Ita-Giwa’s Seagull Band wins 2016 Carnival Calabar

Eme Offiong, Calabar

Florence Ita-Giwa( in green)

One of the five competing bands, Seagull, has emerged overall winner of the 13th Edition of Carnival Calabar.

Seagull, led by former Legislative Adviser to late Nigerian President Musa Yar’adua, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa won the event, which had the theme Climate Change.

Governor Ayade and Senator Godwill Akpabio, also former governor of Akwa Ibom

The Executive Secretary of Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr. Austin Cobham announced the results on Thursday in Calabar city, southern Nigeria, shortly after international music sensations, P Square ended the all night musical concert at the U.J.Esuene Stadium.

Cobham said “after the judges’ collation of marks from the performances of the five bands along the twelve Kilometre stretch of the carnival route, the winners are as follows: Seagull band is winner of the 2016 Carnival Calabar.

Passion 4 is the Second place winner and Masta Blasta is the Third. We had five adjudication points on the route and the judges did their jobs accordingly. We hope you had a wonderful time with us and we invite you in advance for the 2017 edition of Carnival Calabar,” said Cobham.

African Unity

During the flag off of the carnival, the Governor of the State, Professor Ben Ayade described the event as one, which has created a platform for several African countries to be unified in the fight against climate change.

According to Ayade, “Carnival Calabar is the melting point of African Hospitality where warmth and ecstatic embrace is the order of the day. This carnival represents the true mentality, unity and harmony of Africa. That indeed, as we have started today, it is the beginning of a new dawn of unity in Africa”.

Governor Ayade stated that the carnival had afforded the State Government and the private sector the opportunity to engage the youths, who form 70 percent of the Cross River population.

Climate Change

On the theme “Climate Change”, Professor Ayade said “As an environmentalist and leader of the Governor’s forum on Climate Change in Nigeria, the theme was designed with a purpose. Africa being the epicenter that serves as carbon sinks is not emitting or generating global green house gases. It therefore means, as Africans we need to accentuate these factors and show that Africa is the real solution to climate change”.

Africa generates less than 2 percent of gas emissions, yet we bear the brunt of all hazards associated with environmental pollutions. So, by focusing on climate Change in the carnival and the recent Miss Africa pageant, is to attract the world’s attention to funding programmes in Africa to ensure that aforestation becomes key, mitigations also take priority and adaptation”, stated Ayade.

International Participants

Also speaking, the Chairman of the Carnival Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah said that the 2016 edition has attracted the attention of more countries such as South Korea, Turkey, Rwanda, Brazil, Ukraine and Spain amongst others.

He said “to make the Carnival a true Street party, the Governor installed risers for loud speakers between kilometres 4 to 8 on the routes. This is a new innovation we are test running and in time we will ensure the entire 12 kilometre route is connected to a single sound source”.

On the performances of the bands, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong, who is the Special Assistant to Governor Ayade on Carnival Planning explained “interpreting a theme is no easy task for the revelers. It takes intellectual, creative and dynamism to express ones thought in costumes, choreography, dance and arts. The bands put in a lot of hard work to get the message across”.

Foreign countries present for the 2016 Carnival Calabar have a day to showcase their culture at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar city.