By Emma Una – Calabar
Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State on Tuesday suspended the 2021 Carnival Calabar over fears of a renewed outbreak of the COVID- 19 pandemic.
The governor disclosed the decision after a prolonged debate among his aides including Commissioners, special advisers special assistants, speakers of the House of Assembly council chairmen. during an enlarged executive council meeting.
Announcing the suspension, Ayade cited the health concerns arising from the outbreak of COVID-19 variant, Omicron, as well as the prevailing security situation as reasons for the suspension.
He said he would not as a governor and leader compromise the lives and safety of the citizens for the fleeting excitement of the carnival.
Before announcing the suspension, Ayade had subjected the decision to popular votes, following which the majority of the stakeholders voted for the suspension of the carnival.
“We voted more than 3 times to arrive at No Carnival this year for the best interest of Cross Riverians!
“I’m sad of course as I wanted Carnival for 2021 but the majority carried the day. Dear Cross Riverians, we need to be alive first to enjoy Xmas and Carnival.
“The New COVID-19 Variant is dangerous and won’t portray a good image for the Governor who is the hero of COVID-19 prevention,” the governor told the people of the state.
One of the speakers and former Minister of Culture and Tourism, High Chief Edem Duke even opined that it would be a mockery for a state whose Commissioner for Health, Dr Betta Edu, is the Chair of Nigerian Commissioners of Health Forum to hold a carnival amidst the dangers of the new COVID-19 wave.