As the participants danced, it was endless fun, merriment and time for making new friends watching the crowd that lined the routes and those that found their ways into the 60,000 capacity TBS. Local and foreign tourists were seen dancing to musical vibes dished out by the DJ.
The Lagos carnival, in its fifth year, is an expression of the creative talents of young Lagosians who produced all the costumes worn by the participants as well as the floats and effigies used by the various bands during the procession that lasted eight hours.
According to Governor Raji Fashola, the carnival represents the real spirit of Lagos which is a spirit of prosperity after prosperity.
The Lagos carnival, which is a beautiful recreation of the age long tradition of Brazilian Lagos as pioneered by Brazilian returnees Emancipados, was given added impetus through a colourful display of music and dance by various groups.
As early as seven in the morning, Awolowo Road, Campos Square, and TBS was already bubbling with participants as the children bands took over the vast field of the national museum for the take off of their street procession.
Over 40 schools, drawn from the six educational districts across Lagos State, participated in the carnival that preceded the adults carnival.
David Oyeniyi and Oyedun Debora of the District One Band were happy being part of the carnival as it has afforded them the opportunity of making new friends, just as they looked forward to taking part in subsequent carnivals.
The adults carnival was bold and loud as the groups representing specific neighbourhoods in the state came in costumes that drew applause from the crowd.
Locomotion Band, one of the several adults bands, caused commotion with its costumes as the crowd was wowed with the band’s innovative yellow and black dress.
The over 150-member band, in replica of the performance that won them the best carnival band, last year, was delightful to watch with their high energy, well choreographed dance steps and bands stripped round their necks resonating beats of the popular songs.
It was not all about dancing by the Locomotion Band, they also came with a message of hope, unity and a thought for the Nigerian child.
The Ikoyi Legacy group, participating in the carnival for the first time, was not intimidated by other bands as it brought vibrancy to the show . Their procession has a lot of interesting and intriguing moves that included flips, acrobatics.
The bevy of dancers in the band, Sunday Vanguard learnt, were choreographed by Segun Adefila who blended the dancing steps of the band with Nigerian hip-hop and other African vibes that created an entirely new flavour.
Other bands worthy of mention are the Lafiaji, Ogba, Ketu, Oko-Faji and Emerald bands. The Emerald Band stood out in their splendid lemon green costumes worn by carefully selected array of energetic, beautiful young ladies who had what it takes to dance.
The chairman of the Carnival Committee, Disun Holloway, who is also the state’s commissioner or Tourism, said the costumes, which gave the event its main character, received enormous attention as it took several months to prepare.
“Preparation involves dozens of gifted hands sketching, designing, redesigning, cutting and sewing all the fabric used. It also includes fabricating sails, head-gears, backpacks, floats and effigies used by the various bands during the carnival procession.”
The commissioner added the carnival is one vehicle through which the creativity and the resourcefulness of the young men and women of the Lagos State Skills Acquisition Centres is exhibited.
The carnival, apart from empowering the youth, is also repositioning the lives of Lagosians in different ways. The venue of the carnival and adjoining streets were taken over by traders.
One of the organisers said the carnival has helped many in several ways. “Can you imagine what volume of business the hotels, restaurants and corner shops in this vicinity would have made today not to talk of the professionals that have made additional source of income during the duration of the carnival?.’he asked.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Edem Duke, said the carnival will further boost the nation’s economy and expose the rich culture of the country to the world, as he calls for local content in future carnival organization.
Governor Babatunde Fashola, who was joined by his wife, Abimbola, and Deputy Governor, Hon (Mrs) Adejoke Orelope Adefulire, used the occasion to reiterate the need for peaceful co-existence and urged everyone to remain vigilant and be his brother’s keeper.
Preceding the Lagos carnival was the water regatta on Easter Sunday at the Civic Centre, Lekki and Falomo Waterfront, Ikoyi, where residents and tourists were treated to the best of water display of culture, tradition and aquatic splendour.
Large boats colourfully decorated adorned the water ways. The men in the boats later danced and rowed to show agility and their prowess in handling water sports.
The Lagos State water regatta is water based cultural sporting and recreational activities put together to show diverse functions of the boat in the yesteryears, from community to community.
The fiesta featured a parade of decorated floats on the creeks around Ikoyi and Victoria Island with the parade consisting of large fishing boats, ferries, barges and other marine vessels depicting social cultural tradition, folklores and occupational aspects of the people of Lagos.
A major highlight of this year’s edition is the ‘Regatta Village’, which consists of exhibition stands, viewing centres where all the activities on water were for inspection.
The Fun Park and other fun activities for children were equally a plus for the event as they were treated to the best of comedy and music.
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