Eme Offiong, Calabar
The second dry run preparatory to the 2019 Carnival Calabar slated for December has held in Calabar, the capital city of Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
Professor Ivara Esu, the Cross River state deputy governor, alongside Jonas Eteng Williams and Onari Duke, the wife of the former governor, Donald Duke and leader of the State Bands Association, flagged off the rehearsals at the city centre popularly referred to as the Millennium Park.
Before flagging off the dry run, Professor Esu, who appreciated the crowd of spectators for the second dry run, said “we are very happy about the enthusiasm shown by everybody. We do hope that we will all continue to play our part to ensure that the Carnival Calabar as it has been doing, continue to grow, bigger, better and bolder”.
On the theme, the deputy governor reminded the public that the 2019 theme “Humanity” was hinge on the very essence of human existence, which is love.
He urged Nigerians and people all over the world to “be kind, nice to one another, treat others as you would treat yourself, be fair to people and make sure you have kind thoughts about others and treat them in the best way that you can. You must be humane”.
Jonas Eteng, in a brief remark, commended the carnival commission for sustaining the event and pledged lawmakers support to support the annual street party.
He disclosed, “the state assembly is making plans to have its own band join in the carnival come December 28. By doing this we are publicly showing our people and the world that we support this event in its entirety”.
Earlier, Gabe Onah, the Chairman of the Carnival Commission said that commission was taking notes of every opportunity to improve the 2019 carnival experience.
According to Onah, “this is another milestone for the carnival as the first dry run afforded us the opportunity to see firsthand things we need to inject into the main carnival and by the third dry run, all things would have been set.”
He further disclosed that the number of spectators for the second dry run was due to the flag of the bikers’ dry run, which was two hours ahead of the revelers.
Similarly, Austin Cobham, the executive Secretary of the commission, stated that security agencies, military and para-military including the DSS were involved in the carnival.
“I can assure you of absolute security. We are working with all the security agencies in Cross River, that is, the army, navy, air force, civil defense, police, immigration, corrections, customs, every single one is here with us. Like I said, we have security in place. Also, as for free flow of traffic, the alternate routes are open for vehicles to move smoothly”, Austin stressed.
He explained that the dry run or rehearsal serves to ginger the public’s interest preparatory to the main event as well as prepare revelers emotionally, mentally and physically for the twelve kilometer road show.
It could be recalled that the first dry run for the carnival was held on October 17, 2019 when the original five competing bands namely Masta Blasta, Bayside, Freedom, Seagull and Passion 4 as well as the non-competing Governor’s Band displayed across ten performance point on the route.