From Idongesit Inyang
Preparation for the first Carnival Calabar to take place after two years, following a break as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, has kicked off with the first dry run.
The dry run took place in three installments in preparation for the main Carnival just as the competing bands showcased how prepared they are for the main carnival in December.
Gov Ben Ayade, on Sunday, flagged off the dry run for the 2022 Carnival Calabar, marking the return of the Carnival which has as theme: “Agro-Industrialisation.”
Ayade said that the theme of the carnival was carefully chosen with a view to sending a message to the global community that Africans can depend on themselves for food.
He decried the high dependence for food by African countries on western nations in spite of the vast arable land God has blessed the continent with, saying “Agro-Industrialisation was indeed the way to go.”
According to him “Today, we have great reasons to celebrate because Cross River is gathered yet again, to invent the charm that characterises creativity.”
He said, “For any nation that is committed and serious, that is the way to go. The greatest insecurity is hunger. There is no insecurity more threatening to man than the insecurity of hunger.”
Ayade said, “The war between Ukraine and Russia led to scarcity of grains, this means that by the unset of 2023, the nation will be in big trouble,” adding that he saw “a harbinger of scarcity, hunger and pain, grinding people to their zenith in terms of criminality and animalism.”
Earlier, the executive secretary of the Calabar Carnival Commission, Mr Austin Cobham, described the dry run as the mother of all dry runs due to the additional bands in the carnival.
Cobham disclosed that the presence of the service commanders in the state indicated that Cross River was ready to host the world.
While congratulating Governor Ayade for expanding the carnival bands from five to seven, Cobham said that the governor has created an avenue for more participation.
The seven competing bands are Seagull, Passion 4, Masta Blasta, Bayside, Freedom, Diamond, and Calas Vegas.