Over 10,000 Indians, 45,000 Nigerians to Participate in Lagos Festival

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Mary Ekah

The much talked about and first-ever Festival of India in Nigeria being put together by Gaurapad Charities, from all indications, is not just about entertainment and cultural display but much more than that, it will proffer a veritable ground for economic development for both countries, the Founder of Gaurapad Charities and former President, Performing Musicians’ Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Bolaji Rosiji, has revealed.

Speaking during a Chariot Inauguration Ceremony held recently in Lagos as a build up to the festival scheduled for August 13 in Lagos, Rosiji, who also is the Co-chairman of the Festival of India Organising Committee, said that with the festival, Gaurapad Charities craves to afford Nigeria the opportunity to have close ties with world’s fastest growing economy and the second largest SME network in the world, which is India, with the hope that through this partnership, Nigeria can gradually pull itself out of its present economic crises.

“The Festival of India is not only about fashion, jewellery, culture and Bollywood. There is a higher purpose. We are using the festival platform to forge diplomatic, cultural and commercial ties with the world’s fastest growing economy – India”, he said, adding, “We are expecting over 10,000 Indians to participate in this festival and over 45, 000 Nigerians as well as well over 500 people from different international communities and this is going to be an annual thing.”

Speaking further, he said, “This is the first time in Nigeria and this came about not just because I have a background in entertainment as the former President of PMAN but we have always taken entertainment, culture and development seriously.

“This is a global phenomena but just that we want the Nigerian chapter to go deeper and also add a new twist to it. So we are expressing cultural wealth here. This is an India-Nigeria affair and as we would be watching the India cultural groups match pass, at the same time we will be watching the Efik, Northern and Western groups all match pass together. So for the first time in the history of Nigeria, these two countries are coming together culturally to say that we are one and we are going to achieve something great in terms of culture and development.”

Rosiji who said the pulling of the chariots across the city is the most splendid part of the entire ceremony, added, “What we are doing now is preparing for the decoration of the chariots and the key participants in this festival. The chariots are going to go from CMS to Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos on August 13 and also we are driving for the most beautiful chariot in the world by creating this competition in most of the committed groups in the different committees.”

The chariots inauguration ceremony showcased three towering chariots to be beautifully decorated as the central spectacle of the Festival of India. Organisers believe these chariots will have an inestimable impact on the minds and hearts of countless visitors and active participants. The Festival of India’s stage will host an unprecedented kaleidoscope of internationally renowned traditional and contemporary music stars from India and Nigeria.