By Efa Sunday and David Nsa
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State flagged open the 2018 edition of the Calabar Carnival and Festivals in the capital city, with cultural performances from different States across Nigeria.
Twenty five out of the thirty six States present at the event danced in their traditional costumes and attire to commemorate this year’s carnival theme ‘Africanism.’
Governor Ayade while speaking at the event, explained the essence of rich cultural display from the different States and what informed his choice for Africanism as this 2018 carnival theme.
He said, “People around the world often associate Africans to corruption, war, hunger, kidnapping, thuggery, pickpocketing and so on, which is not true. Africa is a blessed continent, though the last to be discovered, it is blessed with so many natural resources. Africa today has the richest black man in the world and a host of so many successful black people across the different spheres life.”
On the choice of theme he said; “We have had a lot of people including blacks tell the Africa story, people like Wole Soyinka, Ngugi Wationgo, Professor Ali Mazri and others tell the story but unfortunately it is from the white man’s perspective.
“Therefore the need to tell African story from the West, from our heritage, from all that characterises Africa, arose.
“Africans are full of empathy and sympathy, the people of Africa have the greatest wealth on the earth. Why would Africa continue to wait on international community to tell the African story, and therefore we made the choice of Africanism.” He said.
The Governor went ahead to explain what Africanism is about also said “it is the philosophy and ontology of the African people, the characteristics and peculiarities of Black people.
“Today in the streets of Calabar, through dance and procession, Africans will tell the Africa story, from the African perspective. We are going to be in the street by our dance steps, by our Hunter’s skills, by our fisherman’s skills, we will tell the story of vigilance, intelligence, rich history and strength of the African people.” Ayade added.
Mr. Ben showed his appreciation to God for the grace given to the state to continue such heritage, and also to Cross Riverians, for believing in the spirit of carnival, while challenging young Africans to stay in their lands “blessed with opportunities and natural resources,” rather than risking their lives “on the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara desert,” in the quest for greener pastures.
The peak of the event was a cutting of cake, which was to commemorate the opening ceremony.
See pictures below.
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