Abuja Carnival postponed over non release of funds

Lai Mohammed

Non release of funds and slow response by the private sector have forced the postponement of the highly anticipated Abuja Carnival, Qed.ng has learned.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had boasted at a stakeholders’ forum in September that the festival originally scheduled to run from November 19 to 22 would compete with the best in the world.

Spokesman to the minister, Segun Adeyemi, sent text message to this medium on Thursday saying “it will be held December 3 to 6. If it was shifted, it must have been due to scheduling problems.”

A source within the Ministry of Information and Culture informed however expressed doubts over the new date.

With a management committee headed by Abiodun Abe and the backing of the Federal Capital Territory Minister, Mohammed Bello, the Mohammed had assured that the festival would go ahead as originally scheduled.

Findings, however, revealed that Mohammed is labouring to convince the Federal Executive Council, state governments and the private sector to adequately support the carnival to prevent its outright cancellation.

Checks with arts councils at the state level also show that many have not made plans to send delegations to the festival.

Speaking when he presented the Change Begins With Me campaign to governors at the Presidential Villa on Wednesday night, Mohammed appealed to states that are yet to send their contingents to do so before the December 6 opening date.

While briefing newsmen after the closed-door presentation, the minister said the governors gladly received him and pledged their support towards the carnival.

“The presentation was received very enthusiastically. “They gave their suggestions and contributions and generally accepted our proposal,” he said.

Themed “Creative Industry: A Pivot to Economic Growth”, the 2016 Abuja Carnival, according to Mohammed, would compete with that of Notting Hill in the UK, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and others that which contribute immensely to their countries’ internally generated revenue and gross domestic product.