He stated this on Monday at a Command Performance/Dinner in honour of participants of the Abuja National Carnival, which held at the Banquet Hall of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
President Jonathan, who was represented at the event by Vice President Arc Mohammed Namadi Sambo, said the Federal Government would continue to promote the rapid and sustainable growth of the tourism and culture sector of the national economy.
According to him, the sector provides economic development option with high capacity for economic empowerment, employment opportunities, poverty reduction as well as good returns on investment, which had the potentials to make Nigeria a number one Tourists destination in the world.
“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,” adding that, “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.”
President Jonathan also acknowledged the support of the private sector for the Abuja National Festival, adding that government 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, which according to him was in conformity with government’s transformation agenda.
While also commending the Federal Capital Territory Administration and the Management Committee of the Carnival for not only sustaining the carnival but also making each succeeding edition even a greater success, President Jonathan described the Abuja National Carnival as “the carnival of all carnivals in Nigeria, and indeed in Africa,” urging the private sector and all stakeholders not to relent in their commitment to the progress of the carnival.
The President 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,” saying that the theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Carnival of Peace and Harmony,’ captures the commitment of government to ensure enduring peace and harmonious co-existence among the various ethno-religious groups in the country.
In his remark, the Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Denzil Douglas, commended President Jonathan and the good people of Nigeria for strengthening socio-cultural ties between his country and Nigeria. He also expressed gratitude to the Deputy Senate President, Sen. 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 National Troupes from Egypt, Namibia, Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba and China alongside selected Nigerian Troupes.