C’River govt explains why Calabar Carnival will not hold
By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
For the first time in 16 years, this year’s edition of Calabar Carnival, touted as the biggest street party in Africa, would not hold, the Cross River state government has submitted.
Recall that the carnival was introduced by the then governor Donald Duke in 2004 and since then it had attracted into Calabar thousands of fun lovers and tourists from all over the world every year.
But in an interview, shortly after flagging off the cultural village, Thursday, commissioner for culture and tourism, Hon Eric Anderson, disclosed that the decision to sacrifice the 2020 carnival was due to the scourge of the COVID 19 pandemic and the devastating effects of the endSARS protest hijacked by hoodlums.
“From March this year, Nigeria was hit by COVID 19 and Cross River was not left out. While we were trying to come out of the pandemic, the endSARS protest which was hijacked by hoodlums erupted.
“Among the state ravaged and looted, Cross River suffered the most. Tinapa is gone, Calabar International Convention Centre CICC, is gone. In all, over 120 properties were affected by that senseless destruction. This is a time of sober reflection for us. We have been badly battered.
“Secondly, we have not got approval from the Presidential Task Force on COVID 19 to organise the carnival, maybe due to the fact that hosting carnival at this point in time would break the COVID 19 protocols,” he stated.
Asked on the significance of the cultural village, Anderson said it was to exhibit Cross River state arts, crafts and culture to avoid them being swallowed by other people’s cultures which young people see as modernity.
He said, “We are just exhibiting our arts and culture.
It is a form of reassessment of heritage and every thing which makes us unique. That is why we have allocated booths for all the 18 local government areas of the state to exhibit what they have.
“It is going to be very competitive and prizes will be given for best cuisines and other things. This is to serve as motivation to our cultural and heritage department.”