Carnival Calabar may have come and gone, but the rich memory it left behind will continue to linger for long.
In what was total shutdown of the city of Calabar, over a million revellers yesterday thronged the 12kms route, to watch an endless stretch of carnival bands to interprete this year’s theme of Migration through drama and dance.
Apart from the crowd that greeted the biggest street party in Africa, there was also an increased addition of four non-competing bringing the total number of bands to nine, with five competing.
Significantly, the 2017 carnival also played host to a 1500-man contingent from Imo State who was on the ground to understudy the annual event.
Read more at: Carnival Calabar will end menace of migration in Africa —Ayade
While flagging off the event at the Millennium Park Calabar, Cross River governor, Prof Ben Ayade, lamented that Africa remained blessed and rich, wondering why young men and women had reasons to leave its shores.
Ayade, who, after the flag off led the the bands through the carnival routes amidst cheers by the young, old and visitors into the state, disclosed that “Africa is so blessed and rich. Sometimes we begin to wonder why young Africans go through the Mediterranean sea, Sahara desert through Morocco and other difficult routes finding themselves in Libya, used as slaves and reduced as subhumans,” adding that, “we must put an end to that.”
Reasoning that Africa is the future and the only continent that has everything, the governor enjoined young men and women to, “put an end to migration, and should rather come to Calabar as we have provisions for jobs and have created opportunities as politicians and people in government, for you to have good jobs so that you can stay back here.”
Ayade maintained that “we have a responsibility to reverse the trend associated with migration for that is what the theme is telling us. As we watch the bands dance and tell their stories in a dramatic forms, we want to see the interpretation which is the ultimate aim.”
Continuing, the governor intimated that “this year’s carnival is not just about dancing and celebrating, but telling a very painful and sorrowful story as it relates to migration,” adding that “in due time Africa will rule the world.”
Advocating the return of migrant Africans to their respective countries instead of taking risks through perilous roads in the quest for greener pastures, Ayade said “governments of Africa will continue to make efforts at ensuring that they return.”