Residents of Abuja went about their usual business on Saturday, the 3rd day of December, ignoring the big city’s carnival which commenced on the said day.
Reports say that some of the residents who spoke with their correspondent, said the carnival should not be the priority of the Federal Government, and that measures should be taken to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
It was also observed that some designated streets of the FCT that were usually decorated for the carnival were left bare as they were not decorated.
According to NAN reports, this year’s carnival was devoid of the usual funfare that used to characterise the event.
Views differed on the reasons for the low turnout.
Samuel Olawale, who was at a newspaper vendor’s stand while the street procession was going on, said that though there was a bit of awareness on the carnival, “but the citizens are hungry’’.
“I am aware of the carnival, flyers were distributed, but it is not masquerade dance that people want to hear.
“The president should know that people are hungry and are more interested in putting food on their table,’’ he said.
Afolabi Alade, a taxi driver around Area One, however disagreed with the respondent above, saying there was no public awareness.
“Other years when the carnival held, you would have seen the obvious signs on the road that carnival is holding.
“This time around, we did not see the signs compared to other years where the Police would have barricaded the roads and vacate us from our parks,’’ Mr. Alade said.
According to him, the low awareness can be attributed to lack of interest from the Presidency to project the carnival.
Naeema Abduraman, a spectator also agreed that the turnout was low and not really eventful considering the insecurity in the country.
Mrs Blessing Ayiba-Dusa, the Head Research, Documentation and Publication, Bayelsa State Council for Arts and Culture, also agreed that the turnout of participants was poor, compared to previous years.
Mrs. Ayiba-Dusa noted that celebrating the heritage and culture of the country was the common goal of the carnival.
“People didn’t really come out for the carnival and for sure it is due to the hardship in the country,” she said.
“Whatever the situation is, the most important thing is that we are here to celebrate the common heritage and culture of our country.
“Bayelsa State is not regretting participating in the carnival, because we are celebrating one Nigeria,’’ she said.
The carnival is expected to end on Dec. 6.
Written by Okolo Ezinne