The governor of Cross River State, Prof. Ben Ayade has stated the government’s resolve to reposition the annual Calabar Carnival and transform it into a veritable platform for African discourse.
Speaking in Calabar at the unveiling of ‘Africanism’ as the theme for the 2018 edition of the fiesta, Ayade said the festival is Africa’s biggest street party adding that he would want to see Africans speak in one voice.
The unveiling included a short video presentation on illegal mining exploitation across Africa by a few rich foreign aristocrats.
The governor expressed optimism that this year’s edition of the event will go a long way in righting the wrongs done to Africans by foreigners, especially colonial overlords, by portraying the continent and its people as the true owners of the real wealth in the world.
“Because Nigeria’s foreign policy is Afrocentric, the unification of Africa has become critical, let the carnival speak to power, speak to Africans that the African Union must rise and defend Africa,” he said.
He said he made a choice of using the carnival as a platform to tell the African story as well as remind the world that civilization started in Africa and that Africans are the greatest semblance of God.
He also said he intended to bring intellectualism as a more rewarding adventure to the Calabar Carnival and indeed African heritage to represent every sector of African structure in the global space.
Ayade charged the band leaders of the 2018 carnival to make Africa proud by talking big about the continent.
“Africa has grown and will war no more; make the streets glitter with things and colours that truly represent Africa as only this will show we have come of age.
“Youthfulness and vitality of Africa must be expressed in their dance, story precession and sub- themes as these will bring about the reverse of immigration to assure young men and women that Africa has realised itself and on the path of restitution and enhanced growth.
“Let the carnival tell the reverse hypothesis of these stories and create a new kurtosis that create a direction and focus that accentuates and celebrates the African man and let’s use this year’s platform to tell the true story that the real wealth lies in Africa and that Africa is indeed the leader,” he stressed.
Speaking at the event, the chairman of Cross River State Tourism Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah said the Calabar Carnival remains the main factor that has changed the narrative about Cross River and put the state and Nigeria on a global map.
He praised the governor for introducing international carnival, Bikers’ parade, Miss Africa Beauty Pageant among other innovations into the festival thereby taking the yearly event to unprecedented height.