The organisers of the 20th edition of the famous Carnival Calabar have said that this year’s edition will give sponsors a mileage that they have never seen before because they have infused different activities into this year’s edition.

Speaking on this development in a press conference recently in Lagos, Special Adviser to the governor of Cross River State on event management and the chairman of the carnival committee, Effiong Ekpenyong disclosed that, this year promises to be more interesting, engaging and rewarding, stating that, “a lot has been added to this year’s carnival, the carnival is our flagship brand but, we have other shows inside the carnival that we will use to keep our guests busy all through the period.”

“For sponsors who want to be part of this year’s carnival, we are promising them a millage. When we started, DSTV was showing our event for one day but now we have seven days with more than 40 countries watching and more than 50 million viewership. Our mileage is second to none. When you partner with us, you will never regret it.” He added.

Speaking about the theme: “Our Shared Prosperity” Ekpeyong said that, “over the years, the themes for our carnivals mean a lot to us because we put a lot of intellectual work into it. For instance, over the years, we have had very engaging themes and it is the responsibility of the governor who sits down through his wisdom to come up with a theme and our partners will have to go back and interpret it through dances and costumes that suit their purposes.

Also speaking, Chairman of the Cross River State Carnival Commission, Gabe Onah said, “the Carnival Calabar has come of age and endured and also has gone through a period of evolution. This sector was founded by the desire to tell our story and empower boys and girls.”

According to him, “for us in the Niger Delta region, culture remains our crude oil, we develop a SWOT analysis and ask ourselves questions about why people have to visit us, and we have discovered that we have to share peace and love.”

As you can see, Carnival Calabar has remained the only government carnival that has endured for two decades and you must give it to the government and the community, adding that, the three sustainable pillars for our carnival are the product, the community and the stakeholders.

“Love is what the people of Calabar are giving, you come to us, we show you love, you stay in our hotel, you buy our food, you are happy, and we are happy. We are praying that our children will buy into this initiative and take the front seat so as to take ownership of the Carnival, and that is what we want.” He noted.

The Head of the Marketing Firm for Carnival Calabar, Okhma Global, Mrs. Mary Ephraim Egbas expressed gratitude to the state government for giving them the opportunity of being the marketing company for the carnival, and this is because they have been passionate about the carnival because they have been around since inception.

According to her, on the marketing side, “this year, we have the theme as “shared prosperity” and that is what we will be selling to our partners and people that will attend, this is because we very much feel that this is about the people.”

“This year 2024, our expectation is to share value, share love and we want to thank our partners since inception for supporting us. Our partners also embraced the governor and trusted him during our breakfast meeting last year, and we must say thank you to FirstBank, Fidelity Bank, Sterling Bank, GAC Motors among others for taking our relationship to the next level,” she said.

Furthermore, she stressed that, “we are looking for more partners who will be part of the shared prosperity story because the carnival has attendees of about 2 million people and it goes for 32 days which is huge because if people don’t buy your product on the first day, you still have more days on the streets of Calabar to market your brand.”

CAPTION
R-L: Ikechi Uko, Tourism Consultant, Effiong Ekpenyong, Special Adviser Events Management in Governor’s office & Chairman of the Festival Committee, Mary Ephraim-Egbas, CEO, Okhma Global (marketing consulting company), Gabe Onah, Chairman Carnival Commission, Cross River State, Austin Cobham, Executive Secretary, Carnival Commission, and Richard Essien, Governors Consultant during the world press conference to herald 2024 Carnival Calabar & Festivals in Lagos