Archive for the ‘Calabar’ Category

Miss UNICAL Emerges 6th Carnival Calabar Queen!

Posted: December 23, 2012 by CalabarBeckons in Cable car, Calabar


A 20 year old, Anambra born and seating Miss University of Calabar (UNICAL), Miss Sophia Chidinma Dijeh, has emerged the sixth Carnival Calabar Queen 2012 and went home with a star prize of N2,000,000. and a brand new Hyundai saloon car.
The final year student of Department of Theatre Arts came victorious Saturday out of the 30 other contestants in a keenly contested beauty pageant in Calabar.
In her message at the ceremony, the initiator of the pageant and wife of the Cross State Governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, contended that the show which is packaged to select a carnival queen, primarily serves as the face of tourism of the state as well as an ambassador for Mothers Against Child Abandonment (MACA),a Non-Governmental Organization, which preaches abstinence among teenage girls believed to be the most vulnerable to unwanted pregnancy.
She maintained that the pageant, which has produced exemplary queens who have become role models for their peers since inception in 2007, as a melting point of activities, provides a platform for young ladies to re-discover themselves and become responsible adults in the society.
Mrs. Imoke pointed out that, despite daunting challenges which MACA encountered in the course of delivering its vision, it has remained very focus and resolute in serving the lives of young ones who are victims of unwanted pregnancy.
While thanking the various sponsors for their trust in her vision, she called on the new queen to see herself as an instrument which the Lord choses to serve her contemporaries from dismay.
Representative of VLISCO, the major sponsors of the event, lauded the effort of the initiator for her vision to render selfless services to the society, stating that they decided to support the show as part of their social responsibilities and promised the company’s willingness to partner the state in future.
In a valedictory message, the out gone queen, Miss Emem Udonquak, said that she was shocked to discover that she was a source of inspiration to the young ones in schools she visited across the state.
She thanked Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke and the state government for providing her the platform to excel during her reign and charged the new queen to be dedicated and focused as she takes the mantle of serving the society through MACA.
2012 Carnival Calabar Queen, Miss Sophia Dijeh,( Miss Hope Waddel), who expressed joy to the state for an open contest which saw her emerged as winner, promised to live according to the billings of the organizers.


Calabar wins 2014 National Sports Festival hosting right!

Posted: December 14, 2012 by CalabarBeckons in Calabar

Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Cross River State, Mr. Patrick Ugbe(L) presenting the flag for the hosting of the 19th edition of National Sports Festival to Acting Governor of the State, Mr. Efiok Cobham(M) while the commmissioner for Information, Chief Akin Ricketts assisted behind. Cross River State

Government has assured sports enthusiasts that the 2014 National Sport Festival to be hosted in Calabar will surpass the past 18 editions.
Acting Governor of the Cross River State, Mr. Efiok Cobham, disclosed this when he received the flag, which is a symbol of the hosting right for the 2014 event in Calabar, from the Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Patrick Ugbe yesterday.
He pointed out that the event, which coincides with the centenary celebration of Nigeria’s amalgamation in 1914, would be bigger and better.
Mr. Efiok attributed the success of the state at the just concluded Eko 2012 sports festival as an indication that the state government’s comprehensive sport programmes has started to yield positive result.
He commended the state contingents for efforts made to win laurels, which placed Cross River 8th position on the medals table.
The Acting Governor, who further disclosed that the state will be witnessing two major high profile events, the World Mountain Running Championship and the 19th National Sport festival, said the actualization of the two events was a great task that must be accomplish.
Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. PatrickUgbe, who said the state, which presented the youngest contingents at the18th Edition of the festival, Eko 2012, carted away a total of 49 medals.
Mr. Ugbe said the contingents won 12 Gold, 14 Silver and 23 Bronze medals, noting that the performance of the team was the best ever since the inception of the fiesta.
He said that the presentation of the flag was to herald the hosting right of the Cross River state in 2014, which he noted will be the best ever.
Mr. Ugbe said that the 2014 event would be open for Nigerians from all over the world to participate, promising to effectively tackle challenges which may arise.
High point of the ceremony was the presentation of the National Sports Festival flag to the Acting Governor, Mr. Efiok Cobham by the Commissioner for Youth and Sports development, Mr. Patrick Ugbe, which affirm Cross River’s hosting right.


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.


Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke presenting a trophy to leaders of team cross river who emerged over all winner at the just concluded National School Sport Competition hosted by the state in Calabar.

Cross River State has won the fourth edition of the National School Sports Festival which it hosted by carting 114 gold, 104 silver and 100 bronze medals.
Lagos State came second with 89 Gold, 72 silver and 80 bronze medals while Ondo State came third with 62 gold, 65 silver and 75 bronze medals.
Team Niger won a gold medal in U15 football competition for boys while Team Cross River got silver and Team Anambra went home with bronze medal.
Speaking while declaring the festivals close at the UJ Esuene Stadium, Calabar, Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State said the competition has the potential of producing future champions thereby enabling the country to regain its place in the field of sports globally while thanking the organizers for putting together a good show as the end of the festival justified the effort which they put into it.
The Governor lamented that though some people take sports development for granted therefore resulting to the dwindling performance of the country in both continental and international tournaments, Cross River is committed to bring back the values of sports by investing in its development, adding that sports afford youths opportunity to express themselves, socialize as well as become good citizens of the society because beyond running, it has helped to develop and integrate the society.
He commended the participating states for their involvement and commitment in youth development and urged them to continue to invest in it, explaining that Cross River State’s programme in sports is meant to develop a better society as well as bequeath unto the children a better future than what they see today.
According to him, the festival exuded strength, commitment, success, energy and zeal as every one who participated was a champion which means that there is a great hope for the nation, adding that those who excelled should do better and be celebrated because the festival has the potentials of producing future world champions while commending the participants for their good behavior as no ugly incident occurred during the eight day event.
The Commissioner for Sports and Youth Development, Mr. Raymond Obeten disclosed that the idea of sport development as initiated by Governor Liyel Imoke in Cross River State is productive as evident in the festival, adding that the State will continue to invest in the development of the youths through sport with the procurement to modern equipment to enable it change the face of sports in Nigeria.
Obeten attributed the feat recorded by the state, which was unprecedented, to the efforts of the governor as well as the sports consultant, Dr. Bruce Ijirigho, stressing that the political will exhibited by the state is immeasurable because “it is where the dividend of good governance is displayed at all levels”.
The President of National School Sports Federation (NSSF) Malam Ibrahim Mohammad in an address, expressed appreciation to the Cross River State government for hosting the festival which afforded children from all the states opportunity to converge and compete while rating the eight day event in Calabar as “one of the best if not the best in the country which makes Cross River a home of sports”.
Mohammad noted that though the festival was interesting and its objective achieved, it equally displayed unity, exposure, and interaction among the participants and officials, remarking that the performance of Cross River contingents was good and showed evidence of hardwork and a vision of a government that is determined to develop sports.
He commended the State for its cleanliness which he described as uncomparable and reasoned that if Nigerians could emulate Cross River, the whole country will be clean.
Highlights of the closing ceremony included the conferment on Governor Imoke as a bonafide National School Sports Festival official with a certificate by its president and presentation of prizes to winning teams.
The occasion was also used as a concluding part of the second dry run of the Carnival Calabar which revelers from the five competiting bands, led by wife of the State Governor, Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, performed.

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.

As a deliberate effort to accelerate technological evolution in the country, the Federal Government has announced August 2012 as deadline for the setting of the first ever Information and Communication Technology (ICT) incubation center known as “Tinapa Knowledge Centre” in Calabar. Minister of ICT, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, who disclosed this shortly after undertaking a facility tour of the proposed site for the knowledge centre in Tinapa, Calabar, contended that a machinery has been put in motion to ensure that the necessary action like the drafting of a holistic memorandum of understanding (MOU) and other requirements to fast track the execution of the projects as a pilot scheme in the country is achieved

She maintained that when the needed road map is provided, the Federal Government will ensure a timely delivery of the projects which align with its vision of job creation as the centre will open up opportunity for the teeming youths to be meaningfully engaged and serve as a catalyst for economic transformation.

While pointing out that the establishment of the centre is also a deliberate attempt to diversify the economy from oil base to knowledge base in line with current realities, Mrs. Johnson stated that her Ministry wants to take advantage of the amazing infrastructural facilities at the Tinapa as well as the leverage on the incentives the Free Trade Zone offers to create wealth to the citizenry. She thanked Governor Imoke for his vision to conceptualize the knowledge centre and promised to collaborate with relevant stake holders to ensure that it comes to fruition.

The Executive Governor of Cross River State Governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, who promised to give the necessary backing for the actualization of the project, said that he was optimistic that the August 2012 deadline will be realized, adding that Tinapa has the capacity to host over fifty thousand software developers with it unlimited space including warehouses.

He maintained that the centre will provide the capacity needed at the oil and gas industrial operation adjacent to the Tinapa Resort, adding that the State Government will move beyond Tinapa and adopt the project for other parts of the state.
While assuring the Minister of a proper management of the facilities because Tinapa Managers have been trained on facility management, Imoke, however, urged the Federal Government to introduce measures that will guarantee sus-trainability of the project which he noted, holds very promising future for Nigeria.

The President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Chris Waje, reiterated the body’s readiness to support the centre by attracting its array of professionals to the facility, which according to him, is a premium facility to foster knowledge industry.

Also speaking, the Commissioner for Education Prof. Offiong Offiong, stated that in realization of the important role ICT plays in the education advancement of a nation, the state government has constructed and furnished completed laboratories in all the schools it has renovated to enhance learning skills of pupils while arrangement has concluded with Ecobank Plc to facilitate the supply of laptops to teachers in the state so as to enable the state advance to its learning process but, however, laments connectivity as a major setback

The Managing Director, Tinapa Business and Leisure Resort, Arch. Bassey Eyo Ndem, who conducted the Minister and other stakeholders round the facility, informed them that the world class infrastructure can conveniently host the knowledge centre without any interference from the retail out lets, adding that with an uninterrupted power supply, the centre will not experience any power failure.

The Special Adviser, ICT Development, Mr. Odo Effiong said the department is working with relevant Federal Government agencies to secure a competent firm that will help drive the vision and subsequent realization of the project.

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.