Calabar – Some stakeholders of the annual Calabar carnival, have expressed concerns over lack of preparations for this year’s event despite the proximity of the event.
Investigations by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday revealed that the usual bustling atmosphere preceding the carnival is presently lacking.
Unlike in the past, the carnival dry run that usually set the mood for the month-long event has been postponed three times by the organisers.
However, a cross section of the people who spoke to NAN in Calabar, capital of Cross River, bared their minds on this; with a call on the organisers to begin the pre-events immediately.
Mr Effiong Bassey, an artiste, told NAN that he was apprehensive over lack of activities preceding the carnival.
Bassey said that he used to be one of the performing artistes in the carnival but expressed surprised that nobody had contacted him for this year’s event.
“I do not know anything for now, we are still waiting for the organizers to invite us,’’ he said.
A trader, Mrs Eugenia Agbor, also said that she had been making enquiries on how to secure spaces at the carnival village but no one could give such information.
Agbor, a restaurant operator, said that she was eager to secure a space so as to start building her shop where people could relax then.
Also, Mr Cosmos Inyang, a member of one of the performing bands, said they were invited for rehearsals for the first dry run but it was later postponed.
“We are waiting, as soon as the organizers give us the go ahead, we will start the rehearsal. But, it is really coming late, unlike in the past when we would have begun rehearsals in not less than two months to the carnival,’’ he said.
Mr Greg Okay, an hotelier, also expressed serious concern on the lack of activities barely one month to the event.
“I am worried because usually this is our season but nothing is happening, nobody is saying anything to us about this year’s carnival,’’ he said.
However, Mr Ken Akler, the Special Adviser to Gov. Ben Ayade on Events Management told NAN that the carnival was undergoing some remodeling.
“We have just assumed office and we are trying to introduce new activities to the carnival.
“That is why it looks like there is delay in the activities. The first dry run will come up on Nov. 13, the second on Nov. 28, and the third sometime in December.
“So we are on course. Everything is being put in place for a successful carnival.
The carnival village is under construction as I speak and other things are being put in place,’’ Akler said. (NAN)