One day I will break down the economic benefits of a WELL RUN Carnival Calabar and festivals with multiple corporate sponsors.
When I ran the youth development zone program within the festival we attracted sponsorship from corporate bodies to run our overheads and still contributed to the general purse.
Remember all those road shows in Abuja and Lagos? They were part of an aggressive sponsorship drives.
People do not understand entertainment is business. One thing Cross River State was able to do is split all its festival events and present them to sponsors as individual events thus, taking a lot of the financial burden off the state.
We even still had headline sponsors for the whole month e.g Guinness. That was the secret of how such a financially strapped state could pull off one month of non stop events hosting the entire world.
The now scrapped Children’s carnival was sponsored by Dangote noodles and juice. My Calabar poetry slam with the Carnival was taken up by First Bank. The list is endless.
I am not sure if we have maintained the organization required to pitch to sponsors but we were unique in achieving that.
Even particular concert nights had particular sponsors. This year it seems poor preparation and I will advise that the scrapping of sponsored events and introduction of new ones without sponsors have been our undoing .
From the youth development zone volunteer-in-training program stage trainees with Nzan Ogbe, I was able to cut down the cost of bringing in foreign technicians to set up equipment for the shows.
Many of these ex trainees now own their own equipment companies and work at the top of their game all over the country.
Why on earth can’t we expand this training hub for such young professionals? Our imagination as to what a job is, is severely limited.
There is no serious Nigerian Carnival display I see without the hands of Cross River costume makers and entrepreneurs.
The costume making workshops with our partners Trinidad and Tobago years ago keep our Cross Riverians in demand all over Nigeria for all sorts of costume and float demands. I see the great Umana Nnochiri’s touch in many a display in Lagos and beyond.
I hate seeing surface analysis. This is an economic spike the World Bank did a study on down to hotel room rates and visitor records. At a point Avis car rentals had to move in.
Let us wake up abeg and spread the calendar throughout the year! That should be the focus not shutting down museums and bulldozing attractions.
Anyone interested in scrapping the Carnival or festivals needs to look at facts data and the projections and ride with low hanging fruit that has already been sown.
You never have to spend your money 100% and in this age of digital content the millions we lose on amazing content generated during our events is wasteful and myopic. There are over a dozen reality shows and documentaries being lost every festival.
California is not rich because they like playing. Brazil and Trinidad and Tobagi are not playing. Carnivals, street processions are an African practice taken by slave to the diaspora and manifest in places with high African populations.
When the Brazilian troupe first visited Calabar they almost kissed the soil; so overcome by being in the motherland. They enthusiastically shopped for local drums. Smart entrepreneurs like Ghana would have forged a dozen new businesses from that; we are here measuring the thongs their dancers wear.
Our lack of sense of self makes it difficult for sophisticated thought to mix with history and business savvy.