When the annual Carnival Calabar and Festival returns this December, the fear of whether or not the Professor Ben Ayade-led government of Cross River State would sustain the annual event will not only be over, revelers will have more to thank the new government for.
Governor Ayade announced at a glamorous unveiling of the 2015 edition of Carnival Calabar theme tagged ‘Climate Change’, that the carnival can only get better with additional activities and restyling of the old ones, revealing that Bikers Day and Disco Fiesta are part of the new offerings this year.
The event which took place at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos had dignitaries from the Corporate Nigeria, the United States Embassy in Nigeria, actors, actresses and several investors.
Governor Ayade whet the appetite of many at the event, while marketing what has come to be known as the best tourism destination in Nigeria, with oratory prowess.
The 2015 edition of the December festival will be the first to be organised by Ayade, who took over from former governor, Senator Liyel Imoke. The festival was founded by Imoke’s predecessor, Mr. Donald Duke in 2004.
At the end of the presentation Sunday night, many applauded the festival initiative as Progress in Running.
One of the people, who praised the governor for taking the Carnival a notch higher, was Chairman of the Carnival Calabar Band Association and leader of the Seagull Band, Senator Florence Ita Giwa.
She noted that like others, she was initially worried about the disposition of the new government in the State to the festival, but that the governor has allayed all fears
“When Donald was leaving, we thought that would be the end of the Carnival,” she said. “But when Imoke came in, he took the carnival a notch higher. With time, the carnival also became capital intensive, but despite the challenges, Imoke managed to keep it going. When Professor Ayade came, the same fear was entertained, but with what you are all witnesses to this evening, it is obvious the Carnival can only get better.”
Ayade who enjoined all to be a part of this year’s festival, revealed that Carnival bands from 14 countries will be performing this year, while the notable children Carnival has also been repackaged to take the form of family funfair.
He surprised many when he invited all the Beauty Queens at the event to the stage, and enlisted them automatically as members of a new band called the Governor’s Band. “Irrespective of their states of origin, they represent the beauty, elegance, style and class of the average Cross River youth,” said the governor.
The Cross River helmsman who also announced plans to set up ‘the biggest garment factory’ in Nigeria on December 15, said there is need to localise the production of the costumes used during the event, as a business angle to the festival.
The governor assured of security, praising the State as having the lowest crime rate in Nigeria. “Our people are emotional stable and content with what they have. However, s full team of security will be mobilised for the festival,” he said.
Guests at the unveiling include comic actor John Okafor, aka Mr. Ibu, sonorous singer, Waje, CEO of EbonyLife TV, Mo Abudu, Dance Hall singer, Patoranking, reggae artiste Blackie, Olu Maintain, Kce and actors Enyinna Nwigwe and Elvis Chuks.