The Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, says at least 15 governors and top Federal Government dignitaries, among others, have signified their intention to attend the 2016 edition of the Calabar Carnival billed for December 28.
Ayade made this disclosure on Monday in Calabar shortly on arrival from Owerri, Imo State, where he had participated in the 2016 Imo Carnival.
He assured that that guests coming to the Calabar Carnival would have something to remember because of its rich content.
The governor had led a 250-member carnival troupe from Cross River State to participate in the Imo Carnival on the invitation of Governor Rochas Okorocha.
He said, “A lot of governors have indicated that they will be here for our carnival this year. And I can assure you that the 2016 Calabar Carnival will meet the expectations of Nigerians and, indeed, tourists all over the world because of its rich content and it is taking a different dimension.
“I just received a message while on the plane before we took off that an international agency is asking to take over the responsibility of driving Calabar Carnival from next year, an indication that it has, indeed, gone international.
“And so for me, Cross River will soon become a final signature not just for carnivals but for tourism and that is why we are building a special tourism city which is the Calas Vegas to cater for the tourism needs of Nigerians so that we don’t keep migrating for holidays.”
Meanwhile, as revellers prepare for the grand finale of the carnival on December 28, it was learnt that the Nigerian Navy Band has pulled out of the fiesta.
Sources from the Carnival Commission said that the Navy band had some misunderstanding with the organisers and subsequently withdrew their participation from the colourful annual street party, ostensibly for security reasons.
It would be recalled that the Navy had for the first time in the history of the carnival participated in the December 11 dry run of the massive street party.
Subsequently, the state government had included the Navy in the carnival by allocating a band to the Chief of the Naval Staff, Vice-Adm. Ibok Ete Ibas, which is called the ‘CNS Band’.
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