Published On: Fri, Oct 26th, 2012

… As Carnival Calabar Beckons

BY ANDREW IRO OKUNGBOWA (LAGOS) AND ANIETE AKPAN (CALABAR)

ALL is now set for the 32 days of festivity, fun, adventures and exploration as the capital city of Cross River State, Calabar, popularly known as Canaan city enters the carnival season.

For the State Governor, Liyel Imoke who is the celebrant-in-chief of the yearly feast, the 2012 carnival is raising the bar as it is intended to benchmark global event of such nature with focus, according to him, on generating a new level of business for the state and the people while also serving as the biggest platform in the country for harvesting fun and excitement by various adventurers.

To signal the preparation for the festival, Imoke alongside the people of the state last weekend flagged off the first leg of the carnival, Dry Run and also unveiled the carnival theme in a colourful event held at the Millennium Park, Calabar.

Commending the Cross River State Carnival Commission, organisers of the event, the governor disclosed that the carnival was becoming self-sustaining with more private sector involvement.

The ultimate aim, he said, is to make the carnival private sector-driven like other successful carnivals across the world and also to use it to improve the revenue base of the state, create jobs, entertain visitors and foster peace in the state.

Speaking on the theme of the carnival, which is: “Celebrating A New Dawn”, the governor said that the four participating carnival bands would through their dance, song and presentations interpret the theme which has a prize for correct interpretation.

He also commended the team spirit of the bands and urged the citizens, visitors and investors to work towards realizing the new dawn in the state’s tourism, hospitality, business among other sectors.

“As we celebrate the new dawn with great hope and expectations, we will combine a number of things to make Carnival Calabar a world class brand while the state remains a-must-visit for all,” Imoke noted.

The Governor, who was accompanied by his wife, Obioma, expressed appreciation to the out-gone and incoming members of the state Carnival Commission for introducing what will help the state realise its vision of a carnival that will grow from strength to strength and outgrow already established carnivals across the world.

Speaking also at the event, the Chairman, Cross River State Carnival Commission, Gabe Onah assured that the commission is making efforts at putting everything in place to ensure that 2012 Carnival Calabar becomes one of the greatest events in Africa and beyond. The successful Dry Run which flags off the 2012 Carnival events, according to him, is a sign of more excitement and unique outing that awaits visitors for the 32-day Carnival in Canaan city.

Onah commended the strong and growing Public Private Partnership in the 2012 carnival which makes it more exciting than ever as a lot of surprises have been introduced to make it the first of its kind.

He further noted that the private sector led by the corporate world should identify more with the carnival, which is the largest street party in Africa because of the marketing, product activation, networking and among other corporate benefits that are on offer on the carnival platform.
One of the new events in this year’s edition is the Children Carnival Dry Run.With the successful first leg of the Dry Run, three other ones will be held before the main carnival in December. Onah noted that the Dry Run, mock carnival is necessary to create more awareness, assess the level of preparedness of the band, and enable the organisers to make amendments that will lead to a successful outing at the grand finale.

The traditional five competitive bands are: Bayside Band (Blue), Passion Four (Green), Seagulls Band (Red), Master Blasta (Orange) and Freedom Band (Yellow).

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