The Governor of Cross River State, Ben Ayade, has suspended the 2021 Calabar Carnival.
A press release issued on Monday by Ayade’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, said Ayade made the announcement at the State Executive Council meeting, attended by carnival band leaders, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Eteng Jones Williams, members of the state Executive Council and local government chairman from the 18 council areas of the state.
The governor cited the health concerns arising from the outbreak of COVID-19 variant, Omicron, as well as the prevailing security situation as reasons for the suspension.
The statement said Ayade as governor and leader would not compromise the lives and safety of the citizens for the fleeting excitement of the carnival.
Ita’s statement disclosed that before announcing the suspension, Ayade had subjected the decision to popular votes, following which majority of the stakeholders voted for the suspension of the carnival.
With the cancellation of the 2021 edition of the Calabar Carnival, it would be the second successive year that the annual event would not hold due also to its cancellation last year, as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The annual Calabar Carnival was initiated by Governor Donald Duke’s administration in 2005 as one of the foremost events to boost tourism and revenue earner for the state.