The Federal Government has said it will make the annual Calabar carnival a major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said this on Sunday in Calabar while flagging off the third dry run of the 2017 carnival which has the theme ‘Migration’.
He said that the carnival, which has united the people over the years and had attracted wider participation, was the longest street party in the world with 12 kilometre-long route. He said that it was time for people to start seeing the carnival beyond entertainment but see the seriousness and the message it conveys.
“We are pushing the Calabar carnival to be a major foreign exchange earner for the country. We have here today, 26 beauty queens from 26 African countries who are contesting for the 2017 Miss Africa pageant. That is a big statement because each of these young ladies are going to spend two weeks here and will go back to their countries as our own ambassadors.
They will tell the story of what they have seen and the hospitality of Cross River and that is a big plus for the state and the country”
The Minister said that festival had become a platform for youths to vent their creativity and a platform to turn Nigeria’s creative industry into a veritable creative economy.
Earlier, Prof. Ivara Esu, Deputy Gov. of the state, said that the annual festival had become an international brand.
Esu said that the state was happy to have the Minister in person to perform the flag off, adding all preparations had been made for the grand finale of the carnival billed for Dec. 28.