“Cross River state is ready for the world. We are ready to show them our traditional warmth and hospital which we are famously known for. This year’s carnival will present new innovations that will add color and glamour to the party like never before”, those were the exact words of Governor Ben Ayade while speaking to CrossRiverWatch at the unveiling of this year’s carnival Theme on Sunday at the prestigious Oriental Hotel in Lagos.
The governor who arrived the event beaming with smiles and confidence assured Cross Riverians the rest of the world that participation in this year’s event will involve people from different countries and continents and the fun and hospitality will be unrivalled in the history of the carnival.
While addressing guests at the event, the governor unveiled “Climate Change” as the theme for the 2015 edition of the Carnival which has become Africa’s biggest street party.
The Governor explained that the theme was carefully selected to reflect current global realities with a view to drawing attention to the needed action against climate change and its negative impacts.
“We present a theme that represents the true challenge of the world today as we celebrate this year’s event, “he informed, stressing that, “Cross River State is the 5th Biodiversity hotspot in the World. We have the second largest rain forest next to the Amazon, we also have the largest forest cover in Nigeria, the only state with Green Police, governed by a Professor of Environmental Science, so we cannot but promote environmental best practices to save the world from collapse.”
Continuing he maintained: “We therefore say, dare to have a dream, come fresh so that you receive more fresh ideas so that by the time you are done with the carnival and business trips to Calabar, you will return with fresh ideas to make a difference in your life.
“The reason for this gathering this evening is to invite all of you here and indeed the entire world to come to Calabar because there is nowhere else to be particularly at this time were you all need to relax and enjoy yourselves and like the Americans will say, “the only essence of life is enjoyment and once you take away happiness from a man, you have taken away the reason to live,” he said.
While giving more insights on the expectation in this year’s event the Governor disclosed: “We are bringing in innovations, the bikers parade, disco festival where we will be dancing all through at the stadium to best Nigerian tunes known as the African drums.
According to the governor, “From 21st December, you have got nowhere else to be except Calabar because we are providing a variety of dances with Nigeria’s finest performers each day while we also use the platform to discover and expose innate talents amongst our youths.
Ayade disclosed that “We are internationalizing the carnival and for the first time we are bringing in 16 countries that will be participating in the carnival this year.
He particularly thanked Mr. Ike Chukwu who he said had already done a lot in mobilizing African continent for this year’s carnival.
“As Cross Riverians, we are great dreamers, we don’t believe that there is any challenge that cannot be overcome because at any time you put your soul above your problem and your body will surely follow.
“The carnival is not just an opportunity to come and dance and make friends, it is an opportunity for business because geographically Cross River remains a business hub for Africa, so there must be a calibration of business and pleasure.”
On security, Ayade said: “Reports from the office of the Inspector General of Police indicates that we are the safest state in Nigeria. Besides, all security apparatus in the state are fully mobilized to ensure that we have a hitch free carnival. Be rest assured you are safe in our hands because we have never recorded any incidence since the inception of the carnival eleven years ago.
“It is our hope that with the international community’s participating, their concept about Nigeria will indeed change as they indulge in the warmth and hospitality of our state,” he said.
Present on the occasion were Consular General of United States of America represented by Mr. Thomas Hines, Senator Ita Giwa, Senator Gershom Bassey, Hon. Legor Idagbo, Special Adviser, Govenor’s Office/Events, Ken Aklah, Chairman, Carnival Commission, Gabe Onah among others.
Highpoint of the event was dance presentation by Professional dancers from Rwanda and Kenya while Cross River born Iyanya, Waje and home boy act, Real Pee Ajaba thrilled audience to spectacular performance.
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