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Rivers retools CARNIRIV brand equity to attract investments

By on September 22, 2013

In furtherance of the strategic move by the Rivers State Government to position the state-owned Port Harcourt Carnival (CARNIRIV) as the “world recognisable and reckonable brand,” the state government has again demonstrated the marketability of its cultural brand with the participation of the state contingent at this year’s edition of the Notting Hill Carnival in London, on August 26.

Featuring at the 49-year-old Notting Hill Carnival made Rivers the only Nigerian state with a record second appearance, back-to-back, in line with the vision of the administration of Governor Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi to market the socio-economic potential of the state beyond its rich oil and gas endowment.

On duty to showcase an authentic African cultural brand called CARNIRIV, were eminent citizens of the state comprising top government officials, Nollywood stars and Riverians in the Diaspora who riveted the rich costumes, songs and dance steps of Rivers people. Among them were the state Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Dr. Nnabuihe Imegwu; Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning, Mr. Gogo Levi Charles; Special Adviser to the Governor on Culture and Tourism, Mr. Iboroma Harry and Chairman, Okrika Local Government, Barrister Tamuno Williams.

Others were Chairman, Rivers State Tourism Development Agency (RSTDA), Deacon Vincent Erinwa; Director-General, Dr. Sam Dede and board members including Chief John Yowika, Mr. Charles Awortu and Mr. Joseph Ewuse. The state cultural ambassadors were at Notting Hill Carnival under the auspices of RSTDA, the agency responsible for marketing the internationally acclaimed Port Harcourt Carnival (CARNIRIV) brand.

During the carnival, the Rivers State contingent was a cynosure of all eyes as they paraded the streets of London in exquisite costumes and colours that served the world a foretaste of what to experience at this year’s Port Harcourt Carnival holding in December. Their costumes stood out and attracted the attention and following of a mammoth crowd of Nigerians in the Diaspora, Jamaicans, Brazilians and people of other nationalities.

Before the event proper, the contingent was first hosted to a cultural reception at the prestigious African Centre in London. During the reception, they put the best of Rivers culture on display with a spectacular float and rich cultural performances. In a welcome address, Executive Director, Zmirage UK, Shabaka Thompson, said: “It is a privileged position for Rivers State to be part of the Notting Hill Carnival again this year, thereby becoming a prominent Nigerian state to make a distinctive cultural intrusion onto the world stage with the Notting Hill Carnival to showcase an authentic African cultural brand called CARNIRIV.”

The former CEO of Notting Hill Carnival added that the move by Rivers State was both timely and strategic ‘‘because CARNIRIV is bringing something unique to the world and also something authentically African and creative.’’ He described himself as “an adopted Port Harcourt boy’’, noting that following his invitation to CARNIRIV in 2010, he was able to reconnect with his roots. He said CARNIRIV was “one place you should be.”

Shabaka revealed further that CARNIRIV publicity campaign materials for this year were already on buses plying the streets of London, saying; “Last year, we had a large contingent of tourists who visited Rivers State to attend CARNIRIV and this year, we hope to increase the number, considering the wider impact of the publicity campaign being driven in both the traditional media and the social media from here and Nigeria respectively. He further disclosed that Rivers State was the first Nigerian state to introduce the Afrobeat genre of music to the Notting Hill Carnival musical tradition as opposed to the calypso type of music the carnival had always run on. “This is a significant achievement, considering the warm embrace Afrobeat has received as result of this effort, therefore, drawing more attention to the music’s country of origin and the personality of the late Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti” he stressed.

Dr. Imeagwu,s while corroborating Shabaka, applauded the decision by his ministry and RSTDA to leverage Notting Hill Carnival for the global marketing of the rich culture of Rivers people as well as reinforcing the strength of the black race.

“The essence of being here is to hedge deeper into the platform that has already been established by the Caribbeans and to exemplify what other African states ought to be doing to improve the perception of Africa and African culture. It is also aimed at emphasising the conviviality of our people and our values”, he stated.

Imeagwu added that this year’s edition of CARNIRIV would be used to wrap-up the celebration of the centenary anniversary of the city of Port Harcourt, saying; “I have been specifically asked by our governor, Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, to invite you to be part of this epoch making event. Please, be assured that should you decide and plan to attend, the Rivers State Government will throw down the red carpet to receive you to experience Destination Rivers in a spectacular way.”



[Daily Independent]