This year's Rivers State carnival, CARNIRIV, which ended last weekend in Port Harcourt metropolis was many things- music, colour, movement, but above all, it was the spectacle of the tribes.
The main attraction was the "Ekere: Rhythm of the Tribes", a display of the rich cultural heritage and glamour of the Rivers people in the 23 Local Government Areas. Each Local Government Area put up show of glamorous costumes and captivating dance steps.
The floats of the 23 LGAs and that of indigenes of Akwa Ibom State resident in Rivers State encapsulated the spice and essence of the pure Rivers Carnival spirit. They showcased the diversity of the people's primal artistic fervor, and the glamour of their patrician heritage.
The stories behind the traditional Carnival characters lend meaning and significance to those unusual portrayals of costumes and display with individual playing specific persona they have played in past editions becoming familiar with the traditions associated with those roles.
With thousands of costumed revellers transforming the landscape into a visual fantasia, the Director-General of the Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), Dr. Sam Dede, who was part of the parade, said "The main difference between CARNIRIV and other carnivals in the country is that CARNIRIV is mostly a display of the indigenous culture of the Rivers People. The costumes, dance and music on display are indigenous."
The Carniriv that is gradually evolving into a truly all-inclusive national festival drew participants from neighbouring states as well many expatriates from different parts of the world in attendance, even the governor of the state, Rotimi Amaechi, was in attendance with former Miss World , Agbani Darego.
Governor Amaechi was full of praises for the bands presidents, band leaders, international and local designers and dancers, and all others for being part of the carnival, noting that the carnival " has told the story of our past, sing the songs of our present and light the path to our future.
He added that the carnival offered the people the opportunity to their uniqueness and rich cultural heritage." over the last six days we let our feet and our hearts do the talking. Yes , we danced. We celebrated our uniqueness and our heritage. Port Harcourt was one big theater".
For the State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Nabbs Imegwu, the carnival has become one of the most sought after cultural fiesta by tourists, adding that this year edition was repackaged with lots of varieties ranging from cultural display, Music Concert, featuring international artists, fashion parade and best designers in arts and crafts.
The one week cultural fiesta featured a variety of indigenous and international displays. The Black African Music Festival (BAMFest) featured Grammy Award-winning reggae star and rapper, Shaggy and fellow reggae singer, Patra, celebrated Nigerian music acts, Tuface Idibia and Duncan Mighty. The artistes thrilled the crowd with a memorable performance.