By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
In a bid to positively transform youths to channel their energy to productive works, the Cross River State Government Monday held the maiden Youth Carnival with several Nigerian varsities in attendance.
The event is one of the many events introduced into the 2016 edition of the 32 day Calabar festival which will climaxed with the Carnival Calabar on December 28 with Cross River Governor, Senator Ben Ayade saying the event is also a channel of unity and a deliberate plan to ensure Nigerian youths get to know firsthand, what happens in during the Carnival Calabar and festival.
“A spirit that is aimed at getting you out of cultism, a spirit that is meant to get you into mental alertness, that is the true spirit of this Youth Carnival” said Ayade at the flagging off of the Carnival at Millennium Park.
Represented by his deputy, Professor Ivara Esu, Ayade lauded the participants and expressed hope that; “next year, we will be expecting more turn out in the Youth Carnival than what we are seeing today” and charged the participating students to take the message of what is “happening in Calabar to other universities that could not make it.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the Carnival Commission in the State, Gabe Onah in his remarks said the Youth Carnival is the result of the rebranding of the Children Carnival following research which showed that the Youth Carnival was designed for the future as it will groom revellers.
“Men and women in educational institutions were saddled with the responsibility to take it back to the classroom, look at the thematic content and the philosophy behind the Carnival and grow it from there so that tomorrow will be protected” Onah said.
He further disclosed that the route which is 5 kilometres long has three adjudication points and expressed optimism that if the Youth Carnival grows the way it is designed, “Carnival Calabar will be protected.”
Among varsities that graced the event were Cross River State University of Technology, University of Calabar, University of Uyo, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, University of PortHarcourt, as well as Nassarawa State University, Keffi.