The Vice President of the Republic of Liberia, Senator Jewel Cianah Howard Taylor has flagged off the 3rd Carnival Calabar dry run in Cross River State, southern Nigeria.
Jewel Taylor, who described her visit to Calabar as a home-coming congratulated the people and governor Ben Ayade for carefully selecting ‘Humanity’ as the theme for this year’s carnival.
The Liberian Vice President noted that the theme centered on an issue of concern to the world.
“The question is where is our humanity when we allow young men and women to be taken into slavery, trafficked across the Sahara, dying in our fields trying to get to Europe and America. When they get there, they are locked out; put in detention camps and treated as less than animals”.
Speaking passionately about the ills Africans suffer, Senator Taylor asked “where is our humanity when women are still sidelined and not allowed to contribute to their community?”, noting that humanity exist within the animal kingdom than among humans.
She charged Africans to, “return to our humanity. We must turn around from the path of wickedness or else it would lead to annihilation if we continue the way we are going. This carnival this year will showcase some of those ills; it will showcase how we can turn around and look back at the problems we faced and put humanity first”.
According to the Vice President, Africans must deliberately return to the path of being humane by showing love, concern, and caring for one another so as to properly and collectively transform our abundant natural resources to wealth for all.
Speaking earlier, Governor Ayade said, the government thought it was essential to have a “prestigious daughter of Africa, an astute political icon and one of the continental champions of the African woman to flag off this dry run”.
Gabe Onah, in a remark with journalists in Calabar said that the third dry run was encompassing as it usually afforded the five carnival bands, bikers and others including security, to have a final test along the 12 kilometre route.
Onah stated “this particular dry run is the mother of all dry runs. At this particular event, the Vice President of a country, Liberia, flagged it off. Nigeria’s own Conservator-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Park Service, Ibrahim Musa Goni was on the entourage. The reason why he came here for this was to give the Carnival Calabar full backing”.
“As a flagship tourism product of Cross River and Nigeria in general, tourist who come here also visit the national park. The service has always been our strong supporter and today, the Conservator-General has shown the world that indeed Nigeria is one”, stated Ona.
He explained that other very important personalities, such as partners from Thailand, South Africa, the representative of the Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, and the President of Nigerian Association of Tour Operators, NATOP, Hajia Bilkisu Abdul.
Others, he noted included the Federation of Tourism Association, FTAN, representative, Badaki Aliyu; the Founder of African Women in Leadership Organization, AWLO, Dr. Elisha Attai and former Mrs Tourism UN/World, Mrs Ebele Enemchukwu.
In an earlier remark, Ken Aklah, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Events Management, said that “the dry run also afforded participants of the bikers carnival to do a final test on the route.
“This is also an opportunity for security operatives to perfect and strategize for effective crowd control. As you know, on the main carnival day, thousands of spectators will take over the streets. We are determined to give them the best of experience in the safest environment”.
“We have all our security agencies collaborating as one big agency. So, during the super week, we expect all hands to be on deck as not only Nigerians, but people from across the world will converge on Calabar on December 28”, stated Aklah.
Carnival Calabar first dry run was held on October 17, 2019 and was flagged-off by the Bangladeshi Consul-General to Nigeria, Shameem Ahsan.
The second rehearsal came up in November and the third, which rounds off the series of dry runs preparatory to the main event where the five original competing bands namely Masta Blasta, Bayside, Freedom, Seagull and Passion 4 will be contesting.