...Port Harcourt celebrate centennary
Still growing and as fabulous as ever, this festival might just be the ticket to get you in the mood this festive season of December judging from what was unveiled last week at the World Media Conference in the historic Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt.
Rivers State Government has formally flagged off activities for the 2012 edition of its internationally acclaimed cultural carnival, popularly referred to as CARNIRIV, declaring its intention to make the annual event one of the world' biggest cultural festival.
The colorful affair included introduction of carnival theme song to the public, goodwill message from the carnival ambassador, former Miss world Agbani Darego represented by Ibinabo Fiberesima, stage dance from Owembe Cultural group of Obiakpor, light refreshments and a detailed programme of what to expect during the week- long festival. Mc of the day was Yibo koko.
Described as one of the oldest carnival in Nigeria, CarniRiv is going into its 5th season since its revival in 2008 (established since 1988 and suffered a lull until its revival) and promises another week of rich socio-cultural showcase.
Interestingly, this year's, coincides with the commemoration of the 100 years existence of the City of Port Harcourt with its theme "Reminiscing our past and consolidating our future.
Security amidst interesting content is what world-class carnivals are made of and CarniRiv is not slacking in this area with security of visitors and indigenes ranking high on its list. The commissioner, who added that CARNIRIV is the second largest cultural event in Nigeria currently, revealed further that the government also desires to make CARNIRIV one of the most sought-after cultural fiestas in the world by tourists. To this end, he said the state government was doing all that was necessary to make it like no other carnival in terms of planning, content, logistics, security, attendance and participation among others.
"A carnival is about big media, big mobilisation and big performance, and we are improving on these at every yearly edition of CARNIRIV", he said while assuring prospective guests and tourists that the carnival would be an unforgettable experience.
"The government of Rivers State, over the past five years, has been consistent in its efforts to make CARNIRIV a tool for cultural revival. That is, the articulation of the special values and customs of the people into a whole sellable package. In Rivers State, we are a people founded on unique good values which we express in the way we live and interact with others", Imegbu said.
Dr. Sam Dede, the Director-General, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency, RSTDA, speaking on the level of preparedness for CarniRiv 2012, said government is desirous of making this year's event one of the major platforms to bring about significant economic well-being and empowerment for the people of the state. "CARNIRIV will evolve into a recognizable global brand beyond the imminent demands of 2012 edition. Our projection is to make it a carnival brand of reckon and a recognisable global brand that would become the biggest cultural fiesta by 2015, in terms of impact, benefits and attendance. And also have its financial autonomy", he declared.
On the activities lined up for the carnival, he stated that the carnival would be kick-started on Saturday, December 8 with a Stage Performance entitled King Jaja, which renders momentous account of the earliest migrations of the Riverine peoples onto the precipice of Western reckoning. Another activity is the Old Port Harcourt Town Groove, this is designed to enliven the fond memories of the city.
Other activities include kids Carnival in demonstration of the importance attached to children. Carnival Praise Jam is meant to uplift and inspire the added spiritual ambience for which Port Harcourt is renowned. Local and international groups including Soweto Gospel Choir from South Africa are expected to feature during the praise jam.
There will also be the unveiling of the Carnival Monument one of which is the CARNIRIV '88 monument. The old carnival monument is the symbol of CARNIRIV, the oldest carnival in Nigeria established in 1988, has just been renovated. The second is the new CARNIRIV monument, a towering monument to mark the Port Harcourt 100 Edition of the Carnival.
CARNIRIV 2012 Colloquium, a forum for intellectual discourse on issues that border on the state and nation, is another A-list event outlined for the carnival with the Nobel Laureate; Prof. Wole Soyinka expected to give the keynote address.
Monday, December 8 is the grand official opening of CARNIRIV 2012 and it will commence with the opening of the Carnival Village by Governor Rotimi Amaechi with elaborate display of fireworks. Also to feature are Dance of Fireflies (DOFF), a nostalgic retrospection into the ancient ageless fireplace gatherings of indigenous African tribes and Rhythm of The Tribes in which the 23 local government areas will parade the best of their cultural heritage.
Hosh Jam, a reminiscence of the old highlife style of the people, International Aquatic Fiesta well as the Black African Music Festival (BAMFest), a celebration of the black African heritage will also be on display, among several other events designed to make CARNIRIV 2012 an unforgettable experience.
For a city that prides itself on its rich Reggae heritage, international reggae stars such as Shaggy, Patra and jam on 13th Dec. Morgan heritage from Jamaica would perform at the Reggae 360, another star attraction of the event. The weeklong CARNIRIV 2012 will be rounded off with a World Peace Concert amidst a rhapsody of spectacular fireworks.
From wrestling competitions t to international Aquatic Fiesta where stage performance is on water to International Heritage Parade with 23 local governments areas in participation (400 participants per local government area and 33 floats), CarniRiv promises a week of fun and more, so isn't this enough reason to come expectant.