The First African Carnival
Preparations for this carnival started in early 1973. The venue was the University of Nigeria.
The University community woke up one morning to behold a twinkling colorful electric billboard announcing the hosting of what it described as the First International Bugalulu Carnival. At the bottom of the billboard was the inscription “Hang Loose for details”.
There was excitement everywhere. Everyone looked forward to witness this unique event. “What is it going to be like” was the question on every lip.
The details people were asked to hang loose for, now came out. It came out in the form of a colorful brochure with the picture of a man carrying the earth on his head and some young fellows standing on top of the globe with glasses of wine in their hands, depicting happiness and merriment.
The brochure contained details of the program of events which had been scheduled to last for three consecutive days. The excitement for the upcoming carnival now reached a feverish pitch with the release of this brochure.
A few days to the D-day, hotels in the University had been fully booked as guests began to arrive. When the event eventually kicked off, guests at were dressed with garlands and wore beautiful face masks of varying colours and shapes.
A section of the venue which had a swimming pool was carved out and called “paradise” All who were admitted into this paradise had everything to enjoy, including various kinds of food and drinks. The organizers surprised guests by providing almost every kind of food available in Nigeria. Guests were thrilled at the way their demands for various kinds of foods were promptly met.
Various musicians were invited to entertain guests at the event, including the famous Fela Musical band set, and Prince Nico Mbaga of the Sweet Mother music fame.
Among the distinguished persons in attendance were Governors of states in Nigeria, and some guests from Europe and America who were attracted to the event by the wide publicity given to it by media outfits in USA and UK in addition to the wide publicity from newspapers and radio stations in Nigeria.
In addition to the music, were other forms of entertainment and relaxation such as some in-door games like chess, scrabble, totopoly and swimming. Guests had a lot to eat and drink and danced their hearts out to the various kinds of music provided by the nine musical groups which had been invited to entertain. The bar corner was filled up with various kinds of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks, and guests ate, drank and danced to their satisfaction. Nothing of this sort had ever been witnessed in any part of Africa before this event whose memory has continued to linger since it happened .
The Director of socials who was the brain behind it all was a young man in his late twenties. The post for the Director of Socials was keenly contested by many aspirants as it was considered as the most attractive post to aspire for as it often brought fame, love and riches to the winner.