As part of events proceeding Carnival Calabar, acclaimed as the largest street party in Africa, the Cross River Government has held a Cultural Parade with Contingents from not fewer than 14 States and 18 Local government Areas of the State in attendance.
Our reporter who monitored the colorful event said Contingents from each State showed their unique cultures through scintillating dances and acrobatic displays which added indescribable colour and beauty to the parade.
It was also learned that the parade was aimed at showcasing the different cultures in Nigeria so as to demonstrate why the Unity in diversity message should be sustained and encouraged.
The States which showed their presence were Anambra, Akwa Ibom, Kaduna, Oyo, Benue, Ebonyi, Gombe, and Nasarawa. Ogun, Ondo, Osun, Kogi, Kwara as well as the host, Cross River.
Speaking while flagging off the 4 kilometre long cultural parade at the popular Millennium Park in Calabar, the Capital City, Gov. Ben Ayade said the Calabar Carnival had become a Brand that other States look forward to.
Represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, Ayade said the parade was aimed at revealing the multifarious nature of Nigeria’s cultural heritage.
“No matter where you come from, you are likely to identify with one form of the culture or the other on display today, this is important,” he stated.
The Governor further expressed delight that the Carnival Calabar Brand has continued to grow in leaps and bounds despite the two years COVID-19 setback.
“I especially welcome the States that have come to participate with us in this year’s Cultural Carnival. This is the last Carnival we will be hosting as an administration and we are delighted to have continued with this flagship event.
“In the past, we have had more States than there are today. But, to have 14 States today shows that indeed Cross River State has become a brand, which other States chose to come and celebrate peacefully the end of the year,” he noted.
On his part, Mr. Austin Cobham, the Executive Secretary of the Cross River Carnival Commission, said the parade was a fusion of Nigerian unique cultures.
Cobham said apart from showing the World what the State could offer, Cross River was using the festival to see how Nigeria could speak of Unity with one voice through the use of culture and tourism.
He disclosed that the best performing States would be awarded points and cash prizes, while prices would also be awarded to the best three Local Government Areas.
He said that the criteria include costume, dance, use of time, and presentation of the theme.
Also speaking, Mr. Ken Akla, Special Adviser to the Governor on Event Management and Chairman Calabar Festival Committee, said the parade was a display of the Nation’s Cultural Heritage, adding that Cross River’s biggest export, which is its culture, tradition a, and people were being presented to the World through the parade.
Organisers said the cultural parade would be followed by Bite Parade, Miss Africa Beauty Pageant, and then the main Carnival Calabar scheduled for Wednesday, December 28, 2022.