The 2014 Abuja National Carnival which began on Tuesday seems to have witnessed a poor turnout of participating states with 30 states absent at the opening event.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the states did not put in any appearance at the street procession which usually marks the start of the event.
Only seven states took part in the opening event which was without the usual truck decorated with carnival floats in the street procession.
The state contingents which took part in the opening of the carnival are those from Kogi, Zamfara, Ebonyi, Niger, Akwa Ibom, Kano State and the FCT.
There was also in attendance the Ijaw Cultural Troupe.
As a major departure from previous events, carnival floats at the event were mounted on rick-shaws, popularly known as “Keke NAPEP’’.
There was also no presence of any foreign participation.
NAN report that the carnival, which has the theme “Building an Enduring Creative Nation’’ was almost cancelled some weeks ago due to the concerns of insecurity.
Some of the participants at the opening, who asked for anonymity while speaking with NAN, attributed the poor turnout to the security challenges facing the country.
Other patrons of the event said inadequate publicity was robbing the event of the glamour and expected gains.
Mr Bala Shuaib, an Abuja resident, said the carnival should be generating a lot of money if handled properly.
“Since the inception of the carnival, we usually just wake up to see the street blocked without prior information. This has always been the problem. It is time things are done properly.’’
Mr Olu-Martin Abe, another resident, said the carnival would have grown by now to a level where corporate bodies would be struggling to sponsor it if handled properly.
Malam Hasssan Mohammed, a civil servant, said the carnival could provide Nigerians the opportunity to show that the country was not all about Boko Haram, bombings, kidnappings and other social vices.
Mohammed said it was an opportunity for the country to erase the wrong impression the activities of the Boko Haram sect had created about Nigeria in the international community.
He, however, expressed dissatisfaction with the low turnout of participating states at the carnival.
The event continues on Wednesday with a durbar, cultural night, masquerade fiesta, boat regatta and command performance.(NAN)
But who will be expecting me to buy a ticket and fly to an FCT public gathering without considering the insecurity. I cant be present in such gatherings as long as this tenure is concerned.