THE Annual Calabar Carnival may have come to an end but memories of it leaves on. The theme for the 2019 carnival was “Humanity.” The theme challenged all of mankind to embrace the diversity of individuals and nations alike rather than being the source of pain to one another. While flagging off the carnival, the Governor of Cros Rivers State,, Sen. Benedict Ayade emphasised the need for all to shun violence and war as they do not truly represent the claim that they are being humane.
The carnival featured the usual five bands that take on the challenge of interpreting and representing the theme of the carnival through their various eye catching and provocative costumes, music, dances and floats. More than 50 costumed revelers and 10 non-competing bands parade through the streets of Calabar into the stadium where they were watched by more than 14 million viewers on international television. The carnival attracted participants from several countries as well as tourists who enjoyed the serenity of the ancient city of Calabar.
Anambra State participated in the cultural carnival where her troupe, the energetic and eclecticcCultural troupe wowed the audience with a riveting performance of the Atilogwu Dance. Anambra State had an exceptional outing at this year’s event. After the troupe had performed before the governor and his entire executive council as well as the adjudicators of the parade, and moved on, the governor of the state beckoned on them to repeat the performance a second time while other states waited in line. No other troupe had that singular privilege of being recognized and appreciated with such loud ovation as the Anambra State Contingent. Thrilled by the acrobatic and magical display of the troupe, the governor rewarded the troupe with a cash gift.
It is not the first time that the troupe has been celebrated and appreciated in this manner. It has ever remained fresh in its creative output in major Nigerian festivals of international repute. The troupe couldn’t be lucky enough than to have a culture friendly governor who is willing and ably supporting the artistic and cultural industry in the state. With an even greater support and necessary funding, the troupe will achieve greater feat in the future.
As for the 2019 Calabar Carnival, the story of the ripple effects on the economy and social life of the people of Cross River cannot be overemphasised. The positive impacts on the lives of artists and other creative people cannot be overlooked. There were 22 states at this year’s event which is somewhat a drop from the past events. What is more, other states in the federation must wake up and create a brand such as the Calabar Carnival to drive the culture and tourism potentials of the state to an enviable height.