Efio-Ita Nyok|29 December 2016
Yesterday 28 December 2016 was the grand finale of the Climate Change-themed Carnival Calabar. The 31 days of fun had highlights like youth carnival of 26 December, cultural carnival/bikers parade of 27 December and then the mother of all carnivals/parade —Africa’s biggest street party of 28 December.
The 2016 edition of Carnival Calabar has come and gone but without its eyesores. This publication is aimed at highlighting those perceived weaknesses in view of proferring solutions.
To begin with, Carnival Calabar 2016 was generally poorly organised —this is the crux of my criticism. The auspicious street party was supposed to provide fun through variety of bands’ displays, exotic costumes, blend of music and unique artistry. Alas! This year was a gross aberration.
|Williamson made a critical remark concerning the street party|
First, there’s too much of government interference in the event. Cross River Carnival Commission which is responsible for managing the entire event was hardly in control. For instance, government officials are reported to be changing features in the calendar so much so that the commission did not know which was the latest change(s).
Secondly, there was poor communication especially between the supposed organisers and the public. For instance, I have received reports of the Governor’s aides not knowing which element in the calendar was been performed or not. This is a follow up to the first identifiable flaw. The commission was supposed to be communicating accordingly but because they were barely in charge they left it to the overzealous government officials who knew next to nothing about the street party. So, there was no connect between the commission and the appropriate communicating avenues like the media.
|Essien drew attention to poor network coverage around a Carnival Calabar route|
Thirdly, the interval in succession between which bands followed each other was farther apart. It took as much as 30 minutes to an hour for one Masta Blaster to follow after Passion 4 along the Mary Slessor roundabout. Onlookers thought it was only Passion 4 which was scheduled to ply that route so they started returning home. Imagine, visitors, residents and tourists alike started finding their ways back home when the party had even started!
This brings us to the time the party started. His Excellency the Governor of Cross River State flagged off the event after it was three o’ clock. 3 o’ clock!? Yes, three. With bands trailing sluggishly behind each other at intervals of 45 minutes, you could imagine the degree of boredom onlookers experienced.
In his Carnival Theme of Climate Change: Some issues and contradictions popular critic of the state government, Barr. Joseph Odok has observed that,
‘The innovation of making the Carnival a sort of street party made the carnival boring; most people left the carnival scene early enough and the streets of Calabar were busy with people boycotting the carnival. The Carnival was only enjoyed by those who paid handsomely to buy a seating position. In short the carnival was not for the common man but for the rich to their display of wealth by paying for luxurious seating space.’
Barr. Odok further observed that ‘Last edition of the carnival saw the governor boasting of planting 5 million tress by the end of his first year in office. Sadly instead of planting trees our environmentalist governor has bulldozed the Cross River State forest for a super high way. When will the governor begin his 5 million nursery for planting trees?
Costumes were all imported as against the governor’s claim that the garments factory will make all costumes for this years carnival.’, he continued.
|SA Adjah Adjah criticism on social media has been reportedly brought down to avoid embarrassment to the Government|
Again, an appointee of the Governor who couldn’t hold his gross disappointment at the despicable outing of this year’s Carnival Calabar has noted publicly via social media that the coordination and orderliness was nothing to write home about. He made 6points recommendations. Hear him out:
‘Well I commend Sen. Prof. Ayade Benedict for still keeping the carnival/”largest street party alive”. But,
‘Your Excellency, to me and my esteem friends whom I brought from outside the state to witness Calabar Carnival 2016, which was their first time were highly disappointed. The coordination and orderliness throughout the entire paparazzi was a flop of the highest order.
‘I will commend the Governor’s band for its preparedness and show of style. The carnival started behind scheduled time, over rowdiness, poor network service etc. It isn’t the kind of carnival I know, talk less of what you did in 2015 despite your short stay in office then.
|O’Neil said nothing happened spectacular in this year’s Carnival Calabar|
‘I therefore recommend the following,
1. That you reconstitute the Carnival management team
2. Retrain the staffers of the Carnival commission and those so involved
3. Sack who was and is responsible for the embarrassment this year
4. A feedback mechanism should be deplored to hear from the populace
5. More consultations should be carried out
6. Finally, we the citizens and indeed guest should be properly informed of any changes before and during the carnival as many including myself, didn’t understand nothing and how the carnival commenced
‘All this observations are in good faith. If you see something, say something. #Think Cross River’, Special Assistant Adjah concluded. This government aide has been vilified for speaking out in public but I think considering that his embarrassment stems from the visitors he invited, he should be excused. Besides, his criticism was constructive in that it proffered solutions. This is contrary to the opinion of one Adat Adat Obono who frowned against SA Adjah thus: ‘My friend @Adjah Adjah, pls delete the post. U don’t criticise ur boss in public. You only talk when ur advice is sought for. Besides u are not d Special Adviser or Assistant to HE on Carnival matters. U would have waited when HE calls for an evaluation, if u are invited and ur opinion is sought for before u can air ur view. That is what i think it should be. Tnx…’.
|SA Adjah is corroborated by other onlookers|
Albeit, Mr Obono would also observe that, ‘CRS Government should go back to d drawing board… I think bikers carnival made more sense.’ in corroboration of SA Adjah.
Again, another ignoble feature in yesterday’s grand finale was the fact that all through the Carnival route the marshalls were not up and doing as they could not control the crowd. I personally witnessed the crowd of onlookers breaking ranks and venturing into the path meant exclusively for the band all in the bids to have a better look and takes pictures.
Finally, and most importantly the security infrastructure during Carnival Calabar 2016 was profoundly skewed! Despite the denial and counter-claims of the police that Kiss Daniel wasn’t robbed while on stage in Calabar on 25 December 2016, we know the truth. There was terror and violence at the Christmas Village in Calabar Municipality. Today, we are citing the sentiment of western media attempting to demarket Carnival Calabar. Well I stand by the submission of the Holy Book of Christians that, we can do nothing against or for the truth.
|Despite the shortcomings of this year’s edition, Her Excellency Dr Linda Ayade still had great fun|
My submissions are that, since everything rises and fall on leadership, that the Cross River Carnival Commission be either reconstituted or allowed to be independent. Secondly, communication, security and even the selection of themes should be apt and something we can relate with. I am still struggling to understand the logic behind a climate-change themed Africa’s biggest street party. If the thesis that climate change is a narrative by industrial societies of the West to deprive developing countries in their bids towards development is anything to go by why spend so much time, energy, scare resources etc in hyping such spurious logic? How wise do we appear in the face of the West? Even US President-elect Donald Trump declared publicly that he is not a believer of ‘climate change’. Mind you, this is an industrialist with a knack for saying things the way they are. Or, is there something I am not aware of which entered into the selection of this western-oriented theme? If the government of Cross River cannot perform an adequate EIA for the much-talked-about 340km superhighway how committed is Governor Ben Ayade to the ideals of climate change? In the light of the above I dare to ask: how ‘bigger, better and bolder’ was this year’s street party over previous annual editions? The truth is obvious. But, there’s still room for change.
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of NegroidHaven.org
Is a Blogger, the Editor & Publisher of NegroidHaven.org