Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, has described the annual Calabar Carnival as the “largest street party in Africa.’’
Ayade pointed out that apart from promoting talents and creativity, the carnival had united the people of Cross River and other Nigerians.
“We are celebrating 11 years of the carnival; the greatest street party ever; the greatest show in West Africa, this is just the beginning.
“This is my first carnival as governor of the state. We will continue to add new innovations to make it colourful in the years ahead,’’ he assured.
He said that the theme for this year’s carnival is “climate change,’’ adding that the hospitality of the state had continued to attract tourists from across the world.
The governor commended the efforts of people of the state and the participants for making the 2015 carnival a success.
Earlier in his remarks, Mr Gabriel Onah, Chairman, Calabar Carnival Commission, disclosed that nine countries participated in the carnival.
He listed the countries to include: Spain, France, Italy, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Burundi, Ghana and Brazil.
Onah said that the carnival had continued to produce commercial content into the state.
“Tourism is indeed our own oil. We will use tourism to market the state to the world.
“The attention of the world is focused on Calabar today, as you can see, the state is wearing a new look,’’ he said.
A spectator, Mr Philip Ita, who described the carnival as a street party that unites the people, commended the government for sustaining it for the past 11 years.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 12 kilometers carnival walk commenced from Mary Slessor road, IBB way, Marian road, MCC way, Calabar highway and terminated at the U.J Esuene stadium.
NAN also reports that security operatives from the Police, Civil Defence, Army, Navy and Immigration were stationed at strategic points along the route to ensure crisis free carnival.