Archive for the ‘Calabar festival’ Category


The streets of Calabar witnessed its annual influx of spectators and Carnival lovers as the 2012 edition of the Carnival Calabar was held on the 27th of December 2012.Dubbed Africa’s biggest street party, thousands of costumed revelers stormed the 12 Kilometre Carnival route to entertain its teaming spectators. Also,It was a public holiday in the state,which gave an opportunity for workers in the private and public sector to churn out in their numbers alongside their families in other to cheer their favorite Carnival bands to success.
With the 2012 theme being “Celebrating a new dawn” the 2012 carnival featured the regular competing bands namely, the Passsion4 band,in its delectable Green colour, the Seagulls band, it its magnificent red colour, Bayside band, in its aquamarine blue colour, the Master Blaster band a.k.a. the band for the Hip, Bold and Beautiful who looked gorgeous in their orange colour while the Freedom band in their yellow colour added a sparkle of sunshine to the event.

At 11.20a.m. the kick off tape for the event was cut by the Deputy Governor, of Cross River State Barr. Effiok Cobham,in company of other dignitaries and sponsors. Leading the revelers were colourful girls on multiply coloured feathers costumes swinging flags of the various sponsors of the carnival. There were closely followed by the Passion4 Band.If you are a strong follower of the Carnival, the Passion4 Band are a band to watch as they have won six editions of the grand price of the Festival, almost consecutively. The fiesta Girls of the passion4 band led the procession while other sections of the band followed closely.
After the Passion4 Band came the Seagulls Band in their red colour, they showcased their dexterity in costumes and choreography; led by Senator Florence Itwa Giwa who was flanked by her guests from Nollywood; an annual culture for the band to being Nigerian actors and actresses on its float, the band repeated this year with Emeka Anyiocha playing its Adult King. Following the Seagulls Band was the Masterblaster Band, whose performance, was definitely a great improvement from its previous performances, the costumes were nice, the choreography; mind blowing and its band membership was the highest this year, a position that was previously held by the passion4 band.

The Bayside Band were next displaying what in my opinion was the worst performance of the band, this is coming from their winning record a few years ago, the costumes were less sophisticated, the choreography; just ok, but their membership has also dwindled over the years.
The last competing band to have performed were the Freedom Band, this band used to be one of the not-so-great band, but this year, they had really stepped up their game, with better costumes, creative choreography and their truck decorations were also nice as compared to their performances over the years.

The 2012 Carnival Calabar, also had a spice of the Latin American Carnival culture as the Sao Poalo Vai Vai Samba Carnival Band of Brazil, winners of the 2012 Brazilian Carnival were invited to attend and perform at the event, they displayed their traditional samba dance which got the crowds cheering, though many had reservations about their costumes. At the end of the day, the Master Blaster Band came tops on the winner’s table clinging the price of Ten million Naira, while Passion4 band came second place wining Five million Naira and Freedom Band went home with Three million Naira.


US Consular Officer Commends Calabar Carnival

Posted: December 20, 2012 by CalabarBeckons in Calabar festival, Carnival Calabar

Rhonda Watson flanked by the Dep. Speaker of teh Cross River State House of Assembly and other Principal officers at the Carnival Commission

The United States Consul Public Diplomacy Officer in Nigeria, Rhonda J. Watson has spoken glowingly of the on-going Calabar Festival, describing it as unique.Watson spoke at Rabana Roundabout on IBB Way/Marian Road in Calabar during the flag-off of the third phase of the Carnival Calabar dry run on Sunday.

The diplomat, who is in Calabar on a four day official duty, said she was proud to be part of the Final dry run, which was a fore runner to the proper event. She said the event, which she described as a display of colours, designated glamour, reminded her of her experience in the West Indies decades ago. She commended the state for being unified and focused in doing something positive to also involve the youths, in the carnival thereby bringing great honour to the state.

The Acting governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham, who was represented by the Deputy Speaker, State House of Assembly, Hon Itaya Asuquo Nyong, said the dry run afforded the five competing bands the opportunity to fine-tune preparations for the main event.Cobham remarked that Cross River remains number one state in tourism development and packaging.Chairman, Carnival Commission, Mr. Gabe Onah, in an introductory remark, disclosed that the dry run was the fourth and final, including the children’s dry run, before the Carnival.

Onah explained that it affords the Bands and the Revellers the opportunity of participating as well as savouring the street party atmosphere and warmth it generates.He said Watson’s participation in the dry run reflects her keen interest in youth development programme.

The Chairman explained that the Socio Economic impact and the benefit on the economy are huge with boundless opportunities. Due to the pressure the Carnival preparations was putting on Artisans and local tailors, efforts were being made to contract tailors in Aba and Port Harcourt to sow more costumes in order to meet the demands by Bands. He described the development as one of the economic benefits of the carnival on the local economy which is one of Governor Liyel Imoke’s Strategic plans for the Tourism Sector.The Sponsors are not left out as a flag dance party has been instituted to give visibility to the Sponsors of the events on the Carnival route.

In another development, a-six day programme tagged “Calabar’s Got Talent”, aimed at promoting various home acts lived up to its billings as a talent hunt reality show for youths.

Through this programme, they were given the opportunity to display their talents in dancing, singing and comedy with those adjudged winners either offered free admission to read a six-month computer course at Abraham Moore Computer Training Institute or Highlight Entertainment Dancing School both in Calabar while some went home with cash prizes.


As the 2012 Calabar Festival kicks-off today with the lighting of the Christmas tree at the Millennium Park, there appears to be a scramble by tourists for Calabar-bound flights.

The Millennium Park, previously known as Eleven Eleven, was a memorial to mark the end of the World War 11. It is the grounds on which the remains of the unknown fallen hero of that war were laid to rest.
Interestingly, the Millennium Park, will for the first time host the first 15 events of the festival.
Due to this increasing demand from teeming tourists, who want to travel to the state to be a part of the festival, major airlines have announced more frequencies on the Calabar route.

One of such airlines, Aero Contractors in a statement to the organizers of the festival, disclosed that it was introducing “extra frequencies into Calabar from Lagos and Abuja with effect from 01 December, 2012”.
Meanwhile, the 31-day festivity is drawing dignitaries from all over the world.

For instance, the Country Director of UNAIDS, Dr Kwame MPOMAH, Lady Nkechi Onah, former National Coordinator of CISHAN, Professor Babtunde Osotomehin, the Executive Director of UNFPA, the Country Director of UNFPA, Dr. Victoria Mayogha and the Regional Head of UNFPA ,Sarah Masale have indicated intention to take part in some of the festival’s activities.

For the tree lighting exercise, legendary South African composer and trumpeter, Hugh Masekele will be making a guest appearance.
The organizers of the festival are promising a bigger and better event this year.
Indeed, apart from the traditional activities, the organizers have introduced new events to the festival to ensure this year’s is the best ever.
Some of the new events introduced into the festival include the festival of Arts and craft.
There is also the poetry slam and a 3 on 3 basketball competition featuring teams from the USA, Cape Verde and Nigeria.
Other innovations include a skating competition, premier of the movie, ‘streets of Calabar and Hot Wheels featuring biking clubs.


Multi-talented international R & B and hip hop recording artist, Akon, and legendary South African trumpeter, composer and singer, Hugh Masekela are leading a star-studded list of international and local musicians to perform at this year’s Calabar Festival, which kicks –off Friday.
This is the second time that Akon, who is the founder of two successful record labels, convict Muzik and Kon Live Distribution, will be performing at the festival.
Also to perform during the 31 – day festivity are some of Nigeria’s biggest music stars such as 2 Face, MI, Ice Prince, P-Square, Wizkid, J Martins and Naeto C.
Other local acts include Timaya, Duncan Mighty, Ruggedman, Wande Coal, Iyanya, Nigg a Raw, Flavour and the Azonto exponent, Sakordie from Ghana.
The organizers of the Festival have also made sure that lovers of Jazz Music equally have a swell time by lining up Jonathan Butler, Kunle Ayo and Moses Philips to perform at the Jazz in Paradise segment of the festival.
Of course, there is also a long list of Comedians billed to put smiles on the faces of revelers.
The list includes I Go Die, Klint de Drunk, Shirman, Julius Agwu, Gordons, Akpororo, MC Mbakara, Prof Aboki, White Nigerian, Last Prophet. Headmaster, Whokes and Robert Ekpo
For the Calabar praise Night, the list of artists is no less impressive. It includes respected acts like Sammy Okposo, Hope Davies, Sinach, Sabina, Ohen de prophet, Kingsley Agbor and Godswill Danied.
The festival will also witness the commissioning of a cinema, where the movie; streets of Calabar will premier.
There is also the Festival of Arts and Craft, golf and football matches, the selection of a new Calabar Carnival Queen and the Green concert among other new additions to the yearly event.


Effective December 1, 2012, Aero will commence flight operations between Calabar and Abuja.

The flight, which will be operated with a Boeing 737-500 series will depart Calabar for Abuja at 09:50am and arrive 11:00am with flight number AJ175, while Abuja to Calabar flight departs at 11:35am and arrives 12:45pm with flight number AJ176.

Announcing these services, Captain Akin George, Aero Managing Director said: “The decision was taken in the interest and comfort of the airline’s loyal customers to give them more choices and flexibility in planning their business and leisure trips and also reduce the stress of traveling during this festive season”.

Over the years, Aero has become the first airline of choice offering excellent value for money and making travels easier and convenient.

Aero has grown to be one of the most reliable and reputable carrier in Africa, operating over 50 flights a day and covering more than 15 domestic and regional destinations.


One of Nigeria’s leading conglomerates, Dangote Group has picked the title sponsorship of the Children’s Carnival segment of Carnival Calabar.
With this development, henceforth, the Children’s Carnival will be known as Dangote Carnival Calabar Children’s Carnival.

The Executive Secretary, Cross River State Carnival Commission, Mrs. Elenda Osima-Dokubo, stated that with this offering, the profile of the Carnival Calabar will continue to blossom.

In her words,”Dangote was with us last year for the first time, they saw the value they got from their sponsorship last year. So this year, they have decided to partner us in a bigger way by taking the title sponsorship of the children’s carnival’.
“We are quite happy with this and will ensure that they get maximum value for their sponsorship”, she added, saying that with the development, the Children’s Carnival will be more colorful, bigger and even better.

The Children’s Carnival takes place on December 26 every year as a part of the three days of Carnival Calabar activities, explaining that the first is the Carnival King’s and Queen’s competition which takes place on the 25th and the cultural parade and children’s carnival that takes place on the 26 and the adult carnival popularly referred to as “Africa’s Biggest Street Party” which takes place on the 27th December every year.

Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has unveiled the 2011 Carnival Calabar theme at the International Conference Centre, Abuja. While unveiling the theme “Endless Possibilities”, at a ceremony tagged “ A Glimpse of Destination Cross River” Governor Imoke described as “tedious and tasking finding a suitable theme for the Carnival because it is more than dance, costume and regulations exercise as each has been a difficult job because the latest does not reflect the previous ones.

The Governor disclosed that each of the five Carnival bands are guided by the theme and are expected to work hard to interpret it into dance, float and costume as it affects the people and the future, adding that it is distinct that participants should key into the opportunities which it provides because the carnival has grown in leaps and bounds.
He explained that in this year’s festival of 32 days of well packaged events, everything will be put in place to ensure that it grows bigger and better than the previous editions, as it is driven by the visions shown a few years ago which has now attracted world recognition while commending the immediate past Governor of the state, Mr. Donald Duke for initiating the vision.
He said the unveiling ceremony was only a tip of the ice berg as more awaits those that intend to visit Cross River State in December, assuring that it will be “nerve raking and tasking”.
Minister of Culture, Tourism and Orientation, High Chief Edem Duke, in his good will message, commended the state for refining tourism as an enterprise because it drives the third largest economy after Agriculture and Banking while thanking Governor Imoke for his creativity, courage and commitment which is a reflection of a viable vision, adding that tourism employs about 200 million people in the world with low entry barrier in terms of academic qualification but has the potential of placing food on the table of many families.

Chief Duke, who said Cross River State has introduced a new lexion in Nigeria’s tourism programme by initiating Carnival Calabar, noted that the carnival should not be viewed as dancing and glamour but a sector that can contribute to the nation’s GDP because it has the capacity of turning a poor man into a rich man.

He reasoned that the time has come for other governors to cue behind governor Imoke as the future of Nigeria’s tourism development “starts from today” while urging theatre performers in Abuja to emulate the wife of Cross River State Governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke by initiating social activities that will keep the International Conference Centre busy with entertainment as a way of promoting tourism.
The Minister further enjoined Nigerians to find a way of being in Calabar in December to participate in the Calabar Festival especially Carnival Calabar because of its attractions.

Wife of the Governor of Cross River State, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, while presenting her pet programme, “Breath of Life”, solicited for funds to enable her procure vaccines to save the lives of children suffering from pneumonia because currently, 467,000 children suffer from the life threatening ailment, stressing that it kills more children than any other known diseases like malaria and AIDS. According to her, Pfizer has promised to donate vaccines worth millions of naira as support while the launching of the project is scheduled on November 12, adding that the launching was keyed into the programme because of her passion for children.

Mrs. Imoke disclosed that her other pet programmes, “Mother Against Child Abandonment,(MACA)” has saved the lives of over 150 abandoned babies while 200 children are being accommodated in a home at the “Destiny Child Centre”, adding that 80 young pregnant girls have been taken off the streets because their families do not want to do anything with them. She further explained that the Carnival Calabar Queen has gone round the state to counsel young girls to abstain from casual sex, as the pageant is not only about beauty but brain while commending her husband for the assistance and support given to the project.

The Special Adviser, Events Management, Mr. Nzan Ogbe in an opening remarks, described the Calabar Festival under the state’s tourism development thrust as a brand new industry that creates jobs, wealth and skill for the people as a culmination of events because it is not only to entertain but also educate and has grown bigger by the year.
Mr. Ogbe described it as one of the biggest branding events initiated by any Nigerian government and commended Governor Imoke for not just keeping it going but also developing upon it to include other activities

A representative of First bank, Mr. Uke, representing sponsors of the festival said it has been in partnership with the state tourism commission in the past four years while the relationship between the state and the bank dates back to 1900, which precedes Nigeria as a nation, noting that as a big bank, it sees the programmed as a catalyst for social engineering as well a support for the youth to show talents.

The bank which currently has 14 branches in the state, stated that the event goes beyond tourism as the state has today become the biggest investment destination in the country and they thanked Governor Imoke for giving them the opportunity to partner in the programme.

Highlights of the programme include the presentation of prizes to the Carnival Calabar 2010 winners, musical performances, comedy, drama presentation by Carnival Calabar Revelers, cultural performance and presentation of “The Evolution of Calabar Festival” anchored by the Executive Secretary of the state’s Carnival Commission, Mrs. Elenda-Osima Dokubo.

Come Thursday, November 10, 2011, the International Conference Centre, Abuja will be agog with events that would serve as a foretaste of the bumper package the Cross River State Government intends to deliver in this year’s edition of the increasing popular Calabar Festival.

To many it would reminiscent of Sunday August 15, 2010 at the Ball Room, Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, bringing back memories of colour, style, fashion, thrills and excitement that offered a glimpse into last year’s festival. The impact of the marketing strategy had been instant as over 1.4 million guests had been recorded to have visited the state in the festive period last year.

Tagged “A Glimpse of Destination Cross River”, the event will showcase to the outside world what the 32-day Calabar Festival which climaxes with the two-day carnival parade among others.

The event which will also be in the spirit of innovation and freshness which has characterized the festival over the years, and has continued to keep it relevant all the while, will also witness the rebranding of the State’s tourism initiatives.

According to the Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Patrick Ugbe, the event last year in Lagos had contributed in no little way to make the Festival a huge success, and believed that “Calabar Festival this year would be much, much bigger than the previous ones we have been having.”

His words, “What we are doing critically, first and foremost, is that we have an event which we call a glimpse of Destination Cross River which will be presented in Abuja. We did the first one last year in Lagos. It was a huge success. What we are going to do is to showcase what Destination Cross River is all about and what it has to offer – the 32 day Festival which climaxes with the two-day Carnival parade which is the biggest street party in Africa. We are taking all that to Abuja. We have lots of fantastic artistes lined up. The headline artiste of course is P-Square, who we believe, will rock the crowd in Abuja.

“We believe that from the attendance, people would see this event and actually have a bigger experience of what the main event would look like and begin to plan their trips to Calabar.

“We had a lot of visitors last year. We had over 1.4 million visitors last year and part of it was the exercise we did in Lagos, whereby a lot of people were able to witness and see what the festival was all about. It is just a tip that encouraged them to come down and actually see and experience the festival itself.

“We expect that the carnival this year would be much, much bigger than last year, because it has been growing year after year. Bigger and bigger. Last year there was virtually no space on the streets. This year we expect it to be bigger, but we are ensuring that everything would be in place.

“The Calabar Festival this year would be much much bigger than the previous ones we have been having. Artists lined up are more exciting this year.”

The commissioner said they would also use the opportunity to rebrand the state’s tourism initiative.

“We are rebranding our tourism. The tourism brand is going to change. We are going to unveil our tourism brand when we take Glimpse of Destination Cross River to Abuja and after that day, our tourism would wear a new look, new brand identity and we would have a new slogan. You must retool, constantly if you want to position yourself to be the number one which we are. You must stay ahead and the only way to do that is to reinvent yourself and that is the essence of rebranding”, he stated.

Although the Festival seems to be all about revelry, there is also the humanitarian aspect to it as Glimpse of Destination Cross River will also provide the opportunity to raise funds to assist children suffering from pneumonia in the state.

As the 32-day Calabar Festival approaches, the Cross River State Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr. Patrick Ugbe, has assured that this year’s edition of the event will offer a whole lot more than it has it the past years.

The Calabar Festival which kicks off on November 30, 2011 and ends on January 1, 2012, has over the years grown in popularity and acceptance across the country and even internationally.

The annual event which debuted about a decade ago, and has the 2-day carnival as its high point, has over the years witnessed innovations which have made each year’s event feel like a new experience. In keeping with the spirit, Ugbe said, and assured that “this year, it is much bigger and better than the previous ones we have been having.”

Last year’s edition of the event had recorded over 1.4 million visitors to the state.

According to him, “The Calabar Festival this year will be much much bigger than the previous ones we have been having. Artistes lined up are more exciting this year. We expect that the carnival this year will be much bigger than last year’s, because it has been growing year after year. Bigger and bigger. Last year there was virtually no space on the streets. This year we expect it to be bigger, but we are ensuring that everything will be in place.”

As a means to further boost the festival this year, he said, states will first and foremost presents an event tagged, “A Glimpse of Destination Cross River” which will hold in Abuja.

“We did the first one last year in Lagos. It was a huge success. What we are going to do is to showcase what A Glimpse of Destination Cross River is all about and what it has to offer – the 32 day Festival which climaxes with the 2 day Carnival parade which is the biggest street party in Africa,” he said.

According to the commissioner, part of the strategy to keep the event refreshing will be rebranding the state’s tourism programme. “The tourism brand is going to change. We are going to unveil our tourism brand when we take A Glimpse of Destination Cross River to Abuja and after that day, our tourism will wear a new look, new brand identity and we will have a new slogan. You must retool, constantly if you want to position yourself to be the number one which we are. You must stay ahead and the only way to do that is to reinvent yourself and that is the essence of rebranding,” Ugbe said.

A night with the MoHits Crew!

Posted: January 11, 2011 by CalabarBeckons in Calabar festival, Nigeria, Tourism

Dbanj and Wande Coal @ Calabar Rocks Show

The grounds of the U. J Esuene stadium was filled to the brim for the show of Naija’s Most Wanted in the Music industry- the Mohits! The night began with performances from local acts such as Macho Jacko, Halley Sings.

The main acts for the night were Duncan Mighty, Wande Coal, Dr. SID, Dbanj. The first to get on stage was Duncan Mighty, his Port Harcourt boy signature tune was used to introduce him and stage and this got the crowd ridiculously excited! His Obianuju got the ladies dancing and the crowd begging for more.

Next act on stage was Terry G, the Swagger Master and Father of Modern Alanta, he connected his swag with the crowd that energetically danced to his Sango hits. As expected his Alanta styles was that of a Master, his throwaway bits got fans jumping off their chairs

The lights were deemed as Calabar witnessed the emergence of Dr  SID was the first among the MoHits crew to step out on stage, he got the crowd singling along with is Over the moon,  then came Prince with his Omoba, which  intensified the already lighted crowd to dance their worries out!

The next on stage was Wande Coal, with his Who born the maga? introducing him on stage, admist cheers from the excited crowd,he swept the girls off their feet with “every time I see you”,He got the crowd electrified with his Bumper to Bumper, the peak of his moments,was when he sang “allow me to kiss your hand”, this was a baptismal of dance  for all  the girls!

At  exactly, 1.12 a,m Africa’s only Koko Master, the most wanted Dbanj stepped on the stage receing a standing ovation from  the  expansive crowd  who had been waiting patiently for him to quench their thirst. He commenced  his performance with ,am hot and your not, next he added up his prayer song, Elo Maje which got all the kokolettes,  mamalettes, bobolettes and babylettes dancing mercilessly.

Next he sang “Igwe” with his mohits crew Dr SID and Wande Coal. Then he sang fall in love, then he sang scapegoat, and then “Endowed” , “give it to me now” stormed the crowd further electrified with the crowd  further when they sang” pop champagne’ which brought the interesting night to an end!

Wandecoal @Calabar Rocks

The Alanta Master himself @ Calabar Rocks!

Dr SID performing live in Calabar!

Duncan Mighty rendering Ubianuju @Calabar Rocks!