CALABARâ€”Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said that the Cross River State government paid back the first and second loans it took towards the building of the Tinapa Leisure Resort in Calabar.
He spoke at the unveiling of the new Carnival logo and the re-branding of the annual Carnival which took place at Studio Tinapa in Calabar, Cross River State.
According to the CBN boss and guest of honour on the occasion, when he was at the UBA the first application for a loan from the Cross River State government came to his desk during the administration of the former governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke.
He said he granted the request and when he, Sanusi, moved to First Bank, the application for the second loan from the same government also came to his desk and he also granted the request.
â€œIn case there are journalists present here, I want to say that both loans were fully paid back,â€ he said to a rousing applause.
In his address on the occasion, which featured the unveiling of the new carnival logo, dances,Â dramaÂ presentations and singing with Weired MC, KC PRESH and Sunny Eneji among others, the chief host, Governor Liyel Imoke gave credit to the former governor, Mr. Donald Duke, who was also present, as â€œthe creator of the Carnivalâ€ and called on partners to join hands with the state government to move the Carnival forward.
Describing the Carnival as â€œa quintessential vehicle for driving mutually beneficial partnershipâ€, he called on corporate organisazions to partner with Cross River on the Carnival and tourism in the state, saying the Carnival was â€œa product to reach vast audiences all over the world.â€
The governor subsequently explained why his administration decided to re-brand the festival from Christmas Festival to Calabar Festival and finally disclosed that henceforth the carnival will be known and addressed as Calabar Festival and Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi then unveiled the new Carnival logo.
The colourful occasion saw a live performance of Festival theme song, a parade of bands, the unveiling musical drama performance, a testimony of an existing sponsor and a call to sponsorship by Michael Williams and Elenda Osima Dokubo.
Wife of the state governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke also noted that the annual festival has grown in leaps and bounds and there was no going back, adding that â€œI daresay that if we attempt to stop this yearly carnival, we will have a riot on our hands.â€
The annual Calabar Festival has been described as â€œa celebration of music, culture and friendshipâ€ and it is a month-long celebration for Cross River state residents to â€œrest and recuperate from the yearâ€™s exertions and welcome visitors to sample their culture and seasonal festivities.â€
It kicks of every year with a tree lighting ceremony on the 30th November and ends on January 1 of the following year.