Carnival Calabar partners Yanga Lotto, ASSITEJ for improved entertainment

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By Taiye Olayemi
The Carnival Calabar Commission on Monday announced its partnership with Yanga Lotto and ASSITEJ Nigeria to improve on entertainment and educating activities for children.

Dr Gabe Onah, Chairman of the Commission, made this known during a media briefing in Lagos.

Onah said the partnership was a deliberate move to take the Carnival back to the private sector to guarantee its sustainability.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Yanga Lotto is a digital gaming platform .

Also, ASSITEJ is an international body dedicated to the artistic, cultural, and educational rights of children and young people across the globe.

Onah noted that Gov. Bassey Otu of Cross River desired to explore the 2024 edition of the carnival to improve creativity in children and ensure that citizens were enriched through the power of creativity, culture and tourism.

He said that the partnership with ASSITEJ Nigeria and Yanga Lotto necessitated those ideals.

“We are happy that we are taking Carnival Calabar back to the private sector and that is the way to encourage sustainability.

“The theme for the year’s carnival was unveiled on March 24 as ‘Our Shared Prosperity’,” he said.

Also speaking, Mr Derrick Kentebbe, Executive Chairman, Yanga Lotto, expressed readiness to ensure that the gaming platform generated huge fund for the carnival through lottery and more.

Kentebbe said the the platform would engage the Genz in the course of the carnival.

“I can see the passion of the Carnival Calabar team here and I am sure the 2024 edition of the carnival will be the most successful ever. Expect a lot from Yanga games this year,” he said.

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Dr Pamela Udoka, President of ASSITEJ Nigeria, noted that Nigerian culture and arts had been focused more on adults while the younger ones lose touch with African values.

Udoka said ASSITEJ Nigeria would be engaging the children and the young adults in conferences, workshops, theatre productions, panel discussions in the course of the carnival.

According to her, this was to spur children’s creativity, enlighten them on embracing culture and encourage talent discovery.

“We are trying to use Carnival Calabar to drive participation for children and young adults.

“So, we will be hosting ASSITEJ Nigeria Theatre Festival, exclusively for the young ones,” she said.

Unveiling the programme for the carnival, Mr Effiong Ekpenyong, Special Adviser, Events Management, Governor’s Office and Tourism Development, said the carnival would begin with lighting of Christmas trees in the Canaan City.

He said the carnival will start on Dec. 1 with HIV AIDs walk day to the festival village and the official opening of the carnival.

“Each day of the carnival will be an experience, we will feature comedy night, reggae night, boat regatta at the Marina Resort waterfront, barbecue night and more.

“We will feature a mega concert where A list Nigerian artistes will perform for free and we have a mini theme known as ‘Sweetness Continues’,” he said.

Mr Austine Cobham, Executive Secretary, Carnival Commission, said the carnival would be a 32-day event.

Cobham said ahead of the 32-day carnival, the first Dry Run heralding the carnival would hold Oct. 20, the second dry run would be on Nov. 2 while the third and final dry run would hold Dec. 8.

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“The cultural carnival would hold on Dec 26, as well as the Kings and Queens performance; the children carnival, now called the junior carnival will take place on Dec. 27.

“The Carnival Calabar, known as Africa’s biggest street party, will be on Dec. 28, Bikers Parade will hold Dec 29 while the Street party will be on Dec. 30,” he said.

Mrs Mary Ephraim-Egbas, Managing Director of OKHMA Global, official marketing company for the carnival, said, “We are proud to be associated with Carnival Calabar, we appreciate the sponsors.

“This year, we are looking at taking the relationship further, we seek infrastructure partnership to be able to create cabins for the carnival.

“We also want partners in the area of drinks, we usually have attendance of over two million people, we stream the carnival in over 42 countries, it is a viable platform for sponsors to come on board,” she said.

Ikechi Uko, the Carnival Calabar Consultant commended the commission for standing tall for 20 years, making the carnival to run smoothly and welcoming innovations.

Uko described the carnival as the biggest tourism product Nigeria had sold to the world, adding that it also stood the test of time.

He said Carnival Calabar had encouraged institutional memory, ensured bye-in from the people and separating the spiritual from the carnival. (NAN)(

Edited by Dianabasi Effiong

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