Greater Lagos Fiesta, Calabar Carnival on Shaky Grounds as Lagos, Calabar Mull Cancellation

by Yinka Akanbi

There are strong indications that, for the first time in a decade, two of the most anticipated December events – the Greater Lagos Fiesta and the Calabar (Christmas) Carnival – might not hold this year.

The carnivals, which undoubtedly provide a boost for the tourism and entertainment industry in their respective states, are two of the most attended events of the Yuletide season by fun-seekers.

TCN reliably gathered that the decision to halt preparations for the events is informed by the resurgence of Covid19 infections and more importantly the recent carnage that ensued in the aftermath of the #EndSARS demonstrations across the country – during which both Lagos and Cross River States were badly affected.

In Lagos, TCN gathered that apprehension over these two plagues fuelling health and security concerns was conveyed via an internal memo signed on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Olaide-Mesewaku Babatunde, stating that the Y2020 Greater Lagos Fiesta had been suspended.

“The State has undoubtedly experienced one of its darkest periods in recent history and in the words of Mr. Governor: ‘This may seem like the darkest hour of our history as a people, our sun will rise again from the present ashes of our mourning today, a bright morning shall emerge from the womb of time and we shall rise again’ “, the memo partly reads.

It was gathered that the memo has finally put a stop to the initial thoughts around the possibility of having a hybrid fiesta this December that would have had fans on zoom joining musical concerts in enclosed halls without the usual crowd.

Similarly, TCN learnt that the Cross River State House of Assembly has adopted a resolution calling on the government and its agencies to suspend the 2020 Christmas Carnival in Calabar and other related activities.

The lawmakers cited the destruction and looting of infrastructure in the wake of the #endsars protests and the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons.

The lawmakers also noted that the possibility of hosting it this year was not realistic as the venue for some of the activities like the Calabar International Conference Centre [CICC], Tinapa was looted and vandalized.

Recall that one of the four Lagos Theatres in Oregun being considered for the hybrid December fiesta was set on fire last month by hoodlums in the wake of the #endsars protests.

Government agencies are not the only organisations that have cancelled entertainment events slated for the yuletide season. TCN was informed that Pepsi, one of the biggest show promoters and co-sponsors of the Lagos Fiesta, has also pulled the plug on its December shows at Eko hotel in Lagos, citing covid19 and insecurity as reasons.

Similarly, the All African Music Awards (AFRIMA) has also announced the cancellation of this year’s edition due to the same reasons.

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