The Calabar carnival in Nigeria is known as Africa’s Biggest street party, which all started in 2014 by then Governor Donald Duke, as a part of making Cross River State the number one tourist hub for Nigerians and tourists from all over the world.
The carnival begins from 1st December and last till 31st December. It has boosted the heritage mosaic of Nigeria persons while amusing the millions of spectators inside and outside the State, and also increasing industry for all stakeholders. This has become the pride of Nigeria and Africa in terms of tourism, carnivals and hospitality are concern.
Brief History of Calabar
Calabar the capital of Cross River State is a coastal state in South South Nigeria, named after the Cross River, which passes through the state. Located in the Niger Delta, its occupies 20,156 square kilometers and shares boundaries with Benue State to the north, Ebonyi and Abia States to the west, to the east by Cameroon Republic and to the south by Akwa-Ibom and the Atlantic Ocean.
Its major towns are Akamkpa, Biase, Calabar South, Ikom, Obubra, Odukpani, Ogoja, Ugep, Obudu, Obanliku, Akpabuyo, Ofutop, Iso-bendghe, and Boji.
The State is composed of three major ethnic groups: the Efik, the Ejagham, and the Bekwarra.
The state has been previously governed by many governors including Donald Duke and Liyel Imoke. The Current Governor is Ben Ayade, who came into power on the 29th of May, 2015.
During the glamorous unveiling of the 2015 edition of Carnival Calabar theme tagged ‘Climate Change’, which took place last Sunday, at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, surprisingly the Governor Ben Ayade announced enlisting beauty queens as members of a new band called the Governor’s Band. “Irrespective of their states of origin, they represent the beauty, elegance, style and class of the average Cross River youth,” said the governor.
The carnival is made up of 6 bands which are :
- Passion 4,
- Masta Blasta,
- Governor’s band
Calabar Carnival has hosted top Nigerian musicians, Nollywood Actors, Politicians and worldwide creative persons. Over the years worldwide creative persons like, the late Lucky Dube, Akon, Fat Joe, juvenile Jeezy, Nelly, Kirk Franklin, Two face Idibia, P square, etc. The festival also embodies performances such as Fashion Show, Beauty pageant, Boat Regatta, Christmas Village, Traditional Dances and the Annual Ekpe festival is a yearly event that brings in Revelers to the state.
The existing Governor Prof. Ben Ayade has made plans to make the 2016 edition an International Carnival with over 10 countries to be in attendance.
MAJOR EVENTS HELD DURING THE CARNIVAL
- Musical Performance by Local and International Artists
- Cultural Display
- Fashion Shows
- Boat Regatta
- Christmas Shows
- Boat Villages
- Carol Night
HOW CALABAR CARNIVAL IS CELEBRATED
The carnival begins from a 12 km walk starting from the UJ Esuene Stadium, Passing though Mary Slessor road to Ndidem Usang Iso and MCC Road before finally ending at the stadium
TOURIST SITES AT CALABAR
- Mountain tops of Obanliku
- Rain forests of Afi
- Agbokim waterfalls
- Tinapa Business Resort
- Calabar Marina
- Residency and Slave Park Museum
- Obudu Cattle Ranch
- Ikom Monoliths
- Mary Slessor Tomb
- Cross River National Park
Calabar, the capital of Cross River State, is now the leading tourism city of Nigeria. Visitors from different parts of Nigeria come to the city in large numbers all year around. There are daily flights to Calabar from Lagos and Abuja serviced by airlines such as Virgin Nigeria, Arik Airlines and Aero Contractors. Aero Contractors also have flights to the Bebi airstrip at Obanliku for trips to the Obanliku Mountain Resort.