CARNIVAL CALABAR UNITING NIGERIA – LAI MOHAMMED

Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Sunday, disclosed that the annual Calabar Carnival is uniting Nigeria.

He noted this while flagging off the third and final dry run for this year's festival, which has as its theme: "Migration".

According to him, the annual biggest street party in Africa “does not only create an economy, but also unites the whole of Nigeria because it had enlightened the people of Nigeria and the world about Climate Change and Migration."

The Minister also revealed that the Federal Government has promised to make the carnival a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria following its large participation by Africa and foreign countries annually.

He said the carnival which has united the people of Nigeria over the years and had attracted wider participation was the longest street party in the world with 12 kilometres routes.

According to the Information Minister, it was time for people to start seeing the carnival beyond entertainment, adding that they should rather see the seriousness and the message it conveys.

"We are also pushing the Calabar carnival to be a major foreign exchange earner for the country.

"We have here today, 26 beauty queens from 26 African countries who are contesting for the 2017 Miss Africa pageant.

“That is a big statement because each of these young ladies is going to spend two weeks here and will go back to their countries as our own ambassadors."

Lai Mohammed further added that "they will tell the story of what they have seen and the hospitality of Cross River and that is a big plus for the State and the country.

“What is happening here today is reverberating throughout the world because this dry run is unique in the sense that it gives the organisers and participants the opportunity to perfect their act.

“I also want to take this opportunity to appeal to the world to see this street party beyond dancing and beyond the costumes,’’ he said.

The Minister noted that the festival had become a platform for youths to vent their creativity and a platform to turn Nigeria’s creative industry with a veritable creative economy.

“I am delighted to know that everything being used in the carnival is manufactured locally by Nigerians.

Earlier, Prof. Ivara Esu, Deputy Gov. of the state, said that the annual festival has become an international brand.

Esu said the state was happy to have the Minister in person to perform the flag off, adding that all preparations had been made for the grand finale of the carnival billed for December 28.

The Minister, who had earlier taken a ride on the first Monorail in Nigeria from the Calabar International Convention Centre (CICC) to the Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, described the project as a major booster of the tourism sector in the State.

“I am happy to know that the second phase will also link to the airport. This shows that Cross River is taking a major step in building infrastructure that will help in pushing the state as a conference hub.

”We will not hesitate in helping the State Government to sustain this kind of project. We are ready as a government to provide the enabling environment for states like Cross River to thrive.

”Even in the Federal Council of Tourism, Cross River is a member as we recognise the giant strides the state is making in tourism’’, he said.

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