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09th January, 2017.
The Zulus from South Africa performing at the International Carnival held at U.J. Esuene Stadium, Calabar recently.

Calabar Carnival 2016: International Carnival Spiced the Biggest Street Party in Africa

The Carnival Calabar 2016 has once again boosted the cultural mosaic of the Nigeria people at the just concluded 12th edition of the "Biggest Street Party in Africa" held in Calabar, Cross River State.

The 2016 edition of the festival with the theme: "Climate Change" aimed to entrench the culture of preserving the environment truly lived up to expectation.

The five carnival bands; Seagull, Master Blasta, Passion 4, Freedom and Bayside were colourfully dressed in different costumes to reflect the colours of their bands and in line with the carnival theme.

Earlier, the Cross River state governor, Prof Ben Ayade has described the Calabar Carnival as the melting point of African hospitality and the beginning of unity.

He said that the carnival, which had gained international recognition over the years had continue to grow bigger, better and bolder.

According to him, the carnival represents the true vitality, unity and harmony that signify the growth of Africa.

On the theme "Climate Change", Professor Ayade said "As an environmentalist and leader of the Governors forum on Climate Change in Nigeria, the theme was designed with a purpose. Africa being the epicenter that serves as carbon sinks is not emitting or generating global green house gases. It therefore means, as Africans we need to accentuate these factors and show that Africa is the real solution to climate change".

One of the five competing bands, Seagull, led by former Legislative Adviser to late Nigerian President Musa Yar Adua, Senator Florence Ita-Giwa emerged overall winner of the of Carnival Calabar 2016.

The Executive Secretary of Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mr. Austin Cobham while announcing the results said "After the judges collation of marks from the performances of the five bands along the twelve Kilometre stretch of the carnival route, the winners are as follows: Seagull band is winner of the 2016 Carnival Calabar. Passion 4 is the Second place winner and Masta Blasta is the Third. We had five adjudication points on the route and the judges did their jobs accordingly".

One the Adjudicator and the reigning United Nations Mrs Tourism beauty pageant, Mrs. Ebele Eze-Enemchukwu attested to the fact that the carnival paraded fantastic adjudicators at the 5 Adjudication Points.

Ebele hinted "Mine was Point Scorpio a.k.a. "Point Governor Ayade" with Mr. Silas Etebom as our able Coordinator. The Chief Judge or C.J. as we fondly called him was Mr. Arnold Udoka. We had formidable selection of judges whose expertise in the field was unquestionable. Very intimidating resumes too, with Professors, Academic Doctors, Senior Lecturers, Heads of Department, Beauty Queen doing what they know best".

The International Carnival which was introduced into the carnival by Governor Ayade from last year edition with the tourism expert and organiser of the Akwaaba African Travel Market (AFTM) as the consultant clearly reveals the show as the most entertaining and thrilling part of the Carnival Calabar 2016 events.

The teams from Croatia, South Africa, Rwanda, Brazil, Ghana, Burundi, Turkey, Spain , Ethiopia, Kenya, Ukraine and their Nigeria counterpart performed excellently to the admiration of the spectators in their fascinating cultural carnival outfits and thrilled with their mesmerizing dancing steps.

It was an event full of acrobatics display as there were no underdogs among all the participating countries, they all set the stadium agog and reconfirms Carnival Calabar as truly the Africa Biggest and Best Street Party.

The Vai Vai Samba Band from Brazil was declared the overall winner of the International Carnival as Ghana, Rwanda came second and third respectively.

A member of the Ghana team, Adelaide Dadzie in a brief chat with Travelscope Magazine disclosed that it was her first time of participating in such event at international level.

"This international carnival really gave me an assurance that Africans cultural potentials are too relevant to be ignored.
Carnival Calabar is a great avenue to promote unity in diversity, build bridges between the nations and further strengthen the cultural ties among the participating countries", said Dadzie.

Dr Zakaria Idris, a Director in the Kano State Ministry of Culture has described the Calabar Annual Carnival as the best in the country.

"It is one of the best carnival in Nigeria and we are here every year. Apart from that, Calabar as a city is very beautiful and lovely", Idris disclosed.
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Neurite Mendes, Miss Africa, who was in attendance, said that the carnival had gone beyond borders due to its sustained organisation by the state government.

"It is an honour to come from my country Angola to represent the African beauty in the carnival. This carnival is definitely bigger and better; I am happy to be in attendance at the grand finale of the 2016 Calabar carnival", she said.

Dignitaries at the event include, Mr Donald Duke, former Cross River governor, Senator Godswill Akpabio, former governor of Akwa Ibom, Nollywood actors and actresses, captain of industries, among others.

There was heavy presence of medical teams, security personnel including the Police, Army, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Immigration and others who made the environment to be conducive for well over 50,000 spectators.

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