Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River on Sunday said that the 2018 edition of the annual Calabar festival was designed to showcase and tell the original story of the black race. Ayade, who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, said this in Calabar during the flag off of the second dry run of the 2018 carnival.
According to him, the theme of the Carnival, ‘Africanism’, has been designed to showcase to the world the current state of Africa and where the continent ought to be.
“This year’s edition of the carnival is to tell the story of the black race; where were we, where are we and where are we going?
“The five competing bands are going to tell this story as they dance along the street in their beautiful attires.
“We did better in the first dry run; it is our belief that the second dry run will be perfect. We are here to make a difference in this year’s carnival with the theme ‘Africanism,’” he said.
Also speaking, Gabe Onah, Chairman of the Carnival Commission, said the state had sustained the hosting of the largest street party in African for a record 14 years.
“Today, we are experiencing the second dry run of the 2018 Calabar carnival and we are marking another milestone. Interestingly, we have sustained this street party for a record 14 years.
“One of the strength of the Carnival is its community-based initiative and its bottom-up strategy.
“Another one is the fact that it is backed by competent law and registered in the World Trade Mark with 72 countries in that protocol called the `Madrid Protocol’.
“Not too long ago, Gov. Ayade said we must reach out to other sectors and other arms of government; we are happy that the Chief Judge of the state is here today,’’ he said.
Onah lauded the participants and the people of Cross River for coming out en mass for the dry run.
The Chief Judge of Cross River, Justice Emmanuel Edem, said the carnival theme was a unique theme that reminded Africans of their origin and roots.
“I bless the day the theme of the carnival was conceived. We are happy to be in the spirit of African renaissance and it behoves on us to keep that spirit alive.
“This event should make Africans proud because it is conceived and borne to showcase the true colour of the black we represent,” the Chief Judge said.
Five competing bands, Seagull, Master Blaster, Passion 4, Freedom and Bayside are competing in the festival with each band appearing on a unique outfit.
Security was mounted along the 12 kilometres carnival routes with thousands of spectators watching the street dance.