The Cross River Government says it is hopeful that the annual Calabar Carnival will be bigger and better in December 2022.
The state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Mr Eric Anderson, expressed the hope in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Calabar.
He also told NAN that the 2022 edition of the carnival would be “a robust farewell carnival” for Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River.
Anderson said that the carnival had been approved by the State Executive Council, adding that the 2020 and 2021 editions were put off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said that the 2022 edition of the carnival would be bigger and better because its two-year absence gave the tourism ministry the space for its expansion.
“The 2022 carnival has been given approval by the State Executive Council. We did not hold the 2020 and 2021 carnival due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Cross River is among the committee of carnival producers in the world. Carnivals were shut down in the world in the last two years because of COVID-19.
“As we speak, carnivals around the world have started production and we can see that the Covid-19 protocols have been relaxed.
“As a member of the committee, we feel we should also resume as well. Tourism is one aspect of culture that has put Cross River on the World Tourism Map,” he said.
According to him, the administration of Gov. Ayade will end in May 2023, hence the preparation by the state government to have a robust farewell carnival.
The Commissioner, who described the carnival as “a plot and play event”, said that its structure was still alive and strong in spite of the years that the festival did not hold.
He told NAN that two more bands had been added to the existing five bands with a view to expand the carnival to accommodate more participants.
He said the seven bands would be Seagull, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Bayside, Freedom, Diamond, and Calas Vegas.
Anderson assured tourists coming to participate in the carnival of adequate security, adding that they would be treated to lots of fun, cultural display and dance among others. (NAN)