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Cross River contingent on fact finding mission to Rio Carnival


The City of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil came alive recently, as fun lovers from across the globe joined in this year’s Rio Carnival, which is dubbed the biggest street party on the planet.From the legendary Rio Carnival Balls to the glorious Samba parades, in which 12 of Rio de Janeiro’s most elite samba schools parade and the Access days when the other 15 samba schools parade down the runway of the Rio de Janeiro Sambadrome, the city erupted in spectacular scenes with bold colours, skimpy outfits, as samba dancing took over the streets.

Meanwhile, as part of the effort to improve the organisation and revenue generation for Calabar Carnival, which has be described as Africa Biggest Street Party, Cross River State Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade has sent a Contingent comprise of the leaders of the five competing bands and stakeholders to fully participate in the ongoing 2018 Rio Carnival.The Contingent led by the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism Hon Eric Anderson, Head of the State Event Management and Carnival Commission are currently in Rio, in preparation for the annual event. This is the first time Cross River State will be participating in the carnival, which serves as big revenue generation to the government of Brazil.

It would be recalled that Governor Ben Ayade had, during the 2017 Carnival Calabar, promised to re-strengthen the annual event from it’s organisation, coordination and revenue generation in a bid to make the carnival a competing product in Cross River Tourism Calendar. This he plans to achieve by introducing new ideas and revenue generation drive for the project that attracts participants from across the globe.

Speaking on the contingent readiness for the Carnival at Galeo International Airport Rio, Brazil, Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Eric Anderson said the team is excited to be part of the world carnival event, adding that the mission is to understudy how Rio Carnival became the world best in terms of organisation, orderliness, logistics and most importantly, revenue generation.

“We are excited to be part of the Rio Carnival in 2018 because it is the biggest in the world and as a Tourism state that take carnival as it’s flagship, we are going to learn from the world best. Our aim is to see how to better Calabar Carnival in the areas of organisation, promotion, logistics and revenue generation. Don’t forget this is the first time Cross River is participating in this Carnival and it is the initiative of his Excellency the Governor but facilitate by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under my supervision,” he said.

Anderson assured that Carnival Calabar, after this trip, would not be the same again.“For us, our visit is a peer review to see what they are doing good and infuse into what we are doing; this is why all the band leaders and major stakeholders in management and organisation of the carnival Calabar are here,” he said.The Commissioner explained further that by 2019 edition, the five competing bands and governor’s band would be participating fully to give Rio a taste of Cross River.

The Executive Secretary, Cross River Carnival Commission, Mr Austine Cobham while commending the Governor for fulfilling his promise to sponsor the band leaders to Rio said, “we are here to understand what the world best is doing right that Calabar need to emulate from mustering, adjudication and crowd control and management. The visit is going to be the best for us as a commission by the time will present our findings and report to His Excellency, the governor,” he said.

Some of the Band Leaders and stakeholders who are in Rio for the carnival are Hon. Chris Agibe (Passion 4), Dr Iyam Ugot (Freedom Band), Chief Asuquo Ekpeyong, Chief Chris Agara, Ken Aklah, Gabe Onah, Tom Agi, Don Clem Enameh and others. Rio Carnival attracts approximately two million people every year from across the globe. During the event, people take to the streets with raunchy outfits, sensual dance moves and fantastic parades.

The first parade is thought to have taken place in 1723. Samba schools joined in 1928, which is when many of the famous costumes and floats took over. Communities in Rio became part of the carnival with choreographed routines to celebrate. The introduction of the Rio Sambadrome was created in 1984, which is how the carnival has continued to evolve from since.

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