Only four states on Sunday participated in the Durba, which is part of activities lined up for the ongoing Abuja Carnival.
The states are Yobe , Jigawa, Bauchi and Katsina.
The representation was so low, compared to what it used to be during the previous carnivals where many states, mostly from the North participated in the Durbar, trying to outdo one another.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the carnival began on Saturday with a street procession.
The procession took off from the Old Parade Ground through some designated routes to Area One Roundabout and a final stop at the Eagle Square.
The Durbar was a sight to behold as horses, and camels beautifully decorated with gold and other expensive ornaments were on display at the Eagle Square, venue of the event.
The horsemen engaged the horses and camels in acrobatic display and in a fierce competition to the admiration of all present at the event.
Mr Yusuf Bomoi, a member of Katsina State contingent, who gave a brief history of Durbar, said it was a show of sportsmanship and loyalty to the emirates.
“The Durbar is a competitive event and culture which depicts the decoration of camels and horses to exhibit sportsmanship in an occasion of traditional chivalry, displaying military loyalty to the emirates, especially in northern Nigeria.
“The warriors were formerly used for battles. Since there’s no more wars, the warriors are now being used for festivals and entertainment,’’ Bomoi said.
However, Mr Saleh Mahmood, the Principal Cultural Officer, Yobe State Ministry of Arts and Culture decried the poor preparations for the carnival.
“I am not happy with the haphazard planning of this year’s carnival committee.
“The committee for 2016 carnival did not do a good job in taking into cognisance all logistics concerning the contingents.
“I am not happy. We sleep outside, no plans for water and other necessities for the comfort of contingents.
“The carnival did not take them unawares though; it has been shifted severally until a date was fixed.
“So, I don’t see the reason why we should come to showcase the rich culture and heritage of our country and be suffering like refugees.
“There is no medical team on ground in case of an emergency, like it used to be. Even we used to have first aid boxes at some strategic places.
“Anyway, we are here, my utmost desire now is for my state to win,’’ Mahmood said.
Mr. Dini Danlandi, who participated in the Durbar from Bauchi State, expressed joy to be part of the carnival to showcase what he could do acrobatically with his horse.
“I am happy that my state recognisedsmy strength in the Durbar and featured me to represent the state.
“It will help in bringing my dexterity in Durbar to limelight and even grant me the opportunity to represent the country on an international platform.
“But am not happy with the number of states that are participating. All the Northern States used to feature in the event, but this year is very different in all ramifications.’’
Danladi also decried the low turnout of residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and other spectators to the carnival to watch the various activities lined up for the carnival.
“See the time now, yet people have not come out to watch us display. That will signal to you that all is not well.
“I pray that our country will rise above its security challenges and economic recession,’’ Danladi said.
A spectator, Mr Joel Offor, and a resident of the FCT, said he had never missed carnivals due to the richness in cultural display , especially the Durbar.
“I never miss the Abuja carnival, because of its diversity and rich cultural grill. The Durbar is what I enjoy most.
“So, the carnival always provide a good opportunity for me and other people to come and watch the Durbar with their families.
“I noticed that this carnival is not like the previous ones. If the government gives it the necessary support and encouragement, this carnival can be taken to a different level.
“I think it helps to relax the tensed situation we are presently experiencing in the country now. If we cannot go out for other events, we can at least get a feel of it in our own country,’’ Offor said.
Ibrahim Suleiman, another spectator described the carnival as a good initiative, but added that it should be better planned.
“I think the organisers should think about holding such an event during holiday periods where there would be ample time for families to come out and enjoy the carnival.’’
The carnival continues on Monday with Masquerade Fiesta and Boat Regatta at the Eagle Square and Jabi Dam respectively.