By CrossRiverWatch Admin
The Cross River State Government has expressed plans to rejig and reimage the 21-year-old Carnival Calabar, as foreign investors say it can be one of the best carnivals in the world.
Carnival Calabar is an annual event that showcases the cultural heritage of Cross River, Nigeria, and Africa.
The State Governor, Senator Bassey Otu, while receiving a team of Turkish Investors interested in investing in the Carnival Calabar, in Calabar, said “After 20 years, Carnival Calabar, like any other longstanding investment, was due for rejigging, relaunching and reimagining.”
The Turkish team of investors which met separately with the Governor and the Deputy Governor went on an inspection tour of the 12km Carnival Route with the Chairman of the Tourism and Culture Cluster of the Transition Committee, Mr. Gabe Onah, and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Development, Mrs. Eme Afiah.
The group was accompanied by the Director of Tourism, Mr. Ekpenyong Ojoi, Mr. Thomas Ikpeme, and Mr. Mathias Amgba, amongst others.
The Deputy Governor, Hon. Peter Odey, who later received the visiting team in his office in the company of the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Elvert Ayambem, and the Member representing Akamkpa 2 State Constituency, Hon. Linus Etim, said Calabar Carnival was the most colorful in the world comparable only to that of Brazil.
Hon. Odey assured the Turkish team of their security and the Governor’s commitment to ensuring that Cross River regains its place as the number one tourism destination in Nigeria.
He said Cross River State is the most welcoming group of people in the world while eulogizing the Head of the Culture and Tourism Cluster, Mr. Gabe Onah who had sold the Carnival to the world and led the brand for more than 16 years.
Agreeing with the earlier position of the Governor, Hon. Odey said it was time to move the Carnival Calabar brand from its routine to the next level and expressed faith that the partnership would ensure that the 2023 carnival is the best.
Speaking at the event, Mr. Gabe Onah, presented the team from GL Turkiye – Serenas who he said were in Calabar to introduce the hidden areas that will make the brand self-sustaining to achieve its primary objectives and opined that after 21 years, Carnival Calabar had come of age; expressing confidence in GL Turkiye – Serenas who had organized global events including the African Nations Cup.
He said carnival bands were private sector-driven and ought to be self-sponsoring as the innovation will ensure that the bands stop depending on the Government.
Accompanied by Mr. Ikechi Uko, the consultant to the international carnival, Ms. Umran Alinak and Seda Diker, representatives of GL Turkiye – Serenas said they had come to Calabar to inspect and tell the story of Carnival Calabar by themselves. They added that a larger team would return to Calabar by September to prepare for the Carnival in December.
Diker promised that their group was ready to make Carnival Calabar global having organized events like the world cup and the likes of the Super Ball.
In his comments, the organizer of Akwaba Africa Travel Market, Mr. Ikechi Uko observed that, from all indications, Carnival Calabar 2023 has the potential to maintain her lead as the foremost cultural event in Nigeria after Afrobeat and Nollywood to open up Nigeria in positive ways beyond Africa to the whole world.