By Kingston Obung
Cross River state government has disclosed that N500 million has been earmarked for the five traditional Calabar carnival bands, with each getting N100 million, and not the previous N50 million, to prepare for the tourism fiesta this year.
The state Commissioner for Tourism, Mr. Eric Anderson, made the disclosure in Calabar, yesterday, during an interaction with journalists on preparations by his ministry towards a successful hosting of the annual festival.
Anderson, who is the first commissioner to head the new Tourism ministry, said increasing the fund was to ensure that adequate preparation is made by the various bands which are also expected to participate in other activities. The five traditional bands are Freedom band, Master Blaster, Bayside band, Seagull band and Passion 4.
Anderson, while appreciating the magnanimity of Governor Ben Ayade for raising the money from N50m to N100m, said all the bands would be challenged to bring out their best during this year’s festival, promising that his ministry was working hard to ensure that it is a success.
“This year’s carnival is going to take a new shape and we are working hard to ensure that there are new initiatives by the various bands. This is why the Governor has graciously approved N100 million for the use of each band because they are going to be involved in, not just the carnival, but other activities like the street party and the rest,” the commissioner explained.
The commissioner frowned at the ‘unnecessary jokes’ and behaviour of some artists invited during previous editions of the festival, and warned that the state government would not tolerate jokes that may appear derogatory of persons or institutions, which he said, comedians usually crack.
He also said government would not allow artist to raise money for themselves from the public, after being fully paid.
His words: “this year’s edition of the carnival promises to be big and special because of the various high profile artists that will be coming. But I must warn that government will not allow any Comedian to come and make jokes that are derogatory of anybody or institutions, or any musician who will come and raise money from the public after being paid to perform.”