By Jonathan Ugbal
Calabar, the capital city of Cross River came alive yesterday following the flag off of the 2015 edition of the reinvented Carnival Calabar by the governor, Benedict Ayade who use the opportunity to reiterate his resolve to reduce to the barest minimum the level of poverty in the state.
Accompanied by his wife, Linda Ayade, Deputy, Professor Ivara Esu and the Speaker of the House of Assembly, John Gaul Lebo, Ayade put to bed, rumors that he may not continue in his predecessors footpath following the scrapping of the children’s carnival and the indefinite postponement of several events in the festival timetable.
Ayade who said new activities have been embedded to add colour to the event, averred that this year’s edition which is the eleventh will be better off for “there is no one like it” as a lot had changed with the people and revellers adding spice to it. He further added that some of the female revellers will be selected and sent for further grooming.
In his remarks which was conspicuously devoid of any message regarding the central theme which is “Climate Change”, Ayade said that “This carnival you are going to witness today, there is no other one like it. We have seen a tone of new gears. We are bringing in an international content. We are bringing in a miasma of some kind of calisthenics that will create some kind of energy and a new verb.
“The people of Cross River State, we welcome you to the warm embrace that we all know, the hospitality and panache that is expected with our heritage. I welcome you all to carnival Calabar. As we are beginning this one which is my very first carnival, you can see the content, you can see the helexia, you can see the cavalier, you can see the quantity and the modernification. That indeed shows Cross River State is ready and set.”
On the Governor’s band which is a new addition, he added that “For my special band that was the construction of my dear wife, Dr. Linda Ayade, my sweetest darling. I want to assure you that she is watching all of these young ladies and some of them, she is definitely going to take abroad and groom them for even higher responsibilities.”
Reiterating his resolve to deliver on his mandate, Ayade said “It is my strong desire that all young Cross Riverians should prosper and have opportunity to harvest all that there is. It is on that note that I will like to cut the tape so that we start the dance by the digital governor and all of us here, let the dance begin.”
The reinvented Africa’s biggest street party as it has been tagged overtime, took the five competing bands, the governor’s band and the international bands from different countries through the marked 12 kilometres carnival route terminating at the Udoakaha Jacob Esuene stadium where the winners will be announced.
The bands are expected to perform in front of an audience of over 100,000 with over thrice that figure on television, radio and the web with the carnival this year attracting participants and spectators from Brazil, Spain, Italy, Rwanda, and many others.
The carnival activities continue at the UJ Esuene Stadium where the last band of the carnival just finished performing at 4:25am and a winner is yet to be announced.
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