As preparation for the December 28, 2016 edition of Carnival Calabar gathers momentum, Governor of Cross River State, Prof Ben Ayade has disclosed that no fewer than 15 governors, ambassadors and other top functionaries are expected to participate in the event.
Ayade disclosed this to newsmen yesterday at the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Calabar shortly on arrival from the maiden edition of Imo carnival held in Owerri, the Imo State capital, were he and over 250 carnival troupe from Cross River State participated.
The governor described the synergy as a welcome development as it will promote healthy competition, confirming that, “a lot of governors have indicated that they will be here for our carnival this year.”
Offering further insights on his participation in the Imo maiden carnival, Ayade explained that “Rochas taught it was wise for me to participate in the Imo Carnival to add value to the event as well as offer them the opportunity to learn from the masters themselves, adding that with this kind of synergy and collaboration, you will see the carnival taking a different level.
Ayade who was not unmindful of the fact that Imo Carnival is starting stronger and may likely become a brand to reckon with said: “I have no fear in my mind that with the way Governor Rochas Okorocha is going, he is definitely going to give Carnival Calabar a big fight in the next one or two years.”
While reiterating that the 2016 edition Carnival Calabar will be bigger, better and bolder, the governor maintained: “Like I promised Nigerians and indeed tourists all over the world, this year’s Carnival will be something to remember because of its rich content and it is taking a different dimension.
“As we speak, I just received a message from an international agency which will be revealed soon that has already indicated interest to take over the responsibility of this famous event which has received international acceptance over the years and driving more tourists to Nigeria year in, year out.”
Ayade declared that “With all these taking place, Cross River will soon become a final signature not just for Carnival but for tourism in sub-Saharan Africa which is why we taught it wise to build a special tourism city known as Calas Vegas to be sited in Calabar twin island to complement these efforts to attract more visitors.
“I am very optimistic that by the time all these additional offerings are fully operational and integrated, Nigerians will no longer search for where to spend their vacations but at destination Cross River, the governor concluded.