Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River has inaugurated the 2018 Calabar Carnival dry run to signify the commencement of the annual festival, the News Agency of Nigeria reports.
Speaking after the ceremony in Calabar on Sunday, Ayade who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, said that the celebration marked the 14th anniversary of the carnival.
The governor, who disclosed that the theme of the 2018 carnival is ‘Africanism`, described the carnival as `the largest street party in Africa’.
He said that the carnival had promoted talent and creativity, adding that it also united the people of Cross River and Nigeria in general.
He said: “Today, we are flagging off the 14th annual Calabar carnival, the largest street party ever; the greatest show in Africa.
“So much has been done to showcase what the theme is all about. The time has come for Africa to be of age where the black man is seen as a symbol of integrity.
“If Africans can get themselves together and shun fraud, drug peddling and other forms of heinous crime, we will win back our position and compete favourably with other colours in the world.
“All we need to do is to change our attitude and believe in ourselves. We hope that the bands will take time to espouse the theme and tell the story of Africa and the need to respect our continent.’’
He said his administration has done a lot in bringing understanding to the carnival through the interpretation of the Carnival themes.
Gabe Onah, Chairman, Calabar Carnival Commission, said that the state had sustained the hosting of the largest street party in Africa for a record 14 years.
Onah lauded the efforts of the people of Cross River and the participants for coming out en mass for the dry run
He said: “We are here to make a difference in this year’s carnival with the theme: ‘Africanism’. The dry run signifies the commencement of the carnival.
“It tracks the system on the 12 kilometres routes and engage the community positively.’’
NAN reports that five carnival bands: Seagull, Master Blaster, Passion 4, Freedom and Bayside are expected to participate in this year’s carnival.
The participants were beautifully dressed in different attires, while security was mounted in all the carnival routes.
Dignitaries at the ceremony included, Speaker of the state Assembly, Mr John Gaul-Lebo, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa, members of the state executive council among others.