Over the weekend, NEGROIDHAVEN embarked on a facility tour of what may be described as the new Cultural Centre located at the heart of Calabar the Cross River state capital city. Victor Ita, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor of Cross River on Cultural Centre, who was appointed April 2020 took NEGROIDHAVEN correspondent around the renovated facility.
First, entering the impressive-looking edifice, you see the Lobby which can accommodate a reception for inquiries, and registration/ documentation in the event of a conference holding there. A little dinner can take place at the lobby area.
Next, is the Foya which has been fully rejigged to meet modern requirements and is located at the second floor of the building. According to SSA Ita ‘We call this place an Aerial View Foya because from here you can see Etim Edem Park to your left, Spar Mall to your right, the Government Offices to the front and Calabar South to your rear. That makes the Cultural Centre an ideal place. When I was appointed in April 2020, it was raining inside here, but that is a forgotten story today. All the Air Conditioners are not furnitures, they are all working; the Foya is ideal for wedding receptions, even break out sessions can happen at the Foya.’
We briefly explored the VIP angle as well as the VIP Bar which flow from the foya. We immediately proceeded to the Main Bowl which can house 1,000 to 1,500 guests. Our correspondent further garnered that the initial turn off of a dilapidated roof has been fixed. SSA Ita stressed that we can return during the wet season to confirm that development. Interestingly, to the Main Bowl, there is an attachment of the massive backstage we have in Calabar, ‘even bigger than Calabar International Conference Centre’, Ita informed.
We have a 3 central units ACs here: all of them are working. SSA Ita informed that there’s an underground, over forty (stage) lights all of which are functional: ‘I tell you, after National Arts Theatre Igomu, Cultural Centre in Calabar is next centre where you can have such a building and the facilities in the building in Nigeria. The Cultural Centre in Calabar and National Arts Theatre, Igomu were both designed for theatre, art.’
Continuing, SSA Ita informed that ‘Because, we don’t believe in public power supply to power our events, we have two generating sets: a 800kva, and 500kva. Our correspondent cited the electricity sets. There is a water system which internally supplies everywhere in the building. We exited through the Scene Dock. With this, SSA Ita affirmed that ‘Cultural Center is ready for any form of event’ with a conference hall, foya and main bowl.
In a Q & A session at the Conference Centre with both SSA Ita and Chibuike Jibunoh a representative of the partners, Ita disclosed that ‘the purpose of Cultural Centre in the wisdom of the government and that of the the erstwhile military governor, U. J. Esuene was to promote event tourism. Cross River has been known for tourism. And Cultural Centre was to fulfil that event side of tourism. I must stress like I said earlier that Cultural Centre is second only to the National Arts Theatre in Igomu, Lagos.
‘For us the new Cultural Centre is the new focus. If you check, I must say with some sense of pride, Cultural Centre is a premium event Centre in the city of Calabar, and indeed in the entire region. You know why? If you have an event, your guests can go back anytime and anywhere. It is a few minutes away from Transcorp Hotels a five-star hotel, it is a few minutes away from the Government House, it is a few minutes away from the Margaret Ekpo International Airport, Stadium. So, Cultural Centre remains the ideal venue for any form of events’, He continued.
Tehila a gospel music fiesta and Super Laughter a comedy as well as other local and international events are planned to hold yearly, according to director Chibuike Jibunoh.
The Ministry of Tourism Development and Office of the SSA on Tourism, struck have struck a Public Private Partnership with Peniel Network Investment Ltd for the new Cultural Centre ‘so that we can bring about the much-needed focus and transformation for the Cultural Centre’. The PPP is a management partnership.