It all started with a mini carnival at the Muritala Mohammed domestic airport, Lagos when our flight was delayed and later cancelled as a result of bad weather while waiting for good news from airport officials as regards the weather.
At the airport the Ukrainians, Senegalise and South Africans kick started the carnival since everyone’s mind was in Calabar despite the delay. Around 4pm the Ukraine acrobat started with a few display when Senegal, South Africa joined to cheer.
Since it was my first trip to Calabar and first experience of the carnival Calabar, much expectation and excitement was in the air.
The delayed flight almost disrupted my enthusiastic spirit due to the unfriendly weather forecast and we were at the airport for about three hours before we flew off to Akwa Ibom airport in Uyo, then we continued an hour journey to Calabar.
Meanwhile, courage got me as other senior journalists helped reduce the worries with some lively jokes at the Lagos airport till we arrived Calabar on Thursday evening.
For me, the carnival Calabar was an unplanned trip, but, I enjoyed every bit of cultural rhythms, acrobatic dances that was aired by the international troupes to thrill the crowd.
Although, people who had been to the carnival would attest to the fact that it’s always filled with excitement and fun as different tribes comes out in their two’s and fours to cheer revellers at the carnival.
Calabar is a wonderful city, though, different stories have been told about the calabaris, some say they are friendly, some say they have the hospitality spirit while some describe them as one of the best cook, that could change a man’s appetite with their gifted hands.
Calabar’s food to me is one of the tasty South South food that has been recognized mostly in this part of Nigeria, Lagos and it is mostly called or referred to as the Calabar kitchen. And they are also qualified as a friendly entities especially their women most men loves to have them as either wife or girlfriends.
This last carnival event has left a mark for people to often remember. To say that high percentage of traffic at the airport is another story where passengers to other destinations were delayed or denied their flight just to convey carnival calabar enthusiasts. The carnival however has added one or two benefits to the economy of the cross River State government as tourism is one of the promoter of the state.
However, Carnival Calabar has gained a top notch leaving an unfading experiences with the citizens and foreigners.
This last edition expressed an opinion against the slaves trade in Africa.
Recently, there was this news that Libya and some other countries have raised their ugly intention to resurrect the act called slaves trade. Report revealed that the United Nation (UN) had disregard such act, saying, it is a criminal act and that everyone should report any relating issues.
For the Cross River State governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, slaves trade is not a good idea, so he decided to extensively denounce the act of slaves sales in Africa, saying no to slave trade in Africa which seemed to had birth the theme ‘Migration’.
However, the theme had left many in thought until they experienced the carnival where they were privileged to watch an endless stretch of carnival bands that interpreted this year’s theme ‘Migration’ through drama and dance.
Ayade believes that Africans must come home, grow and unite African. He said, “Africa is so blessed and rich. Sometimes we begin to wonder why young Africans go through the Mediterranean sea, Sahara desert through Morocco and other difficult routes finding themselves in Libya, used as slaves and reduced as subhumans.
The governor enjoined young men and women to, “put an end to migration, and should rather come to Calabar as we have provisions for jobs, for you to have good jobs so that you can stay back here.”
Ayade maintained that “we have a responsibility to reverse the trend associated with migration for that is what the theme this year is telling us. As we watch the bands dance and tell their story in a dramatic form, we want to see the interpretation which is the ultimate aim.”
He intimated that “this year’s carnival is not just about dancing and celebrating, but telling a very painful and sorrowful story as it relates to migration, adding that, in due time Africa will rule the world.”
Troupes Shines In Calabar
As at Friday evening the international bands with some carnival calabar officials went to the tinapa lakeside hotel and resorts for evening welcome party.
At the reception there played cultural calabari music and some music to thrill the audiences. With the exciting dance styles from the Nigerian calabar ladies, the Tanzanians and Ethiopians ladies had to join the groove with their charming bum and interesting dancing steps.
Meanwhile, every one’s heart was beating up to witness the best of the international carnival day at the U.J. Esuene Stadium in Calabar that evening.
However, representatives from the international troupes were ready to storm the stage as to display what they could do best.
The international band competition at the just concluded edition of the Carnival Calabar took an exceptional dimension with acrobatic displays.
The show provided a usual display of bums by taunting Tanzanians, Brazilian, USA, Ghana, South Africa troupes and the more provocative Zulu dancers whose bare chest left nothing to the imagination of revellers.
Ethiopia, Italy, Croatia, Mexico, Ukraine, Switzerland also cheered the audience with their acrobats. France with their flag styles, Luthania couple with stunning and scary live fire display, also the Senegal and the Kenya stunts leaving spectators with a very scary thought and a great cheer after.
The International troupes, however, shone at the U.J. Esuene International Stadium, Calabar as Brazil won the acrobatic competition with 790 points of an amazing colourful display that thrilled the audience.
South Africa came second with two sets of displays which earned them 757 point. With 742 points Ghana captivates audience with a combination of energetic female drummers, dancers and male acrobats.
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