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Lagos Panorama – Exclusive Photos from The 2011 Lagos Carnival



An early shower of rain on the morning of Saturday 30 April notwithstanding, the Lagos Carnival 2011 was a huge success. Over twelve thousand people, young and old, thronged the premises of the Tafawa Balewa Square on Lagos Island to keep faith with the century-old tradition. It could not have been more glamorous as the annual event kicked off with the rising of the sun, after the early wetness. And the theme for this year’s carnival was: “Bright and Beautiful”! It was the culmination of the week-long Lagos Heritage Week.

Donning a panorama of colourful attires, the carnival was largely constituted by two major groups: the Adult and the Junior. The Adult group included celebrants from Campos, Obalende, Ebute-Metta, Sango/Ago-Egba, Surulere, Araromi Fanty, Sprts-city Groups, Isale-Eko, Ifako/Ijaiye, amongst others. The Junior category featured mostly students from secondary schools in Lagos State.

According to the official carnival brochure, the first carnival was held in 1881 in celebration of the Pro-Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Lagos Island, on Easter Monday, and many Brazilian descendant families were involved. Despite the prevailing British Colonial rule at the time, the carnival was not an initiative of the colonialists but of the Emancipados, the returnee, who brought Portuguese culture to Lagos on their return from Brazil. It soon lulled, but was restarted in Lafiaji, Lagos, in 1937, only to die down after 1962.

A fact-finding trip to Brazil and a reorientation of the community made it easy to resuscitate the carnival and have maximum community participation in the early 90’s. A return to the roots was preached and these days since 1994, the audience is no longer afraid of violence and rascality which marred the organization of the carnival in the past. Many of the people involved today are graduates, and persons who simply want to relax and enjoy the festival, thus repositioning the carnival from the muscular to the intellectual.

Some of the dignitaries this year include, Sarah Sosan, outgoing Deputy Governor and Governor Babatunde Fashola and his wife, Abimbola. It had been a remarkable day in history as the musical fireworks closed the curtains on the event.

Freelance photographer, Bayo Omoboriowo, was at the carnival and he captured the scenes. Enjoy!

Mrs. Abimmola Fashola (Wife of the Lagos State Governor)

Mrs. Sarah Sosan (Out-going Deputy Governor of Lagos State)

Helen Paul (a.k.a. Tatafo) was a compere at the Carnival

Opral Benson, Iya Oge of Lagos

Governor Babatunde Fashola addressing the guests


Photo credit: Bayo Omoboriowo

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  1. Alero

    May 18, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    colourful.I love!

  2. Ronke

    May 18, 2011 at 4:37 pm

    Very nice and colorful pictures. I obviously missed a lot…Kudos to Lagos state govt for putting up such a fine event together.

  3. Bear.

    May 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    Colourful. Thumbs up Lagos.

  4. Tutu

    May 18, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    while i like the concept of the carnival, i fail to see how it represents nigerian culture and traditions and see it more as a way of mimicking foreign, and if i may say caribean culture
    the organisers could definitely done better

    • missme

      May 18, 2011 at 5:51 pm

      actually carnival is a festival first held in roman catholic societies, usually before lent. Its just a celebration which marks an overturning of life. so really anyone can have the festival. the Caribbeans brazillians are just noted for having the most popular carnivals

    • BigBen

      May 19, 2011 at 12:09 am

      you nailed it…Lagos has had better carnivals…this has close to zero representation of the culture

    • Ready

      May 19, 2011 at 4:24 am

      I see your point, but where did Lagos get its name from? If we start complaining about everything foreign in Lagos, then everything would have to be scrapped…Victoria Island? Marina? etc. As our city/state becomes more cosmopolitan, we’ll have to accept that not all of our celebrations will be about our culture only. No worry ehn, Eyo festival time is approaching.

    • Passerby

      May 19, 2011 at 1:11 am

      Hi.. Please step aside with this unnecessary comment. It is an expression of art, creativity, entertainment, FUN. Don’t come and spoil it with your over-thinking. Thanks 🙂

    • Passerby

      May 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm

      And that was a reply to Tutu


    May 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    ok i see some suspect outfits here …dude in the fatsuit..overall seems like people had fun. Eko onigbaje o

    • Elpee

      May 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm

      Omo I doubt that’s a fat suit. Really doubt it

  6. emy

    May 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    mehn, bad belle @ Tutu..


  7. chicanita

    May 18, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    Very colourful event. i really like the duck bike but ermmm the guy with d boobs hanging out…..LWKMD

  8. Lagos Boy

    May 18, 2011 at 5:11 pm

    So what exactly does the “Iya Oge of Lagos” do??? And how does a person get that title??

    Loved the colorful Pics…

  9. ozyy

    May 18, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Niceeee…love ittt….but some pictures wer funny thoo..the big guy, the guy’s face that was worked on by Edwards scissors hands…but BRAVOOOOOOOOO

  10. Sugabelly

    May 18, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    So shameful and unoriginal. We have hundreds of beautiful amazing cultures and the Lagos carnival just copied the Brazilian carnival completely.

    • Z

      May 19, 2011 at 5:29 am

      My thoughts exactly. The outfits and colors do not represent out culture. Shoot, the Carnivals held on behalf of naija in other countries seem more representative of Nigeria than the one held in Nigeria. Based on the pictures, it seemed like a fun day for the attendees, and that’s lovely…but they need to infuse some of Nigerian ‘hmmpf’ or swagger because the whole hooplah seems like a festival of wacky outfits instead of celebrating our culture. Eko Oni Baje O!

    • Kémi Penélopê

      May 19, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Excuse me sista…most Lagosians are of Brazilian descent, so there’s nothing wrong in going back to our roots…

  11. Mary007

    May 18, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    This is really nice, brought memories for hubby and I, Lagos of yester years. We are both happy to see things like this still be done and there are improvements as well, welldone to everyone who participated

  12. Zara

    May 18, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you Bellanaija for sharing these pictures with us!

  13. bobbydox

    May 18, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    what i am proud to be a NIGERIAN ANYDAY ANYTIME

  14. Sabirah

    May 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    What a gorgeous display of art and creativity, it’s lovely to see how influences from one culture can be infused into another! i love it. great thing for young people to participate in as well!

  15. Kechy

    May 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    All these people live in Lagos!

  16. Peperempe

    May 18, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Happy days….looks like a fun time. I agree with Tutu though, I think the next one should have a theme that makes it authentically Nigerian. How about people come out in the most outlandish traditional costumes they can create, or something along those lines…

  17. Yuds

    May 18, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    Viva LAGOS!!!

  18. uchechi

    May 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Colourful…lol @ decorated kekenapep. Mehn the dude with that for shizzle OMG!!

  19. LuLu

    May 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm


  20. Babydee

    May 18, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    God Bless Naija. God Bless you Governor Babatunde Fashola. Definitely voting for you as president come 2015!!

  21. signature

    May 18, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    wow! this is soo coool!…i just love carnivals (colors everywhere) 🙂
    it seems like it was quite organised…EKO O NI BAJE! 🙂

  22. didi

    May 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    BORING!!….Abuja carnivals are way better. 😛

    • Iceprincess

      May 19, 2011 at 12:20 pm

      HEY! Tell ’em!!!..lolz

  23. niyi

    May 18, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Nice shots. Eko oni baje!!!

  24. BubblyBliss

    May 18, 2011 at 11:11 pm

    Beautiful and colourful! The fat guy with the man boobs needs a bra. Wonder why his pic was in black and white with all the colour on display…

  25. sweetie

    May 19, 2011 at 12:08 am

    i like the keke marwa/napeps or whatever it is they are called these days….so cute 🙂

  26. euphoria

    May 19, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Beautiful, so nostalgic. I never knew we had carnivals in lagos, Everyone had fun
    Ps don’t bite me.

  27. Chioma

    May 19, 2011 at 12:53 am

    I don’t understand the rationale behind posting the picture of the obese young man. He clearly does not look like he is enjoying himself and obviously has some hormonal disorder that has caused him to develop breasts as he has. We should be a bit more sensitive to things such as this and edit, edit , edit before posting pictures online.

  28. elleven

    May 19, 2011 at 1:06 am


  29. Ready

    May 19, 2011 at 4:21 am

    OMG!!! I didn’t even know a carnival of this magnitude existed in Lagos. See what me and my abandoned Tinkerbell-style wings missed out on. Next year, Las gidi….next year.

  30. youngberry

    May 19, 2011 at 4:37 am

    The police lady is really cute….you never get to see naija policewomen that prim and proper.

  31. El Bee

    May 19, 2011 at 5:24 am

    Looks like so much fun!! What’s it with the guy with the boobs though? eeew!

  32. Daniels

    May 19, 2011 at 7:26 am

    Dang. The cop lady is gorgeous.

  33. Pearl

    May 19, 2011 at 8:19 am

    very interesting & colourful indeed… 9c

  34. dewowo

    May 19, 2011 at 8:48 am

    they sure had fun!

  35. pynk

    May 19, 2011 at 8:54 am

    NWIA- Nigerian West Indian Association had the original carnivals in lagos every easter monday. I fail to see how this carnival represents Nigeria- Carnival is a tie to slavery or former slave colonies where those folks used their day off to participate in juve and carnival the next morning.
    Maybe Nigerian outfits or culture would have made it more “Lagos” .

  36. meeee

    May 19, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Errr…….. why did you guys put Sarah sosan as outgoing Deputy Governor? It’s comments like this that make the likes of Okorocha think they have the constitutional rights to place an embargo on the state’s account.

    Sarah Sosan is and will continually be the Deputy Governor of Lagos state till May 29th

  37. niyoo

    May 19, 2011 at 10:24 am

    love love love
    the girl on roller skates, the guy with lacasera and gala, the guy with bad-ass tribal marks, roller skating guy in the air, decorated keke marwa and the police woman.

  38. Tyna

    May 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

    i was thr n its was grt

  39. bisola

    May 19, 2011 at 11:30 am

    so nice!!!!!! now i know i missed alot

  40. Deegurl

    May 19, 2011 at 11:46 am

    This is a pioneer carnival. Am sure subsequent ones will be better. All haters, relax. Thumbs up Lagos!

  41. Oma

    May 19, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Wow. was so colourful. Would love to be at next year’s edition.

  42. WaleAdeniji

    May 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Things of this nature are necessary in every society. Its fun. It reduces stresss and provide something to look forward to every year. Kudos to the organizers. However, like others said, we need to infuse things that are originally Nigeria. Things that represent us and less of foreign. All the same, kudos to the organizer and the participants.

  43. doubleyouhehigh

    May 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Colorful,beautiful collection! Quite a number of hilarious pics but I like the one with d kids in roller skates 🙂

  44. keke

    May 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    but we need to realize that many of the original settlers in Lagos Island were freed slaves from the Carribeans (Brazil), who brought along with them Carribean culture which is what is being displayed in the outfit. And this carnival istaking place in the heart of Lagos Island so it only makes sense for them to display their roots!

    • flakky

      May 19, 2011 at 8:09 pm

      Sorry you’re wrong…Slaves from west part of Africa were brought into the Caribbean’s has free slaves, with that being said majority of Caribbean’s have adapted to the traditions, culture and life style of west Africans. You might want to read more about Caribbean’s history before making a comment; also you might want to know that even in some parts of the Caribbean’ speak Yoruba when doing black Majic.

  45. Ema

    May 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    this is soooo lovely!
    colorful and interesting too!!!

  46. Naj

    May 19, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Now this looked like a fun day out….if you were at the venue…around it, traffic galore… But it was cute seeing keke-turned-fish on third mainland bridge at 11pm

  47. for sure

    May 19, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    lol.. the kid beside the “fat -boob guy” is scarred!

  48. Myne Whitman

    May 19, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Those are some pretty impressive pictures, must have been a great carnival.


    May 20, 2011 at 10:02 am

    it looks pretty decent, not really feeling the carnival, but i do like the concept of seeing everyone together and having fun, and thats the main purpose i guess.
    how come you guys never cover the Calabar or Abuja carnivals? Bella Naija and team, are you guys biased towards everything Lagos?

  50. justsayin

    May 21, 2011 at 3:21 am

    da calabar carnival is waaaaay better…..come over lets show u hw they do it!!!!!

  51. laolu

    June 2, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    fantastic wrk bayo…wats more u captured the soul of the event


    June 16, 2011 at 11:14 am

    wow nigeria, this is very beautiful this show how we present our AFRICAN culture ,well done guyz. FROM SOUTH AFRICA

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