Lagos State has concluded plans to hold this year’s culture carnival on the mainland, specifically on Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja on Sunday, December 3. The event starts from 12 noon till late in the evening. The entire industrial road stretch would be closed to traffic to accommodate the carnival revellers, as it would be turned into a carnival arcade that would bring the best of Lagos and other cultures resident in the City of Aquatic Splendour.
Carnival floats, dances, music of all genres, ranging from pop to traditional and other culture offerings would be performed by stars as well as other displays that add colour and enchantment to the usual Lagos’ glitz.
Acting Commissioner for Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture and Special Adviser to Governor Akinwunmi Ambode, Hon. Adebimpe Akinsola, made the disclosure last week in Alausa, Ikeja, while briefing journalists about the activities of the carnival, held last year on the island part of the city. She said the carnival would touch down on the mainland to herald the Christmas season.
According to her, “We recently rolled out activities that will start the end of year programme, that is Lagos Carnival. It will happen on Sunday, December 3, 2017 on Oba Akran Avenue, Ikeja to herald the end of the year activities. There will be joy, merriment, entertainment and all of that. When you talk about carnival, it is to showcase all the diversity of cultures in Lagos State. There is going to be floats up and down Oba Akra; people will be dancing, showcasing diverse cultures from different local governments and some other ethnic groups resident in Lagos.
“Last year, it was done on the Island; but this year, we are bringing it to the mainland and, of course, next year, we will be looking at another location. The aim of government is to take this programme all around Lagos. So, it is not a programme that will be static in one place, but it will move round Lagos State. Why is this so? Because His Excellency, the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, since his inception as governor, promised Lagosians that he is going to run a government of inclusion, where no one will be left behind, not in terms of infrastructure alone, but in every sphere of governance and he has been doing that systematically.”
Akinsola also restated the state’s commitment to using tourism, hospitality, entertainment and the arts to achieve excellence and change the narrative of Lagos, as a tourism destination.
She added, “So, come December 3, we invite all Lagosians to come enjoy themselves. The programme is not for adults alone; the children are also going to have their own corner. Families will have their corner to enjoy. We have a lot of artists from different perspectives. We have hip-hop artistes, traditional artistes, gospel and the rest of them. At the same time, we have cultural groups that will display on that day.”
While many would enjoy the different cultural offerings on display, Akinsola said Lagos Carnival would also present opportunity for small-scale business people to showcase their wares for patronage as a way of boosting their fortunes.
According to Akinsola, “Even though we create an environment for people to enjoy themselves, it is also an environment for small-scale businesses to come and sell their goods. People selling drinks, roasted fish, asun, and the rest would take advantage because a lot of them have been allocated spaces to sell their products.”
However, Akinsola emphasised that while Lagos State Government is the promoter of the carnival, its funding is private-sector driven. Although names of sponsors were not disclosed, she said many corporate citizens had indicated interest to sponsor the carnival as it happened in the last edition and also with the rested One Lagos fiesta.
“We are not even looking at what is happening now, but we are looking at the sustainability of the carnival,” she said. “That is why we are not using government’s money to fund it because another government may come tomorrow and not be interested in it. This is why we want it privately-run so that it can go on and be sustainable.”
Also, security of carnival-goers is of priority to government, as Akinsola noted, “Security of life and property of that area is also important. We are going to close some roads. The Ministry of Transport and LASMA are on top of it and we will be announcing as we go the areas in which vehicles will park. We have changed some routes for vehicles to move and for people to move. There are designated areas where people coming from other areas can actually park and take a shuttle to the arena.”
With Lagos Carnival, Lagos continues to dictate the pace of cultural offering to its citizens. Akinsola noted that the aim is to bring Lagos Carnival to the standard of London’s Notting Hill Carnival and Rio’s Carnival and bring the entire world to Lagos.
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