Mr Ikobi Ikobi, a Commissioner in the Calabar Carnival Commission in charge of Media and Publicity has said that not less than 26 countries will be participating in the 2017 carnival.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen in Calabar, on Tuesday, November 21, Ikobi listed the countries to include, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, Greece, Brazil, Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Rwanda amongst others.
The countries, according to Ikobi, have indicated interest to participate in the 2017 edition of Calabar Carnival with the theme, “Migration’’.
He said that the yearly month-long carnival brings tourists from all over the world to the state and has been the melting point of Africa’s hospitality due to its diverse tourism events and sites, the green environment and the warm hospitality of the people.
“The 2017 edition of the carnival will play host to over 26 countries. Countries that have indicated interest include Brazil, South Africa, Greece, Kenya, Thailand, Ghana, Mexico, Rwanda and others.
“Most of them will have their own band on the grand finale of the carnival which is scheduled for Dec. 27 and Dec. 28.
“Top in our priority is security; I can assure tourists coming in for the event of adequate security because we are liaising with all the security agencies in the state to ensure a peaceful and fun-fill celebration’’.
In the same vein, Mr George Ekpungu, Commissioner for New Cities Development in the state, told newsmen that the carnival had promoted talent and creativity since its commencement in 2004.
Ekpungu added that the event has united the people of Cross River and Nigeria in general due to its robust activities and mass participation.
Meanwhile, Cross River State Governor, Ben Ayade, has called on intending African migrants, to America and Europe, in search of greener pasture, to be cautious with the risk involved.
Ayade made the call on Sunday, November 19, in Calabar during the flag-off of the 2017 second Carnival dry run.
According to him, the theme of the carnival was chosen in recognition of the plights of Africans who were forced to migrate out of the continent in search of greener pasture, food and help.
“Not too long ago, we lost about 20 Nigerians who died in the Mediterranean Sea while crossing to Europe in search of greener pasture.
”The excessive migration of young people out of African in search of greener pasture in Europe and America has caused us the death of many
”The Calabar carnival uses that opportunity to expose the risk incident of such migration. Africans must understand that the carnival is not all about the street dance, but the interpretation of the theme. This theme is very critical. I wonder why the entire world will not focus on Calabar this year.
“We are trying to tell the world that Africa is rich enough to be independent and our young men and women will not have to cross to foreign countries at the peril of their own life in search of alternative sources of income’’, he said.
The governor said that the activities of the various carnival bands will be focused on the interpretation of the theme by way of creating awareness for the intending migrants.
“Africa will learn a lesson from this dry run that indeed we are not playing, but telling the true story of Africa, our heritage, culture and values.
“I use this opportunity to invite everyone around the globe to be in the Calabar Carnival, which is now the second most popular carnival in the world’’, he said.
Earlier, Mr Gabe Onah, Chairman of Calabar Carnival Commission, said that the carnival was an annual robust event with diverse activities.