It used to be a common sight in the south west of Nigeria where carnivals and processions were common and popular, leading with the Eyo masquerade and numerous yoruba processions which drew participants from around the world. In the far north the annual durbar which had horse riding as the major spectacle was also a common tourists sight. These carnivals were all there was in Nigeria for a very long time.
However in the tenure of the former Cross River State governor, Hon. Donald Duke, there emerged a trend changer which has inspired other great carnivals fashioned in its light, just like the London nothinghill carnival- the annual Calabar Carnival.
Hot on the heels of the Calabar Carnival, many similar tourist events which have included Carnival road shows have sprung around the nation. Most of these have become a major tourist holiday treat as they are all hosted during the holiday period of December. This trend has not left out the North Central Nigeria where there have sprung major Carnival Processions which have already stamped a place in the tourism calendar of the nation.
Benue Youth Cultural Carnival
The Benue Youth Cultural Carnival is an annual week long event hosted in december, which began in 2009 as a way to promote tourism in the state alongside reawaken cultural consciousness.
The event which is a partnership between the Benue state government and a private events company, has gradually evolved to one of the biggest carnivals in Nigeria having in attendance at least 30000 participants for the week long event.
The Carnival which also hosts a beauty pageant, presents the best of Benue cultural regalia and dances during the procession where youth display and reawaken their cultures to the delight of spectators and participants.
It also features an HIV walk to educate about the dangers of the disease and also a Carnival village where various music and comedy star acts thrill the villagers. This year’s event featured acts like Tuface Idibia, Gordons and Dj Switch. Others who have also performed at the event include, MI Abaga, Style Plus, D’BANJ and Banky W.
Agila Sociocultural Carnival
This newer event which has gradually taken its place in the calendar of annual events is hosted annually in Otukpo to promote social and cultural aspects of the state.
The event which also hosts a talent hunt and beauty pageant tagged Miss Idoma, has gradually become a holiday event to reckon with.
This year’s event which also featured the launch of its special magazine which presented the culture of the people of the Benue South Senatorial District, drew atleast 13,000 participants and spectators from across the nation.
Eggon peace Carnival
This event which came to being in 2013, as a result of the violence and ethnic clashes between the people of Nassarwa state especiall the Eggons, has sure grown bigger with a potential to become a nationally acclaimed tourist event.
The Eggon peace Carnival is a two day event hosted in Nasarawa Eggon local government of Nasarawa State. It witnesses a night of music and cultural dances on the first night and and ends with a thrilling and entertaining walk round Nasarawa Eggon Local Government, with a stop at the traditinal ruler, the Aare of Eggon’s palace where he advices his subjects and attendees about the essence of peaceful living.
The event features various Eggon masquerades and dances, it is however not restricted to the Eggon ethnic group but also all neighbouring tribes like the Mada and any other interested group.