President Goodluck Jonathan
By Muhammad Bello
The Federal Government has reiterated its commitment to the diversification of nation’s economic base so that the country’s over-reliance on oil and gas will be curtailed.
President Goodluck Jonathan disclosed this on Monday night at a Command Performance/Dinner in honour of participants of the Abuja National Carnival held at the State House, Abuja.
Vice-President Namadi Sambo, who represented President Jonathan said the Federal Government would not relent in its determination to continue giving impetus to the rapid promotion and sustainable growth of the tourism and culture sector.
The president said: “The laudable dreams that gave birth to the carnival have continued to motivate its annual celebration, anchored on the recognition that there exists a nexus between culture and the economic and technological growth of a nation.
“Interestingly, the Abuja Carnival has proven to be one successful step in directing attention to the untapped huge investment opportunities in Nigeria’s exceptionally rich and diverse cultural and artistic heritage.”
According to him, his administration would continue to provide favourable investment climate as well as business incentives to both local and foreign investors to boost the nation’s economy.
He commended the management and staff of the Federal Ministry of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation for evolving a strategic plan to meaningfully engage the organised private sector in the structured development of the sector.
He also commended the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCDA) and the Management Committee of the Carnival for not only sustaining the carnival but also making each succeeding edition even a greater success.
The President, who described Abuja National Carnival as “the carnival of all carnivals in Nigeria, and indeed in Africa,” urged the private sector and all stakeholders not to relent in their commitment to the progress of the carnival.
He noted that the carnival “does not only bring peoples of diverse cultures and traditions together, it also promotes amity and deepens inter-cultural understanding necessary for harmony and peaceful co-existence.”
He described the theme for this year’s celebration, ‘Carnival of Peace and Harmony,’ is apt since it reflects captures the focus of government to ensure enduring peace and harmonious co-existence among the various ethno-religious groups in the country.
In his remarks, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Denzil Douglas, commended President Goodluck Jonathan and the people of Nigeria for strengthening socio-cultural ties between his country and Nigeria.
He also expressed gratitude to the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, for inviting him to participate in this year’s Abuja National Carnival.
Earlier, the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Mr. Edem Duke, had expressed the hope that this year’s carnival would contribute to the economic growth and transformation of the nation.
The occasion featured special performances by the National Troupes from the Egypt, Namibia Trinidad and Tobago Cuba and China alongside selected Nigerian Troupes.