Archive for the ‘Cross River State’ Category


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.



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.

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.

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.

Organisers of the 7th Obudu International Mountain Race say they have received “significant interest from foreign athletes”.

Mr Patrick Ugbe, the Cross River Commissioner for Information and Orientation, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Calabar that they were willing to come and compete.

Ugbe said that no fewer than 30 elite athletes from outside Nigeria had indicated interest to participate, while the list of local athletes would be fine-tuned by the LOC and the Athletic Federation of Nigeria (AFN).

He added that the organisers were expecting between 150 and 200 athletes for this year’s race.

Ugbe, also the Media Officer for the race, said the defending men and women champions, Abebe Dinkesa and Meselech Haileyesus respectively, had confirmed their participation in the race.

According to him, the race will hold on Nov. 26 at the Ranch Resort in Obanliku Local Government Area of Cross River.

Dinkesa, an Ethiopian, set the first race record of 41 mins 45 secs in the event in 2008 and became a two-time winner in 2010

“Abebe has confirmed that he will be coming to defend his title when Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River flags off the race at the Obudu Ranch Resort.

“Dinkesa’s compatriot, Haileyesus, the defending women champion, has also confirmed that she will be at the Obudu Ranch for this year’s race.”

He said the race organisers expected that Nigerians would take the star price of 50,000 dollars in the male and the female categories each this year.

“Many Nigerian runners are well prepared to run for the star price. We believe that because this race has been on for seven years now it is about time that Nigerians rise to take the star price.

“And we believe that they have been training, especially from the catchment areas where the mountain is.

“A lot of young people have been training seriously for this year and we believe that they will make an impact.”

The race is organised by the AFN and sponsored by the Cross River Government.

It enjoys support from the African Athletics Confederation (CAA), the World Mountain Running Association, (WMRA) and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF)