By George Odok
Calabar – No fewer than 30 countries are expected to participate in the 2016 Annual Calabar Carnival, Mr Gabriel Onah, Chairman, Calabar Carnival Commission, said on Sunday in Calabar.
Onah who spoke at the launching of the Second Carnival Dry-Run said the countries included Brazil, Ukraine, China, Italy, Spain, Ghana, Kenya, among others
He said that the theme of this year’s carnival `Climate Change’ was the same as that of 2015, adding that it was retained because the issues of environment were still on the front burner.
“We are putting in place the best form of art and entertainment to ensure that tourists who will visit the state for the carnival will have the best of tourism and hospitality.
“Calabar carnival is 12 years on the road match and the festival experience has been amazing.
“I am happy today that we also have 30 beauty queens from African countries to grace this dry-run,” he said.
Earlier, Mrs Linda Ayade, wife of Cross River Governor who flagged of the dry-run, said that the 2016 carnival theme of `Climate Change’ was unique because of the concern for the environment.
“We are dedicating the 2016 Calabar Carnival to climate change. As we participate in the second dry-run today, I wish all of us a peaceful street dance ,along the carnival routes,’’ she said.
Mr George Abang-Ekpungu, Commissioner for New Cities Development, described the carnival as the largest street party ever; and the greatest show in Africa.
Abang-Ekpungu said that the carnival had promoted talent and creativity, adding that it had united the people of Cross River and Nigeria in general.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five carnival bands which include Seagull, Master Blaster, Passion 4, Freedom and Bayside will be participating in this year’s carnival.
NAN also reports that the participants were beautifully dressed in different attires, while security was mounted in all the carnival routes.
Dignitaries at the ceremony include, Gov. Ben Ayade, Sen. Florence Ita-Giwa, Sen. Gershom Bassey, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr John Gaul-Lebo, among others.