Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has described the Calabar Carnival as a veritable platform for job creation and the promotion of creativity among Nigerians.
The minister made the remarks in Calabar, Cross River State, on Saturday, during the tour of some carnival bands ahead of Sunday’s flag off the third dry run of the 2017 Calabar Carnival.
He said the carnival has grown beyond a mere street procession and dancing to a venture that is positively impacting on the economy and the unity of the country.
“What we have seen today is an industry that is making use of the abundant talents of Nigerians not just in dancing but even in manufacturing and creativity. We have seen the shoes they are going to wear, they are made in Nigeria – the design and materials. So, Calabar Carnival provides that platform to give vent to your creative energy,” he said.
Mohammed highlighted the critical role of the themes of each band, which include ‘Climate Change, Bush Burning and Environmental Degradation’, describing the themes as topical issues in the global discourse on the ecosystem.
He expressed delight that the Calabar Carnival has keyed into the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari towards promoting locally-made products to make the country self-reliant economically.
“The president said until Nigeria produces what it consumes and grows what it eats, it cannot be economically independent. This is a good example of made-in-Nigeria, both in terms of materials, labour force and creativity. I am really fulfilled coming here because I see how much the carnival is contributing not just to the economy, but to bringing individuals to self-reliance,” he said.
The minister used the occasion to commend the band managers whom he described as patriots, who are actually not driven by profit but by the passion and commitment to grow the nation’s economy.
He also appealed to the private sector to show more interest in the Calabar Carnival because of its huge impact on the economy.
Mohammed visited the Freedom and Seagull Bands and inspected their costume-making factories, which employ a lot of people in shoe-making, tailoring, weaving and knitting.