Goverrnor Imoke cutting the tape to flag off the carnival
Africa’s largest street party recorded a major milestone over the weekend as the annual Carnival Calabar staged a 10th successive edition with the usual pomp. Themed “Celebration Time”, the carnival kicked off on Friday, December 26, with the children carnival, while the main event was held on Saturday, December 27.
Speaking on Saturday during the traditional tape-cutting ceremony at the Millennium Park Calabar to kick of the 12-kilometre stretch that forms the carnival route, Cross River state governor, Liyel imoke said “We are celebrating 10 years of the carnival, the greatest street party ever; the greatest show in West Africa, this is just the beginning.”
Ladies adorned in traditional garb
Imoke who as usual was in a carnival costume, was accompanied by his gaily-dressed wife, Obioma Imoke, the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, the PDP governorship candidate for the 2015 governorship election in Cross River, Prof. Ben Ayade, the Israeli ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Uriel Palti among other personalities.
Governor Imoke described the carnival and its unique quality of promoting creativity and unity among Nigerians. He commended the efforts of residents of the state and participants for making the 2014 carnival a success.
Despite no publicity or media hype as was the case in the past, the carnival still lived up to the pacesetting quality of previous editions, thus cementing its reputation as Nigeria’s premier tourism event. As usual, the carnival route proceeded from the Millennium Park, through Mary Slessor Roundabout, Marian Road all the way to the U.J. Esuene stadium where the final performances were staged till the early hours of Sunday, December 28.
Revellers at the carnival
On hand to provide entertainment during the carnival were P-Square, who thrilled the large crowd lining the streets with signature dance steps to complement present and past hits. P-Square, who came dressed as pirates were not the only famous faces as Jim Iyke, Kate Henshaw, IK Osakioduwa of Big Brother fame and many other Nigerian stars were present.
The Carnival was won by Masta Blasta, who retained their title by defeating the four other competing bands. Masta Blasta wowed the captive audience with live magic tricks both on the streets and at the stadium.
Among the sponsors and supporters of the carnival were MTN, First Bank, Pepsi and Dangote.
Mr Gabriel Onah, the Chairman of the Calabar Carnival Commission, said the carnival had continued to grow from strength to strength with new innovations added to it yearly.
“We are celebrating 10 years of Cross River carnival, 10 years of oneness and unity, 10 years in showcasing what we have and what we are and 10 years of our culture and heritage.“ Palti, who described the environment of Calabar as “friendly“, said he was in Calabar with his family to participate in the carnival.