By Gift Olivia Samuel, The Sight News
ABUJA: Ahead of the Carnival Calabar 2019, the Cross River State Carnival Commission Chairman, Mr. Gabe Onah on Wednesday, paid a courtesy visit to the Belize Head of Mission, Amb. Ifeanyi Ifedi, in a bid to promote cultural diplomacy.
Onah who visited the Head of Mission in the Belize Consulate in Abuja, expressed gratitude to Amb. Ifedi for his support to the carnival Calabar over the years.
This is as he noted, that Carnival Calabar is working to promote synergies, adding that the sustainability of the business angle is important and if done right as desired, can put food on the tables of Nigerians and impact on security.
According to him, “You have been wonderful and hands-on in your support to the carnival Calabar product over the years and this is an appreciation visit. We desire to uphold the role of culture to promote cultural diplomacy”.
Speaking on this year’s theme “Humanity”, he stated that it is Governor Ben Ayade’s own desire to play up the place of love and showcase the power of inclusion, stressing that there have been too much polarity between ethnic groups.
“There have been several themes over the years— Our culture, our heritage; Endless Possibilities; Climate change; Migration; and Africanism, but Humanity is the most challenging, trying to touch on our DNA as humans”, Onah remarked.
He further said that the desire of several countries to come for the carnival Calabar event, shows that they [the organisers] are on the right track.
The Chairman emphasized that Carnival Calabar is Nigeria’s best foot forward in cultural diplomacy and has become the yardstick to measure a well planned cultural experience, adding that, the community buy-in has become the major attribute.
“The drive for Domestic tourism has been critical in this context, with a population of 260 million Nigerians, we just want 1% of Nigerians paying their bills to attend the carnival. Nigerians abroad should come home to participate in the carnival as an avenue to relate with the homeland, ”he quipped.
He expressed the Commission’s desire for the Belize Head of Mission to come participate in the flag off one of the year’s dry run.
For his part, the Belize Head of Mission to Nigeria, Amb. Ifeanyi Ifedi, stated that the carnival Calabar has been a great experience for him, adding that the theme for the 2019 edition, “Humanity” is apt and of contemporary relevance.
“With the previous themes in conjunction with this theme – Humanity, it shows that If people relate properly and government is doing the right thing, the essence of migration will not exist and people will be happy with their environment,” he said.
Furthermore, Amb. Ifedi commended the Cross River State Government for the passion they have put into the carnival, stating that it is the reason the carnival is excelling.
“It is expected that people in the diaspora will start coming back post carnival for other businesses .I am very happy to be associated with the carnival and the chairman”, he said.
Also speaking, Ms. Sophia Eze, a London- Italian based Bespoke Lifestyle Influencer, disclosed plans to interface with Milan groups to show interest in carnival Calabar with technical exchanges in the construction of motorized floats.
She noted that this will bring visibility, as they are also looking to showcase what they do, adding that the Carnival Calabar is something different that most people over there will be interested to participate in.
Responding, the Chairman said the interface will bring about more collaboration and urged Ms. Eze to come and observe the carnival and the dry run which is the ice breaker to herald the yearly showcase of the cultural renaissance.