It was a festival of colours, dance and excitement as thousands ofpeople trooped out Saturday for the grand finale of the Port Harcourt carnival (CARNIRIV).
Rivers State Governor, Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, led one group of participants from Government House, through Ikwerre Road, Olu Obasanjo Road to the GRA Junction on Aba Road. Another group took off from the Oil Mill Junction on Aba Road to the GRA Junction, where a panel of judges watched the star performance of the carnival bands.
An obviously excited Amaechi said the successful hosting of the week-long Port Harcourt carnival (CARNIRIV) is an indication that the peoples' and investors confidence in the state had been restored.
Amaechi said these while addressing journalists at the grand finale of the carnival in Port Harcourt yesterday.
"The fact that we have celebrated carnival for one week and all the hotels fully booked; my friends that came in yesterday we could not find any hotel for them and we had to find rooms for them in Government House, is an indication that investors confidence on the issue of security and the people has returned," he said.
He expressed satisfaction at the turn out of people and the excitement the festival had generated in the state.
He said, "It is very exciting to see your people beaming with smiles; they are celebrating, some even wanting to jump on you. 11 months of hard work and one week of celebration. It again re-assures you that you still have your people with you. It is a process by which you measure the acceptance of the people."
Amaechi said CARNIRIV was unique as it combined both the heritage and free style carnivals unlike other festivals in the country.
"This is Port Harcourt Carnival. We have the heritage carnival and the free style carnival. What is unique is the fact that we are able to combine the two traditions. The heritage carnival was wonderful. It was exotic. And you can see the excitement of today's free style carnival," he said.
He said the state had started the process of institutionalising the carnival as this year's festival was executed wholly by the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency and not by consultants as in past editions.
"For the first time, this year's carnival was not done by a consultant but by the commission we set up. So, we are beginning to institutionalise the carnival," he said.
What is your message to your people and the entire world on this carnival?