Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River, has described the annual Calabar Carnival as the “largest street party in Africa.”
The governor, who made the remark on Monday in Calabar at the grand finale of the 2015 carnival, noted that the festival is unique in promoting talents and unity among Nigerians.
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 carnival was said to have been about a 12 kilometers walk, which commenced from Mary Slessor road, IBB way, Marian road, MCC way, Calabar highway and terminated at the U.J Esuene stadium.