Eme Offiong, Calabar
Carnival Calabar has been described as a platform to promote peace, cultural appreciation and unity among nationalities in Nigeria, Africa and the world.
Shameem Ahsan, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Nigeria, and Dr. Ifeanyi Ifedi, the Consul General of Belize to Nigeria gave the indication during separate remarks at the first dry run parade preparatory to the 2019 Carnival Calabar.
Ahsan, who commended the initiative behind the carnival as a melting pot of different nationalities, said, “I am very happy to be here to participate in this year’s festival. The idea of the festival is a great initiative for the people of Cross River State and a great platform to showcase the culture and diversity of Nigeria”.
He further stated; “It also creates a platform for other countries to showcase their culture and at the end of the day, foster unity between nationalities and ultimately ensure that we all collectively work for humanity”.
On the other hand, Belize High Commissioner to Nigeria Dr. Ifedi said, “I have attended the main carnival before, but this is my first dry run and I never thought the bands would put in so much to make the outing spectacular.
“The fascination is not only about the dancing, the jamboree, but it tells a whole story. It tells of the essence of culture because last year when I attended the carnival I came with people from the United States and Canada. Their impression was changed for the better”, said Ifedi.
In a remark to flag off the first dry run in Calabar, Cross River State, southern Nigeria, the deputy governor, Professor Ivara Esu said the state government was partnering with the two embassies to improve the business side of the festival.
This year’s theme, according to Esu, is to emphasize the need to be more kind, loving, peaceful, caring and being humane.
“This year’s theme is HUMANITY and it is to draw attention of the world to being humane. It is urging people to be kind, live peaceful with each other, to appreciate the work pf others and end wars all over the world and irrespective of one’s religion, see others as humans”, stressed Esu.
He urged the bands to put in the necessary efforts during the interpretation of the theme so that the world can get the right and intended message to embrace peace.
Earlier, Gabe Onah, the Carnival Commission chairman said the five competing bands, Bayside, Masta blasta, Freedom, Seagull and Passion 4, would be testing new innovations along the route.
According to Onah, the first dry run would be limited to 8 rather than twelve kilometres due to the innovations, which “include an additional five performance points to give spectators a better experience”.
“In all, the original 5 adjudication points, which are for performance and the 5 new areas means that the bands have ten points to perform along the routes. We are also adjusting to create resting areas for revelers. Today, we are testing all these to see how well the bands cope”, stated Onah.
The dry run also featured the participation of non-competing bands such as the Governor’s Band, Hit FM band and a group of women engaged by the Calabar Urban Development Authority to clean up after the bands.