By Jonathan Ugbal: Government House Correspondent
The federal government has said it will partner the Cross River State government to take its flagship tourism event; the Carnival Calabar to higher heights.
The Minister for Information, Culture and Orientation, Alhaji Lai Mohammed stated this Sunday in Calabar during the flag off of the first dry run for the 2017 Carnival Calabar where he also called for the promotion of locally made products at the event.
“We are ready to work with you to ensure we take Calabar Carnival from where it is to higher grounds and another issue I want to bring upon, I want to see all promoting Nigeria made products through this platform because that is the policy of the Government of Nigeria,” said Ms. Grace Gekpe, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry who represented the Minister.
She continued: “Like you have seen me dress, I want us to introduce something like this in 2017 Carnival.
“Let’s have some Nigeria fabrics infused into our costumes and I know we will be able to patronize our producers of these products and they will all be empowered.”
Gekpe who said it was the ministry’s first participation at the event, disclosed that the ministry’s delegation had visited the Freedom and Seagull bands camps where they were thrilled to “exciting dance steps.” She said that her first participation at the Carnival was with Freedom band which she said has grown over the years and said the ministry will aid in the publicity of some of the projects they visited.
“We are so thrilled to be here and we also went to the International Conference Centre and I was shocked when I saw the mono train and I said this is something that we need to publicize and I want to pledge here that from my own side, we will do our best to publicize what is happening in Calabar. All the products in Calabar will be publicized,” said Gekpe who added that: “Congratulations, because you have done well and you are going to do well. What you are going to see in December will be far better I am sure, than what we saw last year. So congratulations and I wish you all the best.”
The flag off was carried out at 5 different points with different government functionaries declaring or open.
Cross River deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu flagged off the event at the 11 – 11 roundabout which was the muster point for the Freedom band.
And, he said the theme, which is ‘Migration’ will be properly elucidated at the main Carnival and assured of a better experience.
He said that: “Today, this year’s Carnival as we said earlier will be mainly based, the main theme will be migration and we can’t say more than that because it will be elucidated at the Carnival proper.
“However, all I can assure you is that, this year’s Carnival as usual will be bigger, bolder and better.”
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