Carnival is a festive season that occurs immediately before Lent (the last celebration before lent); the main events are usually during February.
Carnival typically involves a public celebration or parade combining some elements of a circus, mask and public street party. People often dress up or masquerade during the celebrations, which mark an overturning of daily life.
The carnival was a time of fun, laughter and merriment. However, from the 1970s to the early 2000s, the great Lagos festivals of Carnival, Eyo and Egungun were marred by violence between youths from different sections of Lagos or groups of masquerades. These festivals became synonymous with injury, destruction and death.
The Lagos State Government, headed by Babatunde Fashola, decided to get involved in organising the Carnival and Eyo Festival in order to ensure that activities are conducted in a safe and secure environment and that it serves as a means to attract tourists to the state. Government involvement has returned the carnival and Eyo Festival to what they were known for; laughter, music, dancing and merriment.
Government agencies such as LASTMA, LASAMBUS, RRS, Operation Mesa, Neighbourhood Watch, etc are fully mobilised to ensure that the event is hitch free. Corporate bodies are involved in sponsoring segments of the carnival, with some providing free food, drinks and souvenirs for celebrants. BRT buses convey members of the public to the Tafawa Balewa Square free of charge. There are also open top double-decker buses that give tourists a great view of the festivities. Famous musicians such as 9ice also perform at the carnival.
A new innovation was added to the celebration of carnival with the introduction of the junior carnival. Primary and secondary schools on Lagos Island are invited to send students to represent their schools at the junior carnival.
The procession usually kicks off at the Giwa Barracks, Falomo. Some floats then proceed along Awolowo Road to Tafawa Balewa Square. Another kick off point is Campos Square on Lagos Island. Celebrants parade down Igbosere Road, Broad Street, Catholic Mission Street, Marina Street and on to Tafawa Balewa Square. Some floats go through Ozumba Mbadiwe Road and Ahmadu Bello Way on Victoria Island on their way to the Tafawa Balewa Square. The junior carnival kicks of at the National Museum Onikan. The floats then proceed to Campos Square and then to the Tafawa Balewa Square.
The Lagos Carnival 2013 will hold on Easter Monday, April 1st 2013 from 10am till 6pm. Admission into the Tafawa Balewa Square is free.
Admission to the VIP stands is strictly by invitation. It is advisable to park your car at the Marina car park and other designated car parks on Lagos Island. Awolowo Road, Bourdillon Road, Igbosere Road, Catholic Mission Street, Bamgboshe Street, King George V Road, the approaches to Tafawa Balewa Square and parts of Kingsway Road will be closed to traffic. However, BRT buses will be provided to convey members of the public to the TBS for free. Focal points for this year's carnival include Tafawa Balewa Square, Campos Square and Giwa Barracks (Kingsway Road) Ikoyi.