By Achiane Adams
Cross River State Government reveals the 2017 Carnival Calabar Theme as the first Dry Run kicks off.
His Excellency, the Governor of Cross River State, Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade, represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Ejemot Esu, has revealed that the 2017 Carnival Calabar Theme is ‘MIGRATION’. Prof. Esu made this known during the flag-off of the 2017 Carnival Calabar’s first dry run at Millennium Park, Calabar.
Welcoming visitors to the State, Esu promised that based on the progress recorded over the years, this year’s carnival will be bigger, better and bolder. He said everyone is welcome to join in the excitement.
Speaking earlier, the representative of the Federal Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Mrs Grace Isu Gekpe, while apologizing for the Minister’s absence, thanked the people of Cross River State for the amazing reception given to her even though she is an indigene and promised to extend their warm regards to him.
She said she was really impressed with the passion and effort put into the planning of the festival when she visited the Seagull and Freedom Bands camps.
Mrs Gekpe added that in the area of costuming, more should be done to promote local textiles and pledged the Ministry’s support to publicise Cross River State’s local content to the rest of the world.
The Director-General, National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), Otunba Segun Runsewe, while congratulating the State for maintaining her role as the nation’s leading tourism destination, said the monorail ride which was his first, from Tinapa Business Resort Limited to the Calabar International Conference Center is a project that deserves recognition and commendation.
During his opening remarks earlier, the Chairman, Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah, lauded Sen. Prof. Ben Ayade’s spirit of carnival as he had in the last two years doubled the excitement and fun of the Carnival Calabar Festival with improved criteria and acrobatics.
Onah said this year’s carnival promises to be more thrilling as all hands are on deck to ensure that the fun gets better.
After the flag-off, Prof. Esu led dignitaries through the carnival route to Mary Slessor Roundabout, where they sat to watch the different bands.
The Secretary to the State Government, Barr. Tina Banku Agbor, the Speaker of the Cross River State House of Assembly, Hon. John Gaul Lebo, Chief of Staff, Hon. Martins Orim, amongst others, were also present at the event.
This year’s carnival is expected to attract participants from 25 countries.