Governor Ben Ayade of Cross Rivers State says plans are underway to reposition the annual Calabar Festival and transform it into a veritable platform for African discourse.
The governor, who described the carnival as Africa’s Biggest Street Party, stressed that he had a burning desire to see Africans speak in one voice.
Ayade disclosed this at the state Executive Chamber during the unveiling of the theme for 2018 edition of the Calabar Carnival which included a short video presentation on illegal mining exploitation across Africa by a few rich foreign aristocrats.
He expressed optimism that this year’s edition of the tourism event would go a long way towards correcting the wrongs done to Africans by foreigners, especially colonial overlords, by portraying the continent and its people as the true owners of the real wealth in the world.
“Because Nigeria’s foreign policy is Afrocentric, the unification of Africa has become critical, let the carnival speak to power, speak to Africans that the African Union must rise and defend Africa.”Ayade said
The governor who said he was elated by the theme of this year’s carnival, “Africanism”, further remarked that “time had come when Africa must start thinking as a country and provide a shoulder for weaker African countries to lean on.”
The State Chief Executive said he made a choice of using the carnival as a platform to tell the African story as well as remind the world that civilization started in Africa and that Africans are the greatest semblance of God.
The governor further revealed his intention to bring intellectualism as a more rewarding adventure to the Calabar carnival and indeed African heritage to represent every sector of African structure in the global space.
Ayade charged the band leaders of the 2018 carnival to make Africa proud by talking big about the continent as according to him, “Africa has grown and will war no more”, adding “make the streets gliter with things and colours that truly represent Africa as only this will show that we have come of age.”
Ayade said he was of the view that youthfulness and vitality of Africa must be expressed in their dance, story precession and sub- themes as these will bring about the reverse of immigration to assure young men and women that Africa has realised itself and on the part of restitution and enhanced growth. “Let the carnival tell the reverse hypothesis of these stories and create a new cortosis that create a direction and focus that accentuates and celebrates the African man and let’s use this year’s platform to tell the true story that the real wealth lies in Africa and that Africa is indeed the leader”, he stressed.
Friday Nwagbara, Calabar