By NBF News

Cultural Troupe entartaining audience at the event

The preparation for Carnival 2010 has started as Governor Liyel Imoke, Cross River State has unveiled the 2010 Carnival theme entitled 'Our Strength and Resilience: the bedrock of our future'. Unveiling the theme at the State Cultural Centre Complex, Calabar, Imoke said the competition for 2010 Carnival even though the theme keeps changing is for the leaders to understand and interpret it for all to appreciate.

He admitted that though it was quite difficult to arrive at the theme, it is now left for the bands to study it and go to work immediately, adding that the best band in 2010 will be the one that entertains most.

Going down memory lane, the state chief Executive said: ' Nigeria came to existence with the amalgamation of its Southern and Northern proctectorate in 1914 when Calabar was the first capital of the country. The Governor presented copies of 2010/2012 rules and regulations book of Carnival Calabar to leaders of the five bands namely: Seagulls, Bayside, Master Blasta, Passion Four, and Freedom, advising that as the Carnival develops, there is need for it to be regulated in accordance with rules of the party.

Shortly after that, Imoke presented cheques to the winning bands in both the children and senior categories. In the children category, best overall Band - Seagulls received N100,000, best Interpretation of the theme Master Blaster - N100,000, Best Reflection of Carnival Spirit Seagulls - N100,000, Best Creative Band - Bayside - N100,000, while the Best Junior King/Queen Seagulls got N500,000.

In the Senior category, Best King (Kalu Ikeagu one of Nigeria's ace actors) of Seagulls got N1 million, Band of the Year (a tie) Passion 4 and Seagulls got N5 million each, Best Interpretation of the Theme - Seagull N1, million, Best Band on the move - Bayside N1 million, Best Costume and make-up - Seagulls N1 million, Best Reflection of Carnival Spirit - Bayside N2.5 million and Best Float - Passion 4 - N1 million.

Leaders of Seagull (Senator Florence Ita-Giwa) and Passion 4 (Mrs. Chris Agibe) lauded the State Government and sponsors for the prizes and promised their full participation in the 2010 Carnival.

First Bank and Oceanic Bank, sponsor of the event renewed their sponsorship and participations as part of the their social responsibilities. Bournvita equally said its sponsorship is geared towards boosting nutrition.

Earlier in a welcome remark, Mrs. Elenda Osina Dokubo, Executive Secretary, State Carnival Commission, said, despite the State's low finances, the 2009 Carnival recorded many firsts as three Governors were in attendance, noting that it was big and successful because about 1.5 million people took part in the 12 Kilometre road show.

Dokubo said it was the first time two bands tied in the first position, essay competitions, for tertiary institutions and post-primary schools had sponsors, Children Carnival had sponsors and that the commission's assignment is to get special sponsors and evolve it into an industry.

She disclosed that the Commission had called for submissions for 2010 theme and none of the 257 entries submitted was found qualified which prompted the Governor to come up with one based on what the State has gone through.

The Executive Secretary explained that Carnival Calabar has gone beyond a street theater as people from other states now throng Cross River to look for people to design their costumes and that while the Commission is determined to create an industry out of the carnival, it will also check piracy.

Calabar Carnival, started five year ago by the last administration of Mr. Donald Duke has become the biggest street party in Africa and since then it has been growing in strength by the year.

Daily Sun has it on good authority that since its inception, it has not only energized the economy but has attracted investments worth over a billion dollars and has created employment.