The Abuja Carnival which began on Saturday recorded poor turnout of FCT residents due to the economic hardship in the country.
Some of the residents who spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said that the carnival should not be the priority of the Federal Government, adding that measures should be taken to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.
NAN reports that this year’s carnival was devoid of the usual fun fare that used to characterise the event.
In the past, the streets used to be lined up with residents of the FCT who created time to watch the event, while others simply closed down their businesses just to catch a glimpse of the street procession.
NAN also observed that even some designated streets of the FCT that were usually decorated for the carnival were left bare as they were not decorated.
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 that there was no awareness on the carnival, and it didn’t hold in 2015.
“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,’’ Alade said.
According to him, the low awareness can be attributed to lack of interest from the Presidency to project the carnival.
The driver also concurred that there was massive starvation in the country and people were keen about their basic needs.
Naeema Abduraman, a spectator also agreed that the turnout was low and not really eventful considering the insecurity in the country.
“The carnival does not look eventful and people did not come out that much unlike the previous years.
“There is also insecurity in the country which will discourage people from participating.
“The most of it all is that the economic situation of the country is so bad and people will prefer to satisfy hunger before coming for carnival,’’ Abduraman said.
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.
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.
“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.
NAN reports that the carnival is expected to end on Dec. 6.