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Cross River, Nigeria's Tourism Reference Point – Imoke


san Francisco, August 16, (THEWILL) - Governor Liyel Imoke of Cross River State has restated the state’s determination to position its self as not only a preferred destination but also a reference point in Nigeria’s tourism development programme.

Speaking at the presentation of a "Glimpse of Cross River" on Sunday at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos, to unveil the Calabar Festival which commences on November 30, 2010, Imoke, who lauded the erstwhile Governor of the State, Mr. Donald Duke for initiating the festival, said when it started people never thought it would get to the extent it has topped because they were not properly aware of its potentials, adding that with doggedness and political will, it has succeeded in becoming a world acclaimed festival.

Imoke, who was flanked by his wife, Obioma, wife of Deputy Governor, Mrs. Glory Effiok Cobham, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Duke and the band leaders, disclosed that the status of the festival was taken to a greater height when the last administration sponsored some people to participate in the Trinidad and Tobago Festival in order to acquire expertise and the rudiments of internationally acclaimed carnivals, stressing that it has now become unique as every one now wants to be a part of it thereby taking it to greater height.

The Governor explained that the festival is all about the life, people, culture and history of Cross River and that it will succeed because of the commitment of the people to make it a spectacular event, disclosing that last years Calabar Carnival was the biggest so far and with a lot of innovations in cultural theatre and entertainment industry stating further that this year’s would be better and bigger.

He said that the beauty of the event is fully expressed in its costume, style, colour, designs and history, and that it would grow and flourish as he solicited the support and cooperation of the band leaders while appreciating the sponsors of the carnival for their significant support and called on the audience to make an early booking to avoid accommodation problems during the December celebrations.

Mrs. Obioma Liyel Imoke, wife of the Governor in "The Charity Angle", spoke on her pet project on child abandonment, saying her passion to solve child related problems calls for support, explaining that her vision to make Cross River a state fit for the child is borne out of the desire of taking government to those that need government most.

She disclosed that the programme has identified 70 teenage mothers and 100 babies across the state and through its charity effort sponsors a golf charity tournament in Calabar to raise funds, explaining that the Calabar Carnival Queen who is a role model to the young ones, has the mandate of instilling the message of abstinence from casual sex, pregnancy and HIV/AIDS while a fashion show was introduced last year to boost the effort of the programme.

Senator (Mrs.) Florence Ita-Giwa, leader of the Seagull Band in a welcome remark, said while Nigeria as a nation focuses attention on oil, Cross River is the only state which places emphasis on tourism through its "Destination Cross River" and paid tribute to Mr. Donald Duke, the immediate past Governor of the state for initiating the Carnival which skeptics’ thought was a joke.

She praised Governor Liyel Imoke for continuing with the vision and improving on it despite the state’s lean resources, saying that with the governor’s commitment the festival has attained international recognition because of the transformation which it has gone through.

The 5-hour event was attended by Mrs. Abimbola Fashola, wife of Lagos State Governor; Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC); Corporate and Media executives.

Nigerian artistes, Weird MC, Waje, Banky W, D’Banj, P Square as well as comedian, Julius Agu performed at the event.