The Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, has said that the Abuja carnival was designed to strengthen Nigeria’s cultural diversity.
Duke spoke in Abuja at the opening of the 9th edition of the Abuja International Carnival 2013, with the theme: ``A people for a century, a people forever".
According to him, the carnival provides an opportunity for Nigerians to look at the diversity in the people.
He said the carnival also offered an opportunity for Nigerians to look at the things that made them one, and to build and develop on it.
``The Abuja carnival is for the development of creativity and for the growth of harmony among Nigerians.
``The carnival is an opportunity for our vibrant youths to showcase their talents," Duke said.
Duke also said that the four-day festival would provide an opportunity for the country to generate wealth for both individuals and the nation at large.
``People came from different countries of the world and different states of the federation. They are going to invest in accommodation and food, and this will help Nigerians generate wealth," he said.
In an address, the Senate President, Mr David Mark, said that since the introduction of the carnival in 2005, the event had become a spring board for mobilising Nigerians from different backgrounds to showcase their cultures.
``This carnival stimulates creativity and engenders ideals, values that are geared toward inter- cultural understanding and harmonious co-existence among various cultures.
``The carnival, as well as other indigenous festivals, has contributed in creating awareness on inter-ethic harmony and strengthening our collective aspirations as a nation," he said.
According to Mark, the carnival is Nigerians’ unique strong point as the most populous black country in the world.
He noted that tourism and culture, through the flagship of carnivals, festivals and art/fashion exhibitions, were being transformed into major sources of economic empowerment and employment generation for the teeming youth.
Mark acknowledged that the carnival was boosting the country’s tourism potential by making Nigeria one of the preferred tourist destinations in Africa.
He urged the public and private sectors to ensure the sustainability of the carnival which, he noted, had achieved local and international recognition.
The Senate president stressed the need for Nigerians to ensure the preservation and promotion of the country's cultural heritage through collective efforts.