing towards a new dimension”, she said.
Patience Jonathan noted that as a world tourism development associate, she is willing to partner on tourism initiatives towards upholding the Nigerian tourism sector and urged stakeholders and the private sector to extend their support through sponsorship of tourism programmes.
The first lady appealed to Nigerian women and youths to embrace the theme of the carnival; adding that they ought to participate in the promotion of the values of unity and cultural harmony.
Patience promised to give her support through the women first ladies forum towards improving the Abuja Carnival and making it a world tourism destination. She welcomed all international and local guests to the occasion.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Edem Duke reiterated that the Abuja Carnival has become an all important programme for cultural promotion as well as tapping into the tourism potentials of the country as source for economic growth and social stability.
“Tourism is rising to be the mainstay of the Nigerian economy. It is contributing towards making Nigeria the destination for the African continent”, he said.
Participants and cultural enthusiast while expressing their views on the 8th edition of the carnival revealed that apart from featuring images of traditional practices which are of value to the country’s peoples, the heritage history, belief systems and lifestyles of different socio-cultural groups are being captured in the displays, songs and performances of the carnival.
On the economic development aspect of the cultural fair it provides, they mentioned that the market brands are sources of income which contribute to the growth of the family. They added that the carnival provides forum for exchange of views and ideas on cultural development among experts and artistes. Events slated for Sunday November 25, 2012 were revealed to comprise : the Durbar to hold at the Equestrian Centre at 9.00am, children fiesta at the Millennium Park in Asokoro and boat regatta scheduled for the Jabi Dam.