The streets of Calabar, Cross River State, were yesterday awash in a kaleidoscope of colours as 22 states showcased their cultures in the ongoing Calabar Festival Cultural Parade.
Also in attendance were the 18 local government areas of the state.
Flagging off the parade at the Millennium Park, Senator Ben Ayade said the Calabar Cultural Carnival was the beginning of the unification of Nigeria as a continent.
“Cross River State is here and at it again,” Ayade said, adding that “the Cultural festival for today is the celebration of the African culture, a kind of harmony and the high rhythm of the entire culture that constitutes the epicentre of the true black man.
According to Ayade, “The culture we are having today is an experience and an exposé on the wealth of the African people, the unity, the harmony, the love, the charisma, the energy, the warmth, the fellowship that characterizes African fellow-progressiveness.
“Today we are gathered here to celebrate Africa. We are celebrating Africa because indeed, it is only Africans that can celebrate themselves. As the Americans take full control of technology, Africa is leading in culture and hopefully we shall catch up with technology and shall overcome.”
Governor Ayade who explained that his choice of dress for the event was due to the Bikers Carnival scheduled to begin as soon as the Cultural Carnival ended, promised that “From next year, I will come dressed in a cultural attire.”
He said the dressing also showed “the level of energy that we will be expecting in 2017, because Cross River State is going to reconstruct its dynamics, and tell its story, its narrative from the perspective of industrialization. Cross River State insists that it must decouple from the dependence on federal allocation.
“Cross River State believes that intellectualism is required in governance and that is why we have this catalytic combination of energy, intellect, capacity, unity, harmony, verb, vitality and all that we need to be able to plan a new Cross River State.”
Cutting the tape, Ayade said he did so believing that; “Ultimately, this cultural festival is the beginning of the unification of Nigeria and indeed Africa.”
The event drew a crowd of over 5000 spectators who were thrilled by the performances of the various troupes who danced along the parade route.