With all arrangements in place for a successful staging of the week long Lagos Carnival 2010 and Black Heritage Festival from Saturday, at least 93,000 costumes will be on display during the carnival.
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babatunde Fashola (SAN) on Tuesday urged all operators of hospitality and events businesses in Lagos to treat all visitors who would be patronising them with the utmost courtesy.
Governor Fashola, who spoke at a press briefing held at the Conference Room of the Lagos House, Ikeja, added that if the visitors are well treated, they can come back next year and keep them as valued customers for a long time to come.
He noted that the state government decided to leverage on the enormous tourism and economic development potentials of the carnival and Black Heritage Festival events which would hold from 3rd to 9th April, 2010 by integrating them into the World Heritage Festival as the high point of a week of exposition of African culture when Lagos will host millions of people from various parts of the world.
Said he: “As our State continues to become a beacon of social and economic development and as our guests from far and near begin to arrive, I urge you to receive them with warmth and welcoming smiles and let them feel our world famous Lagos hospitality from end to end”.
While emphasizing that the Lagos Carnival will be a celebration of the city’s ancestry and plurality of identity, Governor Fashola said that 92.3percent of the intending 14,500 participants in the Carnival will be drawn from areas outside Lagos Island which was the traditional base of street carnivals.
He recalled that the traditional Fanti or Carreta carnival which started around the turn of the century was held around the Campos Square area of Lagos Island as a result of historical links with emancipados and their descendants from Brazil and West Indies, adding that the footprints of the returnees are still evident in architecture, cuisine, street parties and carnivals.
Governor Fashola who said the carnival would be land and sea based also urged spectators to be casually attired and mindful of one of the marine creatures, explaining that the routes which would be demanding on participants would be lined by food and drink booths while conveniences are provided intermittently along the route.
He added: “For this day, restaurants and eateries along the route are encouraged to extend their seating areas outside their premises without obstructing sidewalks or the carnival routes. Spectators are also encouraged to watch the carnival from any point along the route as ALL troupes will be visible from any point along the route. Although all the troupes will eventually converge at the Tafawa Balewa Square for the viewing comfort of individuals and families especially children. Admission to the TBS is free”.
The Lagos State helmsman stated that in order to ensure smooth flowing carnival trains and for the safety of participants and spectators, access roads to carnival routes will be closed to non-emergency vehicles during the carnival hours.
He added that alternative routes will however be provided and advertised by the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) prior to the carnival day, stressing that the Five Cowrie Creek will be similarly closed to non-participating boats during the duration of the regatta.
The Governor informed that as to be expected, extensive and adequate arrangements for security have been made for the carnival and thanked residents, visitors and security services for the successful and enjoyable Eyo Festival which was held in April 2009 adding: ”We expect that this will be an even bigger success”.
While thanking the Principals, instructors and students who have worked for four months to make the over 93,000 pieces of costumes to be displayed during the carnivals, he noted with pride that no foreign supervisors or artisans were brought into the country to make any of the costumes.
“Everything you will see on display and some of those you are already seeing were made here in Lagos by your children, your brothers and sisters, your wives and husbands during an enterprising period of commercial exchanges, job creation and team work that shows clearly that nothing is impossible for us to achieve in Lagos once we set our minds to it”, the Governor explained.