By George Odok
Calabar – Gov. Ben Ayade of Cross River has called on citizens of all countries to maintain peaceful co-existence, show unity and kindness to one another in order to promote humanity.
Ayade, who was represented by his Deputy, Prof. Ivara Esu, made the call in Calabar on Sunday during the second dry run of the 2019 Calabar Carnival with the theme “Humanity”.
He said that the theme was chosen to draw the attention of the world to the need to be humane and to live in peace with one another.
The governor said that peaceful co-existence, unity and tolerance should rule the mindset of people around the world.
He urged the bands to do their best in interpreting the theme of the 2019 Carnival.
“This year’s theme is humanity; I hope that the band leaders are doing their best to give full interpretation to the theme.
“For us, the theme is about humanity and kindness to people. We should be tolerant of one other and also treat every human being as a human being irrespective of any affiliation.
“If you decide to treat people badly, you too will be treated badly. So, what we are emphasising on is the need for everyone to be treated equally.
“As we come out for every celebration of the Carnival, we will continue to play our path in ensuring that the Carnival continues to grow bigger, better and bolder,” Ayade said.
Earlier, Mr Gabe Onah, Chairman of Calabar Carnival Commission, said that the theme was also designed to reach out and touch the people toward kindness and unity.
Onah said that the Bikers’ Carnival was also flagged off earlier with a view to excite tourists along the 12 km Carnival route.
He said that Carnival Calabar had become a platform to taste how cultural events were planned in Nigeria.
“Calabar Carnival has become the best platform for cultural diplomacy. The first dry run witnessed the attendance of Bangladesh and Belize diplomats, offering partnership in power production; and distribution and support for our cocoa processing.
“For the next dry run, we are expecting Vietnam to come and partner with the state rice seedlings to see how they can bring farmers to promote the next level for our farming.
“The dancing and display we see in the streets is a means to an end.
“The job behind Calabar Carnival is huge and that is why we are saying that we must begin to change as we move,” he said.
Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Mr Eteng Jonah-Williams, said that the assembly would make adequate budgetary provision for the Carnival Commission to enable them organise a colourful event.
Jonah-Williams said that the assembly was suggesting having “The Cross River House of Assembly Band” to add colour to the event.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the participants were colourfully dressed in various bands’ costumes, while security was mounted along the routes.